The beta of the next version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system has arrived, although judging by its stability and polish you'd be hard pressed to tell it's a testing release.
Other new features are likely to be overlooked by desktop users but appreciated by systems administrators. There have been security improvements, including better memory protection and a fine-grained access control system called PolicyKit.
What's more, Ubuntu 8.04 offers easy integration with Active Directory environments for the first time, thanks to a new software package called Likewise Open.
Despite its present maturity, Hardy Heron is definitely a work in progress. In fact, immediately after installing the beta, the software update manager informed me that there were already 106 updates available. And some longtime users will question the inclusion of some of certain bleeding-edge features, such as the new PulseAudio sound layer, which is not yet compatible with a lot of current Linux audio software.