The Kubuntu Distribution

One of the new in the game Linux distributions is Kubuntu, the KDE-based version of Ubuntu which is also new in the game. I feel Kubuntu is very useful for the typical TUX reader.

I need to offer a bit of background before I can get into the details. Don't panic--we will get to the real info soon.

In the early days of Linux it was difficult to install new software because Linux was changing rapidly and the supporting software needed might not be available on your system. Package managers were developed to do the checking to make sure you had all the pieces needed before installing the new software. The two systems that have survived are the Debian Package Manager and the Red Hat Package Manager.

Debian was there first but most commercial Linux distributions went with the Red Hat (RPM) format. The Debian (DEB) format is far from dead, however. The Debian community itself is fairly large but tended to be the more technical people.

Enter Ubuntu. This is a distribution designed for the desktop and designed to be installed and managed by a desktop user rather than a collection of computer geeks. While my discussion will focus on Kubuntu, the KDE-specific version, Gnome users can fetch the regular Ubuntu system and happily enjoy all the Ubuntu benefits as well.

Now, what benefits? If you venture to the Ubuntu web site the first thing you are likely to notice is the title, "Linux for Human Beings". That's their point--they have built a Linux for people to use. The basic distribution fits on one CD. It can be downloaded for free or even have them send you one for free.

Installation boils down to not much more than having to offer a user login name. Once installed, you can log in and have a totally useful system which includes networking, all the office productivity tools you would expect and a whole host of other programs. That's a great start but some will wish to adventure into additional areas. For example, you might want to add the Mozilla Firefox web browser. That's where Kynaptic comes in.

Kynaptic, a KDE front-end for Synaptic, allows you to look for, download and install additional software packages. Beyond that, it worries about dependencies--that is, does your system have all the other software packages needed to make the new package work? I'm not writing a tutorial here but you basically start Kynaptic, find firefox (there is a search function), click on install and click on the "do it" icon. If there are dependencies, you will be shown a list of other software needed. You just click on ok and Kynaptic does all the work for you downloading the needed packages from the Internet.

Systems Administration will make more sense for people with no Linux systems administration experience. That is, the way you do it seems very logical unless you have some Linux/UNIX baggage in your background. In the Kynaptic sequence described above you will get the typical "enter the root password" KDE dialog box. But, you never created a root user. So, what is that password? Well, it is the password of the first user you created. Assuming there is only one, that's you.

For "harder" systems administration, you might be used to logging in as root or using the su command to change to the root user. Ubuntu does this a bit different. It uses the sudo command. Essentially you type sudo followed by the command you want to perform as root. While this seems a bit cumbersome at first, it prevents one of the most common mistakes someone new to Linux commits--running programs as root that should not be run as root.

That gives you the basic story. For those looking for hand-holding, you have two options. The Ubuntu web site offers community forums as well as a lot of information. In addition, Canonical, Ltd., the people behind Ubuntu, offer commercial support. You get a choice and, as they say Ubuntu will always be free, you will continue to have that choice. Thus, Ubuntu/Kubuntu is an easy place to start with Linux and it may be the place you want to stay as well.

fyl - Mon, 2005-05-09 10:30.
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Kubuntu..Ubuntu

Never could get all my hardware working. My tv card for one, could not get answers on how to fix it, from Ubuntu forum. I gave up, thought about going back to Mandrake. However this review

http://www.linuxquestions.org/reviews/showproduct.php/product/453

Convinced me to try Mepis, I won't be using anything else from now on. I have found a home in Mepis....which I believe is near Tennessee :) j/k

JAM-Computers (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-10 07:32.

Ubuntu/Kubuntu and Mepis

I have thus far not tried Kubuntu, but I ordered an Ubuntu CD quite some time ago, and they sent me about 10. Very nice, glad to see the professional packaging, but the distro was just not as up to snuff as many reviews would have you believe. Hardware support seemed to come and go for one thing, and responsiveness just wasn't there. The frustrations were great, and too numerous to list here.

Unfortunately, I think Kubuntu ruins the one thing Ubuntu has going for it: Gnome. I know a lot of people (most even) prefer K, but the consistency and simplicity are a blessing for beginners migrating from a more polished, and user-centric rather than hacker-centric OS. I was really glad to see that a popular new Debian used Gnome by default.

I have to agree with the other poster about Mepis, though. Much as I don't really care for K and Mepis's Gnome support can be iffy (though not terrible), it's just a better distro. The hardware support and detection is so solid; more so than any other I've worked with. It's also a great OS for growing-- you can easily start on it but you'll find that you won't outgrow it in favor of a less "basic" OS (unless you're into Gentoo or something).

In short, if you really need a KDE-based desktop Debian for the beginner, go with Mepis.

Mike (not verified) - M - , 2005-05-09 13:55.

Kubuntu Problems

Hello,

Kubuntu gave me a few problems when I tried it. It installed flawlessly and I was excited to get some software. I pulled up Kynaptic and it froze on me. I then went to the kubuntu forum and told them that kynaptic crashed my entire system every time I tried to use it. The answer was to install synaptic. Being new to Linux I didn't know how I was going to download synaptic when kynaptic didn't work. *Sigh* Now I know that all I would've had to have done is pull up a terminal and apt-get synaptic.

