Kubuntu 8.04 with KDE 4 – a review

This must be one of the rare times that I’ll have a review which features negative comments on Linux! Like many KDE fans around, I was pretty much excited by announcement of KDE 4 and the promise of a better looking interface that’s lighter than KDE 3. So when Hardy Heron was released, of course I couldn’t help but try but my experience with it has been a bit disappointing – maybe coz I’ve been used to much higher standards from Linux.

The test platform:

  • Pentium IV – 2.4 GHz
  • 512 MB DDR 2 RAM
  • NVidia Geforce 4000 MX (not great at all)
  • Hard Disk – 180 GB
  • Wired Ethernet, DVD,…

The Installation is very smooth (I’m using the alternate edition), in less than one hour you are done. Note that I’m now used to the partitioning system.

First Look
Not bad; the login screen is so so – could have been improved and once you get started you are welcome with the new default desktop and the taskbar is black. The starting menu has also changed; the applications are grouped into categories.

Beyond appearances: the good, the bad and the ugly

The good

  • No need to add repositories
    • Previously in Kubuntu, you had to add all sort of repositories; enabling multiverse, … and that would allow additional programs to be included – even onts. Now this is no longer required – the only programs not available that I had to download seperately are realplayer, adobe acrobat and skype.
  • Amarok & MP3
    • Previously you had to get libxine extracodes or similar to play mp3. Now, just start amarok and try to play an mp3 file. It will say that it cannot play mp3 by default but it will prompt you to install the required library which will automatically be installed through adept.
  • Nice Interface
    • KDE 4 is definitely nice and plasma-extragear will give you additional widgets.

– – –
The bad

  • Random quirks
    • On installing firefox in adept, it’s firefox 3 beta that got installed. Why the hell is it not the stable Firefox 2 in there
    • Firefox would not appear in the starting menu (same with Amarok) after they were installed in adept. They could howver be launched with Run
    • The initial OpenGL drivers do not support blur, fade, … or any other eyecandy. However, the Nvidia drivers are easy to install.
  • FAT32 partitions
    • My FAT32 partitions (where my music is stored) did not appear by default in Amarok. It’s only when I played with dolphin that they appeared.

– – –

The Ugly

  • Instability
    • Since blur, fade and … did not work with the official; I chose to use XRender as renderer and it failed. If failed miserably and the system became incredibly slow.
  • The taskbar disappeared
    • For I don’t know what reason, the taskbar disappeared and I couldn’t get it back. I tried to install Kicker but it turned out to be the taskbar of KDE 3 and not of KDE 4. Finally I preferred to reinstall everything
  • Show Desktop icon and taskbar widgets
    • Very strangely, there is no “Show Desktop” icon and widgets cannot be added to taskbar! What the heck? The “Show Desktop” icon is particularly useful and it seems that is is replaced by CTRL + F12. Sorry that’s lame since the taskbar is not visible in this mode and even worse when you launch new applications, they do not appear!

KDE 4 is a step in the right direction but it is a technology that will need time to mature and I now understand why Cannonical has decided that Kubuntu 8.04 won’t be LTS. For now, I’ll be sticking to Dapper on my laptop coz one of the prime reasons I’m using ubuntu is it’s incredible stability which is currently not available in Kubuntu 8.04.

12 responses to “Kubuntu 8.04 with KDE 4 – a review

  1. KDE 4.1 should be out by July to address hundreds of bugs detected so far. I preferred to stick with KDE 3.5.9 which is slightly better in performance compared to what was offered in Kubuntu 7.04.

    Perhaps you could search Launchpad and get some clues to your problems for the time being.

  2. Sir, you could try the 8.04 (Hardy). I too was excited to download the Remix and got similar (if not more) problems like you. I managed to install KDE 3.5 on Remix and it seemed A LOT better than KDE4.
    i just did:
    sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop
    and the job was done. I just chose KDE3 at login screen once and everytime it launches KDE3 which is nice!
    Hope you will like Kubuntu 8.04 like I do!

