Kubuntu 9.04


No writer is completely without bias. I do the best I can to be even-handed and objective when reviewing a distribution. I have to admit though that I’ve been far too biased toward covering Gnome-based distributions and haven’t nearly covered as many KDE-based counterparts. I’ll be trying in the future to have a more balanced selection of reviews that cover both desktops plus some other environments.

So, with that said, I thought it would be fun to take a look at Kubuntu 9.04. I reviewed its Gnome counterpart on ET a while back and it’s fitting that Kubuntu be one of the first distributions reviewed here on DLR.

What’s New in This Release
Quite a few new goodies in this release and here’s a sampling of what you’ll find:

KDE 4.2.2
New Package Kit app for software management
Printer config in System Settings
Quassel (IRC client)
Amarok 2.0.2
KDE 4 plasma widget network manager
Digikam 0.10.0
Ktorrent 3.2
Qt 4.5
GTK app integration

Installation
Since Kubuntu 9.04 is a Live CD you can run it without installing it to get a taste of it. I installed it as I like to see how long it takes to install and if any snafus come up during the install process.

I ran into one problem while installing but it had nothing to do with Kubuntu. I had not been keeping track of the space on my disk and VMWare stopped the install because I didn’t have enough space. So I had to restart the install after freeing up some hard disk space. Whoops! I lose track sometimes because I usually have a few distros hanging around plus all of my usual stuff. I wish I had a 100 terabyte hard disk…now that would come in handy doing these reviews for sure!

After restarting the install, I had no problems getting Kubuntu 9.04 running and I was able to boot into my KDE 4.2 desktop.

Picture 3

Desktop & Apps
It’s definitely a change of pace for me booting into a KDE desktop rather than Gnome. The first thing I saw was the Desktop folder open. I closed it as I dislike having it open.  The sound also worked fine as my desktop booted up.

The KDE panel is attractive to look at and clicking on the K button is the functional equivalent of the Start menu in Windows. The folder with a star allows you easy access to the following parts of your computer:

Desktop
Documents
Music
Pictures
Public
Templates
Videos

You’ll also notice on the panel that you can configure multiple desktops and access the Plasma Dashboard that will let you configure widgets for your desktop. Widget options include but are not limited to the following:

Notes
Weather
Dictionary
Life (Game)
Comic Strip
Binary Click
System Tray
Eyes (XEyes clone)
Network Manager
Luna (display moon phases)
Timer
Twitter
Fuzzy Clock

There are quite a few widgets to choose from, more than enough to clutter up your desktop and drive you mad as you try to organize them. As you can tell I am not really a widget person. My desktops usually end up cluttered enough with this or that so adding a lot of widgets could potentially make it worse. Your mileage may vary, however.

Note also that there is a software updates icon on the panel too. Click that and you can begin updating your newly installed Kubuntu system. I had no problem downloading and installing all of my updates. My system was connected to the internet right after booting into my KDE desktop, no additional network configuration was necessary on my end.

Kubuntu 9.04 includes some of the following in its base install:

OpenOffice.org
Konqueror
Gwenview (image viewer)
KSnapshot (screenies)
Okular (doc viewer)
Kontact (PIM)
Kopete (IM)
Amarok
KTorrent
Akregator (feed reader)
Krfb (desktop sharing)
K3b (CD & DVD burning)
Dragon Player (video player)
KAddressBook
KOrganizer
KMail

If you want to add more software you can click the K button then System Settings and then Add/Remove Software under the Computer Administration menu section.

Picture 7

Problems & Headaches
One thing I noticed about Kubuntu 9.04 is that the Live CD boot up time seemed slow compared to Fedora 11 or even Linux Mint. I’m not sure if this is a KDE thing or what but…chunky…is how I would describe it. Not that that is that big of a deal but a speedier loading time would surely be nice.

I was annoyed to notice that Firefox and GIMP were not installed by default. Okay, I get that this is a KDE distro and that Konqueror is the main browser. But come on, no Firefox? I like Konqi but I’m not going to use it as my main browser all the time. And GIMP is simply a must-have app on any Linux system. There’s no reason not to include it by default. Oddly enough I did a search and there seemed to be some GIMP help files included but not the application itself. Weird.

