Canonical has released a second alpha for Ubuntu 12.10. The next version of the popular Linux-based operating system is scheduled for an October launch, but you can check out the latest pre-release version today.

Ubuntu 12.10 Alpha uses Linux kernel 3.5 and updates to several filesystem pacakges. The Firefox web browser and Thunderbird email client have also been updated to the latest beta versions.

The latest operating system also offers live images for ARM-based architectures, which means you can try out Ubuntu 12.10 on a computer, tablet, or other device while running from removable media — without installing anything.

Lubuntu 12.10 Alpha 2
Lubuntu 12.10 Alpha 2

There are several different versions of Ubuntu available, including the standard desktop version with the Unity desktop environment, Kubuntu with KDE, Xubuntu with Xfce, and Lubuntu with LXDE.

Kubuntu users will find that KDE has been updated to KDE SC 4.9 beta, while Xubuntu 12.10 Alpha 2 uses Xfce 4.10.

When Ubuntu 12.10 Alpha 1 was released earlier this month, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, and Ubuntu Netboot weren’t available yet, but they’ve all been added with the second Alpha release.

This is still an early build of Ubuntu 12.10, with many new features yet to come — and many bugs to be fixed. It’s meant for developers and others looking to test the next version of Ubuntu and isn’t really designed to be used as a primary operating system yet.

I took Lubuntu 12.10 for a quick spin, because I’m fan of the light weight LXDE environment which plays well with slower computers (and runs well in a virtual machine on my desktop). For the most part Lubuntu 12.10 still looks a lot like Lubuntu 12.04, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The operating system feels pretty responsive and includes much of the software you’d want right out of the box including the Chromium web browser, Pidgin messenger, and AbiWord document editor.

You can also download and install additional software such as GIMP or LibreOffice from the Ubuntu Software Center.

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