Kubuntu 13.10

The release of Ubuntu 13.10 has brought with it updates to the various Ubuntu spins. Kubuntu 13.10 is certainly one of the most important so it’s time to take a look at it. I haven’t done a full review of Kubuntu in quite a long while, so I was very curious to see how it had changed and what it had to offer.

I’m happy to say that Kubuntu 13.10 didn’t disappoint, I found myself liking it much more than Ubuntu 13.10.

What’s New in Kubuntu 13.10
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

KDE 4.11 Plasma and applications
Muon Discover software center
User Manager menu
Wireless setup in installer
KDE Telepathy chat application improvements
Improved network manager applet
New About System page in System Settings

The KDE 4.11 Plasma desktop and applications have been updated in this release. You can get a full list of changes on the announcement page.

The big highlight in this release is the Muon Discover software center. I’ll have more to say about that in the software section of the review, but the short version is that I like it. I like it a lot, and I’m very glad to see it in Kubuntu 13.10.

This release provides a User Manager menu with a simpler interface.

Kubuntu 13.10 User Manager
Kubuntu 13.10 User Manager

Kubuntu 13.10 now also offers wireless setup during the install. This should make it easier for Wi-fi users to add the third party software and updates from the install menu, instead of having to wait to do it later.

KDE Telepathy, Kubuntu’s chat application, has been bumped up to 0.6.2 and includes a number of improvements.

The Network Manager applet offers a better user interface for connecting to networks.

The About System page provides you with a summary of your Kubuntu 13.10 system. You can find it in System Settings.

Kubuntu 13.10 About
Kubuntu 13.10 About

System Requirements for Kubuntu 13.10
You can get a full list of system requirements on the Ubuntu system requirements page.

Kubuntu 13.10 Download
You can download Kubuntu 13.10 from this page. The file I downloaded weighed in at 1.02 GB. Kubuntu 13.10 is available in 32-bit or 64-bit versions.

If you’re a distrohopper then you might want to try it in a virtual machine via VirtualBox before running it on real hardware.

Kubuntu 13.10 Installation
Installing Kubuntu is very easy and fast, no manual disk partitioning is required.

During the install you have the option to download updates while the install completes, and you can install third party software as well. I opted for both since I hate doing that stuff after loading my desktop. It’s just easier and faster to get it out of the way during the install.

You can watch some slides while your install completes.

Kubuntu 13.10 Try or Install
Kubuntu 13.10 Try or Install
Kubuntu 13.10 Prepare Install
Kubuntu 13.10 Prepare Install
Kubuntu 13.10 Install Type
Kubuntu 13.10 Install Type
Kubuntu 13.10 Install Slideshow
Kubuntu 13.10 Install Slideshow

The Kubuntu 13.10 Desktop
One of the things I hate with some distros is a desktop full of icon clutter. I generally prefer to keep my desktops clean and only put icons there that I must absolutely have available. Kubuntu 13.10 didn’t disappoint me in that regard. There weren’t any icons showing when my desktop loaded.

If you’re completely new to Kubuntu, don’t worry. It’s very easy to find your way around. Click the K (Kickoff Application Launcher) button on the panel to access your applications, system settings, shutdown button, search box and recently used applications.

If you dislike the sliding menus, just right-click the K button on the panel and choose “Switch to Classic Menu Style” to get rid of them. I used to detest the sliding menus in KDE, but I’ve warmed up to them somewhat and now I generally don’t bother going back to the classic style.

The System Settings menu is easy to find and contains everything you need to manage your Kubuntu 13.10 computer.

Kubuntu 13.10 Desktop
Kubuntu 13.10 Desktop
Kubuntu 13.10 Computer Menu
Kubuntu 13.10 Computer Menu
Kubuntu 13.10 System Settings
Kubuntu 13.10 System Settings

Linux Software Included in Kubuntu 13.10
Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release.


