Jackalope Rising: Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 1 As Early As Tomorrow
The Ubuntu project says that the initial alpha release of Ubuntu 9.04 (the "Jaunty Jackalope") could be available for testing in less than twenty-four hours. Yes, that's a little less than a month after the current, stable version, "Intrepid Ibex" was finalized and formally released.
Ubuntu 9.04 is gearing for an April 2009 release (in keeping with the project's six month development cycle). Phoronix reports that one focus is faster boot times through kernel optimization. This release will also be the first Ubuntu version to support ARM processors.
Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth said previously that this is the release he hoped would usher in a new focus on the end-user experience. One aspect of this encompasses a closer integration and blending of desktop and web applications.
Though my experience with Ubuntu's 8.10 release was that it was similar to past releases in terms of speed (and significantly faster during boot), this has not been true for everyone. Canonical is considering making some changes to enhance Ubuntu's performance with video cards that have been traditionally sluggish with its X configuration.
This alpha release is the first (officially public) step on the Jackalope's journey. Being the initial alpha offering, it goes without saying it's not for production machines and probably doesn't resemble except in the vaguest sense what the final release will be. Adventurous souls willing to test, bend, and troubleshoot, however, will get the opportunity to contribute and watch the development cycle progress tomorrow.