Ubuntu 16.10 Beta 2 is now available for download, arriving a week later than originally scheduled.

The delay? That was caused by a last-minute kernel update to Yakkety introducing “critical regressions” in several of the Ubuntu Beta images. A kernel re-spin was necessary, and testing had to take place all over again.

Back on schedule, this beta release gives willing testers and earlier adopters the chance to go hands on with the next major release of the Ubuntu desktop, to provide feedback, report bugs, and complain about their experiences and so on.

Other Ubuntu flavors, including Ubuntu MATE and Lubuntu, have already released alpha and beta releases during the past five months. But this is the first milestone that regular ol’ Unity Ubuntu participates in.

Today’s beta is going is to be followed by a Release Candidate build next month. Ubuntu 16.10 stable is due for release on October 13, 2016.

What’s New in Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak?

Spoiler: Not a lot

Although this beta is the first formal testing snapshot of Ubuntu 16.10 it’s not that much different from the current stable release, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

We wrote a short article on what to expect in Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak earlier in the year and much of that outline holds up.  There are, save for fixes and finesse, no big features or changes to really shout about, certainly not superficially.

Ubuntu 16.10 Beta 2 is powered by the Linux kernel 4.8, which helps improve hardware compatibility, performance and power consumption.

Unity low graphics mode, which we were the first to write about back in July, is also present. Ideal for virtual machine users, the Unity low graphics mode disables many of the composited desktop effects that Unity uses, with the aim of improving overall responsiveness and performance.

The majority of the GNOME stack is now on GNOME 3.20, and PackageKit is bumped to v1.1.

Updated default apps include Nautilus 3.20, Totem video player 3.22 and Mozilla Firefox 48. There’s also a new default wallpaper in Ubuntu 16.10 to admire.

Download Ubuntu 16.10 Beta 2

Download Ubuntu 16.10 Beta 2 by hitting the button below and selecting the appropriate architecture for your system.

Download Ubuntu 16.10 Beta 2

Remember: as this is a beta release. You (probably) shouldn’t use it as your primary OS. just yet. If you’re curious about what’s new you can load it up on a live USB or run it in a virtual machine.

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