Despite the popularity of lightweight desktop environments, options like KDE have also had their hand in making desktop Linux a real pleasure to use. Recently, I wrote a distro comparison of Ubuntu vs. Debian, explaining that Debian presents you with various desktops from which to choose while Ubuntu provides only Unity. To take this a step further, I’ll be exploring Kubuntu today so I can expand on that initial comparison.
In this article, I’ll look into how Kubuntu differs from Ubuntu, where it shines and some of the areas which might need some improvement.
Immediately after booting the ISO image, the Kubuntu install experience feels very KDE-centric. The install media offers the same choices as a standard Ubuntu installation, down to the option for installing third-party software and updates.
During the installation itself, you’ll feel right at home trying Kubuntu if you happen to be an existing Ubuntu enthusiast. Aside from the cursor and the color scheme, the installer is exactly the same as Ubuntu’s. Where you begin to see some small variations, however, is with the welcome text during the install. Instead of an introduction to Ubuntu/Gnome applications, the text is welcoming you to highly advanced KDE applications. Image, music and video applications are all discussed during this process at length.
Once Kubuntu has been installed is where the real differences begin to take shape. Even before jumping into the available applications, the desktop is already substantially different from what you would find on Ubuntu. There’s no Unity or a Dash from which to get started. Instead you’ll find a clean desktop with a single translucent box from which you can access the desktop icons.
Below that, you’ll find the K menu, which allows you to access all of Kubuntu’s settings and applications. Also, within the K menu is the option to search for applications or settings, even if you’re not entirely sure what they’re called. This feature is similar to Unity’s own search feature, only it’s much faster than what Ubuntu offers.