The folks over at Ubuntu have released their beta version 7.10 for testing. On their site they state the following:

The Ubuntu developers are hurrying to bring you the absolute latest and greatest software that the open source and free software communities have to offer. This is the Ubuntu 7.10 beta release, which brings a host of excellent new features.

Note: This is still a beta release. Do not install it on production machines. The final stable version will be released in October 2007.

Some of the new features in this release are:

Desktop 3D effects

Compiz Fusion is enabled by default and will bring 3D desktop visual effects that improve the usability and visual appeal of the system. Ubuntu 7.10 automatically detects whether the hardware is capable of running compiz; if not, it falls back to normal desktop. Additional effects can be enabled in “System/Preferences/Appearance” under the “Visual Effects” tab. There you can also disable the effects entirely.

Fast user switching

It is now possible to easily switch between user sessions without the inconvenience of entering your username or password numerous times, a time-saver on computers shared by multiple users.

Dynamic screen configuration

Several drivers, including ones for ATI, nVidia, and Intel graphics chips now support the X Resize and Rotate Extension (xrandr). This enables dynamic monitor detection, and resizing and rotating of video output, for no-fuss support for projectors and external monitors.

Fully automatic printer installation

Printers are now automatically configured by merely plugging them in and turning them on. Printer setup cannot get any easier!

Before this release, Ubuntu was going to share a feature from Linspire/Freespire called CNR [Click-N-Run]. It appears that this release does not include this feature as of yet.

For more information check out the Ubuntu site here.

Comments welcome.

[tags]ubuntu, linux, beta, release, improvements, printer, 3d, [/tags]