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Ubuntu 10.04 beta now available for download (screenshot tour)

With the final release of Ubuntu 10.04 due in just under a month, things appear to be right on schedule at Canonical. Yesterday the Lucid beta download page went live and eager testers rapidly descended upon the mirrors.

Watching Lucid evolve has been exciting. It's clear that Canonical is intent on creating a version of Ubuntu which can appeal to a broader base of computer users with a more select set of default programs, new visuals, built-in easy access to social networks via Gwibber, and loads of other improvements.

One key addition to the beta is Wubi. If you're not familiar with it, Wubi is a Windows program which allows you to install Ubuntu on the same drive as your Windows install. It's an extremely simple way to take Ubuntu for a test drive -- or make it a permanent fixture on your system.

If you give Ubuntu 10.04 a try at this point, it's important to remember that you will encounter glitches. There's still plenty of work to do (and bugs to squash) at this point. Wubi, for example, was able to install 10.04 and modify my Windows boot menu, but GRUB failed to load and I couldn't boot into Ubuntu.

Overall, however, the Lucid beta feels fast, it's very usable, and I can definitely see myself using 10.04 as my primary OS. Will the computing masses feel the same way? Probably not, but there's no doubt that the improvements in Lucid will help increase in Ubuntu's market share.

You can download the Ubuntu 10.04 beta and try it out for yourself -- or have a look at some screenshots in the gallery (below)! (Reading this via RSS? Here's the link to the screenshot gallery!)

Tags: 10.04, beta, canonical, linux, osupdates, ubuntu