Trying out Ubuntu pre-releases is really easy now, using Test Drive
In order to find out what all new has been done in Lucid, I usually have to download its daily builds and run them in a VM. This task is definitely not easy, atleast the part where I have to download the whole 700 MB ISO again. But this lengthy procedure became effortless when I found this great tool, test drive. This tool automates the whole task of downloading and running the latest Ubuntu ISO in a Virtual Machine.
My favourite part of using Testdrive is that you don't have to deal with a full 700 MB download of the ISO. It intelligently uses rsync to synchronize the local version of my Lucid ISO with the daily build, drastically decreasing the size I used to download otherwise.
This is a really handy tool for the users who want to try out the latest changes in the new theme or a newly added feature in the upcoming release. Testdrive makes it pretty quick for them. It works with both KVM and VirtualBox and is easy to configure and run. Not just the Desktop release, using testdrive you can try out server, alternate, netbook, DVD etc editions too. It even accepts a separate ISO url.
This tool will no doubt play a major role in the successful development of a new Ubuntu release, by quick feedback from the users. The way it automates the "testdrive of an upcoming release", has made it really easy for the non-technical users to quickly download, install, try out and share their views about the latest changes. Thus making Ubuntu more user-friendly and completely community driven OS.
[shredder12]$ sudo apt-get install testdrive
How to install TestDrive in Ubuntu 9.10 or earlier
Testdrive is not available in the default repos of 9.10 or earlier versions. In order to install it, you will have to use the PPAs. This is the PPA link for testdrive, you can easily follow this PPA method and install testdrive on earlier releases of Ubuntu.