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Kubuntu 10.10 review

kubuntuKubuntu is the community developed, KDE-based version of Ubuntu. The latest edition, Kubuntu 10.10, was released on 10.10.2010, the same day that Ubuntu 10.10 was released. This article offers a detailed review of this KDE-based distribution, and also marks its first listing on this website.

Installation: The only real difference between Kubuntu’s installer and the Ubuntu installer is the interface. Everything else is the same. The installer on the desktop CD image does not have support for setting up LVM, RAID and disk encryption. If you need to configure any of those, download and install from the DVD image or the Alternate text installer image. There is support for installation on a btrfs file system. Read how to install Ubuntu 10.10 on a btrfs file system (written for Ubuntu, but also applies to Kubuntu). The boot loader is GRUB 2 (version 1.98). All features of the installer are described in detail here.

Desktop: KDE 4.5.1 is the version of the K Desktop Environment that ships with Kubuntu 10.10. You have a choice of running the classic Plasma Desktop interface or workspace (the default), or the Plasma Netbook workspace.

The classic Plasma Desktop workspace showing the Kickoff Menu style.

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Desktop with Kickoff menu style

The Plasma Netbook workspace. View more screenshots of the Netbook and Desktop workspaces here.

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The KDE netbook wordspace

One neat feature of the Plasma Netbook workspace is the search feature. In the example shown below, typing a Web address into the search box gives you the only option the system thinks is the right one to handle the search input. In this case, it is a Web browser, and clicking on it takes you to that website. This feature is called Search and Launch, or “SAL.”

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Searching from the netbook workspace

After switching from the Plasma Desktop to the Plasma Netbook workspace, I lost the minimize button on all the windows. It reappeared after switching back to the default desktop.

Installed Applications: Majority of the applications installed on Kubuntu are native KDE applications. The list include:

  • K3B
  • Akregator
  • KMail
  • Kopete
  • rekong (Web browser)
  • Amarok
  • Dragon Player (video player)

OpenOffice.org is the non-native KDE applications installed. Many more applications in the repository that can be installed easily with KPackageKit, the graphical package manager.

Software Management and Updates: KPackageKit is the graphical package manager. The interface is not as polished as the Ubuntu Software Center, but its search functionality is better, Also, applications can be queued for installation. Something that is not possible with Ubuntu’s Software Center.

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KPackageKit

Out of the box, the system is configured to check for updates weekly, which I think is too long. Most distributions are configured to check for updates daily. A few, like Mandriva, are configured to check for updates every five minutes. Unlike in Ubuntu, the update notification application in Kubuntu actually works.

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Update settings

KPackageKit showing the list of available updates.

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Available updates

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