Kubuntu 8.10 – WAY better than I was expecting

I was lucky enough to get to attend the last Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) in Prague and work on planning this release. At the time I argued that KDE4 was unlikely to be mature enough to really be useful for most users until at least 9.04 and we ought to deliver parallel KDE3/KDE4 desktops for Intrepid. Riddell convinced me that we just didn’t have the resources for it and so the only thing we could do is push as hard and fast as possible for the best KDE4 desktop we could assemble in the time we had.
Now that the Release Candidate is upon us and I’ve been using it in my daily work for some time now, I’m prepared to say that Riddell had the right plan. Kubuntu Intrepid has come together very well and is, in my experience totally usable for almost everything. It has a few rough spots and there are some small things from KDE3 that I still miss, but this is really ready for almost everyone to use.
This didn’t happen by accident. It took a lot of hard work (to which I contributed in a small way*, but that’s it). The community of Kubuntu developers really matured in this release and rose to the challenge. Looking on #kubuntu-devel I see a lot of people who have contributions they can justifiably be proud of what Kubuntu is about to deliver. It couldn’t have been done without our Dear Leader, Jonathan Riddell, but equally he couldn’t have done it without the amazing community developer group.
That said, if you need something totally stable, you might want to stay with Hardy. It is slightly crashier than KDE 3.5 in Hardy, but only slightly. I don’t know of any major functions we don’t support. The team did a very good job of sorting out where it was prudent to stay with KDE3 versions and where they could push on to KDE4.
My motto for Kubuntu 8.10 was going to be “The Intrepid Ibex searches for the tiger through the jungle of KDE4. Some days you eat the tiger. Other days the tiger eats you. Which will it be? Upgrade and find out!” Looking at it now, I think that’s too harsh, but it will pay to do some work with a Live CD before you upgrade just to make sure what you need is there and working.
* I think my major Kubuntu contributions have been: bitching about missing stuff until someone fixed it, mangling the KDE3 kdegraphics package to produce a working kdvi after a user made a good case for why it was still needed, my now usual banging on Guidance so it doesn’t crash so much, and staying up all night re-uploading all of KDE 4.1.1 because someone had made a small mistake with the kde4libs tarball.


13 Responses to “Kubuntu 8.10 – WAY better than I was expecting”

  1. 1 aaa October 21, 2008 at 09:58

    Does KDE 4 in Intrepid have auto-hide panels which can have a 3-row taskbar which isn’t too tall (54 pixels, say)? KDE 3.5 has it; and it’s very useful to me.

  2. 2 ScottK October 21, 2008 at 10:04

    No. That’d be one of those cases where you’d want to check it out with the live CD.

  3. 3 lunarcloud October 21, 2008 at 10:52

    Panel autohide is coming in KDE 4.2 (probably included in Kubuntu 9.04) and the three panel thing? I don’t think that’s gonna return. I suggest checking out “present windows” effect.
    But I say, Kudos to the Kubuntu Team. This is the best release they’ve ever put together. So many tools ported, so much work and care went into this.

  4. 4 Wolfger October 21, 2008 at 10:55

    Does KDE yet have “centered maxpect” for the desktop wallpaper, or support the volume controls on my keyboard? Who did you complain to, to get stuff fixed? I can complain real well. 🙂
    P.S. I’ve been told that the keyboard volume control support is not a KDE4 problem, but seeing as how it works perfectly in 3.5, I can’t see how that isn’t a load of BS.

  5. 5 ScottK October 21, 2008 at 10:59

    Yes. 9.04 will be with KDE 4.2. We’re planning to switch to 4.2 in the Jaunty repository as soon as possible after release (much as was done with 4.1 for Intrepid).

  6. 6 Beat Wolf October 21, 2008 at 11:12

    “and the three panel thing? I don’t think that’s gonna return”
    I think this is wrong, current 4.2 in trunk allows you set the maximum amount of rows for the taskbar, so you can also set it to 3

  7. 7 ScottK October 21, 2008 at 11:18

    Currently I can mute/unmute with the keyboard. My volume controls don’t work, but for me it’s not a major issue.
    Filing bugs in Launchpad and then working with the Kubuntu devs to get them pushed into the KDE bugzilla is the way to go.
    One nice thing is that because we are now on the current KDE generation instead of the previous one, upstream is a lot more willing to invest effort in fixing our issues.
    As an example, the Ark released with 4.1.2 doesn’t have .tar.gz support. It is planned for 4.2. The Ark upstream basically turned on a dime and gave us a patch after we explained how important tar.gz is in Kubuntu development.

  8. 8 Shane October 21, 2008 at 14:28

    Are you able to access Gmail? I haven’t used KDE 4 much at all because Konqueror couldn’t open Gmail and Firefox GTK just looks awful. Maybe the QT port will make it tolerable.

  9. 9 ScottK October 21, 2008 at 14:42

    I don’t use Gmail, so I asked some other Kubuntu developers and several said they are using Gmail with Konqueror just fine.

  10. 10 Shane October 21, 2008 at 14:57

    Hey thanks Scott! I’ll check it out!

  11. 11 Shane Par-Due October 21, 2008 at 23:01

    Turns out Konqueror shows Gmail is basic html mode which works, but not sure if it does the job. I do like what KDE4 has turned into though!

  12. 12 shad-99 April 6, 2009 at 16:52

    Hey scotty… -Use LinuxMint felicia 6.. .Way better than kubuntu 8.10 kde4… -I love it!
    Now i don’t have to struggle with Wi-fi anymore.. .-Thank god to that!?

  13. 13 ScottK April 19, 2009 at 00:59

    @Shane Par-Due: I’m glad you’re happy with your choice of distro. I think Dapper was the last Kubuntu release I had any significant wireless problems with, so ‘not having to struggle with wireless’ really doesn’t scream to me I’m using the wrong distro.

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