If you're part of the ever-growing developer and hacker culture that exists in the Android universe, you may well have heard of the most popular software build made by a 3rd party group: CyanogenMod. This group of developers creates a ROM that you run on your smartphone or tablet, it completely replacing what you'd had before with their own vision for a superior bit of mobile computing. Today the group has announced that the first "Stable" release for their newest version, CyanogenMod 9, is available for the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
You'll be working with a modified version of Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich here, which, if you've already got Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, you might want to skip. The reason you would want to pick this build of Android is that the developers behind the magic have added a relatively large amount of fun tweaks and optimizations, here making the Galaxy Nexus faster and - depending on your taste for such things - more beautiful.
Inside CyanogenMod 9 you'll get all of the great add-ons that came with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the first place like a modified notifications pull-down and easy access to your recently used apps. You'll also get Cyanogen-added features such as a DSP equalizer and their own music player app "Apollo." This release, it should be noted, is made for the "maguro" version, GSM that is, of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. If you don't know what that means, you probably shouldn't be working with CyanogenMod.
If you're looking for an optimized Jelly Bean experience, you can also get into the development process with the team by downloading nightly test builds. There will certainly be bugs and you'll want to report all messy bits back to the team for faster pushes to the final product. You can grab CyanogenMod 10 (early builds) as well as CyanogenMod 9 (stable build) right now if you wish - and let us know how it goes!