Is Dapper Drake the One?


by Phil Hughes

The next release of Kubuntu Linux is named Dapper Drake. For Kubuntu, the process of getting to the final release is relatively public, which is not always the case with other distributions. At this point, four different Dapper Drake pre-release CD images have been made available to the general public. Although the average TUX reader is not a candidate for playing with this potentially unstable software, I never have been called average, so I have been playing with it since the first pre-release.

Up until last week, I thought I was playing around with Dapper Drake solely for my own interests. But, Mark Shuttleworth, "father of Ubuntu and Kubuntu", recently scheduled an on-line public meeting to discuss the possibility of delaying the Dapper Drake release by six weeks. A final decision will be made after the meeting.

In the process of talking about the possible delay, Shuttleworth said that we would be living with Dapper "for a long time". It is reported that he also said "for five years". Given the current six-month release cycle for Kubuntu and SuSE, five years is a very long time. This brings up two questions: what does this five year number mean, and, well, why?

Kubuntu (although this includes Ubuntu, I specifically focus on Kubuntu, as Shuttleworth himself recently switched from the GNOME-based Ubuntu to the KDE-based Kubuntu) is a relatively new player in Linux distributions. The evolution from Hoary Hedgehog, the first Kubuntu I used, to Breezy Badger and now to Dapper Drake has been an amazing process. And it all has happened in one year, which is a very short time for such major changes.

Kubuntu depends on the long-term stability of the Debian distribution, which tends to have long waits between releases. But, Kubuntu has been much more aggressive in adding new capabilities as needed. I say "as needed", because Debian tends to find itself running on servers and systems of more technically oriented people that generally seek out, build and install the specific enhancements they need. Kubuntu, being desktop-oriented, attracts a much different user base.

Now, this announcement of a five-year wait until the next Kubuntu release doesn't mean you will get Dapper Drake and then be stuck with it as is for five years. Kubuntu uses the well-established capabilities of Debian to allow incremental upgrades. In other words, you can painlessly update your Dapper Drake install to the latest versions of programs with little work. That is, you don't have to concern yourself with specific programs--the update system lets you say that you want to upgrade the programs you have installed if a later version is available. It does the updating for you.

Furthermore, although a core group of programs exists that is well supported by the Kubuntu team, an additional set of programs can be found in a repository called "universe". There you can find thousands more programs that add to the overall functionality of your system.

For those into more adventure, you can add other repositories to your source list. These repositories can be generic Debian repositories that include programs available in the main Debian distribution but not specifically tested with Kubuntu. Or, you can add other, single-program repositories. A single-program repository is where you can get a program that has not been accepted into the main Debian distribution. The program might not be in the Debian distribution because it is very new, very specific or has licensing issues. For example, Debian does not include the software library needed to decode encrypted DVDs, because its use is illegal in some countries. You can, however, add that repository to your own sources list. Afterwards, including or updating the software works the same as it does for all of the other Kubuntu and Debian repositories.

Turning to my crystal ball for a minute, I see Dapper Drake as being something other vendors will need to watch closely. Although no Linux distribution will be the cure-all for everyone, every indication says that Dapper Drake is going to look very good to a lot of users new to Linux on the desktop.

Author's Note: March 30

After hearing some grumbling and then getting an email from a friend telling me "this 5-year thing was wrong" I decided to actually read this post. Oops.

The sentence starting with "Now" that implies this (ok, states this) originally said "Now, what this doesn't mean is that you will get Dapper Drake and then just be stuck with it for five years." So, that teaches me to not read things after they are edited.

To clarify, the 2-year support cycle of the Ubuntu and Kubuntu distributions gets upped to five years with Dapper. Release cycles will remain every six months. That means you may elect to install a newer distribution in six months but, if you don't, Dapper will continue to be supported.

Sorry for the confusion.

As for the KDE/Gnome issue, I don't see either distribution as a "subset" of the other. But, this article is about Kubuntu, not Ubuntu. I use KDE and I am writing specifically about what I have used. If there are Ubuntu users out there that want to write about their experiences, great. Send us your article and we will put it up on the site.

About the Author

Phil Hughes is Group Publisher for SSC Media Corp.

