Ubuntu: A ramble through Drake Lake
This is not a review. It is not fair to review a work in progress. It is not a preview either. Such has already been done. Besides, all too often both views degenerate into a list of everything that does not yet work. And! And! Even reviews of released Linux distributions often do little more than enumerate features that haven't been added yet, but are already present in the author's current favourite. So I won't cover in any great depth what is and is not in Dapper. If you want to mark for yourself each stride forward, please visit the testing pages linked to above. It will tell you what you need to know, and has pretty screen-shots besides.
I will not hide my bias either. Ubuntu is my Darling. It cradled me in its soft, brown arms, soothing the burns and blisters of years of Windows and RPMs. I will say this: Working with Dapper on standard desktop hardware is a pleasant experience. I have an AMD64 3500+ processor, 512MB of ram, a GeForce 4200, on-board sound and Ethernet, plus an old prism-based 11mbs wireless card. Nothing too new, nothing too old. Not even a printer or scanner to bang my head against.
Now let us take an x86 install CD. The graphical boot menu is a nice touch. In earlier versions you could hit the F8 key and everything would... sparkle. This is now gone, as it was never meant to be in the first place. Hit 'ENTER', and we are back into the blue, text-based installer.