Within a few weeks of me writing this article it will have gone from Alpha into Beta then a few Release Candidates then final release at the end of October.
8.10 has a number of improvements which include:
* a new kernel (the heart of the operating system) which provides better harware support
* the Nautilus file manager will have tab support, a bit like Firefox or IE7 and Eject icons for removable drives
* the Nautilus file manager will natively support more compression utilities, so uncompressing will be easier
* you'll be able to easily set up an encrypted folder to store those really important files away from prying eyes
* you can enable a "guest" session, so you can allow others to log into your system as "guest" and have be restricted in what they can access
* it will have a new version of Network Manager which supports 3G mobile data accounts and dial-up accounts. It also has the ability to get a network connection without having to login to the graphical desktop
* "Last successful boot", which sounds similar to Window's "Last Known Good Configuration"
Mark Shuttleworth, owner of Canonical, the sponsor of Ubuntu recently announced Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope". While still a long time away, one of the primary goals for this release is to reduce the boot time, especially on mobile devices. With the rise of "cloud computing", mobile data and services such as Google Docs, the line between what is web-based content and what is an application is being blurred. Ubuntu wants to take advantage of that with an operating system that is aimed squarely at this market.
All in all, some exciting times for an interesting operating system. As always feel free to leave feedback, comments and questions. I do appreciate them all.