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:
New Package Kit app for software management
Printer config in System Settings
Quassel (IRC client)
KDE 4 plasma widget network manager
GTK app integration
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.
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:
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:
Eyes (XEyes clone)
Luna (display moon phases)
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:
Gwenview (image viewer)
Okular (doc viewer)
Akregator (feed reader)
Krfb (desktop sharing)
K3b (CD & DVD burning)
Dragon Player (video player)
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.
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.