Getting a development version of ubuntu installed is the first step to being able to provide test results for ubuntu.
Setting up the installation
If you are new to testing, try using testdrive to get a development install up and running. It will setup a virtual machine with the latest development image of your choice which you can then install. Once installed you can use the virtualbox virtual machine as your test installation.
Obtaining an image
Daily images of ubuntu development are available on the cdimage server. You want to grab an image from the current builds. Download the image of your choice.
Once you have an image you can install it into a virtual machine, such as virtualbox, or onto physical hardware. Feel free to use a cd, dvd, or usb drive as a medium to install on physical hardware.
Physical hardware installation - working safely
Suggestions for safe testing using the testing version as your main device. During the release cycle, it is almost inevitable that the entire system will be broken at some point, and will not boot. But - testing by using the version day-to-day is obviously the most thorough way to test. A recomended safe method is as follows:
Incorporate two or preferably three hard drives into a pc. Install the testing version onto one and the stable version onto the other. If you have a third drive, then use this for all of your data.
In this way, you can allow the installer to utilise an entire hard drive and can dual boot between the two installations. When the testing version breaks - and it will - your data can be copied from the other drive into the drive with the stable version. If you use a third drive, the data will be there accessible from both versions.
The writer of this section also uses cloud backup on all current live data, and has been testing in this manner for over two years. It is fascinating to observe the entire development cycle and well worth the trouble. Add to this the fact that you will find many more bugs than you would using testdrive as you will be taking updates and carrying out many other operations that you would not use under testdrive.
After installation, you can keep your install updated the same as a typical ubuntu installation. Use the update manager to update as new packages arrive. Alternatively utilize the command line via sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade.
Be very careful that your upgrade is not holding back or removing essential packages. If you encounter an upgrade that looks suspect, it's best to wait and try again at a later time. The archive state in general should be kept clean, but a partial upgrade is possible.