Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 29th Oct 2009 15:39 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu We're a little late, but Real Life got in the way, so here we finally are. Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, announced today that Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop Edition has been released. This version focusses on improvements in cloud computing on the server using Eucalyptus, further improvements in boot speed, as well as development on Netbook Remix. The related KDE, Xfce, and other variants have been released as well. Update by ELQ: Just a quick note to say that one of my Creative Commons videos was selected to be part of Ubuntu's Free Culture Showcase package that comes by default with the new Ubuntu version!
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I have installed Kubuntu 9.10 and I'm really trying to like it, but so far I really don't.

Visually it has been a real disappointment. Is it a Kubuntu thing or does the KDE world have something against *contrast*? Icons, wallpaper, applets, window borders, window areas... everything is white, very pale shades of baby blue or extremely light gray, which makes everything mash together in an indistinct blob. The tiny font sizes they have chosen don't help usability either. And there is not a single vivid theme or color set available by default.

The start menu is large and ugly, using an enormous space in screen for no good reason, and it works in a less than intuitive way, with panes that shift out of existance (and eventually back in, once you figure how).

Kpackagekit sucks badly. It opens to an absolutely empty list of packages. Results from searches make it less than clear if packages are already installed or not, and icons use the smoke-like contrastless KDE convention. And for some reason, package installation appears to be SLOW, far slower than with Synaptic.

And the terminology! It sounds like phony-kool, and is often impenetrable, but it is thrown at your eyes mindlessly. WTF is Akonadi? And what in the world is A PLASMOID!! Like, is it something from outer space? And what about Nepomuk/Strigi? All this comic-book talk does not help usability a bit.

I'll keep using it for now, to see if it does grow on me. It does look far more polished than the 4.1 version I tried a few months ago, which I found disastrous. The subjacent software technology is very impressive, but I think a lot of work has to be poured into streamlining and accessibility until I find it as as simple and comfy as Gnome is now. Of course, it is my opininon, YMMV, and I am in fact taking the plunge and adopting it for some time to to check if I am wrong.

-- EDIT: It DOES have very nice things, like that default integration of 3D effects like window previews in the taskbar, and the default Exposé (TM) feature that works very well.Activating those things in Gnome is a pain in the butt, and does require installing extra software and deciding on absurd little details just in the way that has been traditionally been criticized about KDE (like, what corner?, what delay?, what transparency?, with what key?, etc.)

Edited 2009-11-01 23:23 UTC

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