|As I already reviewed Ubuntu 6.10, and most of what I said about it is also true for Kubuntu 6.10, I will focus on the difference between the two distributions: the artwork, the desktop and the default set of applications.When the announcement was made for the release of Ubuntu 6.10, I had a quick look at some of the mirrors and found out that the ISO files for Kubuntu 6.10 were there as well. In fact the announcement for the release of Kubuntu 6.10 came only a few moments later. Although Kubuntu started as an independent project, people from the two distributions quickly got to talk together and they now seem to work closely with each other. |
Kubuntu is available in 3versions:
- the Desktop CD, which is aLive CD with a graphical installer;
- the Alternate Install CD, which gives system administrators a traditional way of installing the Linux distribution by booting on the CD and going through a text-based installer;
- a DVD version.
The Desktop CD is the recommended way to install Kubuntu. It fits on a single CD which you can download as an ISO, Jigdo or torrent file from this address: http://kubuntu.org/download.php
You will find the MD5 sums within the FTP mirrors in order to check the integrity of the ISO file. Once the file is burnt on CD, you can booton it and use the “Check CD for defect”and “Memory Test” features to ensure nothing is going to go wrong during the installation.
The LiveCD automatically logs you in a KDE environment and there is an icon placed on the desktop which launches the installation. The installer is exactly the same as the one used by Ubuntu. Itis easy to use and convivial, and the installation takes approximately 30 minutes.
Inside Kubuntu 6.10
Kubuntu has been my favorite distribution since I first tried it. However after each release I have been disappointed by the quality of its artwork. When Dapper Drake was released and Ubuntu unveiled the fantastic theme they had been working on, I was quite sad to see that Kubuntu hadn't changed one bit. In this release I was pleased to see that a few efforts were made.
The window decorations look much better than before and the distribution finally comes with a decent wallpaper. The default KDE style used in Kubuntu is still the same: Plastik. It looks nice, but I think the Polyester style would make Kubuntu look much better. The color scheme is better as well. The darker blue of the window decorations contrast with the light blue used for the wallpaper and the icons, this gives the desktop a bit of depth which Kubuntu was missing in its previous releases.
The default Kubuntu desktop
The GDM and boot splash screens were also greatly improved. Overall,although it is clear that efforts were made to make Kubuntu6.10 look nicer than its predecessor, we are still far from the quality achieved by other distributions.
There are no icons or shortcuts on the desktop. A menu is accessible from the KDE bar and you can use it to see your home folder, your devices and to browse the network.
Storage Media, Network and Home (with a few added personal folders)
You can also do that from the default page that opens when you start Konqueror.
The default page for Konqueror
The menus are full of little applications, some of them I doubt I would ever use. Thanks to KDE sessions and system tray, a good variety of applets and the vast number of kio slaves that come with Konqueror you should be able to configure this desktop and make it more comfortable.However, by default, Kubuntu's desktop is not particularly good.
Default Selection of Software
Kubuntu comes with KDE 3.5.5 and mostly uses KDE applications.Konqueror is the default web browser. Firefox 2.0 is not installed by default. The default email reader is Kmail which is installed as part of Kontact. Kopete and Konversation are there for chat and IRC. Kaffeine is the default multimedia reader and Amarok 1.4.3 is there for listening to music.
One KDE application hasn't made it to Kubuntu though: Koffice. For some strange reason Kubuntu's default office suite is OpenOffice2.0.4.
Kubuntu's package manager is APT. Aptitude is installed by default andyou can use the Adept if you're not comfortable with the command line. Adept is not as intuitive as Synaptic but it is fast, and oncey ou're used to its interface it is easy to use.
Konqueror provides a lot of kio slaves toconnect toremote servers and to browse the network. You'll have no problems accessing Windows shared folders for instance. Kbluetooth is also installed and allows you to connect and share files with Bluetooth devices.
The bluetooth Konqueror kio slave in action
By default, there is no applet for monitoring the network in the KDE bar and the Kubuntu configuration tool for the network is not very advanced. However, the hardware recognition is quite good and ifyou don't switch between networks or interfaces you should be ok.
Kubuntuis no less than Ubuntu with KDE: the most popular Linux distribution with the most popular desktop. It features the new KDE 3.5.5 and in some ways it comes with some of the best Linux applications there is: Amarok 1.4.3, Konversation 1.0.1 and Kopete0.12.3. Unfortunately, I personally think it made some wrong choices.For instance, it's a pity Kubuntu didn't take advantage of Koffice 1.6to replace OpenOffice 2.0.4 and give its users a fast and lightweight office suite. The default email reader and web browser also are not a very good choice. The first thing I do after installing Kubuntu is to get Firefox and Thunderbird installed. The artwork is a bit better than before, but to be honest, nothing is very impressive in this release.In fact, Kubuntu 6.10 looks very much like its predecessor. It benefits from the few innovations that were brought in by Ubuntu, such as upstart for instance, which makes the boot process faster. But overall, nothing much is new in this release. It's just an updated version of Kubuntu 6.06.