As many of you may know, the Ubuntu release cycle has various pre-releases along the way starting with first and second Alpha, moving on to first and then final Beta, and then the release candidate. The second Alpha release, which only the flavors take part in (not vanilla), has been released today.
Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, and Ubuntu Kylin all have been released as second Alpha, though Xubuntu sat this one out. You can now download the updated .iso files for testing from their respective pages, which I will link to later.
As with all pre-release software, it isn’t suggested you replace your current installation on any production machines, as there is still a chance there is a system-breaking bug in the code somewhere. It is also still in the Alpha phase, which means you will almost definitely run into some bug somewhere, so be prepared for bug testing and fixing if you do go ahead try this release out.
Although all releases gain from internal changes, each project has its own special changes. Here’s the most major ones:
Ubuntu GNOME 14.10 Alpha 2 has the new GNOME shell 3.12 and two new apps, Weather and Maps, (Hey, that rhymes!) that come installed by default.
Ubuntu Kylin 14.10 Alpha 2 has a new version of the Ubuntu Kylin software center, 0.3.2, and now includes the open-source note-taking application Wiznote to the pre-installed defaults.
Kubuntu 14.10 Alpha 2 has an upgraded version of the KDE platform, the 4.14 beta, which is actually the third beta release in the series, but is only the first change to be made post feature-freeze, and is mainly focused on bug fixes and giving the interface a polish.
If you’re feeling really lucky and adventurous, there are images available for trying out the new Plasma 5 desktop.
and, last, but still the favorite for many people, Lubuntu 14.10 Alpha 2 is pretty mundane, just various stability improvements and some package updates.
Beyond Second Alpha
The next milestone will the the first Beta, which is due for arrival for all flavors (except Vanilla Ubuntu) on the 28th of August. Beyond that is the final Beta, on September 25th, which all flavors and vanilla Ubuntu take part in. And finally, Release Candidate on October 16th, which is the last pre-release before the official release of 14.10 on October 23rd, 2014.
OMG Ubuntu has a great graphic for showing the release schedule visually on their post.