01 December 2008

Review: Kubuntu Intrepid Ibex

Woot. So the new version of Kubuntu came out.
Kubuntu 8.10, the "Intrepid Ibex"
This release prominently features KDE version 4.1 and all the goodies (and ported applications) that such a KDE4 release entails.

So what does this mean to the layperson?
Well, let me run through and review it all for you.


So, once I get Kubuntu, I put the disc in and rebooted (making sure it booted from the DVD/CD drive).

In a minute or two, and I was up and running with a complete Linux desktop without installing a thing. It surprised me because it got th trackpad on my laptop right this time. It never used to. The mouse was insanely slow to drag across the screen on previous releases.

Straight away, I noted how gorgeaus this release is. I wish there was a bit more Kubuntu branding, say like replacing the kde symbol with the kubuntu one for the menu, and a Kubuntu wallpaper, but Its beautiful nonetheless.

Things faded in and out, and I think users will be a bit less tempted to think that the install icon on the desktop is double click becasue it's inside of a widget. People expect widgets to act like the web, and that here means single click.

Well, the first thing anyone does on their computer, is to go to the internet. I found the web browser easily, as it was labeled so in the favorites menu. VERY SLICK. I went to look up a video, and I was prompted to get flash from adobe.

Oh, no I thought. Remembering this from the past. My worries were for nothing though. I could see ubuntu listed in adobe's download site, but the word's DEB and APT might be a bit foreign to the normal user. However, APT said it wasn't supported, so I chose deb and opened it with the installer. That makes sense. So at the very least, if the layman knows that Kubuntu and Ubuntu are sister operating systems, they'll be okay.

Or not. Adobe's package didn't work at all. So, being a more adept user (pun intended), I went to add/remove programs. I did a simple search for flash. Not there. being an expert, I'd open up Konsole and type "sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree", but that is riddiculous. Yes, you can find it in Adept Manager, but Add/Remove programs should have something so vital to everyday internet usage.

Overall, Konqueror could start on a web page. That would be nice. It should stop trying to be a swiss army knife, and just stick to web browsing. The address bar doesn't search for the closest web site like firefox (not by default anyway), nor are there live bookmarks. These are both essential to me and tie me to firefox. So I go off to find it. I install it and am now littered with Ubuntu's Package manager and add/remove programs. I do not have Ubuntu, I have Kubuntu, why are you giving me all this crap? I know to just remove synaptic and ubufox, the layperson? nope.

Firefox blends in pretty well with Kubuntu, but the scrollbars go wonky a lot. Also, the MIME types don't work, so I save my files before opening them.

Widgets are great, but everyone I know keeps removing the taskbar trying to close a program that hasn't opened yet.

Networking is a big thing this release, but Knetworkmanager is a major step backwards in usability. I've seen Celeste give a usability report, but no one seems to have listened.

The Package manager, or the real name of Add/Remove programs, is Adept. Adept was good, but the installer was slow and it was generally... okay. Now, however, it is a beacon of prettiness in programs, fast, responsive, and easier to understand.

The file manager, dolphin is great.

Pop a CD or usb drive in and it shows up non-intrusively in a little widget. That is so damn nice.

Kopete is ugly, has msn issues, and should have an easier way to set up gtalk.

K3B, though still a kde3 application, is the best cd burning program ever.

Amarok is still the stable old 1.4 series, but the 2.0 RC is available to those who want it. It is still the "killer app" for almost everyone I know using or intending to try linux.

Kmail and KDE PIM are wonderful for productivity.

Openoffice is great, but kind of old. 2.4? 3.0 is out!

Utilities and usability are out of this world.

The Virtual keyboard is nice for those with just a touchscreen (though I'd perfer it to be a plasmoid I can embed in a panel) or for those of you who thought the apple slim keyboard plus linux was a good idea (keyboard dies, hub and keys, the instant you try to do something usb on my system).

GetNewHotStuff is the most badass feature this release. Katapult, the badass feature in previous releases is missing. this could've been remedied by changing the shortcut key for krunner from alt f2 to alt space and making an amarok catalog plugin for krunner.

I don't know why I need klipper cluttering up my system tray, but I can't copy/paste without it. The next version of KDE will have systemtray icon hiding like in windows, so this wont be an issue in the future.

I'm very happy about the inclusion of KGrubEditor.

64-bit still sucks a little. The 64-bit flash plugin beta is available to help fix this, but skype is still 32-bit.

This came out shortly after the release of the new penny arcade game, and I intent to play that on this new release. (needs to do some 64-bit trickery though.)

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