I was also annoyed by the way the menus would slide back and forth as I navigated the Applications menu. This is clearly a KDE thing but I don’t like it all. I’d prefer a cascading menu to the sliding back and forth thing. Perhaps this is something I will get used to over time as I use KDE more and more. But right now…grrrrrrr…I don’t care for it.

I also thought the Add/Remove Software tool sucked. You can search and you can apply filters but you can’t seem to easily or comfortably browse categories of software. That really isn’t acceptable as some users, particularly newer ones might prefer to browse for new apps. I’d like to see this changed in future versions of this tool.

I found it strange that when I clicked on the icon in the panel for the Plasma Dashbord, my panel disappeared. Why must the panel go away when the Plasma Dashboard pops up at the top of the screen? The panel is at the bottom so shouldn’t it just stay? This is peculiar behavior for a desktop environment, I didn’t care for it.

Picture 6

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
You are either a KDE/Kubuntu person or you’re not. I didn’t particularly enjoy using it and I would not use it as my main Linux distro. Given that we have alternatives like Linux Mint that are so much more of a pleasure to use and are at least equally pleasing to the eye, Kubuntu falls short.

Who should use it? Probably experienced Linux users that enjoy KDE and prefer it to Gnome. I would not recommend that newbies to Linux bother with it except as way to tinker and get some KDE experience on their desktop. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad per se but there are other alternatives out there that might be better for newer folks.

Summary Table:

Product: Kubuntu 9.04
Web Site: http://www.kubuntu.org
Price: Free
Pros: Easy install, colorful desktop. Good selection of desktop widgets.
Cons: Crappy add/remove software tool. Annoying sliding menus.
Summary: Kubuntu offers a KDE based alternative to regular Ubuntu.
Rating: 2.5/5




Comments

  1. BrianH says

    Hi,Jim. You ought to try Linux Mint 7 KDE, its being beta testing you can still download it and try it. Its the best KDE 4 I have ever used.

  2. says

    Hi Manny,

    Welcome to the DLR blog. :smile:

    I'll take a look at KDE 4.3 once it's out. I'm willing to give KDE another chance so we'll see how it goes.

    Yeah, the KDE Linux Mint is on my list too. I may do an RC review of it but I was trying to make myself wait for the final release. That's easier said than done though as it is going to be a fun review.

  3. manny says

    i agree with "kubuntu" review, but not with your opinion about KDE4

    i've been a gnome person forever, but kde is the future and i love it since 4.2 (am using 4.3 rc now which is even better)

    am sure linuxmint 7 kde rc will have most of the things you're looking for
    http://www.linuxmint.com/blog/?p=935

    i hope to see a review of it on the final version

  4. Alfredo Farfalle says

    I used gnome while KDE was basically being rewritten from scratch, but now that KDE is very stable, and gnome is being taken over by Mono zealots (a technology patented by MS ) I am back to KDE and extremely happy to be back.

    Gnome is built on the gtk* platform, and has seemingly infinite dependencies. As a programmer, it's a lot to deal with, and the various versions of gtk are a really tough port to other platforms.

    On MacOS X, I use the "stable" binaries from the fink package manager (an apy/dpkg clone) and since KDE apps are built on Qt, which is a really portable framework, almost all of my favorite KDE apps run on the mac, including konqueror.

    On Ubuntu, my standard practice is to load the gnome "default" desktop (since so many apps require GTK libraries ) and then install kde-desktop. This (IIRC) is pretty much the same as installing Kubuntu, and solves many GTK dependencies in advance.

    If you don't like the gnome defaults, just set KDE to be your desktop, and if you don't like Mono from MS land, simply:

    # sudo apt-get remove –purge mono-common libmono0

    This will remove Tomboy, so beloved of the gnome developers, but you can install gnote instead.

    I have been experimenting with launchy (similar to gnome-do and Quicksilver on the mac) and Krunner to quickly launch apps, and to do a lot more. See

    http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=20

    for some great features of krunner.

    Like many others, I was accustomed to the "old style" KDE menu, and while I was starting to flood my dock and favorites with too many apps, I just moved my dock to the left side of the screen, made it "hide" itself and rely on launchy and Krunner (it's a shoot-out at this time!)

