Monday, May 20, 2013

kubuntu, once again

As I recall, the last time I installed and used Kubuntu, it was Kubuntu 6.06 ("Dapper") -- six or seven years ago!

A lot has changed since then. I've gained quite a bit of knowledge and experience with Linux, for one thing. Also, KDE development moved on to KDE4, which Kubuntu, of course, uses these days. Dolphin has replaced Konqueror as KDE's go-to file browser, and Rekonq has emerged as the default web browser for various KDE distros.

A new (to me) notebook came my way; I spent about a week trying to decide which Linux distro to install on it. I wanted something Debian-based and stable that I could leave installed on the notebook for a few years. I already have Debian Wheezy Xfce, Debian Wheezy GNOME, and Ubuntu 12.04 installed on other computers. I like Mepis, but the latest release isn't out yet (they're still at the Squeeze-based Mepis 11), and while I think Linux Mint is a great distro, I'm not so much of a fan of that one these days. I do like KDE4, and I had good experiences with Kubuntu in the past, so I finally decided to take a look at Kubuntu 12.04.2 LTS ("Precise"), which ships with KDE 4.8.5.

The installation was really quick and easy, and I was presented with this desktop:

That looked nice. Not sure what was up with the empty folder on the desktop, though.

Anyway, I got down to business, tweaking things and adding software. Kubuntu ships with Muon, a package management suite that includes Muon Package Manager, Muon Software Center, and Muon Update Manager. I've read nice things about Muon, but sometimes this old bear can be quite stuck in his ways; I turned off the update manager, and haven't used Muon at all. The first command that I ran in the fresh installation:

$ sudo apt-get install synaptic

I also installed a handful of other apps that didn't come with Kubuntu by default -- mostly apps that are not native to KDE, like the Chromium web browser, Geany text editor, SpaceFM file manager, and Mirage and Geeqie for image viewing.

I noted that while Kubuntu didn't come with Firefox, they did include a "Mozilla Firefox Browser Installer" to make it easy to get that web browser. The LibreOffice suite of applications was included, though.

Kubuntu (especially the LTS version) might be the best choice these days for a Debian-based KDE distro. I personally think that it's a better option than Mepis, Linux Mint KDE, or "straight" Debian with KDE, for various reasons, but the next guy might feel differently.

Here's a look at my Kubuntu Precise desktop after I finished setting things up:

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