Ubuntu – Methods to try out new OS releases without committing to it


I want to try new OS releases as they arrive, such as Ubuntu 17.04 or Ubuntu 17.10 to see new features. I also like to look at Kubuntu, CentOS or other distros (Windows 11 when it arrives?) – or set up test environments knowing I may trash them and do not want to do this to my core machine.

What set of alternatives are there to do this without risking my main development machine? I am not looking for a debate on the BEST way, but which alternatives are available.

Best Answer

USB alternatives

USB alternatives are good, when

  • you want to test the performance (on bare metal)
  • the computer is not powerful enough to run a system well in a virtual machine

You can use a USB pendrive with at least 2GB drive space and create a

  • live Ubuntu system in the pendrive.

    Boot from the USB pendrive and select 'Try Ubuntu' in the boot menu (and something similar with other linux distros). If you save data, install programs or tweak the system in a live (live-only) drive, it will not survive shutdown or reboot.

If you want to

  • try Ubuntu in a more advanced way or
  • save data, install programs or tweak the system and
  • you have/get a fast USB pendrive of at least 4 GB,

you can create a

  • persistent live Ubuntu system

or if you have/get a fast USB pendrive of at least 16 GB, you can create an

  • installed Ubuntu system (like installed in an internal drive, but in a USB pendrive).

    An installed system in a USB drive is stable and flexible, can be kept up to date and tweaked without any limits. In this way it is better than a persistent live system. It is portable between computers, if you can avoid proprietary drivers, but a persistent live system is more portable.