    At the bottom of the screen, I am trying SimDock 1.2, which makes the KDE desktop look like MacOS X, further freaking out visitors to my computer lab.

    I suppose that the "complexity" of the GTK family (my opinion, and YMMV) makes the Mono/C# "comfy" MS world attractive to some gnome developers, but QT, after some early license issues, is now an awesome open source platform, and getting better all the time.

    When I can download source code (ntasklist, for example) and on the mac, just ./configure; make; sudo make install, then life is good. (It's based on Qt ).

  5. Vikram says

    @ Jim Lynch:

    Jim,

    I used Kubuntu from 6.04 to 8.10 but recently moved to Mandriva. KDE in Ubuntu is an afterthought and is poorly implemented IMHO. To get a good KDE experience you should try Mandriva or another KDE centric distro.

    Btw I have installed both GNOME and KDE for newbies and they usually use KDE since it is an easier transition from the windows world. When I mean newbies I meant people who aren't very computer savy not just new users to Linux. Many of them come to me with complaints of why their Windows machine are slow or why they cant save a file (disk is full )!

    last but not the least – theres a lot more to a distro than the default menu style and included apps

    Vikram

  6. says

    Welcome to all the folks that found this review on Linux Today. Thank you all for coming by and sharing your thoughts. Your feedback is very helpful and you raise a number of good points. I will make it a point to spend more time with KDE and to look more closely at what it has to offer desktop users.

    However, I do want to point out that this review wasn't about KDE itself per se but about Kubuntu which happened to be using KDE. Still, some of your points are well taken and I will be bearing them in mind in future reviews.

    :smile:

  7. Charles T says

    "It’s definitely a change of pace for me booting into a KDE desktop rather than Gnome. The first thing I saw was the Desktop folder open. I closed it as I dislike having it open."

    …and I agree with others above. You are trying to review something you know nothing about and have obvious prejudices against, you yourself sort of admit that. Anyone with real KDE chops will tell you that the Kubuntu version of Ubuntu is treated as an ugly step child by Canonical.

    BTW that wasn't the desktop folder, such a thing no longer exists in KDE per se. That was a widget that displays files.

    If you have a baseline of Gnome and wish to compare everything against your experience with it perhaps being in the "review" biz is not for you.

    2.5/5 what is your decision tree? One of the two major desktops rates a 50%? Really? Kubuntu has its warts, I will agree with that (Adept4 needs to die in an ugly horrible way). However your lack of any KDE experience shows through on your entire "review".

    For the above posters that are new to linux and liked this … read outside of this site, there are more thorough reviews by desktop agnostics.

  8. says

    I started playing with KDE on Kubuntu, but quickly found that the wireless, bluetooth, and package management tools were unusable. At the same time I really liked the interface, and kwin seemed to have less redraw problems than compiz.

    A lot of people swore by Mandriva, and so I switched. It manages to be much more solid, mostly by using it's own network management tool and it's own package manager. Bluetooth still crashes constantly.

    I'm hoping that Mint 7 KDE will be the best of both worlds. I miss the widespread availability of packages on Ubuntu…

  9. Ricardo Izecson says

    First of all, judging KDE based on Kubuntu is bound to disappoint since it has never been a top 3 KDE distro.

    As for KDE, I think some tech people like too much to be 'for something' so automatically anything competing isnt as good because its different

    Its a desktop, not a religion.

    I do a lot of installs at Lugfests and we noticed taht when given the choice newbies will choose KDE 7 times out of 10 and PCLinuxOS2007-2009 with KDE3.5 has been our staple the past 3 years (XFCE for older hardware).

    Im not going to push E17 which is my personal choice, Im going to give people something taht they can feel comfortable with and since the whole planet has used Windows at some point, it makes sense to use KDE.

    I know Mac envy runs high and we hear so much crud about certain ways of doings things just being better that Im not surprised to hear the top bar paradigm being hailed as superior. (I hate all taskbars and docks and have them disappear) But for a Windows convert?

    It looks different.

    THe top taskbar is offputting (even though you can move the taskbar on Windows anywhere you want), having two by default even more and the constant text on the desktop, intrusive. The GTK look and feel, the fonts, many things just feel different for Windows users. Having the various options/system settings on a drop down menu instead of across the page…many things that for some of us who use 8 desktops each day (Im counting various Windows in this number) may sound trivial but for those coming into Linux for the first time can be daunting.

