I took the plunge... After working solely on Ubuntu for over a year, I decided to install the latest Kubuntu on my main laptop. I've never really worked with KDE much apart from trying it out briefly here and there but never ended up sticking with it as it was always installed on a secondary machine. So, why did I decide to swap? I've have had a few difficulties with KDE before and it seemed a little buggy, but I've become pretty comfortable with Linux, so I was confident that I can sort out anything thrown at me. Maybe I was just too comfortable with Gnome to bother swapping and readjusting to a new environment but I've always been envious of the visual look of KDE... It's probably a bit unfair to call KDE "buggy" - I've always run it in a VM or on an old laptop which hardly had enough power, so this time around, I'm doing it properly!

I downloaded Kubuntu 10.10 RC a few days before the final 10.10 release and installed it. I had a few issues getting it to install, but I'm sure that it was more a case of a dodgy memory stick than faulty software. Once it got going, I was very impressed with how quickly it installed - didn't take much more than about 10 minutes! Once I had it installed, I started familiarizing myself with the "new world" of KDE and the aps. For the most part, I've seen a lot of the stuff before in reading up on the Linux world in different distributions, so it wasn't a big shock. For the most part, for every application or utility in Ubuntu, there's some compatible application in Kubuntu. As per previous Ubuntu installations on my Dell Latitude E6500, it was dead easy - everything just worked out of the box. I didn't have to worry about any sound, video, internal mobile interface or web cam drivers. That's fantastic! There were some slight difficulties in setting up my mobile network connection though - it wasn't quite as intuitive as Ubuntu. In Ubuntu, you select your country, your mobile provider and click "done" (or something to that effect) and it works. This time I had to check online for a setting or two before getting going. I've had a few small crashes here and there, but I'm not sure whether it's due to the fact that I hadn't applied all the software upgrades as yet - after all, this wasn't even the final released version. (at least when I first installed it.)

Some of the changes from the previous edition include an updated installer. Now, a user can select to download restricted packages during the installation. This means that as soon as you boot the machine for the first time, you'll be able to play mp3 and movies without having to download any extras. As mentioned, installation is lightning fast as it starts copying files over before you've even completed the setup process. KPackageKit has apparently also been improved, but I still prefer the Ubuntu software center interface though. One of the bigger changes is a new browser, Rekonq. To me a browser is a browser for the most part, except Firefox has a few plugins that I find very handy such as ScribeFire which I'm using to write this blog with. So, I immediately installed Firefox instead by means of the install link provided. There have also been slight changes to notifications which together with KDE 4.5, makes Kubuntu look great. Finally, PulseAudio is the new default sound server which should enable better management and flexibility. All in all, I can't really fault the way it looks but all is not 100%...

One of the bugs that I've discovered is that when running Kwin and Cairo dock at the same time, I find that once the screen is locked, the buttons and text boxes are invisible when trying to unlock. This isn't a massive problem though as you can just type your password and press enter and it'll unlock, but it is slightly annoying. This seems to be "resolved" by shutting down Cairo Dock though. I've also had problems with restarting after hibernating which is frustrating to say the least.

So after a few days of using Kubuntu, would I keep it? Nah... It's got a few annoying habits which I don't feel like digging to resolve. As far as I can tell, it's mainly related to my graphics card - an Intel based one. This has caused graphical hangups here and there. I wasn't sure if it was due to all the updates not having been installed, but now that I've installed them, it does seem to be happening less often. There are also a few features that Ubuntu comes "out of the box" with such as the "MeMenu", Ubuntu One integration and Compiz instead of KWin, that I prefer. Ubuntu also seems a little smoother in general, quicker on startup and more "snappy". Maybe it's a case of curiosity as I haven't had the chance to "play" with the latest Ubuntu 10.10. But, as soon as I get a chance, I think I'll wipe my machine once again :-)

Ahhhhh... The joys of Distro-hopping!


  1. Oli4 Says:
  2. I must tell you , moving versions in Ubuntu is awesome. Moved over from 9.10 to 10.10 no probs whatsoever. I must say I have never seen a flawless OS upgrade but this truly rocks.

  3. Martin Says:
  4. 9.10 - 10.10??? But you missed out on a whole 6 month update :-) I've become pretty hooked on getting the latest whenever it comes out. It's like having Christmas twice a year.

    Also done a fair bit of playing with some micro distributions like Niblex, Puppy Linux, Slitaz, DSL etc. They're all tiny - from 30Mb to 100Mb in size but fully functional. Maybe I'll do a comparative review sometime.


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