At about this time semi-annually, I can no longer hold myself back from upgrading to the next version of Ubuntu; and usually I am quite sorry I did just because of the nature of alpha software. The transition from edgy to feisty, feisty to gutsy, and from gutsy to hardy was a little painful at the alpha stage because the new network-manager applet was in its early stages. Each of those upgrades caused problems with my internet activity which made it difficult to access the internet and hence report bugs.

This time around my wireless internet connections are stable and we’re still only in alpha 4, plus the automated bug reporting system is much better tuned. We’re starting to see a much more mature product emerge after all this time. Looking at the upcoming features, you’ll see things like “encrypted private directories”, “3g support”, and a new “guest account”.

At first I was a little disappointed to see these features because unlike previous versions, they seemed small in comparison. But now I feel that Ubuntu has climbed to a kind of development plateau where all the bare necessities of a truly excellent operating system are in place and working well. I’m truly proud to be a member of the Ubuntu community and I welcome the upcoming “small” features as a sign of our community’s excellence.