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TestDrive is an Ubuntu application that is especially designed for non-technical users to easily download and run the latest Ubuntu development daily snapshot in a virtual machine. TestDrive also works for other Ubuntu flavours such as Kubuntu or Xubuntu.

You don't have to do anything, TestDrive will even handle the ISO download and later sync it (the first time you download an ISO it is fully downloaded but then the ISO can be synced using zsync so you won't have to download the whole ISO each time you want download the latest version). We already talked about TestDrive a while back so head over to that post for more info on TestDrive.

TestDrive used to be a command-line only application which is not exactly newbie friendly so a GUI was created (not yet fully ready - in fact it's quite ugly for now, but it works!). I wanted to post it a long time ago, but it just wouldn't work (for me anyway) but a recent update finally got TestDrive working so it should now work for everyone.

testdrive - select vm

Since TestDrive now comes with a GUI, you don't have to edit a config file to use VirtualBox with TestDrive, select the virtual disk size or memory and so on - all of these are now available in the new GUI.

Beside the GUI, TestDrive also got a cool new feature: it can now run any Linux distribution ISO in a virtual machine. Simply go to File > New, then type a description, the ISO URL and the sync protocol (I suggest you choose zsync or rsync - but make sure that whatever you choose here is installed).

The first time you run TestDrive GTK Front-end (Applications > System Tools), you'll have to select an Ubuntu flavor / ISO (like Ubuntu Desktop) and then click on "Sync" - this will download the latest daily ISO:

Testdrive gtk front-end

Once the download is over, simply click on "Launch" and you'll have a working Ubuntu development (daily) build in a virtual machine:

Testdrive gtk front-end

Install TestDrive and TestDrive GTK Front-End in Ubuntu

If you're running the latest Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, the latest TestDrive as well as its GTK front-end are already in the repositories so you can skip adding the PPAs below.

To install both the command line version (required) and the TestDrive GTK front-end (GUI), you'll have to add 2 PPAs (Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx only):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:testdrive/ppa
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:testdrive-gtk/ppa

Then, to install TestDrive (and the GTK front-end), use the following commands in a terminal:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install testdrive testdrive-gtk