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The Ubuntu devs have released the fifth alpha of Karmic Koala (9.10).

Ubuntu Karmic Alpha 5 includes the latest GNOME 2.27.91 development release. Alpha 5 includes the 2.6.31-9.29 kernel based on 2.6.31-rc8. The kernel ships with Kernel Mode Setting enabled for Intel graphics (see below). linux-restricted-modules is deprecated in favour of DKMS packages.

ubuntu 9.10 ibus
New iBus application

OpenOffice.org 3.1.1 is also present in this new alpha release, along with a new panel applet now that replaces both the Log Out/Shutdown options from the System menu and the User Switcher applet. Other than that, there is a new panel applet now that replaces both the Log Out/Shutdown options from the System menu and the User Switcher applet.

ubuntu karmic koala alpha 5 shutdown optionsubuntu 9.10 karmic koala screenshot

Karmic Alpha 5's underlying technology for power management, laptop hotkeys, and handling of storage devices and cameras maps has moved from "hal" (which is in the process of being deprecated) to "DeviceKit-power", "DeviceKit-disks" and "udev". When testing Alpha 5, please pay particular attention to regressions in those areas and report bugs.

Another change that comes with alpha 5 is the Computer Janitor, which has been redesigned:

karmic koala alpha5 janitor

Also included in Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 5 is the Ubuntu One file-sharing client and Ubuntu UEC (Enterprise Cloud) images with support for the Amazon EC2 cloud computing service.

ubuntu karmic koala alpha5 screenshot

Full details of the changes and a list of known issues are available in the release notes.

Update -> screehshots with the installation process.

The Karmic Koala Release Schedule:

May 14th, 2009 - Alpha 1 release
June 11th, 2009 - Alpha 2 release
July 23rd, 2009 - Alpha 3 release
August 13th, 2009 - Alpha 4 release
September 3rd, 2009 - Alpha 5 release
September 17th, 2009 - Alpha 6 release
October 1st, 2009 - Beta release
October 22nd, 2009 - Release Candidate
October 29th, 2009 - Final release of Ubuntu 9.10

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Alpha 5 Download links:

http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/karmic/alpha-5/ (Ubuntu Desktop, Server, and Netbook Remix)
http://uec-images.ubuntu.com/releases/karmic/alpha-5/ (Ubuntu Server for UEC and EC2)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ports/releases/karmic/alpha-5/ (Ubuntu Desktop for ARM)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/kubuntu/releases/karmic/alpha-5/ (Kubuntu Desktop and Netbook)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/xubuntu/releases/karmic/alpha-5/ (Xubuntu)
http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/mythbuntu/releases/karmic/alpha-5/ (Mythbuntu)

Update: see also:

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Alpha 6 Released, Features The New Ubuntu Software Store [Screenshots]
Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10 Beta Released, Features Gnome 2.28