Kubuntu 9.10

Yesterday while watching the hockey game, I decided to download Kubuntu 9.10 and give it a try.

After the CD booted up (it took forever; I don’t know what was going on with that), the interface was very snappy.  I liked what I saw, so I installed.  Installation was pretty quick (not as quick as Ubuntu) and overall the interface is great.

I got my desktop effects working after I installed the proprietary drivers for my nVidia graphics card.  Kwin works well; I don’t have to run compiz.

The widgets are something to get used to.  I like having weather and such on my desktop.  I know the same can be done in Gnome with gdesklets and the like, but I never had good luck with it.

I installed Wakoopa and Dropbox from the web, the System76 installer, Flock (which was already installed since I didn’t nuke my /home partition).

What I like:

  • Slick interface.  KDE 4 has seriously improved from the 4.2 version I used last year.  It’s speedy, with many fewer crashes (I only had one; it was Plasma, and it came right back up).
  • Kopete being integrated.  Kopete is a great IM program.  It does have a couple issues, but those will be addresed in the following section.
  • Easy to install programs.  Yes, I think this is just an Ubuntu thing, as PPAs and .debs “just worked”.
  • Amarok.  Other than being laid out differently than what I’m used to, It’s a very powerful way to organize your music and other media.
  • KPackagekit.  This is a million times better than Adept.  I’m so happy they replaced Adept with this.  Takes a little bit of getting used to, as I’m a Synaptic gal, but it’s a very nice program.
  • Speed.  Kubuntu seems very snappy (though it might be my computer, heh) on my Pangolian.  All of the effects work out of the box (after installation of my proprietary nVidia driver), and Kwin is pretty slick.
  • The taskbar is awesome.  It reminds me of the new Windows 7 taskbar, but better.  :)
  • Quassel. What an awesome IRC client.  If/when I got back to Gnome, I might use this instead of Xchat (though I love Xchat).

What I don’t like:

  • Gnome apps look somewhat boxy.  Flock has blocky dropdowns on my blog editor.  Gwibber looks fine, but there are some blocky boxes.  This is due to the fact that I use those pieces of software and I can’t really live without them.  I know I could go to Choqok, but it doesn’t run facebook or friendfeed.  Gwibber has more features.
  • Fonts seem kind of off or too large.  This is mostly in my Gnome apps.
  • Knetworkmanager.  ARGH.  I can’t get it to connect to my wireless correctly.  The Gnome network manager detects and connects right away.
  • The new menu.  I don’t like the “new” menu with the tabs and such.  I prefer the old version of the menu; actually, I prefer the Gnome menu.
  • Single taskbar.  I’ve gotten so used to having the dual taskbars (really, a taskbar and a dock) in Gnome that it’s hard to go back to only having one bar.  I’ll get used to it.
  • Kopete seems to like to disconnect from the internet all the time.

The whole KDE experience is great for someone coming from Windows.  There are many things that are similar to Windows 7 in the newest stable version of Kubuntu.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

12 thoughts on “Kubuntu 9.10”

  1. After reading through your review I realised what it was that made me uninstall Kubuntu. I’d installed it on my laptop and for the life of me I could not get it to connect to my home Wi-Fi network without major tinkering.

    I’ll give it a go again after 10.04 and see how it runs. Hopefully the network hassles I experienced will be a thing of the past.

  2. I never really liked the Kubuntu distribution since they change a few things from the default KDE packages, but KDE in general is pretty sweet. I think there’s a Qt4-Gtk package or something like that to get GTK apps to look more integrated with the rest of the desktop. It basically switches their theme to either match whatever your current Qt4 theme is, or allows you to select a separate GTK theme for them.

    What’s funny is that the K-menu is actually one of the three main things that got me to switch to KDE (the others being the folder view widget and the upcoming Gnome shell). I really don’t ever use their tabs… instead I open it up and just start typing the name or description of the app I want to start. So I might do Alt+F1 and then type “kons” to get to Konsole or “word pro” to get to a word processor.

    1. That’s neat. I think I’m particular about my menu; I don’t like major changes and I like to be able to set my menus up the way I want them.

      I’ve gotten used to Gnome and the way they do things, including their gratuitous use of the gconf-editor menu.

      The GTK theme thing seemed to work, but it didn’t fix everything. I know, people will tell me to “use KDE apps” but Gwibber and Flock are just that awesome. ;)

      Thanks for the comments!


  3. After I read that you were installing Kubuntu yesterday, I’m thinking I might try it again. I haven’t used KDE in years, probably early to mid 00’s and that was Knoppix.

  4. As a KDE3 veteran who has since switched to Gnome since she disliked KDE4 (and certain bugs it had…)

    …you should set up a “Gnome-ish” second panel, so you have one on top and one on bottom… that’s the way I’ve done it for years with KDE3 and I know it was possible with KDE4 also, because I did it before I switched :)

    1. Actually, I’ve already gone back to Gnome. Heh. Didn’t last long, but I wanted to see how things were. I’m willing to give Gnome the benefit of the doubt.

      If they remove all the icons like they’re suggesting doing, I might convert back to KDE, though I’ll hate it.


  5. Concerning the issue you had with gtk app, its a gtk problem. GTK always look like something from windows 95 era outside of the gnome environment, to get round this, the Qtcurve package was created to give gtk apps some sort of integrated look with Qt so its not so much of a kde problem.

    Concerning the fonts, I was able to get round that and I posted my workaround here http://bigbrovar.aoizora.org/index.php/2010/01/16/my-smooth-fonts-setup-for-kubuntu-karmic/

    Network manager: You are very right about that, The kde frontend to network manager is still not feature complete, its still missing many feature most especially mobile broadband support. Also not has stable as the gnome version. The walk round is to either install wicd or just installed the network-manager-gnome which actually works very well on kde and has very tiny gnome-deps ( and I mean tiny)

    Kmenu: Since you prefer the older memu, switching back to that is dead easy. Just right click on menu and “switch to classic menu style” http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2681/4399522843_e27f3dd59b_d.jpg

    single taskbar: Just like in gnome, a second taskar can be added to kde. Just add panel from the plasmoid manager and populate your panel as you want. If you like docks http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/Daisy?content=102077

    Kopete: It sucks, I just use pidgin (same as with empathy in gnome )

    I know you have gone back to gnome. At least you did give kde a try. I posted this walk around here for future reference. I was a gnomie for 2 years and only recently took to kde. At first it was hard adapting but such is the awesomeness of the kde community that I was able to solve all the small issues I had with kde. Now its hard to use a different DE. choice is good :)

    1. Thank you very much! I may give Kubuntu another shot after Lucid comes out. I see it gets better every time a new Ubuntu is released.

      Gnome is just so dang comfortable for me.

      Again, thanks for the links! I’ll reference those when I give it another try.


      1. Oh no problem. By all means use what you feel comfortable with. Diversity is what makes this world colorful and strong. If you ever give kde a try again and you have issues give us a shout at the !kde ground on identica and we would be glad to help out :)

        1. I agree! I know I will give Kubuntu another shot in the future.

          I was very impressed with the additions and changes to KDE. It looks very beautiful and Kwin is a great thing.


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