A new version of one of the most popular Linux distributions, Ubuntu, is due in less than a month's time. The final stable version of Ubuntu 9.10 will be released on 29 October, according to their website. However, a beta for version 9.10 is available for those interested.
The new version features several changes, one of which is the use of the faster ext4 file system by default for new installations (although existing file systems will not be upgraded). In addition, the latest version of GNOME, version 2.28, is included with the beta. The "look and feel" of booting the system has also been improved.
GRUB 2 is now the default bootloader, however it does lack support for a few things such as password support. You can find the main improvements in Ubuntu 9.10 here. Naturally there are some issues with the beta, which you can find at the bottom of that page.
Whilst new versions are not usually special, the switch to the ext4 file system is a major step forward for Ubuntu's aim to have a ten second boot time for 2010's release, as the file system offers improved performance compared to its predecessor.
For those who want a look before the final release on 29 October, the beta can be downloaded through the usual ways from here, however the beta is recommended for testing purposes only, and, of course, always make a full backup if you do use it.