Okular Document Viewer
LibreOffice Draw

KDE IM Contacts
Quassel IRC
KDE IM Log Viewer
Mozilla Firefox

K3B Disc Burner
Dragon Player for Video


Linux Software Management Tools in Kubuntu 13.10
The biggest feature in this release of Kubuntu is the Muon Discover software center. It pretty much puts Kubuntu on par with Linux Mint and Ubuntu in terms of attractive software management interfaces.

Main Tabs
There are three tabs at the top: Discover, Installed and Sources.

Discover is the default view and it lets you browse software by category. Underneath the categories are the Popularity Contest and Best Ratings menus. They let you see popular and best rated applications in the software center.

When you go into a category of applications, you’ll see Popularity Contest and Best Ratings for that category of apps. This is a neat way of surfacing potentially useful applications that users might not be aware of when they first start browsing.

The Installed tab lets you see the applications you have, and it also lets you know if there are updates. Just click the Updates icon in the upper right corner to install your updates.

The Sources tab lets you see which sources you are currently using, and you can add or configure sources.

Application Tabs
When you click on an application you’ll see three tabs: Overview, Add-ons and Reviews.

On the overview page you can see a screenshot of the application and description, along with the size of the download and how much disk space it will take up. You also see a star rating and the number of reviews by other users.

The Add-Ons tab lets you easily find add-ons for that application.

The Reviews tab shows the user reviews for the application. You can mark each review as useful or not. Keep scrolling and more user reviews will load.

To add or remove applications just click on the Install button, then type in your password and click the OK button. Your app will download and install itself. To remove a software application just click the Remove button.

Kubuntu 13.10 Muon Discover Software Center
Kubuntu 13.10 Muon Discover Software Center
Kubuntu 13.10 Multimedia Category
Kubuntu 13.10 Multimedia Category
Kubuntu 13.10 Install VLC
Kubuntu 13.10 Install VLC
Kubuntu 13.10 Muon Discover User Reviews
Kubuntu 13.10 Muon Discover User Reviews
Kubuntu 13.10 Installed Software
Kubuntu 13.10 Installed Software
Kubuntu 13.10 Software Sources
Kubuntu 13.10 Software Sources

Problems & Headaches Found in Kubuntu 13.10
I was very pleased with the performance of Kubuntu 13.10, it was quite speedy for me. I didn’t see any noticeable instability.

However, there are a couple of known problems listed on the news announcement:

  • Network management crash on upgrade (Bug:1231360)
  • USB installation media fails to boot if created with persistence enabled (Bug:1239833)

If you’ve seen any bugs or had any problems, please share them in the comments below for the benefit of other readers. Thanks!

One minor headache I noticed was that the Muon Discover software center doesn’t appear in the Favorites menu on the panel by default. It really should be there given how important it is for new people who might not know where to look to find it.

I’d also consider relabeling it to say simply “Software Center” as that is a lot more intuitive than “Muon Discover” which is really a geek kind of name (the words “software center” appear under the name Muon Discover but they should just replace it instead). How many people new to Kubuntu will know to look for “Muon Discover” versus something like “Software Center” or “Software Manager?” Probably not very many I’d guess.

Where To Get Help for Kubuntu 13.10
If you’re having problems, please post your questions in the comments below or register for the DLR forum. Other readers might be able to assist you.

You might also want to check out the Kubuntu support page which offers community help, commercial support, documentation and an answers system. You can also check out the Kubuntu community page for web forums, and the Kubuntu mailing list.

If you’re new to Linux, you might want to check out some of the books available about it at Amazon. You can learn quite a bit that you will probably find useful later on. You can also save lots of money with deals on laptops and tablets, desktops and monitors, components, and computer accessories.

Final Thoughts About Kubuntu 13.10
Although I generally dislike comparing them directly, I have to admit that I found Kubuntu 13.10 to be a much more interesting release than Ubuntu 13.10. Perhaps I still have some lingering dislike for Unity, but Kubuntu 13.10 seemed faster and far more pleasant to use.