    I hear those people who get upset at flows and lines and the elegance of their desktop when users tell me usually "Can you make this bigger? No, much bigger!"

    I know people who've bought Dell Mini netbooks and asking me to change the Ubuntu it came with because it looks like caca (many compare it to old 1990's WIndows).

    Im not trying to get them to embrace change, I am trying to get them to do the same things on Linux as on Windows.

    Sure, its nice to be hip and l33t but people come to me when they are tired of viruses, tired of having to buy new hardware to use new OS, tired of being miserable and paying for it. And if altering or even skinning a desktop to make them confortable is waht it takes, then so be it. But KDE makes the transition smoother.

    The two KDE's we are using in our fleet of home computers are Mandriva 2009 w/KDE4.2.2 and PCLinuxOS 2009 w/KDE3.5 and my Gentoo work laptop has every Linux desktop imaginable. But then again, my customizations means the desktop looks like I want it to (I hate the windows decorations KDE uses by default and much prefer Keramik but that doesnt make it a bad desktop. Its a question of choice and personal taste).

    And KDE4.3 stands up favourably to any other desktop.

    You may not like how certain things are done and that's fine too.

    So please colour me unimpressed by this half-assed attempt at reporting on KDE. You dont like it, we get it. But dont pass it off as anything more than had a KDE fanboi reviewed Ubuntu's desktop:

    "My desktop can beat up your desktop."

    Btw, you can use the traditional KDE menu instead of the newer one by right clicking on the menu button and switching to the older style but the search feature of the new one is faster.

    As for the add/remove tool, I think you mean kpackagekit is what Kubuntu uses and those things are a dime a dozen…. ubuntu uses synaptic, adept and some other one I believe, everybody has them and none are much better than others, some are more confusing and some are much uglier.

    As for KDE being for experienced users, both my parents and inlaws are in their 70s as are 3 pair of uncle/aunts and those 10 people are all using KDE. Maybe my mom and mominlaw can give you pointers, theyve been using their first computers since Xmas with no problems. (I wouldnt recommend Kubuntu to anyone.)

    Were waiting for PCLinuxOS to come out with their KDE4 version this summer and were going to embark on a project along with some high school kids this summer to do a Lugfest at a retirement home where we had installed and support Linux on their 12 common use computers. It was such a success that we've had plenty of demand from people living there who would like the same thing on their own computers.

  10. Abe says

    @ The Rain:

    I totally agree.

    KDE 4.x is a new concept for future desktops and all what is addressed in this review is personal preferences of default apps and not a widget guy thing. There is a lot more to KDE 4.x than just some old suff

    It would have been a much better review if he at least touched a little about the new framework this new technology brings to the Linux desktop. The new framework will bring tremendous capabilities and features that wasn't possible before.

    It is so advanced and powerful that made Gnome jumping to start planing similar effort.

    Hopefully you do a better one next time when KDE 4.3.0 is out by the end of this month.

    And FYI, I have using KDE 4.2.4 for some time and I didn't have any of the issue some of the poster here mentioned. Wireless works fine on my laptop. I believe some people had problems with it when using KWallet. There was another issue with older Intel graphics, It was fixed yesterday and I see much better performance on my older desktop since it was fixed.

  11. says

    Mike,

    Welcome to DLR, very glad to have you with us. :smile:

    I think some people play WOW on Linux but I'm not sure what they are using to do it and I doubt Blizzard supports it officially though I wish they would.

    The choice of desktop environments is definitely very personal. If KDE fits the bill for you then great. You should use what works for you.

    Be sure to drop by the forum too. Lots of good people in there.

    http://desktoplinuxreviews.com/forum

  12. Mike Lippert says

    Hi Jim,

    Like Brad, I glad to see I can still get the benefit of your research (and Brian's it looks like! thanks) after ET. I've been slowly trying to start using a linux distro ever since Microsoft came out w/ Vista.

    I've actually got Ubuntu installed on one machine at home, but since I also play WoW on that machine, it's mostly stays booted into Windows 2000.

    I recently downloaded Kubuntu 9.04 and have been meaning to install it on my laptop, but I also had real problems with the wireless support and so haven't done it yet.

