Ubuntu 22.04 looks to be an okay iteration. I’m a little concerned with Ubuntu’s desktop team because it feels like they are starting to spin their wheels and hold back quite a few GNOME packages. It might make for a bad time in a few years. You get the impression they don’t like working along with upstream. I haven’t spent much time testing this spin.
Xubuntu looks solid as usual. Feels zippy. Not much big changes coming from the XFCE team recently but their foundations are sturdy and it is a good experience pretty much every time.
Kubuntu is still a great KDE distribution and it looks very polished and hopefully the backports PPA will be able to serve it well over the next few years. This is a reasonable iteration to the previous LTS.
Edit: Ubuntu Studio is a gem and I always forget it exists. I actually produced the content for my weekly D&D game on the beta this past week. I feel like most of the things that make Ubuntu Studio special are more for Audio/Video work and not really noticeable for strictly graphics and writing work. I can say that there were no crashes and it felt comfortable to use. I like it’s Swiss army feature set out of the box.
Ubuntu MATE flies under everyone’s radar with a beautiful and snappy feeling release. This might be the best Ubuntu MATE release ever. It looks fantastic and modern(?!) is very comfortable to use. Martin Wimpress and team is about to drop a huge banger of a distribution and it is going to get no press because it’s not the sexy new hotness. If you’re not going to use Ubuntu and you were going to check out one of the betas this is the one to check out.
Ubuntu Kylin is the official Chinese version of the Ubuntu computer operating system. It is intended for desktop and laptop computers, and has been described as a “loose continuation of the Chinese Kylin OS”.
Ubuntu Budgie looks real nice. Menus seem responsive and apps feel well integrated. I don’t really care much for GNOME 3 hacks like Cinnamon and Budgie, tbh, but it’s undeniably slick. I didn’t spend more than a couple hours poking around.
Lubuntu. It looks and runs pretty much the same as all versions of Lubuntu since 11.10. Okay fine since 18.10. Apps look like garbage and the feature set seems to be falling behind the other lightweight flavors. Use Xubuntu instead.
openSUSE Leap 15.4 is a solid release for people who want to use openSUSE but are too scared to use openSUSE Tumbleweed. Version numbers go up a little and stay there for half a year. If I was installing a non-rolling SUSE-based system for my dad I’d probably put him on Fedora. It sounds like I hate this release but I just really really like openSUSE Tumbleweed. I only beta tested this for two days but like I know it would annoy me as soon as the Plasma desktop and apps became well out of date. Knowing that I could have the same thing but newer with Tumbleweed is just a pain point.
So yeah. I think those are the other major releases coming soon.
tl;dr: The Ubuntu 22.04 family seems like a boring iteration from the previous LTSes (which is great for an LTS) except Ubuntu MATE which seems like a very exceptional release and vanilla Ubuntu which feels like it’s getting a little crusty. openSUSE Leap 15.4 is a slightly less boring refresh for the stable Leap.