Ramblings of a Professional Computer Geek

May 28, 2009

Kubuntu – A First Look

Filed under: Linux,PCLinuxOS — Padma @ 2:57 pm
Tags: , ,

Okay, you all probably know I love PCLinuxOS. It has been, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, my primary OS.  But I’ve been looking at KDE4 for a while, and with KDE4.2.3, it looks about ready to use.  So I cast about for a good KDE4-based distro to play with.

Generally, I haven’t had much use for the *buntu family.  Every time I have tried one of them, it has left me feeling, “Ho, hum. Another average distro.”  I haven’t bothered actually installing one for years.  But Kubuntu 9.04 was highly recommended by an online friend, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

I downloaded 9.04 – Jaunty, burned it to CD, and rebooted my system.  My first impression: seems kind of slow, but then, it IS running from the CD.  I played around a little, and KDE4 seemed to be in pretty good shape.  So I figured, I have a spare partition, let’s try it installed.  I closed the apps I had running, and hit the “Install” button.

Hmm.  Nothing is happening.  Neither the hdd nor the cd lights are blinking, either.  Maybe I didn’t actually double-click it.  Let’s try it again.

Still nothing.  Maybe I can open a Konsole and see what’s going on.  Hmm.  The mouse moves around, but nothing seems to function when clicked on.  Maybe I can just switch to a full console window: Ctrl-Alt-F2.  What?  That didn’t work either?  Try killing X: Ctrl-Alt-Bksp.  Nothing there, either?  Screw it.  Maybe the graphical installer from the desktop doesn’t work right.  I hit the Reset button, and waited for the grub menu to show up.

Yeah, there it is.  I thought I remembered an install option from the menu.  I choose that, and settle down to do this.  Sure enough, here’s a nice Kubuntu splash screen, with a zylon scanner running back and forth.  I wonder what’s going on behind the scenes?  I hit the Escape key, so I can watch the background processes go by in text mode.  WTF?  Nothing happens, just the little zylon going back and forth.

Okay, I’m not going to wait forever to see some indication of actual processing going on.  I’ll give it 30 more seconds to do something, before I shut down and throw this disk away.  Finally, just before I killed it, and over 45 seconds from the time I selected “Install”, the initial installation screen comes up.

Now I’m on somewhat familiar ground.  English language.  US keyboard.  Etc.  Etc.  Ah, here we go: where to install?  I will tell you where, so “Advanced”.  No, not that partition.  I want you to go over here.  A few more configuration steps, and “Finish”.  Go do what I told you to.

At least it’s telling me what it’s doing, now.  No need to just sit here, I’ll go help / talk with my wife for a bit.  A while later I check on my system, and it is finishing up with the install.  It took a little longer than my PCLinuxOS installs, but what’s a few minutes between friends. 😉

All right.  Reboot, remove the CD, and wait for it to come back up.  Yes, there’s the grub screen.  Good, it found my existing PCLOS installation.  Let’s go with Kubuntu latest kernel.  Hmm, there’s that zylon again.  I’d rather see a verbose boot, just now.  I hit Esc.  WTF?  I can’t switch to a verbose boot?

It feels kind of slow to boot.  I didn’t time it, so I can’t say for sure.  But subjectively, it feels slower than PCLOS.  But up it does come.  Kde4 desktop.  I enable compositing.  Lots of shiny “eye-candy”.  I grab the latest updates.  I install a few things.  Turn on some widgets.  Visit some web sites.  Play some music.  This seems pretty solid.

Actually, my only real complaint, other than not being able to toggle to a verbose mode when booting, is that Kpackagekit, the default “Add New Programs” tool.  seems a bit unstable.  Every so often, when I went to install something, it would crash.  If I restarted it, and made the same selections, it would work fine.

I think I’ll keep it for playing with KDE4.  At least until Tex and the Gang put a version in the PCLOS repos. 😉

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4 Comments »

  1. I went back to Adept – Kpackagekit crashed on me at first as well. It’s still the default updater and doesn’t crash anymore, but I prefer to not use it.

    I’m curious about how you find after using it a while.

    Comment by V — May 28, 2009 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

    • Thanks. I’ll have a look at Adept.

      I’ll admit I haven’t gone whole-hog into Kubuntu: I haven’t signed up at any forums, or even Googled for any fixes. I really just want a chance to play with KDE4 a little bit. 😉

      And, so far, I’m liking it.

      Comment by Padma — May 29, 2009 @ 4:46 pm | Reply

  2. I’ve been messing around with a virtualized Kubuntu 8.10 for a little while. I still don’t know enough about Linux to say whether I like it or not, but I’ve found my way around without many problems.

    Comment by WildWeazel — May 29, 2009 @ 4:23 pm | Reply

    • You shouldn’t have to much trouble finding your way around. Linux uses, for the most part, a desktop metaphor similar to Windows. Part of that is to ease the transition for Windows users.

      Personally, the differences grow on you. Ever since I switched my system to 100% Linux 5 – 6 years ago, working in Windows seems like an alien environment. 😉

      Comment by Padma — May 29, 2009 @ 4:50 pm | Reply


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