Kubuntu 7.04: Disappointing

Yesterday I downloaded Kubuntu 7.04, expecting an amazing release from the reviews I had read. But I was very very disappointed. First let me mention that I have been using linux since 4 years and so this isn't some tale of a Windows user suddenly jumping to Linux and thinking its crap.

I have very generic hardware, and Kubuntu had no problems detecting it, except my ViewSonic widescreen which no distro has managed to get working in widescreen resolution. Most problems where due to unnecessary scripts and 'safety-nets' created for new users by the *buntu teams.

Getting started and Installation


So I burned the CD and booted from it. What takes place next is 30 minutes to go from boot to desktop. On my Pentium 4 2.4Ghz with 256mb of RAM most liveCDs do take atleast 15 minutes, but 30 was too much. The second thing was that the bootup was not stable. One of the gripes I have had with newer LiveCDs is their loading of laptop battery management modules even when running on a desktop. I would prefer a prompt asking me what kind of computer I am running and then loading the modules. So anyway, the power manager crashed on bootup. And for some reason this prevented KDE from booting properly. So I restarted the machine. This time KDE loaded but there were no icons present in Kicker. So I went to a virtual terminal and restarted KDE. This time there were no problems in starting up. But the system is slow, excrutiatingly slow. It took 5 seconds to display the context menu.
Deciding that perhaps I would get better performance if I installed it on a spare partition, I launched the installer. This took another 5 minutes. After that each of the install screens took 2 minutes to load. At the partitioning screen I was again disappointed to see that my IDE harddisks were being reported as SCSI and had the path /dev/sdxx. Assuming it was just a small bug I moved on and clicked on the 'Advanced' button on the last screen.
Since I have an unconventional setup of two harddisks, one with Windows and one with Linux I always need to specify the bootloader to install in the partition itself. This is were it really hurt. The Ubiquity installer is meant for newbies. Now if a newbie encounters the message I encountered what is he going to do, hate Linux undoubtedly.
Insert bootloader documentation here

was how it went. And below that their was a single text field to enter the boot loader location in the standard GRUB (hdx,x) format. It seems like someone forgot to check one dialog. Unsure of what to do, since I did not want to take a risk with the Windows bootloader being erased - especially due to the confusion between sdxx and hdxx in the partitioner, I rebooted, disconnected the Windows drive and started the install again. This time the bootloader location was set to (hd0, 3) and everything went fine, even though the whole process took an hour and a half.

Post install


I booted from the hard disk and after getting the Arch GRUB configured right booted into Kubuntu. The hard disk startup was fast and smooth, almost as good as Arch's. But this time kdesktop crashed. Ofcourse no harm done so I just ran kdesktop and continued to use Kubuntu. But what does a new user do. Does he know about virtual consoles, and that running kdesktop will set everything right.

Need guidance


I launched the modified Kcontrol, or so called Guidance control panel, to set up networking. I have a static IP and set it up. I launched Konqueror and tried to browse, nothing. I went back to the configuration to find that the IP had been set to something else, automatically, and that the gateway had been wiped to 0.0.0.0. I tried resetting it every time. Finally sick of it I just edited the configuration files by hand and used ifconfig to launch the interface manually.
Noticing that the connection worked now, I just shutdown the computer.

Thoughts


Seeing that its been 3 years since the Ubuntu project was launched, I expected much better. It is highly likely that this was a stray incident, since most reviews are good. In fact it is well known to me, that me and and Ubuntu version don't mix. I have never had success with Ubuntu, ever. But what disappointed me was that the Ubuntu series is the pinnacle of Linux on the Desktop. Such experiences not only ruin it, but bring a bad name to the Linux and FOSS movement. I have given up using Kubuntu, even after taking so much pain to get it running. I hope that they improve the situation. For now I will just stick with Arch, it might not be newbie friendly, but the straight forward systems are just what is needed.