Another problem I had with both Ubuntu/Kubuntu is in the sound department. I know I am 30 and I still play games.. so what.. Anyway everytime I would start ut2004 the sound would not work and on other games the sound issues would lock the entire system up. I went to the forums and asked for help I was told to pull up a console and type in "sudo killall -9 esd" this would allow ut2004 to work but some other things still locked up the computer. I went to the forum and the people who were their said there was no fix for the problem I was having.

Not bashing Ubuntu/Kubuntu I think in a few releases they very well could be the best, and the people at the ubuntu/kubuntu forums are the best! Truly helpful, and friendly people.

After that I erased Ubuntu/Kubuntu and installed Mepis. Mepis, is the linux beginners dream. It truly is point and click, and mepislovers.org is Mepis's help forum, the people their are first class as well.

Kezzerdrix (not verified) - M - , 2005-05-09 11:23.

You should try www.kubuntufor

You should try www.kubuntuforums.net . I like it because of the interface, blue and orange. It only started up like a month or two ago, but it is growing. Thats where I went to get my wireless working.

An - ymous (not verified) - Wed, 2005-09-21 16:09.

Ubuntu/Kubuntu

Being new to linux I also have tried a number of distros. Ubuntu "Warty",
College Linux, Knoppix, Vector SOHO, SuSE, Fedora, Ubuntu "Hoary", Kubuntu, but finally settled on MEPIS. Ubuntu may be the distro of the future, it sure has the hype going for it. But for a new user, I don't think you can beat MEPIS. I had trouble with configuring ALL the above distros with my system, but I had less trouble with MEPIS. (It even recognized my winmodem!). I wandered around in the fields of distroland but have made my choice, I'm walking in MEPIS.

Wooth Vasyl (not verified) - Tue, 2005-06-07 22:46.

I have installed a 3 differen

I have installed a 3 different desktops so far: one for me, one for my mom, and an extra one at work. No problems so far. It works very well for me.

Give Kubuntu a chance! Remember it is only at version 1 (even though it is at version 5.04).

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-10 10:20.

I tried Ubuntu but was a litt

I tried Ubuntu but was a little dissappointed after using Mepis. It is probably going to get better but l couldn't use it for my main distro because SimplyMepis has spoiled me with it's simplicity. One thing that turned me off to start was having to do a lot of work to set it up to mount other partitions while that is all done for me in Mepis ... l need the easy communication between my partitions because l store all my pictures and music on different partitions.

Wayne

Wayne (not verified) - Tue, 2005-05-17 14:30.

Simply MEPIS is great

I, too, started with Mepis. I kept trying to see what all the hype was about Kubuntu/Ubuntu. Yeah, I definitely got spoiled with Mepis. Really, Ubuntu should be called "Simply Ubuntu" and Mepis should be called "Entirely Mepis." Don't get me wrong--Ubuntu is a great distribution--very stable, very uncluttered, very supportive of a community. But when I installed Ubuntu, I found myself trying to replicate all the things I took for granted in Mepis, and I was [i]sudo[/i]ing like crazy to get num-lock to turn on by default, to automount my Windows partition, to have that partition show up on the desktop, to get my video settings correct, etc.

I'd definitely recommend Mepis to any newbies. If Mepis, for some reason can't detect the hardware, then I'd go for Ubuntu.

By the way, there's this weird quirk in Ubuntu that doesn't let you edit the main menu. I even downloaded the program that's supposed to let you edit the main menu, and I couldn't delete or modify any entries. I haven't had this problem with other Gnome distros.

aysiu (not verified) - Sun, 2005-06-05 16:51.

Another vote for MEPIS

I've gone through a copule of distros, as well - started with Mandrake, tried out Redhat, and in the end I settled with MEPIS. When Ubuntu came out, I order a few CDs from the shipit site. I thought it would be cool to advertise it to my friends. But when I tried out Ubuntu (it was the "hoary" thing), I was disappointed at the amount of bugs and inconveniences. I too, tried to massage it to do more of what Mepis does only to give up in the end. I never gave out any of Ubuntu CDs - it would have been a disservice to linux. I wish I had a few professionally printed SimplyMepis CDs though.

jabba (not verified) - Fri, 2005-06-17 12:40.

Which kind of bugs do you hav

Which kind of bugs do you have with Hoary??? Can you tell us about that! It seems work flawlessly in the last 20 workstations I've installed. I'm just curious...

Eric (not verified) - Tue, 2005-07-05 00:32.

bugs

I found an annoying bug with kubuntu (both hoary and breezy.)
Anytime I want to open up a program that asks me for an administrators password (such as kcontrol or kynaptic,) I enter in the correct password but it never lets me in. (I know someone right now is thinking I'm not using the password of the first account I created and thats why it's not working, but trust me, I'm using the right password.) The only way I can run those programs is if I run it from the terminal using the sudo command. It's not that big of a deal since I have a way arround it, but it is a little annoying at times.

I also found another bug in the network configuration module for kcontrol. For some reason if I change the settings to stop using DHCP, and enter in IP address, DNS addresses, and Gateway address manually, for some reason it will not save the Gateway address, and the next time I look it says the gateway address is blank. I really only needed to have the DNS addresses stay the same because my Actiontec DSL modem has a bug in it, so I found a way around that by saving the DNS addresses in the right config file and cinfiguring the DHCP client not to save over the file... but still, again, annoying. Other than that however, I've been quite impressed by Kubuntu and like it enough to continue using it despite the annoying bugs.

Mike (not verified) - Wed, 2005-10-26 10:15.