Want a sneaky peek at Ubuntu 8.04? Then you are in luck as the Hardy Heron Tribe 1 Alpha pre-release has just been made available for download. This will, in time, morph into 8.04 and is the first in a series of milestone CD images that is slated for distribution throughout the Hardy development cycle.

According to Ubuntu developer Steve Langasek, posting at lists.ubuntu.com the Hardy Heron Tribe 1 images are “known to be reasonably free of showstopper CD build or installer bugs, while representing a very recent snapshot of Hardy.”

So what has changed since the Ubuntu 7 ‘Gutsy Gibbon’ release? Well there is the inclusion of Xorg 7.3 with a vastly improved automatic graphics config support, various packages that have been merged in from Debian, and installation images that are available for x86 and AMD 64 servers, SPARC, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Xubuntu and Gobuntu.

Most importantly though, the entire Hardy development cycle is focusing on ensuring that existing features are as robust as possible instead of dumping tons of new functionality into the mix as happened with Gutsy Gibbon. Being a long-term support release this is, perhaps, just as well. Especially as Linux is starting to become a more attractive option to hardware vendors such as Dell.

A full list of the bugs uncovered so far can be found here.