If you’re currently using Kubuntu 13.04 then I think it makes sense to upgrade to Kubuntu 13.10. The new software center is quite good, pretty much on par with the ones in Linux Mint and Ubuntu. That alone would make an upgrade worthwhile.

Kubuntu 13.10 is suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users.

What’s your take on Kubuntu 13.10? Tell me in the comments below.

34 thoughts on “Kubuntu 13.10

  1. I’ve always used a PC which equates to Microsoft (I’ve never even touched a MAC so no experience there). I’m not an IT person and frankly I don’t want to be (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) which means I want to turn on my computer and do stuff, as opposed to, spending my days tearing out my hair when the inevitable blue-screen pops-up.

    Over the years, I’ve heard of Linux but I know nothing; and in reading posts such as on this forum it is clear ‘you people’ speak a different language that I do not understand and it makes my head hurt.

    So, here’s the question: what Linux OS iteration would you suggest to a Windows-indentured soul who wishes to break free but in the most gentle and (mostly) hassle-free way (if such a thing is possible)?

    BTW – I can understand, evaluate, and implement most instructions.

    Thanks to all!

    1. I’d say Kubuntu will be the most alike to your windows GUI and experience. I don’t mean this offensivly or targeting to you, but it’s “idiot friendly” that even my computer inept friends have zero issues with using Kubuntu on my laptop.

      Ubuntu is another good choice, same makers as Kubuntu (as you can imagine by the name), though the Gnome interface is a minor learning curve in comparison. With the KDE desktop of Kubuntu (hence “k”ubuntu) you’ll feel quite at home. Many things are new and different, but a lot of the navigation will be familiar and an improvement! Such as the disasterous Start Menu of Windows Vista/7 that minorly forces you to use search because it’s a mess to look through otherwise, or that’s my impression, the KDE start menu looks similar but is drasticly improved with less clutter and mess. A nice feature will be not having to worry about your drivers for everything. The only drivers you’ll likely need to install is video drivers which can simply be selected from Start > Programs > System > Additional Drivers.

      If you have more questions or would like to ask in semi-realtime, feel free to contact me: kacey(at)live(dot)no


  3. Unfortunately, the Kubuntu 13.10 desktop froze as I was composing a gmail reply in my Firefox browser (latest version). That is after I installed an alternate video driver as I described in an earlier post, because the stock driver was not playing nice with my NVidia C73 GeForce 7100/nForce 630i chipset. I have now uninstalled Kubuntu and am going distro hopping again. This is quite disappointing because back in the pre-Unity days I was quite evangelical about Ubuntu when my Windows friends would ask about Linux and I thought that I’d found a successor in Kubuntu. Any suggestions as to where to go from here?

    1. You’re not going to find different drivers on a different distro. It’s more related to which kernel and driver versions you are using, as well as your video configuration.

      If what you’re looking for is out-of-box functionality, however, I would suggest Mint Linux. They’re not the best in every respect, but few Linux distros are as complete after the initial install as Mint is. You may find that it has more stable software and drivers employed for your machine.

      But please bear in mind that Mint Linux IS designed to be an End-User, and even Lay-user, experience. Kubuntu, like it’s siblings, is slightly lower level, making less presumptions as to how you would like to configure and deploy your machine.

  4. Its fundamentally broken. A lot of software that worked in 13.04 is broken by 13.10. Also to make things worse the Muon updater is completely broken and hangs. I’d advice against getting this as I’m planning on downgrading.

  5. So far so good with kubuntu 13.10.
    A strange bug I found is that the applet functions in the panelbar do not function anymore. For instance after a request for rebooting after some update clicking on the applet does no have anay effect. I also installed the HMUctrl plasmoid applet for quick logoff or shutdown. Also this does not work at all.
    Furthermore I miss the wellknown sound after KDE startup.

  6. Thought I’d give it try. Unfortunately, the desktop frequently freezes as the login completes …Sigh. Note that I’m running the 64 bit version on an HP a6500f with two monitors installed using the motherboard graphics connectors. Getting ready to install over it, probably with standard Ubuntu. I’d go with Mint, but I really do like getting rolling updates.

