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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Linux Software Included in Kubuntu 13.10
Here’s a sample of the linux software included in this release.
Okular Document Viewer
KDE IM Contacts
KDE IM Log Viewer
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.