Friday, 24 October 2008

Kubuntu 8.10 'Intrepid Ibex' Beta Screenshots Tour

In less than a week the new Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex should be out.

I took these screenshots using a Kubuntu Intrepid Beta installation after performing a full dist-upgrade, at 1280x1024, with the nVIDIA 173 driver installed. I left all the settings in applications default, but I had to make fonts smaller and resize windows (in Konqueror for example), because they didn't look very well as default. The default theme used is Oxygen.

Moving a window around


Desktop widgets


Dragon Player




K3b - KDE4 port not available yet

Desktop Settings

Good ol' Amarok

About KDE4

I think KDE 4.1.2 looks just awesome, and so does Kubuntu. The only problem is that it's not very stable, and there is less than a week until it should be released as a new stable, 18-month supported distribution. Konqueror crashes very often with segmentation fault errors, and gives no feedback in return. It just disappears, so I had to run it from Konsole in order to see the output.

The main problem I encountered was that most of the windows and widgets must be resized, and the resolution Kubuntu uses by default is the maximum supported by my Philips 107P5 CRT monitor, and that's 1920x1440. For this resolution, default fonts are very big.

Here's how the Display tab in System Settings looks like:

You'll have to actually scroll in order to see the drop-down list to select the frequency. I think this is the kind of work which a distribution must fix and polish, not necessarily the KDE team. Of course, Kubuntu never does these things anymore, so I don't even expect it to.

This screenshot also shows the available resolutions, so pick any colour you like:

As you can see, the font size is too big. It's true, after changing the font sizes it looks well, but this should have been done by default.

I encountered artifacts everywhere, but I'm not sure if it's because of the nVIDIA driver or KDE, and I never had the occasion to test KDE 4 with another graphics card. Scrolling and window resizing is also extremely slow.

Here's another addition from the Kubuntu developers, but I guess it never matters that you can see only the upper half of the text 'your password' (and that is after I switched text size from 9 to 7):

I recommend Kubuntu Intrepid if you want eye-candy and bleeding edge software, but I strongly advise against using it for a stable, productive system. I think you'd be better off with Ubuntu or Debian + KDE 3.5.9 for that.

Overall, I found this beta looking very good with a little tweaking, and since I'm a KDE fan, I'm happy to see how good KDE 4.1 can look. I think all the new development which has been put into KDE 4.x, all the eye-candy, beauty, transparency effects, artwork, and a completely new approach really makes up a powerful, innovative desktop environment, and I hope for improvements over time and even more usability where possible.


Anonymous said...

My thoughts entirely.

pbhj said...

Isn't that Amarok 3?

I think you downplay the font-size and the screen-res app problems a bit too much. You can't even see what the available resolutions are in your capture .. that may be only a GUI issue but it stops the applet from even being useful.

Some video would have been a nice part of the post do you know about the available video screen capture options, ?

Dan Craciun said...

I know about those, even used some of them a few times, but I don't think I can upload them to Blogger. Maybe it's possible though, I'll have a look, thanks. I agree the problems are not to be neglected because it can turn a new user from it if he doesn't know where to look to change resolution and font sizes, and it looks like an alpha-stage application.

D said...

It doesn't come out clearly in your report.

There is still a known problem with NVIDIA and KDE 4: KDE4 is based on Qt4. And Qt4 makes extensive use of the RENDER extension, which the nvidia driver supports very badly. Nvidia is still working on that.

So KDE 4 is still no recommendation for nvidia users. But with my intel chipset graphics it works nicely for me as productive system, even with multi-head. (You can find out more on my blog.)

davemc said...

I been testing 64 bit Kubuntu Intrepid out via a Wubi install on a dual core system with 4+G of RAM and an Nvidia 8800. Your right about the stability issues, and I do get frequent random lockups and crashes even to this very day. A lot of the time apport picks these up and I send in the full report (logs included) but many of these get remarks back from the KDE devs like "I dont think this is reproduceable. Apport must be going crazy again".

Also, Kubuntu lags very far behind Ubuntu's usability enhancements. Things like the codec finders and Restricted Driver Manager just don't seem to be present in Kubuntu, leaving the users to find and configure these things for themselves. Assuming you have fair experience with Linux, your impressions with Kubuntu will probably be pretty good, if you disregard the random instability. If your Linux knowledge is lacking, then you will not be happy at all with Kubuntu and it should definitely be avoided. Ubuntu Intrepid however looks to be probably the best release to date for Canonical, and it is going to make some headlines with alot of the improvements.

Flavio Henrique Araque Gurgel said...

KDE 4 + NVidia FX 5200 and happy here!
Ok, the window resize is slow but my 3D desktop is turned off! I prefer to leave my computer power to run the applications that really need it, sorry.

Anonymous said...

"Things like the codec finders and Restricted Driver Manager just don't seem to be present in Kubuntu, leaving the users to find and configure these things for themselves."

These have been present in Kubuntu since 7.10.

sebas said...

From the screenshots you show, the font problems are caused by a too low dpi setting. Something's wrong there, I've run into that as well. I've temporarily put "ServerArgsLocal=-br -nolisten tcp -dpi 96" into /etc/kde4/kdm/kdmrc, after that all fonts had the correct size.

The performance issues you see have been fixed with the 177.80 release of the NVidia driver.

Anonymous said...

Kubuntu lags far behind Ubuntu. If you want a stable, usable, KDE system, you're better off with either Mandriva or Suse. Mandriva by far has the best KDE implementation, and also very underrated.

Anonymous said...

I have had Intrepid for a week and I love it! I cannot say enough about this new release. Congratulations for a job well done.

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