Kubuntu 12.04 - Two months later


Updated: August 25, 2012

Truth to be told, I'm writing this article something like three, three and a half months after my original Kubuntu Pangolin rather lukewarm review, but to be in line with the same take on SUSE, which took place 60 days after the initial piece, the title here was chosen as it is, just slightly misleading. Anyhow, it's been a while since I first installed the latest Long Term Release version of Ubuntu, the one adorned with the KDE desktop. Overall, I was somewhat disappointed by the spring edition, as it showed a definite neglect when compared to its sweet big brother. In a way, it got the attention you reserve for bastard children, in a medieval setting, of course. Today, everyone loves their children equally, right.

Well, I had some time to warm up, or chill down, working with Kubuntu in the last several months. This means two or three major cycles of upgrades, polishing the looks and the application base and whatnot. So let's see what gives and how my impression has changed, if at all, in this period. Follow me, my precious. That means you.

Teaser

Cosmetics and such

Most people might wrongly deduct that if a person spends one or two hours making their distribution look better than the default and then present it, that the entire work and focus is on the visual layer. Which is wrong. The aesthetics serve to enhance the underlying functionality, which is the core of everything.

You will of course experience a dazzling show of beauty, as always, but I want you to remember that the review is mostly about how Kubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin serves me, and not how shiny it might be. After all, I'm not a smartphone user to be swooned by flickering pixels.

Did anything really change in the past quarter? Well, yes. First and most importantly, Kubuntu received several kernel upgrades and tons of application fixes, which resolve any and all crashes that may have been, but also boosts the responsiveness and performance a little. Quite lovely.

System updates

Cha-cha-cha-changes

However, on top of that, what I did was: grab some fresh new wallpapers and windows decorations, sort the panel and icons, change the overall behavior of KDE elements on the desktop, and turn on the turbo dazzle to max, my previous statement notwithstanding. And I must say I am gently warming up to this beast.

Decorations 1 Decorations 2

And some more goodness:

Nice layout

Nice layout 2

Top panel, auto-hide zoomed

Some desktop effects for you:

Desktop effects 1

Desktop effects 2

Desktop effects 4

Conclusion

Disregard all you've seen - ask me, what do you think? Well, Kubuntu in August 2012 is definitely better than Kubuntu in May 2012. It is much livelier, much more proud of its heritage. This is the kind of operating system, after having undergone some morale boosting in the Dedoimedo makeover shop, that you want to play with.

What I like is the speed and stability, back to what they should be. The old issues are finally resolved. And combined with the excellent customization capabilities of KDE, you can really tune the system to whatever you want or need. End result, you have a free distribution with five years of support that looks great and works great. Shame about the defaults, as Kubuntu 12.04 could have had a so much more potent start. Still, not all is lost. Far from it. You just need a couple of hours of patience and artistic imagination to sort things out. If only you could fix people this easily.

Like SUSE, after a rather underwhelming beginning, Kubuntu Pangolin delivers a mighty punch. It has all the necessary ingredients for fun. And the KDE framework is turning more and more of a sane alternative to whatever is out there, bested only by the likes of Cinnamon, methinks. Something like that. Today, Kubuntu gets 9.5/10. See ya.

Cheers.

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