You can read this article in Serbo-Croatian language too.KDE-based version of Ubuntu is named Kubuntu. This is not a secret.
Kubuntu was actually one of the first Linux distributions I’ve seen. It was the second major one, after Ubuntu itself, which I saw. That was a version 10.04 LTS. I still keep a ShipIt CD on my shelf.
Ubuntu 12.04 and Xubuntu 12.04. I have written about these systems already. Let’s talk about Kubuntu today.
The ISO image size of Kubuntu 12.04 is just a little bit smaller than Ubuntu 12.04. It is 698 Mb. It is available to download either directly from one of many mirrors, or from the torrent. My personal copy of the image was taken from the torrent.
I used Unetbootin to "burn" the image onto the 8 Gb USB stick.
During the Unetbootin process, I activated persistence to check how it works in Kubuntu. I can approximate that it would work the same way in other systems of 12.04 release.
USB stick is ready and plugged into the port of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!
Booting the systemIf you expected that Kubuntu 12.04 would follow the KDE's traditional blue colour scheme, then you will be disappointed. This was surprise #1 for me. You can see it right after the start of booting process. Even the splash screen of Kubuntu 12.04 is... grey! There are different shades of grey, but this is still grey. Not blue.
It is funny that usually-blue-themed KDE became grey in Kubuntu 12.04, while usually-grey-themed XFCE follows the blue-and-grey pattern in Xubuntu for a few releases now.
Kubuntu 12.04 has the same boot mechanism as the previous version 11.10. It copies Ubuntu's behaviour, although with a slightly changed interface. System boots automatically for some time, finally leaving you with selection between "Try Kubuntu" and "Install Kubuntu”. This screen has similar choice, including set of languages, to the ones in Ubuntu and Xubuntu 12.04, although design of the window is radically different.
My choice, obviously, was the "Try Kubuntu" option.
Once selection was made, it took the system some more time to get me to the desktop screen.
I have noted in my Ubuntu 12.04 review that the system took more time to boot up to a window with Try/Install options than to make final preparations. I would say that it was 80-20 proportion. Kubuntu's proportions are 60-40, so total waiting time for Kubuntu Live boot is more than for Ubuntu. I can say this is surprise #2.
Once booted, I found myself in KDE 4.8.2 running on top of Linux kernel 3.2.0-23, as the other 12.04 systems.
|Kubuntu 12.04 desktop|
with memory, CPU and network widgets
Freshly booted system took about 280 Mb of memory, which is quite a lot, but that could be expected from KDE-based distribution. This is about 40 Mb more, than in version 11.10, but still 40 Mb less than Unity-based Ubuntu.
It is worth mentioning that Kubuntu 12.04 uses the kernel with pae requirement, similar to Ubuntu 12.04. So, if your processor does not have pae support, your choice should be either Xubuntu, or network installation disk with further selection of KDE environment.
DesktopIt should not be a surprise for you any more if I tell you that the default wallpaper in Kubuntu 12.04 is in grey colour. However, there are two more surprises here.
Suprise #3 is that the default wallpaper image is... ugly! I can't find a better word for it. KDE is famous for its eye-candies and nice user experience. This experience simply cannot start with an image like this: straight segments of grey shades beaming from the bottom-right corner.
And, if you want to change the wallpaper, then there is suprise #4: there are no other wallpapers in the default distribution! All the wallpapers are to be downloaded separately, either the "default wallpapers" package, or additional wallpapers from Internet resources.
There is nothing on the default desktop, apart from a single folder with "Install Kubuntu" shortcut in it.
First of all, I added my favourite widgets there: CPU, memory and network monitor. All of them were available right out of the box.
There is a standard panel at the bottom of the screen in Kubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. It has all the usual elements of KDE distribution. If you want to get a list, I'd ask you to check my Kubuntu 11.10 review.
Surprise #5 was waiting for me on the panel. The titles of minimised windows are barely visible there. They are in light-grey fonts on the light-grey panel.
KDE is famous for its desktop effects. I have already mentioned this above. So, I went to the system configuration and tried to activate these effects. Result? Surprise #6! Result was negative! System listed a couple of dozen effects, which could not be activated. As a result, I was left with a very simple desktop. There even were no shadows under the windows and menus! The fix was around the corner. Switching from OpenGL to XRender helped a little. Only few effects were left inactive. But I believe that the previous version of Kubuntu was able to work with OpenGL normally. Why did it change?
NetworkI had no issues with network connection in Kubuntu 12.04. It automatically found and configured my wireless network card Intel 3945 ABG. The Network Management utility automatically listed available wireless networks when I clicked the icon in notification area. All I had to do was to type in my security code and click "Connect".
No surprises here. Oooogh.
Keyboard layoutsKeyboard layouts are configured in the same place in the System Settings of Kubuntu 12.04: Input devices. You will find the KDE standard interface there. Additional layouts, keyboard hotkeys and panel indicator can be configured in the same place. It took me less than a minute to replace the default English US layouts with combination of English UK + Russian, Ctrl-Shift hotkey and the flag indicator.
surprise #7. Again, it is in the user interface design area: the flag on the panel is visibly smaller than other elements. Why?
ApplicationsKubuntu, as usual, comes packed with some applications. Let's see what is inside.