    I thought perhaps I'd like the KDE desktop better than Gnome, which jars me in some ways. Gnome (like the Mac) has the opposite placement from Windows for the OK and Cancel buttons. Also I really don't like the file manager in Gnome much. I realize these are small things, but figured I'd try KDE and see if I liked it's standards better.

    I'll definitely be following your blog. As someone still trying to fully dive into linux I expect to learn a lot.

    Mike

  13. Brian Masinick says

    I think one of the reasons that I get along with Kubuntu better than most of you is that I have been testing it (more than likely) far longer than most, if not all, of you. For example, the first version of Kubuntu that I ever used was Version 5.04, at least that is the first one that I can remember. I was using it because I was looking mostly at Live KDE distros that might also install. Kubuntu looked like a good alternative to KNOPPIX and Kanotix, two of the best (other than SimplyMEPIS, my favorite) as a Live KDE based system.

    Back in the 5.04 days, there was a text installer, reasonably simple, but not that many tools. The appearance was simple. Compared to then, four years later, release 9.04 is very good indeed. What I've liked about it, especially in the Alpha test versions, is that I can follow along and see how the KDE 4 project is progressing. It does a good job at that level.

    The 8.04 long term support release is in at least its second update, and for those who want a more stable experience, that might be the way to go. But frankly, the 9.04 release has stabilized nicely. As I mentioned, there were a few packages that Kubuntu provides that I don't like, so I scrapped them and replaced them. Maybe that shouldn't be necessary, but the fact that it was possible and straightforward counts for something, and for me, that was plenty. With my changes, this is a fine distro. Without my changes, I think that the Kubuntu team could have done a bit better job getting the networking to work correctly (but they were trying to use an area that, until recently, was deficient in the KDE 4 software pools – that is hopefully resolved by now; I will verify that when I get back to testing Kubuntu again in my testing cycle).

  14. says

    Hmmm…interesting comments, Bernard. Thanks for sharing them. I haven't looked at Mandriva in a while but I did it have it on my list when I was at ExtremeTech.

    In fact I believe it was going to be the next review on the edit calendar. So I'll get to it probably at some point over here on DLR.

    But it's nice to know that the Mandriva people are providing a better KDE experience. That's definitely a positive thing.

  15. Bernard Woodhams says

    I am a bit torn on this one. I am more of a KDE person than an Gnome one, but I don't think that Kubuntu provides the best KDE experience. Kubuntu was actually my first experience of KDE 4, followed by a test install of OpenSuse. At that point I was ready to switch over to Gnome, but then I got hold of Mandriva, which provides a much better experience, and won my heart back.

    There are two issues here really. The first is that the Mandriva people feel like be folks who use KDE all the time and want it to be the best possible desktop for their users, even if it takes them away from some of the defaults (eg classic menus rather than the new style and the default desktop hosting of shortcuts). The second issue is that, for some reason, KDE adaptations of Gnome centric distributions tend to omit things like Firefox for KDE but not Gnome (even though Gnome has its own browser in Epiphany). If you are prepared to be convinced about KDE, you might try Mandriva, but I agree that I would rather use Ubuntu than Kubuntu, for many of the reasons you cite.

  16. says

    Brad wrote:

    I have started reading your linux reviews as a gentle entry into the world of Linux. As a complete nube some, (ok alot) of the terminlogy escapes me. I am happy to hear that you are beginning this blog, as I wanted to follow your writings post ET. Hers my noob question of the day: KDE/Knome. what are they and what is the difference between them? You reference reviewing one type more than another, what is the preference, if any? BTW love the wallpaper, would you know where I can find it?

    Hi Brad,

    Welcome to DLR. I'm glad that you are enjoying the reviews so far. :smile:

    KDE and Gnome are desktop environments. Some distros use one, some use the other, some are available in both and some don't use either one.

