The team at Canonical is gearing up to unveil the latest version of its Ubuntu Linux distribution. The final release of Ubuntu Linux 8.10 (or Intrepid Ibex, if you're into Canonical's animal alliterations) will hit web mirrors on October 30.
What's coming? For starters, Canonical has implemented the latest version of the GNOME desktop environment. GNOME 2.24 brings "a new instant messaging client, a built-in time tracker, the latest Ekiga 3.0 video and audio conferencing tool, improved file management and toolbars plus better support for multiple monitor use with the ability to set screen resolution by monitor."
On top of that, Canonical has added 3G mobile connectivity support, so users can easily switch between Wi-Fi and cell phone networks. Should you wish to lend your laptop to someone while on the go, Ubuntu 8.10 will let you enable a "guest session" so another user can surf the web and check his e-mail without being able to touch your data. Last, but not least, the new version can be installed from a USB thumb drive—a key important addition for netbook users, since Eee PCs and other tiny laptops generally lack optical drives.
If you just can't wait until Thursday, Canonical offers a release candidate of the 8.10 release. You can grab desktop and server installation CD images in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, plus a 32-bit image for USB thumb drives.