12.04 Kubuntu Biannual Forced Death March Report

BiannualForcedDeathMarch(TM)

Ubuntu’s kissing cousin/brother/sister, Kubuntu, is also out in a new “version”. Sadly, there isn’t as much to say here as in the previous report; the good points such as a much easier install, chance to install experience enhancing software (Flash/A-V codex stuff) and a fairly painless update (with reboot!) all apply.

Kubuntu’s saving grace is that it uses a pretty standard UI: KDE’s bastard child Vista/7/OSX knockoff with every option under the sun containing its own system setting (not sure but I think it may contain an option to flip your keyboard upside down and type on the back side…. I’ll have to look deeper). The main gripes I have about the UI is that like Ubuntu the window controls are barely of adequate size for using a mouse–fingers need not apply to this Environment–and the fact that there are soooooooo many damn system settings, and they are scattered all over the place. Right click on the desktop to change wallpaper, go to system settings and poke around under Application Appearance, Workplace Appearance, Display, and probably a couple of others, just to find the one little thing you want to change. ALL of them could have been placed under one control panel category.

Another problem came to installing your VM’s BFF, VirtualBox Guest Additions. Unlike Ubuntu where it is as painless as press HOST+D, wait a few seconds, reboot, Kubuntu doesn’t work as well. Nope, for this, you need to root around in the Composting Heap Repo.

Upon opening the Newer New software manager (now named Muon… for the last two “versions”… soon to be changed to something like Kuark or KwArk) I searched through the thousands of listed packages (most of which are NOT programs… just libs and headers and other dependency garbage) and found no Guest Additions. No problem, just refresh the lists and wait… and wait… and wait. Finally after rooting around in garbage piles repositories scattered all over the world, I was able to find my beloved and necessary Guest Additionsc after which came waiting… and waiting and waiting for it to down load junk dependencies from the aforementioned garbage piles repositoris scattered hither and yon about the world.

After another reboot, Kubuntu was up and running nicely for the most part and didn’t even blink an eye when I fired up Kuark Muon to install one of the few games I’ll give the Linux community some credit for: Kajongg. Kajongg as you may not have guessed is a KDE based Mahjong app. No, not the ubiquitous Mahjong solitaire stuff, but Honest to Linus (Peanuts Linus that is!) 4 player MJ! (with some pretty sweet looking tiles at that… especially the Imperial Jade ones)*

As much as I hate to say it, I’ll have to give this one the C+(+?)/B- that I couldn’t give Ubuntu. I would grade a little higher but the over-the-top, scattered all over the control panel options detract from the grade, and the Guest Additions nonsense are just too aggravating. I will say this: if, IF, I had to recommend something for someone, I would probably tell them to try this first. The UI is standard enough that your average user can dive in with no culture shock and figure out how to get around (as long as they don’t suffer a stroke of apoplexy trying to sort through the options in the control panel).

*In the interest of full disclosure, I must also admit to having installed KaJongg in my Ubuntu VM.

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About DigitalAtheist
Out to find out how much Linux-loving hype is just hype and how much is true. Hype seems to be winning.

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