    You can get more info here:

    KDE
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KDE

    Gnome
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNOME

    Don't forget that you can also post questions in the DLR forum too. That's a good place to pick the brains of some of our resident Linux gurus. The link is always in the upper right of the sidebar on this blog. But here it is so you don't have to find it:

    http://desktoplinuxreviews.com/forum

  17. Brad says

    I have started reading your linux reviews as a gentle entry into the world of Linux. As a complete nube some, (ok alot) of the terminlogy escapes me. I am happy to hear that you are beginning this blog, as I wanted to follow your writings post ET. Hers my noob question of the day: KDE/Knome. what are they and what is the difference between them? You reference reviewing one type more than another, what is the preference, if any? BTW love the wallpaper, would you know where I can find it?

  18. KGWagner says

    When I first started using Linux, I was a bigger fan of KDE than Gnome. It just seemed more friendly and easy to use. A couple years down the road, Red Hat came out with their last desktop distro before turning all that over to the Fedora core group (Version 9? I don't remember the release number).

    Anyway, they included both desktops with the distro, as many did in those days, only they had Gnome and KDE both configured to look and function more or less the same. I had run the distro for a week or so before I even realized I was running Gnome.

    After that, more by chance than anything, most distros I tried happened to default to Gnome. Today I can say it's probably been 3 years since I've used KDE. But, I don't experiment like I used to, either. Mint/Ubuntu work great, so I just use those, and they're Gnome distros by default.

    I enjoy eye candy as much as the next user, but I don't need it as much as some seem to. To me, that's all KDE used to bring to the party – a prettier face. Now that Gnome's no slouch either, I don't see a reason to chase around.

  19. says

    tlmck wrote:

    I also find Kubuntu a bit lacking for many of the same reasons. However, I do disagree on the point about Gimp being included. While I have used Gimp from time to time out of necessity, I have never really liked it. The explosion of windows when you launch it has always been a sore spot. I can only imagine what it looks like to a new user.

    When I set up a distro for someone, I usually delete Gimp, and install Gthumb instead. It works just fine in any desktop environment, contains rudimentary editing tools suitable for most folks, and has a simple clean interface. It is not as feature laden as something such as Irfanview, but still good enough.

    Hmmm…well I guess we will have to agree to disagree about Gimp. I still love it. I even use it on my macs via x11. But I will play around with Gthumb and see how it matches up. Perhaps it's a good alternative for people to consider.

  20. says

    I am here once again, this time with Kubuntu, and I have been using it for most of the time since I wrote the previous post.

    There were 22 updates since the last time I used it; more than the previous time, but most of them were library and browser related, always the most volatile stuff.

    Speaking of volatile, on most of the systems that I visit, I have been installing the Nightly Builds of both Firefox and Seamonkey. I am using the Release Candidate of Firefox 3.5 in upgradable form in the firefox folder on my desktop, and I am doing the same thing with Seamonkey. I am very happy with both.

    No weirdness at all on this Kubuntu 9.04 desktop. Time is fine, wireless is fine; all I want to do now is change the stock appearance, which doesn't impress me much. I know that there are some really nice Plasma appearance items – oh, wait a minute, I DID already change the appearance – it is quite nice, with a mountain ledge overlooking several green mountains and a partly cloudy blue sky – I tend to like those kinds of scenes. On Mandriva, I have a scene with a nice tree surrounded by water – a swamp or flooded scene, also quite beautiful, so you can get that with KDE 4.

    Performance? Fine, solid, steady, have not seen any indications of problems at all. Navigation? Well, I've been working with this stuff now, so I've figured out how to use it effectively without a lot of menu traversal, which frustrates me tremendously. KDE 4 has the stuff you need, but you may need to do it differently than you've done it in the past. I'm still building up my personal repertoire in it. Meanwhile, for basic use, it is more than fine, it has all that I need. I stick with the four out of five rating; if anything, I'd kick it up, but not to 5, there were some chinks that I needed to fix; it is my fixed system that rates a 5! ;-)

    @ Brian Masinick:

  21. says

    Well, you guys are GNOME buffs, so taking shots at a KDE distro… well…

    Kubuntu 8.10 was the first distro I can think of that at least had some of the working components in KDE 4.1 set up in a usable distribution. Maybe that is not fair; actually, Mandriva has done it, too, but they made theirs a hybrid for a long time and even recent versions looked like more of a hybrid between KDE 3 and 4 than a pure implementation. openSUSE has provided KDE builds from day one – but I've had trouble with them, so Kubuntu has been the main platform I've used to get a good idea of where KDE is heading.

