The first alpha release from the growingly popular Ubuntu Linux is now available. The build is clearly marked as a not ready for prime time player, but offers a sneak peak at the next release, 8.04, expected in April 2008. You can also publicly contribute to the bug tracking mechanism should you choose. I installed the alpha release, Hardy Heron Alpha-1 which was generally indistinguishable from other Ubuntu releases, namely the gutsy 7.10 release.
Some takeaway notes about this alpha release are that it includes Xorg 7.3 for the X Window System manager and pulls in some Debian changes as well. It uses kernel 2.6.22, which is the same as gutsy 7.10. Comparatively, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 is on the 2.6.18 kernel and Novell Suse is on the 188.8.131.52 kernel. If you use Ubuntu 8.04 Server, keep in mind that packages may detect a newer version of the kernel and want to recompile. A good example is VMWare tools for guest operating systems.
Canonical Ltd. does not support the alpha releases of Ubuntu, which is to be expected. When 8.04 is released after the community development process is complete, Canonical will support the end-state product.
More information about the Ubuntu release can be found at: http://www.ubuntu.com/testing/hardy/alpha1