The next version of the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system is due in April. Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet is currently under development, but you can take a recent nightly build for a spin if you want to test it out before the official launch.
Or if you’re looking for something a little more stable you can try an alpha build… as long as you don’t mind running a flavor of Ubuntu rather than the main branch.
Ubuntu 15.04 Alpha 2 builds of Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, and Ubuntu Kylin are now available. But there’s no alpha for the main branch of Ubuntu with the Unity desktop environment.
Those flavors are based on the core Ubuntu operating system, but they feature the KDE, LXDE, GNOME, and Kylin desktop environments.
I loaded up the Kubuntu build in Virtualbox to check out the new Plasma 5 environment, and it looks pretty nice. Menus have a translucent effect which lets you preview apps, adjust settings, or make other changes without losing focus on your work.
There’s also better support for high-DPI displays and hardware-accelerated graphics improvements.
Other new features in Kubuntu 15.04 Alpha 2 (and KDE in general) is the KDE Application 14.12 suite which includes new versions of the text, image, math, and game apps, among other things.
There have also been updates to the GNOME, LXDE, and Ubuntu Kylin (for Chinese users) version of the operating system. You can find more details in the release announcement.