Ubuntu's Intrepid Ibex was released the other day and I thought I'd spend a couple of minutes to give my opinion on this release... I'll start off by saying that I have no intention of upgrading to this release. I want to make it clear that is no fault of the Ubuntu developers. It's simply the fact that I value a Long Term Support release and don't have a desire to upgrade simply to get the "latest and greatest". "If it ain't broke don't fix it", as the old saying goes. And Ubuntu 8.04 is extremely stable and satisfies all of my needs. Now lets get to the nitty gritty of it. I'll start off by saying that for a short team release, its extremely stable. More so than Edgy, Feisty or Gutsy were on day one. Another point worth mentioning is that Ibex feels like much more of a "service pack" than say Edgy or Feisty did to Dapper. There isn't really much new. Very little in fact. I suppose the "biggest feature" in this release is Network Manager 0.7. But for those in the know, Network Manager 0.7 is available for Hardy Heron in the PPA repository anyway. Network Manager brings with it many improvements to networking. It now supports static addresses, easier 3G connectivity and network connectivity without needing to log in. That being said, there is a major regression with VPN connectivity, specifically PPTP. With Network Manager 0.7 it is not possible to save VPN passwords. Doing so will result in a "shared secrets" error. I believe the Ubuntu developers have expressed an intention to resolve this by issuing a patch after the general release of Ibex, but this isn't good enough to someone who uses PPTP on a daily bases (i.e. me) Intrepid Ibex brings with it the latest (and greatest) GNOME, now at 2.24. The most prominent feature (for me at least) is tabbed browsing in Nautilus. Anyone who has used Konqueror will know what this means (hint - USABILITY - Less clutter on the desktop and the ability to move files and folders using the same file manager window). I must admit I was a little disappointed because its not possible to simply double click on the Nautilus tab bar to open a new tab (aka Firefox). Instead you must go File > New tab or use a keyboard shortcut if you are savvy enough. The next new feature in Ibex I'd like to touch upon is the new USB boot creation tool. On paper, the idea of booting Linux from a USB disk is kewl. But in reality, do we actually need it? I don't recall a single moment in my 24 years of being that I'd needed to go into a BIOS, change to boot from USB and bring Ubuntu up onto the screen and sing "praise the lord". The new USB tool is simply a gimmick in my mind. It's not necessary. I won't use it and there are plenty of other places in the GNOME desktop where the resource could have been spent. Back to the "I love Ubuntu" mentality. I must admit I've jumped on the new shutdown menu bandwagon. From a usability mentality it's brilliant. If I wanted to make myself idle in Pidgin, or log out my session, I'd think of going to the same place on my screen (i.e the top right). Little things like that keep Ubuntu in front of every other distribution (hate mail to jon_benge please). It's Ubuntu taking the initiative, leading the pack. So it's probably time to conclude my findings. Sure I've not talked about the new "Guest Feature", but why should I, it's been in Windows since XP and every decent admin disables it. Sure I've not talked about the "new theme", because there wasn't one as promised. I've probably missed the point entirely, but that's my right. I'll conclude by saying that Intrepid Ibex is a great release. Ubuntu is still innovating (stealing perhaps), keeping ahead of the pack. I'll stick to Hardy Heron but for anyone who cares less about LTS I say jump.