Two days ago I installed Kubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Beta on my Acer Travelmate 5730. I often try KDE based distros hoping that I will eventually find something that doesn’t crash often.
Kubuntu 9.10 Beta Karmic Koala is improved in many ways. The new installer Bling is beautiful yet simple. Installation went smooth and finished with in 10 or 15 minutes. After the installation I logged in to a beautiful desktop. This beautiful desktop is KDE 4.3.1 which has many improvements. Well it is improved since the last time I used KDE 4. First of all it uses a new theme “Air” by default instead of Oxygen. Air looks better because it matches the over all look of KDE 4.
Kubuntu boots faster but on my computer it switches to text from boot screen which looked a little ugly. Once logged in, Kubuntu acts like MS Windows it starts loading applications in the taskbar and plays the start up music when everything is loaded. On my computer this sound appears 10 seconds after login. I think that the start up music should be played as soon as the Desktop appears. Otherwise it is a little distracting when I have already started working.
There is this one particularly wonderful improvement that I loved; Dolphin file browser’s file and folder previews, moving the mouse to a file displays a preview of the file in the information bar on the right. There is a scroll bar at the bottom of Dolphin window for zooming in and out. The animations are fantastic.
There are some very useful widgets added with Plasma desktop. I was particularly happy to see the social web applications for microblogging and facebook. However I was unable to use microblogging widget because there appeared a Configure.. button right in the middle of the widget and I was unable to find a way to make it disappear. But I am glad that KDE desktop is thinking about future by bringing the web to the desktop. I personally think that this is a wonderful approach.
In Kubuntu Karmic, OpenOffice feels more like home and so do some other GTK+ applications. Also there are many improvements in KDE applications. Like Amarok is using the latest release candidate, there is DBpedia an application to look for reference. I don’t know why I would use an application instead of web browser to look up at Wikipedia?
Overall I am very impressed with Kubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala Beta. But I would like to warn you that there are two very annoying bugs in this beta version. First of all the new package manager KPackageKit does not work. So you will have to use apt from command line to install updates. Secondly you can not log out and log back in. I am also having problems at start up. During the start up KDM would hang without asking for login details. I can easily restart KDM but its really annoying. Hopefully these issues will get resolved with the final release.
The conclusion is that Kubuntu Karmic Koala is worth trying, it is improved and hopefully it will get better. So if you are like me, a person who wants to try KDE but often failed due to one reason or another, now is the time. Give it a try and file bug reports if you find any.