ubuntu flavors logoThe first Ubuntu 16.04 beta builds are now available to download.

Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu MATE — oooh-argh — and Ubuntu Kylin are among the official Ubuntu flavors to stick their hands up for inclusion in this development milestone.

The regular version of Ubuntu, i.e. the one most of you are waiting for, only takes part in the second beta release.

Ubuntu 16.04 Beta 2  is set for a March 24 release date.

For this bout of beta level testing the following Ubuntu flavors take part:

  • Lubuntu
  • Xubuntu 
  • Ubuntu MATE
  • Ubuntu GNOME
  • Ubuntu Kylin

Not taking part is Kubuntu.

What’s New in Ubuntu 16.04 Beta 1?

ubuntu kylin login screen

Ubuntu Kylin 16.04 Beta 1 improves on its alpha releases with a new version of the Youker assistant, a brand-new login screen (kylin-greeter, pictured) and benefits from general improvements to both the look and feel of the Kylin branding and theme.

Download Ubuntu Kylin 16.04 Beta

Xubuntu 16.04 Beta 1 features a modest set of changes.

Testers of the lightweight spin will find new versions of key apps and components, including new versions of the Xfce 4 desktop, whisker menu applet and Orage calendar, plus support for controlling the Parole media player from the sound applet.

Download Xubuntu 16.04 Beta

Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 Beta 1 features a more sizeable set of changes thanks to it shipping with ‘most of GNOME 3.18’, including GNOME Shell 3.18 and the new GNOME Software utility.

In line with Ubuntu, GNOME Calendar and GNOME Logs are now pre-installed, GNOME Builder is available through the main archive and an ‘experimental Wayland session’ is available to install (but keep it mind it requires open-source GPU drivers).

Download Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 Beta

Lubuntu 16.04 Beta 1 ships with a massive set of changes — just kidding!

As always, Lubuntu ships with no new features. It does offer a selection of small bug fixes and benefits from being based on the Linux kernel (v4.4, fact fans).

A PPC version is also available, making Lubuntu perfect for resurrecting an old iBook, PowerMac or iMac. You could even don a lab coat and call yourself iVictor Lubuntkenstein.

Download Lubuntu 16.04 Beta 1


Last (but never least) is Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Beta 1.

The retro revivalist once against delivers an impressive changelog for its latest development snapshot.

On offer is a brand new ‘Software Boutique’ (accessed through an updated version of Ubuntu MATE Welcome tool). The MATE desktop has been bumped to v1.12.1 and includes Caja 1.12.4.

Fans (both literal and figuratively) will be pleased to hear that the updated desktop sees reduced CPU usage ‘across the board’.

Also included is a Unity-style MATE panel layout is available to try. Head to MATE’s appearance settings and select the ‘Mutiny’ panel layout to take it for a spin.

Download Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Beta 1 

Download News beta Xenial Xerus