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Test out pre-release builds of Ubuntu without downloading the full .iso

Ars Technica has found a new tool which allows users to easily download and update the important parts of the Linux distro’s nightly development snapshots for easy and convinient testing.

Read on for more information.

If you are a Linux enthusiast, testing out development builds and nightly snapshots should be something which you should be very familiar with. Unfortunately, testing such builds usually leave the user with 2 problems: the pre-release can be (and usually is) full of bugs, and you have to download the entire .iso, which is usually around the size of 700+MB.

And while the first issue of bugs can be dealt with by doing your testing within a virual environment so that your main system is safe, the same usually cannot be said for having to download the large development snapshots, especially if you’re on a very slow connection.

Fortunately, it seems that the developers have caught wind of the situation, because Ubuntu users can now easily download and install a tool that automatically grabs the latest development releases off the web. According to Georce Castro from Canonical, the new tool known as TestDrive will automatically download the ISO and configure a VM or virtual machine which can then be launched via the command line interface.

But TestDrive’s real sraw comes from the fact that it apparently “caches the ISO images and uses rsync to update the parts that have changed”, which should result in a much smaller download (and significantly shortened downloading time as well).

Instructions for obtaining TestDrive for use on your Ubuntu system is available at Launchpad, but only the Lucid Lynx pre-releases will have the download repository already added into its list of sources: if you’re using the current or older stable releases of Ubuntu, you’ll have to add the repository manually via the instructions here.

Source: Launchpad via Ars Technica

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