      1. Garret, Thanks! I tried a couple of the other NVidia drivers using Applications>Systems>Additonal Drivers as the web site suggested, and one of them solved the problem. FYI, I’m using an NVidia C73 GeForce 7100/nForce 630i that’s integrated into the motherboard with monitors connected on both VGA and DVI. I had no problem with 13.04, but apparently needed the driver update for 13.10.

  7. Todays update for muon is not going well. Muon downloaded and updated itself ok, but now it’s stuck with message “Loading Software List”. Any ideas?

  8. I updated from Kubuntu 13.04 to 13.10. Everything I use works, but for some reason the 3Tb HD I have mount point changed. It is formatted to EXT4. In 13.04 the drive was mounted as media/uuid, but 13.10 changed that to media/userid/uuid. The partition manager won’t let me change that back. The only real problem this generated was my torrents from KTorrent needed to be manually modified to point to the new mount. Pretty dull work for 179 torrents.

  9. I am having several problems after upgrading to 13.10 from 13.04
    – wireless networking not working
    – no network manager applet / icon, without that kinda a pain to get VPN up.
    – slow UI (probably something to do with NVIDIA drivers)
    – Muon Software Center crashes as soon as you click in it.
    – numerous other crashes.

    In short quite unstable.

    1. I’m not having any problems after upgrading, but then I’m not using wireless. Muon Software Center is working fine for me. Please excuse me if I am suggesting the obvious:

      1) Have you tried alternate NVidia drivers, as Garret suggested and I described above? My UI sped up significantly once I did this and is now quite satisfactory.

      2) Have you checked to make sure all dependencies have been updated?

      Best of luck!

  10. One thing I am really disappointed with Kubuntu is the default appearance. It’s one of the “low hanging fruit” areas that could massively improve a new users first impression. Yes of course I know I can modify the crap out of KDE, and I do, but that does not help first time KDE/linux users who will take months, even years, to discover all of the available flexibility.

    The first thing I do is put the bottom panel to the left hand side (unity-like) and flip the clock and k-menu widgets, remove activities, add the pager widget just above the systray with 6 virtual desktops and add Quicklaunch at the top just under the repositioned clock. I then change the desktop layout to Folder so I have my old school pre-KDE4 desktop icons back and proceed with icon and color changes and lots of other minor tweaks.

    Now, the “next big thing” for KDE should be that I, and anyone, should be able to make a snapshot of all my customized theme settings that can somehow (via Ubuntu One or ownCloud perhaps?) be automatically re-installed again next time I set up another installation.

  11. For anyone that needs 3G dial up networking via bluetooth you will have to go back to 12.04.3 LTS. Even if you install 13.10 and then boot on a pre-3.5 kernel there does not seem to be any way to get a 3G dialup option in the new network manager interface when using bluetooth. Probably because it’s basically been broken in the kernel for the last year so the NM guys have not had any feedback from bluetooth DUN users. Might be fixed in the 3.12 kernel so hopefully a 13.10.1 update, or at least 14.04, will work again. In the mean time the last LTS does work.

  12. I tried upgrading from Ubuntu 13.04 to 13.10. Version 13.04 was highly stable but 13.10 is a constant headache. First I started getting error messages every time I started up, after that the KDE Plasma desktop started partially crashing and then only giving me a black screen. I deleted the settings files to make the KDE Plasma desktop create new files and that fixed the desktop for a few hours. After that the desktop started freezing and then did not boot at all. I booted into recovery mode but the hard drive is so far gone from developing errors that I could not do anything.

    I am reinstalling Kubuntu 13.04 as I type this and will not be upgrading again until the newest version is more stable.

