Alpha 3 of Ubuntu 8.04

Jan 12, 2008

The developers of Ubuntu have released the third alpha of Ubuntu 8.04 "Hardy Heron", which is planned as a LTS version.

(After the final release in April, users will have to decide whether they prefer long time support or the new KDE desktop. The third Hardy Heron release includes a number of pre-release versions of the kernel, drivers and programs which will all be stable by the time the final release becomes available. The core of the system is Release Candidate 6 of kernel 2.6.24, which merges the x86 and x86_64 branches, thus making dynamic ticks, as currently offered for the x86 platform available to x64 systems. On top of this, new WLAN drivers and a number of new and revised drivers will be included. The Web browser is a pre-release version of the future Mozilla browser Firefox 3. Xorg 7.3 the new graphical system that offers improved automatic configuration is also included. PulseAudio is the new sound system. The integration of PolicyKit will offer more granular configuration capabilities. The system gives administrators the ability to grant additional privileges to normal users for specific actions.

For the first time, user will be asked to decide, after the Final Release in April, whether they prefer long term support or the new KDE desktop. The developers have announced that the Kubuntu version of Ubuntu 8.04 will not be available as an LTS version. Shortly before Christmas, Kubuntu's main developer, Jonathan Riddell, announced that Kubuntu would not be offering the LTS version scheduled in the release plan, but going for the new KDE 4 instead. The announcement met with a mixed reception. Although part of the community approved of the step, others said that Kubuntu was playing guinea pig.

Business customers are unlikely to welcome this step. After all, companies who have used the current LTS variant, Kubuntu 6.06, will now need to decide whether to opt for the currently unstable KDE 4 variant, or to secure long term support by moving to a different flavor of Ubuntu.

As always, the Alpha 3 is available from the distribution's website or one of its mirrors. As the alpha is for test purposes only, users are advised not to deploy it in production environments.

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