OSDir.com Project of the Week: Kubuntu

Kubuntu, which saw its first release in April of this year, is a highly integrated Linux distribution featuring the KDE desktop. OSDir has declared Kubuntu "project of the week" and is carrying an interview with two of the project's primary contributors, Andreas Müller and Jonathan Riddell. They share insights on Kubuntu's creation, its current state and their plans for the future.


by Mark (not verified)

Hi KDE-people,

I have noticed that there is quite much Kubuntu-promotion here on KDE-news. So I have tryed and compared it to my favorite Distro Kanotix http://www.kanotix.de which also ships KDE 3.4 . Compared to Kanotix Kunbuntu is slow, Installation is complicated and very slow. It could handle two CD-Drives and took me more than our. Luckily at a day later Kanotix with KDE 3.4 came out, so I switched back. It recognises all my hardware without problems. Boots in less then 15 secounds and the installation of the whole system took a little more than 10 minuites. So why all this Kubuntu-hype? Would it be fair two anounce also other distros (not only Kanotix of course) which ship with KDE?


by Janne (not verified)

"why all this Kubuntu-hype?"

Because Ubuntu (and Kubuntu) are the "talk of the town" right now. Both are rapidly increasing their userbase and both are progressing at a fast pace. It seems to me that Kanotix hasn't made any huge splash in the Linux-community. It's just YALD.

As for me, I use neither.

by cm (not verified)

Hello Mark,

I agree, Kanotix is nice, too. I think the reason why there is an article about Kubuntu but not about Kanotix is that there are some KDE contributors involved in Kubuntu development (well, that and the current hype about (K)ubuntu). So I see this more as a question of awareness than one of discrimination (or whatever you'd like to call it).

Why don't you write a nice article about your experiences with Kanotix and the KDE 3.4 in it? I'm sure it won't be turned down by the dot editors (maybe contact them first to explain what you're planning...).

by David (not verified)

Yes, Kanotix is awesome. It's the best OS (Linux or otherwise) I've ever used. It's the one that I promote.

I think that is the key... promotion. Keep telling people about it, post about it on your blog, write reviews for it, link to it on your website. If you listen to any Linux Internet radio shows, ask them to do a review of Kanotix. What ever you can think of doing to get the word out, do it.

Also, don't forget to send Kano a little donation to show your support as well.

by Anonymous (not verified)

> Would it be fair two anounce also other distros (not only Kanotix of course) which ship with KDE?

This story is not an announcement, it's an interview. If you have something nice about how KDE is integrated in a distribution, how it is modified or setup then you can click on the "contribute" link in the top left.

by Jonathan Riddell (not verified)

> Would it be fair two anounce also other distros (not only Kanotix of course) which ship with KDE?

Of course, but we don't get many stories from distributions. I've never heard of Kanotix and their website doesn't explain much (at least on the English language page).

by Anonymous (not verified)

Kanotix is Knoppix and Debian/sid based, therewith includes a rather uninteresting outdated KDE 3.3.2. Kubuntu on the other side is one of the first distributions including KDE 3.4.

by David (not verified)

Just to set the record straight.... Kanotix's latest release 2005-02 includes KDE 3.4 I've been using it for a couple weeks now and it's really great.

This information is available on the Kanotix homepage. Just read the latest announcements.

by Anonymous (not verified)

I read http://distrowatch.com/kanotix which names KDE 3.3.2 in the latest listed release.

And my understanding was that Kanotix is similar to Knoppix but being a pure Debian/sid instead of a mixture of sid and packages from elsewhere. This doesn't seem to be true anymore then as according to http://packages.debian.org there is no KDE 3.4 within sid.

by cm (not verified)

But obviously some people use it with 3.4 packages. And it has a nice live CD with a working HD install. I don't see why an article or interview about it would be uninteresting to the dot audience if someone interested in the distro were to write one.

by mmebane (not verified)

"Kanotix...includes a rather uninteresting outdated KDE 3.3.2."

Really? The release notes say it has KDE 3.4.0.

by cm (not verified)

> I've never heard of Kanotix and their website doesn't explain much

I just found this mini-review of Kanotix on distrowatch:

by Anonymous Coward (not verified)

Kanotix comes with a beta of kde 3.4, not the final version. Check the package version lists on the webpage.

by Derek Kite (not verified)

Actually the big story here is about Ubuntu chose to ship with only Gnome, and people stepped forward to put together a KDE option. Interestingly the KDE option has garnered as much interest and demand as the original Gnome only setup.


by David (not verified)

That's because, as we all know, KDE is a better desktop manager... right? ;o)

by Derek Kite (not verified)

For my purposes it is. Others may choose Gnome or other DM's.

