Installing the open-source Ubuntu Linux operating system a few months ago made a quick convert from me in terms of individual distributions. As a long-time user of Red Hat‘s desktop distro, I was amazed at just how far this new project had come in such a short time and now recommend it for anyone looking for a desktop or workstation Linux distribution to start off with.
One thing about Ubuntu is that it was deliberately designed around the Gnome desktop environment, in order to simplify the development time by supporting only one DE. As a long time Gnome user, this didn’t bother me, though I was curious as to how the other major window managers and desktop environments performed on the distribution.
Kubuntu answers that question with their new preview release, based around the recently released KDE 3.4 desktop. Since Kubuntu uses Ubuntu as its base, all I had to do was issue an
apt-get install kubuntu-desktop command from the root shell and within twenty minutes I had the ability to switch between KDE and Gnome at login.
I must say that the latest version of KDE is much faster than I remembered. Performance was equal to that of my Gnome install, which was always a problem area previously. Applications have a higher level of desktop environment integration in KDE than Gnome, something that can take some getting used to. In many ways the separate user interfaces of gnome applications are so common that the KDE desktop seemed alien to me.
Overall I’m not quite sure I’m ready to switch completely to a KDE desktop, but I do see some excellent work coming from Kubuntu team, which makes them a very valuable addition to the Ubuntu family.