First impressions: I like. It’s not perfect, I’ve seen a few odd things (more on that below) but overall my first impression is that it is faster and feels smoother. Everything worked out of the box – wifi, correct resolution, sound etc. So far so good.
- Some nice new visuals – boot screen is okay, nice login screen.
- New wallpaper is still brownish, but deeper and richer looking. I still changed it as one of the first things, but it was an improvement.
- Finally dust is a pre-installed theme. Massive props.
- Smooth transitions – this one is hard to explain until you see it in action, but it feels more polished.
- Disk partitioning at install was faster to scan. The last few ubuntu’s have been slow as a dog when you try to manual partition from the installer.
- The timezone selector at install time has the +10 zone band all over the shop. Brisbane, Australia is in Indonesia, Sydney is off the sunshine coast. Canberra is near Sydney. Not a total show stopper, but it has been right in past versions, why be wrong now? Bug confirmed and fix committed in launchpad.
- I formatted / as ext4. Grub wouldn’t boot. Reformatted as ext3 and no problems.
- While using it after the first reboot, after I left the laptop idle for 10mins I came back and it was back at the login screen. It hasn’t happened since (yet) but it was not a good feeling to lose what I was working on.
- Firefox 3.0.8 feels more sluggish than ever, especially since the rest of the desktop feels even faster by comparison.
Conclusion: Being dumped out to the login screen makes me hesitant to recommend the beta unless you like living on the wild side. Other than that issue, on my Dell it feels much faster than 8.10. The greater selection of pre-installed themes is very nice. Roll on the final release!