I recently took a look at Ubuntu Netbook Edition, this week I decided to review its KDE-based counterpart Kubuntu Netbook Edition. As you’ll find out in this review, the two sport radically different interfaces (and I’m not just talking about wallpaper). Which is better for a netbook user? Read on to find out.
Kubuntu Netbook Edition uses the Plasma Netbook interface. Plasma Netbook is geared toward small devices and the interface is very different than desktop KDE. You can use “Search and Launch” to launch applications, or you can browse for applications. You can also search your email, contacts and some web sites. I’ll have more to say about Plasma Netbook in the desktop section.
What’s New In This Release
Since this release is 10.04; it shares some of the same new features as its desktop counterpart. Rather than regurgitate all of them here (since I covered them in the desktop review), here’s a link to the Kubuntu site that lists the new stuff in 10.04.
Hardware Requirements & Installation
Here’s a list of what you’ll need to run Kubuntu 10.04:
- Intel Atom processor @ 1.6 GHz
- 512 MiB of system memory (RAM)
- 4 GB of disk space
- Screen of 1024×600 resolution
- Graphics chipset with support for visual effects
The install is as easy as any other Kubuntu or Ubuntu OS. It’s also very fast. The screenshots below walk you through the install process, from beginning to end.
Booting & Login
Bootsplash & Login Screens
The bootsplash screen has the new Kubuntu logo on it. The login screen lets you choose between KDE and a failsafe.
Beyond that, there’s not much to the login screen. You won’t find any of the sort of branding that you see on Ubuntu Netbook Edition. The login screen is sparse, with the default Kubuntu wallpaper featured prominently in the background.
Kubuntu Netbook edition boots pretty fast, and it shuts down just about as fast. Given that this distro is designed for netbooks, it performs exactly as it should.
I covered a little bit about Plasma Netbook in the introduction to this review. It’s a very easy and comfortable interface to use. You navigate around via three main parts: The top panel, the favorites list and the categories. You also have the option of using the search box.
When you first look at the Kubuntu Netbook Edition interface, it might throw you off. It doesn’t look like Ubuntu Netbook Edition at all, and it’s obviously very different than desktop Kubuntu. But give it a few minutes, and you’ll be very pleased with it.
To open an application, click on it if it’s in the favorites, or type in the name in the search box. Or simply browse through the appropriate category. When you’ve found an application, hover your cursor over it for a moment and you’ll notice that a yellow star appears in the upper left of the application’s icon. Click the star to add the application to your favorites. To remove an application from favorites, put your cursor over it, and click the red minus sign.
Here’s a sample of the software included in this release.