    1. I was having the same problems until today. I installed a number of updates using Muon and another NVidia driver using Applications>Systems>Additional Drivers. So far, so good…

  13. After Gnome screwed up the desktop I switched back to a KDE centric distro. I’ve used both Linux Mint KDE and Kubuntu, They’re both good but I think I like Mint’s graphics better. Once thing I’ve done is to move the task bar to the top of the screen and and then install Cario-dock, which gives me a Macish looking desktop. I like the dock launcher for the apps that I use most.

  14. Recent Kubuntu releases have worked very well on my older System 76 Pangolin with 3 meg RAM and an invidia graphics system. So I am not surprised that 13.10 goes on easily and seems to work well. At the moment there is little to choose between it and my Debian Wheezy/KDE which is as stable as an OS should be. Over time as Wheezy ages the case for Kubuntu might be more compelling.

    Kubuntu does have one clear advantage for newer users and that is that it installs much more easily. Debian’s net installer works very well but it is not the friendliest looking tool for persons who have not seen it previously. Jim is right, Kubuntu will result in a very nice system with less new-user angst.

    If a person enjoys using KDE this certainly is a worthy choice.

    1. “Kubuntu does have one clear advantage for newer users and that is that it…”

      is absolutely, positively, under no circumstances subject to whatever it is which Mark Shbuttleworth does to anhything he has congtrol over.

      We have a saying in my neck of the woods which applies, in spades, to Mark Shuttleworth:

      “…he could f*ck up an anvil with a corn-cob…”

      Not sure what he used on all his other disasters…Oh, never mind; it’s his brain.

      1. That’s a bit strong in my viewpoint; clearly you do not like Canonical or Shuttleworth; you are certainly entitled to have an opinion.

        Similarly, I am entitled to have one as well. Personally, I do not care that much for the Ubuntu spin of the software. I have never been a big GNOME fan, and I am even less of a Unity fan. I am also not a big fan, at least for my own needs, of a distribution that simplifies everything. I don’t need that. However, I AM very happy that a distributor has come along with the guts to try things that are new and different, who is not afraid to fail or to have to try many different things. Sometimes when you experiment you do not get everything right. Google doesn’t, Apple doesn’t, Microsoft and Canonical certainly don’t either. But I don’t try to bury any of them just because they aren’t my style. To me, I like to see choice and variation in the market, so in spite of the fact that Canonical doesn’t make products that suit my needs, I am still glad to see them out there trying different things. (By the way, big failures sometimes help to steer us in different directions; maybe that next direction will be the right one!)

  15. The fact that Canonical and Shuttleworth have absolutely nothing to do with the development and support of Kubuntu HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE HIGH QUALITY WHICH KUBUNTU ENJOYS NOW, NOW DOES IT?

    For all you ubuntuzombies, Mark Shuttleworth fired the one man responsible for Kubuntu development and support two years ago. You mean he didn’t tell you? You mean he and dumbo bacon have been avoiding telling yoU this for two tears? Naaahhhh! They wouldn’t do that! WOULD THEY? What else have they been, er, simply forgetting to say?

    Just goes to show how Canonical and Shuttleworth can screw anything up, and what wonderful things can happen when they get the hell out of the way.

    Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com

    Kubuntu: http://www.kubuntu.org

    Kinda makes you wonder what Ubuntu COULD be if Shuttleworth were gone, doesn’t it?

  16. Haven’t tested Kubuntu 13.10, but KDE has refined a lot over the years, and yes Kubuntu feels more to the old spirit of Ubuntu than the parent distro.

    To Garrett, while most distributions come in a CD and due to space default to a single desktop, there are still some that come in DVD and offers a choice on installation. Check the OpenSUSE, Mageia, and Fedora full DVD’s.

  17. I have been a long time Windows user. In fact, my day job is supporting businesses with servers running Windows and Microsoft Exchange, SQL, etc. I’ve tried different Linux distros in the past, but they never cut the mustard. In fact, even Debian which is highly regarded as Stable, has issues. Installing Debian 7.2, I ran into bugs in the HDD partition manager, and with HDD’s not enumerating properly when I add more after the install. Reminds me of Windows 95. Not sure why they can’t just get it to work.