    Because it has been a KDE testbed, Kubuntu has not exactly been a stable partner ever since it departed from the stability of the LTS, the Long Term Support release. The 8.04 release was a good solid one – all of the Ubuntu variations, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu were (I have not gotten into all of the variations, but all I've used based on the current LTS have been solid).

    Where does that leave me with Kubuntu 9.04? Well, you guys were talking about issues with Wireless, and I have to tell you that I fought with Network Manager and Knetworkmanager from Alpha 2 to Alpha 4. Apparently there have been some pretty long standing defects in this space, and I seemed to find them. Often, I'd have to go wired, fiddle around, and SOMETIMES get wireless going. Finally, at Alpha 4, I said "Enough is enough!" I wired up, downloaded wicd, which effectively cut off both network manager and knetworkmanager, replacing them with wicd, a generally well regarded multifunction network manager that also happens to work independently of the desktop environment, and does a good job of remembering and retaining information, but gives you the flexibility to roam, wire up, or change access points when you need to do so.

    Once I did that, I only found one other issue with Kubuntu, but it did annoy me. The network time protocol daemon, NTPD, seemed to be perpetually acting up – some goofy interaction between ntpd and ntpdate client. I seemed to uninstall and reinstall them often to get the time right. Otherwise, my clock on Kubuntu kept going to UTC, which I was certain that I had NOT set, so that bothered me too.

    Other than that, though, this system has worked well for me, and that even goes back to Alpha 2, quite a number of months ago. Upgrades between Alpha builds, other than wireless and NTP issues, were fine, no badly broken packages, generally good quality.

    One other thing that I would like to say about that is that I have been able to upgrade a few of my Ubuntu based systems from release to release to release. I have at least one or two of them that have gone from 8.04 to 8.10 to 9.04. I've been able to do that with Mandriva, using the Cooker to have a perpetually bleeding edge system, but these are STABLE release upgrades and they work. I do prefer ROLLING RELEASE systems, such as Debian Testing, Debian Sid, sidux, antiX, and distros like them (and Arch Linux, the classic perpetually rolling release system, as well as Mandriva Cooker, the one cooked "Rare" at all times), but for a release upgrade system, this one does it as well as any.

    Ubuntu is arguably a bit more polished in some areas than Kubuntu, which is moderately close to a clean KDE release. I think that of the three primary Canonical versions, Xubuntu is the best looking and best performing of the three, but I would not ding this release hard. I'd give it a subjective 4 out of 5. Tell me what the criteria are to get that rating. Actually, I'd like a ten point scale, with two, one, or zero points possible for five different categories. That might give us something that we could reproduce.

    For me, the only dings here are initial wireless packaging and issues with the time server; all else has done remarkably well. I will upgrade my system and report back. Last time I did so, there were two or three updates, an indication of either dormancy or stability. On my system, it was stability.

  22. tlmck says

    I also find Kubuntu a bit lacking for many of the same reasons. However, I do disagree on the point about Gimp being included. While I have used Gimp from time to time out of necessity, I have never really liked it. The explosion of windows when you launch it has always been a sore spot. I can only imagine what it looks like to a new user.

    When I set up a distro for someone, I usually delete Gimp, and install Gthumb instead. It works just fine in any desktop environment, contains rudimentary editing tools suitable for most folks, and has a simple clean interface. It is not as feature laden as something such as Irfanview, but still good enough.

  23. says

    Aaaah, so I'm not the only one eh? I didn't notice the ability to switch to classic. That's a good thing to point out, thanks for posting about it. I wondered whether it was my Gnome-ish tendencies that made me dislike that menu system so much but it's nice to hear it wasn't just me.

    No, the virtual setup doesn't do the wireless thing well so I can't be of too much help there. But you might post a note in the forum and see if anybody else has run into a similar problem.

  24. Bill Julian says

    2.5/5.0? Agreed. I have really tried to like the KDE 4 series, but it just does not work for me. Invariably I wind up going back to what is termed the "classic" menu, which works quit nicely.

    Your virtual setup might not allow a good wireless test? I had trouble using knetwork manager in Kubuntu with an Intel 5100 chip. Not sure why. I had no problem when I tested with the hew Mandriva. The current PCLOS09 also works.

Leave a Reply