Canonical has been teasing and showing off their attempt at a mobile operating system for a couple of months now. As they shift into the developer phase of the cycle, installable previews of the operating system have been made available.If you’re familiar with installing a custom ROM on an Android phone or tablet, you’ll find Ubuntu’s instructions on how to get their latest OS on your device easy to follow. You’ll need Linux on your computer in order to complete the installation, but you can perform the installation comfortably within a virtual machine. If you’ve got a custom recovery, you can install the Ubuntu zip quickly.Canonical pointed out that much of the necessary Android layer responsible for this work is a result of using code from the CyanogenMod project, so the installation should be familiar with CM fans.Despite all of Canonical’s talk regarding how Ubuntu would scale for tablets, what’s on the Nexus 7 is pretty obviously the phone UI that we have seen for weeks. There’s no real difference in how anything is laid out. It’s possible that you can change this at some point in the future, given what Canonical has said about the way they plan to make the UI scale for the environment you are in. For the purposes of the preview, however, it’s clear that the UI will behave like the phone and not like the tablet. For the time being, this is what developers will target their apps for and what most 7-inch tablets will look like.Ubuntu is currently very, very beta. The ROM is filled with random bits of information that makes it easy to see where content would go without having to fill it with your own stuff. You’ll see things telling you how many tweets you have, even if you don’t have an account attached. Most of this can be dismissed, but in some cases this isn’t possible. There are placeholders to rent or buy movies that aren’t available yet, for example. It gets the job done, as long as the job is making sure developers see how Canonical is doing things and feels the experience is good enough to make an app for.The animations and notifications, the ability to swipe in from all sides, and the layout is completely functional. Many of the non Ubuntu apps aren’t functional, including the games that are included to run natively. The web apps are all just links to the browser, not really formatted to work in a mobile environment. The OS only rotates in very specific situation, leaving most of the experience in portrait. The keyboard for the operating system is nearly all white, save for the black letters on the keys. The keyboard doesn’t stretch the full width of the screen, making it difficult to type. Fortunately, the keys in on both the keyboard and the dialer are fairly responsive.Canonical pledged previously to release daily updates to Ubuntu as development continued. What now feels more like a slideshow of potential features may soon grow into an actual, usable OS. Now that developers are using the platform and developing their own apps to suit the interface, it is likely that they will offer feedback necessary to make this OS usable.