    I’ve recently tried several other Linux distros, OpenSuSE, etc, but the default Gnome desktop is awful and reminds me of Windows 8 full-screen start menu.

    I’ve been running Ubuntu on my laptop for several months, and it’s been running great. So last night, installed Kubuntu 13.10 on my workstation. Kubuntu seems like it is really shaping up now to be a good OS that is highly refined. KDE desktop is really nice and lots of customization. It may be “Ubuntu” based, but I don’t care. I need an OS that works and is easy to use. I don’t have time to edit config files, and look for answers for bugs. This is what has been holding a lot of distros back from using them and being adopted. Users want stuff that works. Kubuntu has seemed to deliver with it’s 13.10 release.

  18. “I’m happy to say that Kubuntu 13.10 didn’t disappoint, I found myself liking it much more than Ubuntu 13.10.”

    I have been saying the same thing for quite some time now. I do not even bother with Ubuntu any more except to occasionally check it out in order to be able to “weigh in” on discussions in an informed manner.
    Ubuntu isn’t a bad distribution; I just do not care for the desktop approach.

    At this point, I prefer either Xubuntu or Lubuntu (both much lighter than either Ubuntu or Kubuntu. When I actually use the full desktop features, then I opt for Kubuntu.
    I do keep up with KDE changes by using the KDE PPA package archive, and I have been using this superimposed over a stable KDE 12.04 LTS, which is now at 12.04.3 (third update) plus the regular KDE updates from the PPA, which track KDE changes well.

    This works well for me.

    Do note that the Ubuntu repositories are common to all of these distributions, so it’s not as if Canonical isn’t contributing value; their installer and their packages, along with the QA efforts associated with them, have been a significant contributor to the overall Debian-based landscape over the past ten years.

  19. I miss the days when I booted up a Linux install disc and it just asked me if I wanted “Gnome” or “KDE”, or occasionally a 3rd option. Kubuntu is an amazing release. Stable, beautiful, progressive, and intelligent. I have had very minimal instability or confusion with the distro and I’m very happy with it.

    But it still feels like a bastard. The greater Ubuntu community hardly regards it (though with the eminent switch to QT, the sands are shifting a bit) and Ubuntu feels as though it’s spawning a growing anti-choice sentiment in the name of progress. KDE, Gnome, XFCE, Awesome, LXDE… if you use these alternatives you’re keeping developers from making their apps specifically for the Unity desktop.

    Meanwhile, in Kubuntu, my GTK, QT, and software from other toolkits all look beautiful. KDE’s software suite only compliments additional software. And it invites me to customize and expand the desktop with open arms. As such, I can’t help but feel that Kubuntu is much more in touch with the spirit of Ubuntu right now, than it’s parent distro.

  20. When Unity and Gnome Shell came, I moved to windows 7 Because I hated kde.

    But 1 Year later I take a deep breath and forced myself to use Kubuntu.
    Wow Wow Wow what an orgasmic experience I love Kde and kubuntu.
    Linux desktop as It should be.
    You didn’t talk about Homerun …. a big long middle finger for Unity, Gnome Shell and even windows Metro.

    1. Those who look back to Windows after moving to GNU Linux should be turned into a pillar of salt –they’re not worthy 😛

        1. Gaming is different to “hating kde”. Using Windows to run the games is not the same as switching back to Windows as your main OS, at least in my view.

        2. Not Gamers
          I have a revelation for you : Some people use the PC to work.
          You know : Write/Read documents, Emails, Communicate ….

          Yep I wentback to winlose 7 because Unity is a shit on stick.

          1. They use Mac too. I use Win7 right now primarily for games, but I do a lot of day-to-day work on it. It’s not a bad OS… it’s just a real under performer when it comes to productivity. At least Unity has multiple desktops… but I’ll avoid all of the aforementioned OS/Environments if KDE is available.

Leave a Reply