Today sees the second alpha release of the Ubuntu 16.04 development cycle made available to download.
Alpha 2 arrives a day later than originally planned, and sees just three flavors release builds as part of the milestone.
Xubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME and Kubuntu sit this alpha out. Why? To paraphrase a recent comment from a Kubuntu dev: “There’s simply nothing to test yet.”
‘Xubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME & Kubuntu skip this alpha entirely’
Of the three Ubuntu flavors taking part it is only Ubuntu MATE that boasts a set of changes worth the chore of downloading an ISO for.
Download Ubuntu 16.04 Alpha 2
Alpha releases are not recommended for general use unless you’re a developer — but then you already know that. Those diving in to test this development releases are advised to use live media or a virtual machine.
Ubuntu 16.04 Alpha 2 updates a host of well-known apps, including Mozilla Firefox 44, the latest stable release of LibreOffice, and various bits and pieces that make up the GNOME software stack.
Linux Kernel 4.3.x ships in this milestone. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS will use the 4.4 Linux kernel by the time of its final, stable release in April.
The majority of changes in Ubuntu 16.04 Alpha 2 are, as with the previous alpha release, under the hood.
For a brief overview of the more not(ic)able changes since the Ubuntu 16.04 Alpha 1, roll your peepers over the assembly of pixels below.
Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Alpha 2
The second alpha release of Ubuntu MATE keeps up the chocka-changelog of last release.
There are several new community-contributed wallpapers on offer, plus MATE colorized icons for categories, devices and places.
MATE Desktop v1.12, which includes touchpad improvements, and adds support for multi-touch and natural scrolling features.
Ubuntu MATE Welcome v16.04.1 features a new ambiance theme, gains graphics card detection, and stuffs its software recommendation section with a more varied choice of apps and utilities.
Lastly, but by no means least-ly, libraries to support DVD and BluRay playback are pre-installed in Ubuntu MATE 16.04 (but for licensing reasons will still need user configuration to actually play media).
Ubuntu Kylin 16.04 Alpha 2
Kylin is the official Chinese Ubuntu flavor. We don’t talk about it much, but as the screenshot above clearly shows, there’ll soon be a very big reason to!
Changes shipping in the Ubuntu Kylin 16.04 Alpha 2 release are more modest:
- New version of Kylin Software Center
- Redesigned China weather indicator
- Update to Youker personal assistant
Expect substantial UI and UX changes to land in time for the first beta milestone in late February. Among them: an enhanced lock screen & login experience, new first-run wizard and an option to reposition the Unity Launcher at the bottom of the screen¹.
Lubuntu 16.04 Alpha 2
With all effort focused on honing the new LxQt desktop experience, Lubuntu 16.04 Alpha 2 sees only a modest selection of bug fixes and core package updates.
Among the highlights are:
- Box icon theme update
- New version of Lubuntu Software Center
- Linux Kernel 4.3
As a LTS release, Lubuntu 16.04 also supports the (oft forgotten) PowerPC architecture.
If you have an old iMac or iBook sat collecting dust why not put it to good use by helping to test these new PPC builds?