Unlike other folks on the bleeding edge, I waited until Ubuntu 9.10's official release before trying out the software. For some of you, this may already be old news. Regardless, here's my first look at Karmic Koala, running as VirtualBox guest.
I only got the ISOs this morning. As usual, I got both the Desktop and Alternate Installation files. For some reason, only the Desktop torrent worked when I first tried it; Alternate is downloading as I write this.
Ubuntu 9.10 still sports the same old earthy Ubuntu color scheme, though I admit I like the shift to a cheerier yellow-orange. Not that it matters much to me because I'll change it to my theme preferences later on. In my opinion, though, nothing still beats the Hardy Heron wallpaper in terms of impact.
Some new stuff: Empathy has replaced Pidgin as the default IM client. I'm not sure of the reason for the change. Empathy is new to me, though I expect it'll still be straightforward. Yet somehow IM doesn't matter much to me anymore.
Another change: the Ubuntu team seem to have dropped the VoIP client from the default installation.
The software selection screen seems much friendlier than it was before. I like the large layout. It should be more accessible to first-time users.
Also new is iBus, the Intelligent Input Bus. iBus is an input method (IM) framework for multilingual input in Unix-like operating systems. More on this as I explore its features later on.
Take note of the messaging icon on the top left. Apparently it now integrates both instant messaging and mail.
Rounding out my first look: Ubuntu One is now integrated into Ubuntu. After my initial disappointment with its handling of conflict files, I still have to see whether it's worthwhile for me to use it actively. And the default browser is now Firefox 3.5 and OpenOffice.org is up to version 3.1.