There are continual attempts to 'rationalize' free software, meaning cut out duplication. This comes from business types who would like to harness the work of others for their profit. Anyone is free to do that, but to suggest that everyone should work for them without being paid is rather presumptuous.

So we have kde/gnome gtk/qt, mysql/postgresql, php/perl/python, etc. Even this short list illustrates different software/libraries that serve specific interests or needs. Guess what. People have different subjective preferences. So there is free software that suits almost everyone.

I'm always pleased when these efforts to 'simplify' fall absolutely flat in failure. In the end we have better software that serves our needs far better than a single project ever could.

It goes both ways. Knoppix was originally KDE, due to the personal preferences of the fellow who put it together. And Debian. The Gnomes put together Gnoppix. Other distros decided to get into the game, so almost everyone has live cd's now. And remarkably, it has become reasonably easy to put together a live cd that suits the purpose of one or a few people. This is good.

A vibrant and healthy economy, ecosystem, community, or whatever is always confusing, noisy, with the odd bit of yelling, but mostly everyone going about benefitting themselves and others by their work. Free software is like that. It is healthy.


by Saem (not verified)

The guy or one of the guys who did gnoppix was hired by canonical, they are now working on Kubuntu.

I personally like both Gnome and KDE, in many ways, the interface to Gnome apps are clearer. Though, when I need to get something done some of them really fail me, because I usually break the "average" use case and the GUI doesn't facilitate that. In KDE, the interface can overload you, with too many things squished together, I don't necessarily mean spacing, I mean disparate things put together for no reason other than supporting some features. I'm all for features, as long as they're grouped logically around their inter relationships and workflows. It'd be interesting to break down Amarok to see what lessons can be taken away from that, I've never found an app so insanely useful after honestly 2 minutes of fiddling with it, the feedback was amazing, I was lost for about 10 seconds and then as soon as I tried doing something it was entirely helpful at convey what's next or possible.

by Capit Igloo (not verified)

I read «Generally though, we need to work on system tools to get a better package manager, update notifier and system configuration» : IMHO one big problem is that kuser (under kubuntu) can't create a new user without crashing before...

by Anonymous (not verified)

That's fixed for KDE 3.4.1.

by Capit Igloo (not verified)

Ok, I don't find the bug report myself so thanks for you reply (http://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=101974 is too general, perhaps it's totally an another crash problem).

Can we expect that KDE 3.4.1 will be an official update to Kubuntu Hoary ?

by Jonathan Riddell (not verified)

> Can we expect that KDE 3.4.1 will be an official update to Kubuntu Hoary ?

It's on my todo list.

by Capit Igloo (not verified)

> «It's on my todo list.»

ok, and thanks for all your very good work.

by superstoned (not verified)

THAT'S great! I hate the fact most distributions don't offer these bugfix releases from KDE (and other project). I understand kde 3.5 won't be as a official kubuntu 5.04 package, but kde 3.4.x should be available, when you upgrade...

by Pat (not verified)

I like kubuntu but if I want to install mozilla-firefox, kubuntu wants to install me gnome-vfs and a whole lot of useless-to-kde gnome dependencies so I had to download it by hand. I guess firefox is not the only one there.
Still I love kubuntu it's really fast and beautiful (I love the kde theme). I think Mark was talking about the livecd, Kubuntu and ubuntu livecds are slow compared to knoppix and derivatives but I think that is being worked on, plus xUbuntus are not meant to be used as livecds any way.

by Stephen (not verified)

I submitted a bug report about this:


There's no reason firefox must include all of these gnome dependencies. It's one of the things that will eventually get ironed out.


by MandrakeUser (not verified)

I tried the live CD the other day, I was really impressed.
Kubuntu has great potential: large (and growing) community,
aimed at ease of use, great looks, fast, clean, simple. And it
is on the bleeding edge of things :-) (a topic I am getting
a bit disappointed about with Mandriva, which IMHO should
release a bleeding edge free distro every six months, and
a commercial, yearly distro + services for the corporate
world, but I disgress)

The two things it's lacking (as compared to other modern, "easy"
distros such as SUSE and Mandr(ake)iva is a graphical installer
and distro specific tools, some sort of a control center. I know
that the graphical installer is scheduled for the next release.
But how about a set of configuration tools ?

