Ubuntu is based on Debian, one of the oldest distributions out there, well-known for its highly stable releases, but it delivers the latest versions of applications with each release and offers a more polished desktop. Many other projects were born based on Ubuntu, including Kubuntu (which is practically Ubuntu using KDE instead of GNOME), Edubuntu (for educational purposes), or Xubuntu (using the Xfce desktop environment).
In this article I'll overview Kubuntu 9.04, which comes with KDE 4.2.2, bleeding-edge software like OpenOffice.org 3.0.1 and Amarok 2.0.2.
Typical Kubuntu 9.04 desktop with default wallpaper
First of all, Kubuntu was always known as Ubuntu's little brother, since it was based on KDE and opinions were always different regarding its stability. Some say Kubuntu was always a buggy distribution, and probably the worst KDE-based distribution out there, while for others it works very well. Since Kubuntu shares the same repositories with Ubuntu and the KDE packages come from Debian Sid (the unstable Debian repositories), this can be understandable, especially that usually the Ubuntu community focuses on GNOME.
Although I already had Kubuntu 9.04 Beta installed on a separate partition, I decided to download the final release and install it on a clean partition instead of apt-get dist-upgrading. Anyway, here's what the brand, new and shiny Kubuntu 9.04 Jaunty has to offer...
I took the following screenshots at 1280x1024, with the nVIDIA 180.29 driver on a GeForce FX 7600GS graphics card.
As usual, I noticed incompatibilities between KDE's desktop settings and nVIDIA driver, but they seem to go away after using nvidia-settings utility to set resolution and save settings to the /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
I made a full review of Amarok 2.0.2 on Kubuntu here, and although I found it buggy and lacking features, 2.1 promises great improvements.
Amarok 2.0.2 - currently pretty buggy
There was a problem after ticking the 'Ctrl+Alt+Backspace restarts the xserver' check box in System Settings' Display tab (it didn't restart the X Server), but it went away after setting the resolution through the nvidia-settings tool.
Kontact, Kopete and KTorrent
I could notice Dolphin will eat 100% CPU and practically freezes the system when moving the mouse over a Quick Time .MOV file (I guess that's because codecs are not installed, but nevertheless, this should be fixed).
I liked to see KDE 4.2 is much faster than how it was in Kubuntu 8.10. Great transparency effects, wobbly windows, animated minimise/maximise of windows are just a few of the wonderful desktop effects KDE has to offer.
Overall, Kubuntu 9.04 seemed, at least to me, buggy as usual. The pppoeconf utility does not seem to work, despite the fact that the Internet connection works flawless in Debian; (update: this proved to be actually a problem with the ISP),there are still some problems with fonts when changing resolution (this is probably a KDE issue, since it's been there for years, KDE3 too). But still, with a little tweaking, Jaunty can offer a good KDE 4.2 experience and bleeding-edge applications.