Friday, 21 August 2009

Kubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala (Alpha 4) Overview & Screenshots

The fourth alpha of Ubuntu 9.10 was released a few days ago and since I covered it earlier in this article, here I'll briefly overview Kubuntu, the KDE-based distribution of Ubuntu. All the screenshots were taken after a complete dist-upgrade, so the software should be completely up-to-date as of today.

The new Karmic currently comes with Linux kernel 2.6.31, KDE 4.3, Amarok 2.1.1 as the audio player, Dragon Player as the default video player. In one of my previous articles I pointed out some of the new features in KDE 4.3, some of which are implicitly included in Karmic, like the new Plasma look, called Air, or the new KRunner.

Konqueror is a hell of a browser, with countless features and ease of use for those who are already used to it. These are not all, but it comes with web shortcuts, enabled AdBlock filters, profiles, plugins, shortcut to various web page translations, user agent switching and so on. There was a time when Konqueror was very unstable, but now I encountered no crashes, with Flash enabled. On the other hand it was always mature regarding features and usability, since the KDE3 days. YouTube works fine also, but I had to manually install the Flash plugin, although package flashplugin-nonfree was already installed.

Compared to the current stable Kubuntu, this one seems to be more responsive and faster, although resizing windows with desktop effects enabled can still be slow, but I tested this on my older GeForce 7600. Compositing works very well in KDE 4.3, at least that was my experience with it, and all the KDE applications interact good enough, but Firefox or GTK applications for example may be a little choppy (for example when using the Magic Lamp desktop effect). Of course, this is an alpha.

Some windows still have simple size issues, they are either too small or too big and need resizing.

One thing that bothers me at Konsole is that it still doesn't include a right-click context menu to close separate tabs, instead this functionality is available using Ctrl+Shift+W.

For some reason the Save as dialogue in KSnapshot won't show certain files, although their extension is the same selected in the dialogue. I noticed this happens only when saving on partitions mounted manually. This seems to happen at random.

Amarok 2.1.1

Since this is an alpha, there are still bugs and most of them come in applications which are not included in KDE, for example in Amarok 2. Also, the sound system doesn't seem to work, although this is a KDE problem I think, because on Ubuntu it does work.

Overall, this looks promising. The developers will have enough time to polish it until October, and KDE 4.3 really behaves very nice, not to mention the look.


sinaisix said...

I think i may use Kubuntu come october given the screenshots in your post

Anonymous said...

Wow, I also will be tempted to switch to KDE once Kubuntu is released!

trr said...

You don't have to wait until Kubuntu 9.10 comes out before trying. You can use Mint 7 KDE and go into the sources.list and uncomment the following lines.

deb jaunty main
deb jaunty main

once you have uncommented these lines in /etc/apt/sources.list

run the following commands
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

alfabemiz said...

Dan, what do you think about the touchpad tapping issue?

You know, you cannot disable touchpad tapping easily with a GUI interface. Don't you think it's a big problem for an operating system?

Craciun Dan said...

alfabemiz: I was not aware of that problem at the time of writing (I'm using a desktop PC). I guess it's a bug that will probably get fixed until the final stable release.

Anonymous said...

@alfabemiz and Dan:
The touchpad tapping thing is probably the only thing keeping me away from KDE. I can't work with it on, I'm always selecting and clicking things I don't want. It's been like that since Intrepid at least, and I don't expect it to be fixed any time soon; given how easy it should be, it would have been done a long time ago if it was important.

Anonymous said...

keypad issue is annoying. they should give a option to protect from accidental touch while typing like in mac.

Anonymous said...

Kubuntu, wow, is looking good. Hmm....I think I'll still keep my Ubuntu brown. :)

Emre said...

If you like KDE4, then think about trying "Pardus 2009", a ground up polished distro totally integrated with KDE4.

Liliputer said...

This link contains all you need to disable the touchpad while typing.

Amine said...

Kubuntu Seems to be Rockkkk,
but, Ubuntu still my Favorite