  3. Kubuntu 8.04 is available in 2 flavors:
    KDE4 Remix
    KDE3 standard

    I too started out with Hardy & KDE4. I didn’t like it at all. I promptly reinstalled and am happy running 8.04 with kde3.5.9 and couldn’t be happier. All the stability of 8.04 with the solid kde3 interface. Try it. You don’t need t spend time installing on top of KDE4. Just use the right ISO πŸ™‚

  4. I tried the Kubuntu KDE 4 version too, it’s not yet stable… and got quite some bugs… and i did not like the intereface as well, it has got less applications installed by default… 😦 I have just downloaded the KDE 3.5.9 version and will install it afterwards… πŸ™‚ KDE 4 has not yet reached it’s stable version… We will need to wait some more… :s

  5. installed 8.04 with Kde 4.
    Was looking nicely, a log of good effects, but after restarted and logged on the taskbar did not appear and no way to get it back.
    Probaly will take 3.5.9 for now, maybe in autumn we’ll have a stable KDE 4 release with major bugs fixed.
    sad, it is just beautiful but we have to wait for a stable one to come

  6. From what I’ve read, Hardy Heron packs quite a number of uncorrected bugs. And I think this is confirmed by this negative review.

    Personally, I’ve stopped using Ubuntu or any of its variants. I’m still a Linux n00b, and I want things to work as they should. And what’s with the idea of including beta software in a LTS? It’s just weird.

    This reminds me of Gutsy Gibbon, where the first time I fired the in-built file manager, I got a permissions error. This is unacceptable. We want clean software, with minimal bugs, not something that requires hours of personalisation before it works.

    This is why I’m using another distro that is based on Ubuntu, but doesn’t have the bugs I hated, and worked out of the box. Name? Linux Mint. 5th on DistroWatch I think.

    It’s really great! It’s not really “free software philosophy”. Upon starting, it already included support for MP3s and loads of video files. Nothing to install. As an example, it played RMVBs out-of-the-box. Wireless was detected immediately. In fact, I had nothing to config, nothing to install.

    After Mint, I totally dumped *buntu. As they say, Mint is really “what Ubuntu should have been”. Give it a try someday.

  7. firefox 3 b5 is included instead of FF2 is coz of it’s amazing improvement over ff2. it starts up faster, is very light and manages memory efficiently. Don’t be fooled by the ‘beta’ tag, it’s very stable! I have been using it since the day it was released, both on windows, and ubuntu hardy, and it rocks!

  8. i too grabbed the kubuntu version after trying the kde desktop from an ubuntu knome install but running a p4 with 4gb ram and taking over an hr to delete a 35mb file??? come on now, even windows 3.11 was faster then this. gonna try adding the kde3 desktop over this kubuntu kde4 install and see what happens

  9. Agree about Mint, but it it’s not as pretty as Kubuntu. Effective as Mint and pretty as Kubuntu, now that would be nice!

  10. Well KDE on 8.04 is buggy, I found gnome more stable. Of course, gnome’s interface is boring BUT :

    – consumes less memory/resources

    I’ve just downgraded from ubuntu 8.04 to Kubuntu 7.10 gutsy gibbon but adept crashed several times while dragging sub-contents of development to tag window in view of installing new packages 😦

    Well INF told me about new distros: PC linux OS and MINT but I haven’t given them a try. Maybe i should launch a virtual machine such as virtualbox/vmware before running

    Recovering windows through linux
    Well i had my HP_RECOVERY partition which is encrypted and those fairy tales “Press F11 to start recovery” didnt work for me. After having installed ubuntu, grub identified my recovery partition and allowed me to run recovery properly.. Windows’ recovery console sucks 😦 tried all the DOS commands, FIXMBR, MBR, blabalabl but didnt fix 😦 while GRUB helped me out

  11. I have tested KDE 4 on Kubuntu 8.04, and I am disappointed

    * Impossible to have more than 1 desktop, the setting is not applied
    * Impossible to have the clock as I want
    * the start menu is really bad, much more clicks to start a program
    * Dophin is so bad compared to Konqueror which is amazing file system brower, with tabs, bookmarks, support for ftp, scp.. The choice of replacing Konqueror by Dolphin is a pure non sense.
    * bugs with the tasks manager

    Overall, KDE 3.5.9 was nearly perfect, it just needed a relooking. KDE4 at present time is a massive regression for common users, which Kubuntu is targetting.

    Kubuntu should support KDE3.5 for a while, until KDE4 becomes at least as good.

  12. Man i got a cd with kubuntu 8.04 featuring kde 3.5 its wonderfully stable just that dolphin as file manager sucks. Konqueror is much better

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