The Alpha 1 released ISO of the Ubuntu Linux distribution has been released into the wilds, bringing with it new features including the 3.0-3-generic Linux kernel and many other software updates including Firefox updated to version 5 and NetworkManager updated to version 0.9. This is an alpha release and not recommended for day-to-day usage, but for testing the distribution and seeing what it has to offer, this would be just fine.
Download the ISO here: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/oneiric/alpha-2/.
Gedit 3.1.1 is included for text editing purposes, and the other familiar Gnome applications like Eye of Gnome for viewing images. For office work, LibreOffice 3.3.2 is included, but the Gimp image editing application is not. Although you can just install it from the repositories anyway by typing sudo apt-get install gimp and then you will be able to edit your photos like a pro. I downloaded the x64 CD ISO of Ubuntu 11.10, but it would not fit on a CD, even though it was only 709MiB, thus I had to use a DVD disc to burn this, so keep that in mind, unless you could write it to a flash drive and boot it from that which is faster. Anyway, media playback is taken care of by the Banshee media player and the Totem movie player to play all of your movies and MP3s after you have installed ubuntu-restricted-extras of course. Shotwell 0.10.1 is also included for managing your photo collection and enabling simple image manipulation, but the aforementioned GIMP is available for more involved image manipulation and color correction if needed. The Unity menu has a section showing applications available for download, which is tied in with the Ubuntu software center which is rumored to be replacing the Synaptic software manager. I prefer Synaptic due to its many features and commands that are only a click away.
This video is a review of the Ubuntu 11.10 release and shows off many of the features in this new release. The Unity desktop is maturing quite well and is fast and good-looking to boot. I am sure that Gnome 2.32.1 will be removed from the repositories soon in favor of the Gnome 3 desktop environment, so the Gnome team need to get this desktop right. But it is looking very good so far, they need to add some theme options that allow switching the buttons to the right hand side of the windows easily, that feature of the default Ubuntu desktop is very annoying. Taking design cues from MacOS is not the best idea in my opinion; an original desktop environment for Linux is the best way forward and will show that we can design something ourselves that can take on MacOS and Windows without having to copy from them. If Ubuntu can create a very easy to use and fast desktop it will become more popular and usable amongst more and more computer users.