Kate Stewart announced the release of the Ubuntu 12.10 "Quantal Quetzal" beta on Thursday afternoon.
"Codenamed "Quantal Quetzal", 12.10 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs. For the client, this release now has a consolidated Ubuntu image. There is no longer a traditional CD sized image, DVD or alternate image, but rather a single 800MB Ubuntu image that can be used from USB or DVD. This change does not affect Ubuntu Server, which remains a traditional CD sized image. With Ubuntu 12.10, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Lubuntu, and Ubuntu Studio also reached Beta 1 status today. These images, along with Xubuntu will continue to have daily updates for the remainder of the release."
Ubuntu 12.10 has a lot of exciting features as talked about in the many Phoronix articles up to this point, although a sore point is that there's no Unity 2D. There's also no Wayland love.
The good news is that X.Org Server 1.13 is being pulled into Ubuntu 12.10, which means AMD will likely support their Catalyst driver on this major new xorg-server release by October. Ubuntu 12.10 will also be using Mesa 9.0 and Python 3 by default.
More information is available from the mailing list announcement.