Ubuntu and family had another of their bi-annual releases last week Thursday, the 26th of April. This latest release is version 12.04, codename Precise Pangolin, and is a Long Term Support release.
As usual, I upgraded when the first beta release came out, and so I have had a "sneak peek" at what's in this release of Kubuntu.
KDE fans have the latest version of their favourite desktop environment to look forward to, version 4.8. It comes with a host of improvements, and a number of the really annoying bugs in previous releases appear to have been fixed.
Under the hood, 12.04 comes with version 3.2 of the Linux kernel.
The only issue I have picked up is a major bug in the proprietary nVidia drivers. It seems that nVidia's testing department never picked up on a bug that causes your computer to appear to grind to a halt if you have 3D enabled. Disabling 3D compositing in KDE (press Shift+Alt+F12) "fixes" this, but it really shouldn't be necessary.
The good news about this issue is that I had the opportunity to try out the Nouveau driver, and it actually works quite well for the most part. I found that it would crash X.org at times if the compositing was getting a bit too much for it, and it was sluggish at times, but overall it worked pretty well. I'm genuinely impressed at the level of compositing that it supports.
Thankfully, the -updates repository should contain a fix for the nVidia issues, and they should come with 12.04.1, so people who are planning to use 12.04 for the next few years should have a fix in the works.
All in all, my experience of 12.04 has been positive. Even with the driver issues mentioned above, more stuff works out of the box than other popular operating systems.