Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala beta is available for download and I am very impressed with many things about it. Especially the improvements in video responsiveness.
The new startup splash and login screens are mind blowing (the effect is amazing.) So even though we aren't seeing the use of plymouth with Karmic the updated usplash package is very nice. They definitely added more under the hood with it. I pretty sure making a usplash screen is going to be harder now.
However I have to note that I did not like the default layout. Between netbook-launcher and maximus I did not like the initial look and or feel. Netbook Launcher is nice but annoying and unless you have a touch screen I can't see much use for it. I could not find a settings option panel for it (I really did try to find it) to make it not startup figuring I can mess around with it later. However, there just didn't seem to be such a method so I was forced to remove it sudo apt-get uninstall --purge netbook-launcher. Maximus was purely annoying and I did find a way to supposedly shut it off through gconf-editor but that failed and I was more than happy to use apt-get to purge it. Maximus takes selected apps, removes the windows border and then sets it to full screen mode. I was not happy with it one iota. I can understand doing that to Firefox but not Nautilus and I am not sure what the developers were attempting to accomplish with it. Once those two apps got removed I got the more familiar Gnome Desktop look I prefer.
I should note as well there seems to be something wrong with the sound server in Karmic and even though my sound card is correctly identified it did not get setup. Despite having no issues with Jaunty, in Karmic I have no sound at the moment. I am hoping by the time the RC is released this gets fixed. For sure by the final release.
Being that Karmic is in Beta I am duly impressed and beyond the server issue and the annoyances of those 2 programs Karmic Koala is faster, sleeker, much more responsive and well worth looking into when it is released to the general public.