Web Editor - Mon, 2006-03-20 19:04.
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What is Ubuntu

Hello Guys ..
First of all introduce the ubuntu , “what is ubuntu”
ubuntu is the linux distribution based on the debain destribution.Ubuntu is not an operating system but also has a very varity of software pakages included with one cd.
The first thing of ubuntu that impress me that its very nice and pettery clean and light graphics which is also better than the windows and the other linux distributions.
And its graphics beauty make it unique to the other distributions.
I installed it and use it and its runs very fast on my Pentuium III Computer and its latest version 6.10 also known as Edgy Eft is also has a very good look.
Its graphics is much closer to the apple mac os x operating system.
If any body is borring to use windows i recommend it to use the ubuntu because its very friendly nature.
There is other Linux distribution like redhat , linspire,gentoo,suse and slackware but the most intersting thing about ubuntu is that it is free of cost and the Cannonical company is shipping it world wide @ no cost.
So switch to the linux form windows i say that u should try ubuntu first.
Currently working on African Hoodia Gordonii and Phase 2 Diet Project
Jerald, Programmer

Orderbesthoodia (not verified) - Wed, 2007-08-22 04:42.

Hoping Dapper Drake is the one

Very interesting reading. I myself, am hoping that the final release of Dapper Drake is the one. I have used Ubuntu Hoary and Breezy for a while now and I like it very much. Very stable on my laptop and no crashes. The issue of GNOME / KDE, to me, is a no brainer. You load Ubuntu, ( notice how I said
" load Ubuntu " , decide which desktop you want, GNOME or KDE, and then be on your way. End of story. Way too much energy is being spent debating GNOME / KDE, let's move on. What's nice is the fact that, if you don't like either of those two desktops, then by gosh, try another one. Whatever floats your boat people, use it. That's what is so great about Linux OS, you have choices, lots of them. Ahhhh freedom ! ! ! Life is good, yes ?

Toivo (not verified) - Wed, 2006-04-19 08:46.

Sorrow :)

The only thing that I really miss is the Ship It stuff for the other Ubuntu versions hence I would like to offer *also* those versions to people.

Lopo (not verified) - M - , 2006-04-03 07:13.

release cycle and support

The 5 year support is for ubuntu-server. The ubuntu-desktop of dapper will be supported for 3 years. The release cycle for ubuntu, kubunutu, xubuntu, edubuntu, ubuntu-server, will remain 6 months. dapper+1 will make up the time lost by dapper.

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2006-03-31 04:59.

Correction

After hearing some grumbling and then getting an email from a friend telling me "this 5-year thing was wrong" I decided to actually read this post. Oops.

The sentence starting with "Now" that implies this (ok, states this) originally said "Now, what this doesn't mean is that you will get Dapper Drake and then just be stuck with it for five years." So, that teaches me to not read things after they are edited.

To clarify, the 2-year support cycle of the Ubuntu and Kubuntu distributions gets upped to five years with Dapper. Release cycles will remain every six months. That means you may elect to install a newer distribution in six months but, if you don't, Dapper will continue to be supported.

Sorry for the confusion.

As for the KDE/Gnome issue, I don't see either distribution as a "subset" of the other. But, this article is about Kubuntu, not Ubuntu. I use KDE and I am writing specifically about what I have used. If there are Ubuntu users out there that want to write about their experiences, great. Send us your article and we will put it up on the site.

Phil Hughes (not verified) - Thu, 2006-03-30 10:02.

Wrong, wrong wrong!!!

Ubuntu and Kubuntu releases will be supported for five years, but the six monthly release cycle continues. Phil needs to check his facts before writing such rubbish!!

Peter J - es (not verified) - Thu, 2006-03-30 01:43.

Major changes

Switching from Kynaptic, which didn't even have repository management, to Adept was the major change that made it worthwhile to me. I have something to suggest to friends now (i run gentoo, and do not wish to recommend it to new users).

I only hope that the changes done to Kubuntu using Automatix could be somehow incorporated into the system itself. A lot of linux newbies don't know that we CAN watch wmv's and mov's or watch DVDs or play mp3's!
I just want an explanation on why that is illegal. The day my DVD player ships with DVD player software for linux is the day I use a "legal" DVD playback engine.

Lunarcloud_88 (not verified) - Tue, 2006-03-28 21:23.

Kubuntu Dapper IS stable

I use Kubuntu since its first release (Hoary, or 5.04). That one was a shame, but Kubuntu Breezy (5.10) is surprisingly solid.
Now, I installed Kubuntu Dapper Drake (6.06) in January and I can assure you that it's very stable at this moment. No crashes, no freezes, nothing like that. It's a winner, even in beta release. Shuttleworth can do no wrong...

ceti (not verified) - Tue, 2006-03-28 17:22.

