First Ubuntu 12.04 LTS "Precise Pangolin" alpha released
Canonical and the Ubuntu developers have published the first alpha of version 12.04 of their Ubuntu Linux distribution, code-named "Precise Pangolin". Aimed at developers and testers, 12.04 Alpha 1 uses the 3.2.0-2.5 Ubuntu kernel which is based on the recent 3.2-rc3 Linux kernel.
This first alpha sees Banshee replaced by Rhythmbox as the default music player. However, at this stage of development, the team note that the Ubuntu One Music Store is not yet supported as it needs to be ported to GTK 3. Bundled packages include a beta of version 9.0 of the Firefox web browser, the Thunderbird 9.0 beta, Shotwell 0.11.6 and version 3.4.4 of the LibreOffice office suite.
Ubuntu 12.04 will be a Long Term Support (LTS) release focused on polishing and stabilising the system as much as possible rather than introducing major changes, because, when released, both the server edition and, for the first time, the desktop edition will be supported for five years.
It will also be the first Ubuntu release to target a 750 MB ISO image. This means that it will no longer fit onto a standard CD, instead requiring users to burn the images to DVD or copy them to a USB drive for installation. The developers have not filled that space yet: the 32-bit version of the Alpha 1 release comes in at 703 MB.
In the Alpha 1 mailing list announcement, Ubuntu Release Manager Kate Stewart notes that "Pre-releases of Precise Pangolin are *not* encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage". Users testing the release are encouraged to provide feedback and report any bugs that they find.
Further information about the first development milestone, including a list of known issues, can be found on the 12.04 Technical Overview page. A list of features and changes planned for version 12.04 of Ubuntu is available on the Blueprints for Precise. According to the project's release schedule, the first alpha will be followed by a second alpha version in early February 2012, after which two betas and a possible release candidate are planned. The final version is expected to arrive on 26 April 2012.
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS Alpha 1 is available to download for 32- and 64-bit systems from the project's site. The current stable release is Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" from October, while the most recent LTS version is Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS "Lucid Lynx".
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