Thank you Mark and the Kubuntu community. Cheers!

by Derek Kite (not verified)


It already has a rather nice graphical installer.


by MandrakeUser (not verified)

Well, yeah, kinaptic is really useful, but I was aiming at a graphical
installer for the distro itself (when you install from a CD for the first time)

by Ian Monroe (not verified)

Isn't Mandriva (what a terrible name) targeting personal computer as much if not more then business?

by MandrakeUser (not verified)

Yep. Although they are trying to target also the business sector.
They already made some deals with government organizations
if I am not mistakenm, at least in France.

In fact, that's what the purchase of Conectiva is all about. To
try to get into selling Linux services in Brazil, a Country
going strongly into open source.

Oh well ...

by Olliander (not verified)

Hello everyone!

I got Kubuntu yesterday, and in the past I used Ubuntu. I must say that I like the look of KDE 3.4 very much, it's kinda friendly and very impressive. And it's really clean, just like Ubuntu too. I wouldn't like it if they'd integrate config-tools like YaST or DrakConf or something like that, because it would kill the feeling of having a simple, well configurated and easy to configurating distro. Meanwhile I prefer configurating per configfile-editing, but who would do it like this further if there'd be a config-tool? Why I don't like such ****? Because it destroy's a lot of feeling, like I said a few lines ago... And YaST f.e. overwrites all configurations done by editing a config-file, and that's totally unreasonably. If I wanna have phun by using patronizing tools, I can switch back to windows... I wanna work with my OS, not only install-1stconfig-run run run...

by MandrakeUser (not verified)

But say that the config tools were there (for people like me who don't
have time or don't like to edit config files). You could still configure
things by hand. Nobody would force you to use them. It is exactly this elite attitude what is preventing Debian from getting off the techi world. Kubuntu,
I would expect, will help bring Linux to the masses.

As for the clean look, Ark Linux config tools are cool and qt based. In fact,
I would think of a python, GUI agnostic set of tools. And two GUI's, a Gnome
and a KDE based. There are pythong bindings for both. There :-)
('course it is easy to say than to do :-) )


by Anonymous (not verified)

> YaST f.e. overwrites all configurations done by editing a config-file

That's an urban legend nowadays.

by Evan "JabberWok... (not verified)

Yast does not overwrite configurations.

by rqosa (not verified)

Debconf is the thing that asks questions upon installing a .deb package (although only some of the packages use it; xserver-xorg is one). See "man dpkg-reconfigure" and "man 7 debconf" for further details.

I've got a Toshiba Portége 4010 and an Lucent WLAN-card. Up to now Kubuntu 05.04 is the only Debian based distro (and most anything else based either) that installed flawlessly out-of-the-box onto my laptop with networking via the PCMCIA WLAN-adapter and sound & screen working perfectly.

Now that is a good reason to promote Kubuntu/Ubuntu in it self, but when you add to it a well packaged KDE & Debian APT's power in package management it really the best thing after sliced bread!

++ Ray

by ac (not verified)

I just installed kubuntu.
Looks nice, but when i try to remove unneccesary software with kynaptic or apt-get, I get weird dependencies:

ubuntu-base depends on mutt
kdepim depends on kpilot
kdenetwork depends on kopete
kdegraphics depends on gwenview
linux-kernel depends on dash
kdm depends on lipstick theme
kate depends on esound
kubuntu-desktop depends on kernel-headers.

etc. etc..

by Ian Monroe (not verified)

Um, kopete and kpilot are part of kdenetwork and kdepim, respectively.

Some of those others are a little odd.

by cm (not verified)

> kdepim depends on kpilot
> kdenetwork depends on kopete
> kdegraphics depends on gwenview

kdepim, kdenetwork and kdegraphics are "meta packages" that are mostly empty and only have dependencies on other packages.

So *installing* kdegraphics, for example, will cause all dependent packages (including gwenview in this case) to be installed without you having to install them all one-by-one. That's a handy shortcut.

OTOH, *uninstalling* kdegraphics does *not* mean uninstalling all the graphics-related KDE programs! So uninstalling gwenview will cause the meta package kdegraphics to be uninstalled, too, but not in turn the rest of the graphics apps.

by Brammo (not verified)

_unless_ you use aptitude... it rocks

by cm (not verified)

Did I understand you correctly, you're saying that aptitude also uninstalls dependencies when a meta package is uninstalled?

I think in the case we have here the user actually *wants* to uninstall only single apps, not all dependencies of the meta packages.

by ac (not verified)

Ok, TNX !

by MandrakeUser (not verified)

Nice review (although the point about rpm being a disadvatage is plain
wrong, they probably never used urpmi, rpmdrake, apt-rpm, etc)

They also mention the point I made above, about the lack of config tools ...