"Ubuntu 10.04 LTS challenges the perceptions of the Linux desktop, bringing a whole new category of users to the world of Ubuntu," said Jane Silber, Canonical's CEO, "Changes like the new look and feel and the addition of a music store, layered on top of our relentless focus on delivering an intuitive and attractive user experience for new and existing Ubuntu users - these are the bridging elements to the mainstream market that our community, our partners and our users really want. Long-term support makes Ubuntu 10.04 LTS very attractive to corporate IT as well."
Starting at the beginning (literally): boot time has been improved considerably. I personally switched to the Luid Lynx branch a few days ago, and noticed the improved boot speed right away on my machine. Applications seem to start faster too, and Compiz performance has been jacked up too - although it could also be they tweaked the default duration times for the effects.
Another major focus is this whole "Social from the start" business. They've inlcuded something called the "Me menu" from which you can administer al your social networking and IM stuff. "The new 'Me Menu' in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS consolidates the process of accessing and updating social networks including Facebook, Digg, Twitter and Identi.ca," the release notes detail, "The Me Menu also integrates chat channels so users can talk with friends or colleagues on Google Talk, MSN, IRC and nearly every network."
Sadly, the Me menu breaks as soon as you switch to anything but the default icon theme - even if the icon theme you switched to is in the repositories.
The same applies to the fancy new tray icons they designed and added to this release. Instead of making this pervasive (i.e., part of the panel) these icons are just a theme, and as soon as you switch themes, the beautiful icons disappear. It would be nice if they were available no matter the theme you chose, as a unified look for tray icons is a very welcome addition.
All the artwork has been updated in this release - from the mentioned tray icons all the way to the boot screen. Personally, I detest the graphical theme with a passion, but the new boot screen is really nice. Luckily, this is Linux, so a new theme is just a few clicks or commands away (
sudo apt-get install gnome-colors shiki-colors).
It comes with version 2.6.32 of the Linux kernel, and GNOME 2.30 for Ubuntu, and KDE SC 4.4 for Kubuntu.