Rekonq is the only browser in Kubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin. I used it for some time. I actually drafted this blog post using Rekonq. Here I'd like to mention couple of surprises.
Surprise #8 is that Rekonq recommends you to install Flash plugin at the start. If you do so, you still... have no flash! So, the installation basically does nothing good for you.
Surprise #9 is that Rekonq never crashed in my Live run! This is a good surprise! I remember issues with Rekonq stability in Kubuntu 11.10. They're now gone. Rekonq is now a mature browser, which you can use if you don't need advanced features of Firefox or Chrome.
Of course, Firefox installer is also available in Kubuntu 12.04. Other than these two items, the Internet section of the menu contains BlueDevil bluetooth manager, Kopete, KTorrent, Akgregator, KMail, KPPP and Quassel IRC. As you see, all of them are KDE-centric applications.
LibreOffice applications are in the core of the Office section of the Kubuntu 12.04 menu. This is not full set of LO applications: Base and Math are not in the distribution.
KPatience is the only representative in the Games section of Kubuntu 12.04.
Okular, Gwenview, KSnapshot and LibreOffice Draw are listed in the Graphics section of the menu. Funny enough, LibreOffice Draw is not listed in the export options of KSnapshot, it is only available through "More applications". That's not what I would call good integration of components.
Multimedia utilities have DragonPlayer, Amarok, KMix and K3B burning tool.
Kate, Klipper, KNotes and some other useful tools are in the Utilities section of Kubuntu 12.04 menu.
The System part of the menu includes the same K3B, plus Muon Software Centre, Muon Update manager, Muon Package Manager, Konsole, Dolphin browser, Akonadi configuration tool and some other utilities.
As you can see, there are enough tools in the Kubuntu 12.04 to get you started. The necessary office, graphical, Internet and multimedia tools are available.
But, of course, you're likely to require more. That's why you're more than likely to need Muon.
Muon came to Kubuntu as of 11.10, and now fully owns the package management of this distribution.
Kubuntu 12.04 comes with Main and Restricted repositories activated by default. At the same time, Universe and Multiverse repositories require additional manual activation.
Interestingly enough, Kubuntu 12.04 LTS default settings show upgrade available to any newer release. That was not the case for Kubuntu 10.04 LTS, which allowed only LTS version upgrade by default.
Just out of interest, I asked Muon Update manager to check if there was something for me. Kubuntu 12.04 was released exactly a week before I drafted this post, and there were some updates already: 8 security updates and many more system updates. Their total was about 40 Mb. Not that bad.
Of course, the installation of updates was not in the plan of my Live run, so I closed Muon Update manager without installing anything.
Muon Software Centre is the tool which you need to use to install the software. It looks fine, intact with other Kubuntu applications. Unfortunately, I found surprise #10 here, which would definitely stop me from using MSC. Search... does not work! I could navigate through the MSC menu to the Chromium browser. But search gave me nothing! It makes this tool useless. I know, this maybe an issue of Live run. But how could I (or any average newbie) ensure that all my applications are in the repositories, if simple search does not work? How can I trust the system at all after this?
Network partitionMounting of partition from my external network drive was an easy task in Kubuntu 12.04. Dolphin lists Microsoft Windows Network Drive as one of the options in Add Network Folder tool. Connection took me only a few seconds, and then I was able to browse folders and files on remote device.
Multimedia, which is absentNeither DragonPlayer, nor Amarok were able to play MP3 files in Kubuntu 12.04 Live run. Even the Dolphin's built-in "preview" player failed. All of them recommended to search for the required plugin, but then the search window disappeared without any visible feedback. I should name it surprise #11, even though I was not prepared for this by similar behaviour of Ubuntu 12.04.
I have already mentioned that my attempt to install Flash in Rekonq failed. The only option to get Flash would be to install it manually. Unfortunately, and this is surprise #12, that was not possible either. I received an error message in Rekonq:
Unable to create io-slave: klauncher said: Error loading 'apturl %u'.At this moment in time (and it was far beyond midnight), I thought: “Enough”. That was a time to stop my experiments with Kubuntu 12.04.
When connecting to: apt:adobe-flashplugin?channel=$distro-partner
PersistenceNext day was a test for the persistence option I activated in Unebootin.
Surprise #13: persistence works.
Kubuntu 12.04 LTS kept my changed wallpapers, network connection, attached network drive. This is really useful feature, if you want to use your USB stick for pocket-size distribution.
What do I think about Kubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin?The system was relatively fast on my laptop with dual core Centrino 1.7 GHz and 1Gb of memory. I found no significant delays or unexpected waiting time.
The system was solid. I faced no crashes during my Live run.
Both these points say that Kubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin is good enough for Long-term support version.
But, on the other hand, I found 13 suprises in this operating system during the Live run. And only two of them are nice: maturity of Rekonq and working persistence. All the other are more or less unexpected errors or defects.
I think that the design team of Kubuntu was on
Should the long-term support version be like this?
I doubt it.
And what about you?
Maybe you want to try Kubuntu 12.04 yourself? Then, order your own CD of this distribution, or many others, from Buy Linux CDs site! Your disk will be delivered right into your mailbox.
More to read about Kubuntu 12.04:
|This post was edited by djohnston.|
You can read this article in Serbo-Croatian language. Thanks to Jovana Mulitinovich for translation.