Many of the popular flavours of the famous Ubuntu Linux system such as Kubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE and Xubuntu, have released beta downloads for the upcoming Long-Term Support release of Ubuntu 18.04.

Typically, the Ubuntu team releases an LTS edition of the OS, every two years, which will carry major security updates and patches, as well as full support, for five years.

Most users typically prefer to stay on the LTS releases, and upgrade when necessary; but some prefer to opt for newer packages and will instead upgrade to the shorter 9 month support standard releases.

Ubuntu 18.04 Beta releases

According to an article on the Ubuntu mailing list:

Pre-releases of the Bionic Beaver are *not* encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage.

They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu flavour developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting, and fixing bugs as we work towards getting this release ready.

Beta 1 includes some software updates that are ready for broader testing.
However, it is quite an early set of images, so you should expect some bugs.

However, this is great news, as with an expected final release of April 26, 2018 on the horizon, it means that with the beta being released, hopefully the majority of major bugs can be ironed out in a quick and painless fashion.

Kubuntu 18.04

Features Plasma 5.12, KDE Applications 17.12.2, VLC replacing Dragonplayer as the default player, Muon Package Manager and other updated applications.

Ubuntu Budgie 18.04

Plays mp3 out of the box, improved keyboard shortcuts, better font handling for Chinese and Korean users, new applets, support for dynamic workspaces, minimal installation option, and support for openvnc connections via the network-manager applet, and more.

Ubuntu Kylin 18.04

Ubuntu MATE 18.04

MATE desktop 1.20 with HiDPI display support with dynamic detection and scaling, global menu integration improvement, Mutiny layout with MATE window applets, and minimal installation option.

Xubuntu 18.04

Final thoughts

With the next major release of Ubuntu around the corner, it will be interesting to see if Canonical has any surprises up their sleeve, or any other major changes to announce.

We already know that Ubuntu GNOME has been shift into mainline Ubuntu, so it will be good to see how this beta test progresses.