Sunday, 29 March 2009

10 Essential Applications Included in Kubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope

While I agree that there are applications for KDE 4.2 which still lack several important features (like for example the equalizer and ability to go to the previous/next song using the tag editor in Amarok), I must say that it also improved very much since the last time I had a look at it. It is definitely faster, the desktop looks nicer, it does not seem a beta environment any more. Overall, the improvements in KDE 4 are really visible and I'm glad for that from a user's point of view. The only drawback is that (at least on my system - an Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8 GHz, 1 GB DDRAM2 and GeForce FX 7600GS) I had to disable desktop effects (OpenGL support) when playing Unreal Tournament 2004. The nVIDIA driver I used was the last one from the official website (180.29). I also tried the ones included in the repositories (all 4 versions of the packaged nvidia-glx) but this one seemed to work best for me. I'll give it another go when Jaunty will be stable and eventually make a full review.

Back to the main topic of this article. I will briefly review no less than ten applications which are included by default on the Kubuntu 9.04 CD. The Kubuntu team released the first Jaunty Jackalope beta on March 26, so after installing it on a separate 10 GB partition (my other system is Debian Lenny) I performed a sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade to make sure the last updates were included. Kubuntu 9.04 comes with KDE 4.2.1, Amarok 2.0.2 and OpenOffice 3.0.1 as an office suite (still no inclusion of KOffice).

Music player: Amarok 2.0.2
This is the KDE 4 port of the famous Amarok audio player. It has some issues with scanning the music collection, but it's usable overall. It comes with a lot of features, including a powerful collection manager, cover manager, support for services like and Jamendo. One of the great features introduced in Amarok 2.x was the widget support, which allows you to embed lyrics, song info and many more in the central area of the player.
Official website

Movie player: Dragon Player 2.0
Although not as powerful as players like SMPlayer or Kaffeine, Dragon Player (formerly known as Codeine) will play all the popular video formats (including Matroska MKV) and DVDs. It is a small, basic player with support for subtitles but not any other options.
Official website

Web browser: Konqueror 4.2.1
This is the port of the famous and default file manager, viewer and web browser in KDE3. Currently it still has some issues, especially crashes when pressing some web buttons or filling in forms. For example, I couldn't write a Blogspot post using Konqueror. Still, it is the default web browser which ships with KDE 4 and implicitly Kubuntu Jaunty and I hope it will be fixed in the versions to come.
Official website

File manager: Dolphin 1.2.1
Praised by some and highly criticised by others, Dolphin is now the default file manager in KDE 4. Although there are many (including me) which prefer to use Konqueror as the file manager, Dolphin has a nice clean interface and it's pretty simple and intuitive to use.
Official website

CD/DVD burner: K3b 1.0.5
Probably the most loved and the most complete burning application available for Linux, K3b still is at version 1.0.5 for KDE3, which will make it look a little ugly compared to the way KDE 4 applications look now. Although Kubuntu 9.04 will come with this K3b version, the official maintainer of this wonderful application started working at a KDE 4 port for it.
Official website

BitTorrent client: KTorrent 3.2.0
Together with clients like Azureus or Deluge, KTorrent was always one of the top BitTorrent clients available for Linux, and definitely the number one choice for KDE users. It's just feature-complete, it has support for plugins and the default ones are more than enough, you can download many torrents at one time without any problems, it can download only specific files from inside a torrent, you can search for torrents directly from within KTorrent and many, many more.
Official website

IM client: Kopete 0.70.0
Kopete hasn't changed much compared to its KDE 3 counterpart. It currently has no more features, it's just the same old client ported to KDE 4 with a changed interface here and there. It supports many networks like Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, Jabber and WLM.
Official website

Image viewer: Gwenview 2.2.0
Gwenview was always my default image viewer of choice. It is powerful enough, well-designed, with a clean interface and all the options one needs from an image viewing application. It also comes with a bunch of plugins which will turn out quite useful for basic image manipulation.
Official website

IRC client: Quassel 0.4.1
Quassel is an IRC client which is new to me, and I've never used it before. Since the Konversation port to KDE 4 is yet to be complete as far as I know, Kubuntu includes this one. It's a basic client with no scripting support, but it includes enough configuration options to make it useful for getting on IRC. Those who never bothered making various plugins or customising their IRC client using event-based scripting will be fine with Quassel. There are, however, some problems with Quassel. I couldn't change the chat window font and it doesn't seem to remember the size of the nicklist.
Official website

Terminal application: Konsole 2.2.1
I couldn't exclude a terminal application from an 'essential applications' list in Linux. Konsole is the default shell in KDE and it supports configurable profiles (together with font sizes and colours).
Official website

Together with those there are also included OpenOffice 3.0.1 as the office suite, Okular, which is the universal document viewer in KDE 4, and KOrganizer.


Anonymous said...

This is by far the quickest release of kde yet (QT4.5 base). I am very impressed and can now ditch my gnome desktop for kde4.2.2 with much happiness.

Anonymous said...

The forum will nor respond so perhaps you might. I received kubuntu by fluke and am searching for a tutorial on how to configure. And would be nice to know how I came about having it. I was re-installing 8.10 to an absolutely clean HD with a stable live CD and ended up with the 8.10 as before as well as kubuntu jaunty
77 year old user crying in wilderness

Anonymous said...


It's not clear what you would like to configure. You could simply try going to the system preferences in the menu bar up top and systematically exploring what everything does. Alternatively, you can go to the ubuntu home page and look at the old posts in the forums. Lots of tutorials there.