Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On Kubuntu 12.04 Beta 1 [* UPDATED]

*** It's been some time since I installed Kubuntu 12.04 Beta 1 and I have been using it exclusively since. And much to my surprise I find myself using it more and more. There are many small improvements that you catch on only after some serious exploration. And until now I'm not feeling hopeless about kubuntu. So perhaps with this revision I can say that finally KDE has become enough usable that it doesn't push me away.
In it's own, this KDE is vast improvement to what I tested the last time - almost two years - and the snappy performance is really a pleasure. Now if I don't see those application crashes less often, I would move to this as my primary distro.
( I have seen only handful application/ system crashes on my current Ubuntu 10.10 Installation that is my primary OS. )

Review System:
Emachines E-727 with Pentium D 2.3GHz; 3GB RAM; 250GB HDD; Atheros WLAN; Intel Integrated Graphics 4500mHD.

I am one of those many who want to shift to Arch Linux but don't have the time and patience to get through a proper installation and the tinkering that's needed while setting up an Arch Linux installation. So I'm on the lookout for something else that won't break my neck while trying to figure things out.

It was a long time since I had my last trifle with Ubuntu's much less enamoured cousin Kubuntu. Just a few days ago I saw an announcement on Planet Ubuntu that beta 1 for the whole family is out. So I went ahead and downloaded Kubuntu 12.04 and installed it in virtual box.

The installation went without a hitch and just within 15 Minutes I was installing my favourite software. As I wanted to preview the stuff I just installed VLC and remastersys and few other tools and rolled a Custom ISO. Then was the testing time and trying to feel my way around the system.

Well, one thing I have to say - the system is faster. The installation was much faster than before - 10.10 was the last version that I tried my hands at. The system's idle Ram Usage was also lower at around 300MB; while back then it used to reach 400MB easily. I disabled the effects and nepomuk and strigi and few more services ad the RAM usage was down to 250MB which is very respectable. The Desktop remains almost unchanged although it feels slightly more responsive and applications are bit more responsive.

The Dev's have spent some quality time in Activities; but as I am not a hardcore user I skipped them altogether. Applications wise Ocular was way faster than before. I didn't like Amarok and still doesn't like it. The interface is a bloat and even after spending about an hour on it I couldn't get it look any better or easier to use. Well, I needed some alternative here. I like Clementine so I marked it down for installation. Same went with Dragon Player; it's not as ugly but still it can't match the simplicity of Totem. Anyway I was replacing it with VLC so that's not a problem.

Another problem is Midori; it's just not upto the task. I used it for a browsing session of an hour and it crashed thrice. Thankfully they have provided Firefox Installer.

On Office front, latest LibreOffice helps and it's getting better with every revision. No grudges here! :D
I am not an online junkie (was actually; alas, no more! ) so I didn't use KOpete and stuff. The included game of KPatience is good for some pastime.

I didn't like the notifications and the hardware indicator popping out every time I plugged in something. Closing these pesky messages is a super pain in the backside. So I disabled them from the System Tray. The Desktops were not much problem - there were two provided and I needed to look up the keyboard shortcuts for them. I wish the keyboard shortcuts would be same between different desktops for same tasks. But nevertheless they get the job done.

The system settings are as usual full of many configurable options and I still feel like KDE should cut these. Also the design of the dialogues can be cleaner. They still feel crowded with things, many of whom are hardly used. Although the System Settings cover a vast area and I think there's only a few things that are missing here but still better them not added here to make an even greater mess.

I didn't have much issue on system stability; only a few of the apps crashed and that didn't even make the system feel any slower. Kubuntu just chugged along happily and for that I have to give credit to the KDE Devs and Kubuntu team for their efforts.

Now the only thing I want is a decent working theme that doesn't look as uninspiring as the current silver-gray. The black theme for desktop looks great; I just hope we get it for the whole system.

Well, later I went back to Virtual Box; removed the stuff I didn't want and installed the stuff I wanted. After getting a custom ISO done using remastersys I installed it to the above mentioned hardware and the system performed as expected. So I think I can use it as my Backup Distro while I decide between going Ubuntu Unity/ Anything else with Gnome 3/ Linux Mint with MGSE.

1 comment:

  1. Been using the latest clementine for a while on this setup... And well I've (finally) found it to working to my satisfaction. There were couple of crashes when I was exploring things but now that I have gotten things settled it's working as solid as ever.
    Also I have not experienced any more crashes in KDE itself so that's one more thing in it's favor!