Kubuntu LogoRight so I have reviewed the Kubuntu Beta before, and now it is time to share some impressions of the full release.

Since I have done a few screenshots for the Beta, and the look hasn’t changed a lot I decided to focus more on screenshots for the installation.

Installation.

As with Ubuntu, installing Kubuntu is easy. (Note, if any of the screenshots seem a little squished to you it is because I took them from a Virtual Machine, it is the best way I have of taking installation screenshots.) If you have a fresh harddrive installing Kubuntu should go off with little hassle.

If you have existing partitions you will be guided through installing Kubuntu on one of the partitions, or even resizing an existing partition to install to. For those of you who run Windows and want to try something new, the Kubuntu/Ubuntu installer is really Windows friendly and should detect Windows, and even import your settings and files from Windows for you. I have had differing success with the import tool though, sometimes my music is imported and documents not, sometimes Internet Explorer shortcuts and bookmarks are imported and sometimes not. I must say that this part of installation keeps improving, and I am sure that within a few releases everything will go seamlessly.

Kubuntu User Information Screen

Entering User Information (Click for a Larger Image)

Once you have selected your language, timezone, keyboard and disk setup you can enter your user information. Happily, and this is a great new feature in my opinion, in Kubuntu Lucid Lynx and Ubuntu Lucid Lynx the timezone information is auto configured if you are connected to the internet while installing.

Installation Summary

The Installation Summary (Click for a Larger Image)

Above is the mentioned installation summary. Note that there is nothing entered below “Migration Assistant” since this was an install on a fresh hard disk. Once you click Install your machine will be Kubuntufied.

The Ubuntu/Kubuntu installation dialog is really pretty and informative. Below are a few screenshots of what will be displayed while you wait for installation:

(You can click on the images to enlarge)

Logging In

Kubuntu is all about the pretty. Well to be fair to the KDE guys, KDE4 is all about the pretty. You can opt to authenticate for login, or you could opt to auto login. I prefer to log in with authentication. Predictably the login screen is real pretty.

Kubuntu Login Menu

Kubuntu Login Menu (Click For a Larger Image)

Once you log in you are treated with the visual splendor that is the KDE loading animation. While pretty I think that the Ubuntu scrapping of this is a good thing in hindsight. It delays your arrival on the desktop with precious seconds, whereas with Ubuntu Lucid your desktop is available almost instantly.

Login Splash

The KDE4 Splash Screen (Click For a Larger Image)

As I noted ealier, not much has changed with the final release of KDE4. There are some visual tweaks here and there, and some of the minor niggles has been polished out. I still generally mistrust KDE because of my past experience with Plasmoid related crashes over various distributions.

The Kubuntu Desktop is pretty functional and a good work environment, and I’d recommend it to anyone as an alternative, if it were not for a few things:

  • WIFI not auto connecting. Some users are still having issues with this.
  • Finicky WIFI manager – I have had to re-create WIFI connections over-and-over again. Gnome WIFI management is a lot better.
  • Kubuntu insists on your keyring password every time you log in. This irritation is a black mark.
  • Plasmoid unreliability.
  • Ubuntu is just a better alternative.
The Beautiful Kubuntu Desktop

The Kubuntu Lucid Desktop (Click For a Larger Image)

You will note that the taskbar is now grey instead of the blue that it was in the Beta releases. I prefer the blue of the Beta.

Desktop Readiness

Kubuntu Lucid Lynx is definitely desktop ready. It has all the software and utilities you would expect from a modern desktop OS, and it is easy to install. The WOW factor is high on this, it is really much prettier than Ubuntu, but there are problems in paradise. As I write this my bottom panel has gone flat black, and is a definite black (ahem) mark against Kubuntu.

Panel Breakage

A Case in Point (Click For a Larger Image)

Because of this and other issues (especially the pain in the rear that is the Konqueror Web Browser) I will give Kubuntu a Desktop Readiness Rating of 3/5

Sure it is harsh, but hey I don’t think users can deal with issues such as this. The INTERFACE of Kubuntu cannot be faulted though, with a little work it will be one of the best around, and it saves Kubuntu of a 2/5 rating.

Kubuntu Desktop Ready Score 3/5!

Ease of Use

Again the instability of some elements of the Kubuntu desktop threatens to sink it as far as my ratings go. Easy? Yes. If KDE niggles can be sorted Kubuntu, and any KDE centric desktop OS will sport one of the prettiest, most awesome desktop environments possible. The crashes. If I were to ignore the problems that I have had with the various releases of KDE based Operating Systems I would give Kubuntu 5, or at least 4 out of five. Any Windows 7 user will immediately feel at home with KDE4, and I think the guys are really putting out one of the best desktop interfaces out there.

Taking the crashes into account, and being generous I give it a 4/5. I could be very strict and imagine the frustration a user will have every time he needs to fix a problem, but there might be many users who have absolutely no problems. So 4/5 it is.

Kubuntu Ease of Use 4/5

The Q RATING….

Okay. Q rating time. I am VERY critical of operating systems. Ubuntu Lucid, good as it is, scored a 3/5, and Kubuntu Lucid just is not as good. It benefits from all the under the skin improvements that comes with Ubuntu Lucid Lynx, but again the KDE desktop fails it. Kubuntu should drop Konqueror once and for all for web browsing and go with Firefox as the default. Sure Kubuntu strives to keep its own identity, but if something doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.

Plasmoid crashes, yes I know I keep harping on this, so let me get off that poor horse. Other niggles with WIFI… it all adds up.

2/5 it is then.

Kubuntu Lucid Lynx Scores 2/5

Summary

So there you have it then. 2/5 it is. I am sorry for all of you who really love Kubuntu, and KDE. I just cannot live with it as my daily work horse. It is strangled by the many papercuts that come with the package. Get that sorted though and you might just have THE best Desktop OS out there.

Related posts:

  1. Review: Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx – With Screenshots