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10 October 32010 / Robin Wellner

Ten things I hate about Kubuntu 10.04

So, I thought I’d to my traditional ‘buntu release review a bit differently this time. A bit late, I know. But please bear with me, while I go on explaining what I really don’t like about Kubuntu and KDE.

The network manager

It didn’t work for me, I couldn’t even connect the internet by wire. Switching to Wicd made the problems go away. Unfortunately, it wasn’t installed by default, which meant I had to boot and setup Windows 7, to download the packages neccessary, boot Kubuntu to install them, boot Windows again because I didn’t have all the dependencies, reboot into Kubuntu again and finally install Wicd.

This wasn’t just my problem. It seems a lot of people had problems with NetworkManager. That makes me wonder, why isn’t Wicd installed on Kubuntu out of the box? Is it the fact that it has no Qt interface? (It doesn’t have many GTK+ dependencies, so it should not be much of a problem.) If it looks so bad, why not write up a pretty Qt interface for it? Wicd already has a GTK+ and a curses interface.

Anyway, on to the next item on my list:

Konqueror

Seriously? I read they replaced ye olde K in 10.10, by a relative newcomer named rekonq. But I’m not sure it will be much of an improvement.

Very quickly I started using Chromium and Firefox concurrently (as in, running both of them at the same time), just to wash away the nasty after-taste of Konqueror.

The weather plasmoid

Especially if I’m not connected to the internet. After trying for a very long time, it gives up and displays a pop-up-ish error, with is always on top, yet impossible to click away. The fastest way I found was to Unlock/Lock the Widgets.

The µBlog plasmoid

It doesn’t seem to work well. Way to put it on the desktop by default.

The plasmoid API

It’s complicated. It took me days to write a simple DuckDuckGo widget. I had to resort to about ten different resources and tutorials (which were confusing and conflicting, because many pertained to old versions of Qt and very old versions of Python) before getting it right. (By the way, I put the Duck It plasmoid up on Dropbox. To install, unpack the tarball and run . viewduckit.sh, you’ll get a preview of the plasmoid and it’s installed as well, so you can just add the widget in the usual way. How does it work? When you click on it, it opens duckduckgo.com in your default browser. If you drag text onto it, it opens a DDG search for the phrase.)

Kickstart menu

How do you edit the favorites? I figured it out eventually (hint: try right clicking), but it’s not obvious. I expected dragging and dropping to work, but it didn’t. And nowhere an explanation in sight.

I switched to the classic menu for a while, but that was even worse. It’s very much like the menu used in Xubuntu, Windows 95/98 and the classic menu of Windows XP. It doesn’t use favorites, it only displays often-used programs on top.

Most of the time, I use KRunner, which is much faster to work with. Its only downsides are the frequent crashes, which luckily doesn’t affect anything else. (Also, I assigned Meta+Space to KRunner, rather than the standard Alt+F2. Much better!)

Snow desktop effect

Useless eye candy. Disabled by default, I know. But it is pretty bad when it blacks out my screen when used in conjunction with the desktop cube (which is still awesome, by the way).

That I have to re-enable compositing on every boot

Suspending to RAM and disk

Neither work very well. The only thing that can get my laptop out of suspension is a hard reset.

KDE Wallet

KDE Wallet is basically KDE’s way of storing passwords in a central place, much like Gnome Keyring in Ubuntu and Xubuntu. Those things are a good idea, but also a huge pain in the ass. Yes, Kopete can access the wallet! I told you that already, and I still have to type my password. Geesh.


Conclusion

Other than those ten things, I’m rather thrilled with Kubuntu 10.04 and KDE. I’m definitely upgrading to Maverick, maybe not right away on the tenth, but still. I really like it. And you hear things about KDE 4 being the worst thing to happen since creation itself, that people are going back to KDE 3 in huge swarms, but I actually like KDE 4. It’s wildly different from KDE 3, Xfce, Gnome, Windows, OSX, what-have-you-not, but that’s the whole point. It’s refreshing. It feels right, if still somewhat bleeding now and then. I feel sorry for the people that switched to 4.0 expecting a stable environment, but you have no excuse for not trying KDE 4 again if you didn’t like it before.

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