Ubuntu or kubuntu

While this is probably unimportant in the scheme of things it really annoys me that an article about Ubuntu, as ill informed as it is, continually refers to kubuntu, as if Ubuntu is a subset of kubuntu.

While I know TUX largely refers to KDE versions and software, please refrain from treating it as a KDE magazine. The particular distribution is Ubuntu and kubuntu is the KDE version of the distribution.

mdsmedia (not verified) - Tue, 2006-03-28 11:50.

I am using Kubuntu myself

I am using Kubuntu myself (ie Ubuntu with KDE instead of Gnome).

And yes I couldn't agree more... the distribution is Ubuntu. And that's it.
Now whether someone chooses gnome or kde..... means nothing.
In most distros, you can choose the desktop environment at boot time and this doesn't come with a change in their name according to the desk. env. you choose. Ubuntu started with gnome only, Kubuntu came later. Maybe at some point they are joined, maybe not. The distro though is Ubuntu.

An - ymous (not verified) - Sun, 2006-04-16 02:56.

completely and totally wrong

The factual inaccuracy of this news post is surprising, even by Tux standards. Support and updates for the Dapper release will be available for five years, the release cycle itself has not changed and is still six months. There will not be a five year wait before the next Kubuntu release, that is complete and total nonsense. The next Kubuntu release will occur six months after the upcoming Dapper release.

Although I think that Kubuntu is an excellent and well designed distribution, experienced KDE users should approach it with caution. The Kubuntu developers have intentionally removed and obscured large amounts of critical functionality, leaving users with a severely crippled version of Konqueror that is barely recognizable, and a rather odd alternative to the typical kontrol center. The changes aren't well documented, so users are left with a desktop environment that deviates from standard KDE in ways that aren't always predictable.

An - ymous (not verified) - Fri, 2006-03-24 18:52.

its easy to get back to the standard konquerer profiles

sudo rm -r /usr/share/kubuntu-default-settings/kde-profile/default/share/apps/konqueror
sudo cp /usr/share/apps/konqueror/konqueror-orig.rc /usr/share/apps/konqueror/konqueror.rc

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2006-04-11 09:41.

You got it wrong

Dapper Drake will be supported for 5 years but the six month cycle is still the same! Meaning that a new version of Ubuntu will be released every six months as planed. The Delay was just for polishing the OS making it more stable so that it can be supported for that long period (5 years). Anyway I may be a little fuzzy about the details but plz search the Ubuntu froums or ask on IRC for confirmation. Also on a side note Dapper Drake is rock solid stable eventhought it's still in development.

Ann - ymus (not verified) - Tue, 2006-03-21 05:27.

I'd say Ubuntu is

I'd say Ubuntu is rock-stable by now, but that's actually not true for Kubuntu.
It seems the KDE part ist still under heavy development and needs a lot more tweaking till it can be used normally, whereas the Gnome part already works better then 5.10 in many cases.

UrbanFlash (not verified) - Tue, 2006-03-21 06:29.

You're right! While Ubuntu

You're right! While Ubuntu is absolutely stable, Kubuntu-users faced severe problems (including sudden freezes/crashes etc.) with the latest releases. So the main goal of the proposed six-week-delay is to find and eliminate most of the bugs (another one is to fine-tune some locales for asian Linuxers).

The background for these endeavours: Mark Shuttleworth and some of his mates/employees at the Ubuntu/Kubuntu maintaining Canonical-team want to win desktop users in businesses over Linux and have registered that among those there is a strong preference for KDE.

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2006-03-28 13:24.

kubuntu seems fairly stable

i am using kubuntu dapper and frankly i think its excellent..of course i didn't actually install the dapper cd its basically an upgrade over ubuntu breezy with kubuntu-desktop..but i will say its rock solid..of course for my windows apps i am using crossover office to run office 2003 (funnily word actually seems to start faster than with windows) and Vensim. For games right now am addicted to wesnoth (the linux version)..so haven't booted to windows for nearly a month..

so if there are any development issues, frankly haven't noticed them..not really sure why this can't be a release...nweays i dont really mind the fact that these guys are not willing to compromise on quality..and besides doesn't really affect me as a user :).

mendred (not verified) - Tue, 2006-03-21 12:00.

Not always stable

I'm using Kubuntu Dapper Drake Flight 5 and I have some stability issues. I believe they're related to the fglrx driver in my ATI video card.
Although I'm sure that many people that has used Kubuntu Dapper have found it stable in their systems, it's clearly still in development and the support in some systems or settings needs work. I don't use GNOME and I can't say if it's so solid as it has been stated in this discussion, but this is the impression I get reading the Ubuntu forums.

Ferran (not verified) - Thu, 2006-03-30 04:35.

true...

Ferran, I noticed that myself.

arti (not verified) - Wed, 2006-10-18 07:11.

tux magazine's KDE love

what is the point in stressing Kubuntu Dapper eh?
Ubuntu is the original distro.only KDE $it eaters will try to put
such a word.your e magazine is messed up with anti gnome
words..why?we dont want suggestions and ur irritations
let we use GNOME and We EXPECT Ur Magazine to leave
this KDE love...Linux is the OS..Desktop Environments are one's own like..then ur "Tux" mag is spotting-why gnome..may be i believe
the editors and that lady parasite(mango) should be removed.miguel de icaza must be in ur team as editor ....this is tooooo much ur mag
irritating its GNOME users.We dont never ever want ur suggestions to
switch to messy KDE DE..hold it

Prakash J K (not verified) - Fri, 2006-03-31 15:20.

100% correct

u R 100% correct.they r against GNOME ....

KDE Sucks

An - ymous (not verified) - Tue, 2006-08-22 09:36.

Although both desktops are

Although both desktops are good, I use KDE. I don't care what you use. I use both KDE and GNOME apps, but I use KDE as the desktop. I don't badmouth GNOME users, so why do you bash us?

An - ymous (not verified) - Sun, 2006-04-02 16:50.

Now bugger off..

Now kindly bugger off, you twit. The ARE people who love the freedom to explore the seemingly unlimited setting-possibilities that KDE offers.
Unlike you I won't bad-mouth Gnome-users. I just don't use Gnome.

An - ymous (not verified) - Sat, 2006-04-01 10:24.

Now bugger off..

I just don't use Kde.this mag is not got a fair path..kde
and kde only KdeKdeKdeKdeKdeKdeKdeKdeKKKKKdeKdeKdeKdedeKdeKdeKdeKdedeKdeKdedeKdeKdeKKdeKdeKdeKdedeKdeKdeKdeKdedeKdeKKdeKdedeKdeKdeKdeKdeKde
miles long sucks losers definitely phil U R a LOSER

An - ymous (not verified) - Sat, 2006-04-08 11:05.

Very mature...

"I just don't use Kde.this mag is not got a fair path..kde
and kde only KdeKdeKdeKdeKdeKdeKdeKdeKKKKKdeKdeKdeKdedeKdeKdeKdeKdedeKdeKdedeKdeKdeKKdeKdeKdeKdedeKdeKdeKdeKdedeKdeKKdeKdedeKdeKdeKdeKdeKde
miles long sucks losers definitely phil U R a LOSER
An - ymous (not verified) - Sat, 2006-04-08 11:05."

Well said, very mature thought processes. Your debating skills leave me both
speechless and awed.

If you didn't want to read a review of a KDE-based distro, then maybe you should have
stopped reading after the first sentence... "The next release of Kubuntu Linux is named Dapper Drake."

Then, having stopped reading, you wouldn't be feeling so hurt and offended. Then, you could also have avoided assaulting the concepts of "free choice", "intelligent debate" and "critical thinking skills."

The article stated clearly, from the onset, that it was dealing with Kubuntu, the KDE-centred release, not Ubuntu. The author addresses concerns the developers have with that aspect of Dapper Drake. He in no way bashes Gnome or tells people to not use Gnome. And since Ubuntu is *still* the reigning champ on www.distrowatch.com, I don't see why you feel so threatened or angered. Kubuntu is number 13 (as of my writing this post)... a long way to go before toppling Ubuntu.

Lighten up. Learn to write clearly. Then come back and join in some thoughtful discourse.

Oh, and stick with Gnome. I hear it's got quite the large fanbase...

suziequzie (not verified) - Wed, 2006-04-19 15:56.

Help - I've got a bugger on my twit!

What does bugger mean? Also, what is a twit?

An - ymous (not verified) - Sun, 2006-04-02 22:06.

(a) look over your

(a) look over your shoulder
(b) look in a mirror

An - ymous (not verified) - M - , 2006-04-03 04:16.