Thursday, October 30, 2014

My impression of Kubuntu 14.10

The Kubuntu 14.10 desktop

I've used Kubuntu for about a week already, so here's my impressions.

Overall, the experience has been positive. I like the smooth transition animations when doing things like minimising/maximising windows. The default software selection is pretty good, too. Akregator is my feed reader, Firefox is Firefox, LibreOffice is LibreOffice.

I also like how certain software stay resident without slowing down the system. When something interesting happens an icon appears in the notification area ready to interact with whenever you are. So far, I've noticed KTorrent and Akregator doing this. Amarok's icon is always present but that doesn't seem to affect system performance at all.

But, not everything is well polished. Dragon Player's time slider in full screen mode doesn't employ the smooth transitions evident in other parts of the desktop, for instance.

Also, almost every app in Kubuntu seems to be intent on making themselves as complicated as possible in terms of UI design. I've had to manually pare down those I use regularly as much as possible. Maybe this is why I've always preferred GNOME-based desktops. While I do find KDE's animations nice, I much prefer GNOME's simple UI designs. The fact that I think KDE's UI looks rather cartoonish may have helped sway my choice as well. I still do think it's overly bright but it's nothing to be overly concerned with.

Clicking a magnet link in Akregator brings up KTorrent if it's UI isn't open already. While that's not a problem if you have only the one magnet link, it quickly becomes a nuisance when there's multiple links to follow. I've yet to find a way to get KTorrent to remain in the notification area when new magnet links are added.

Kubuntu, in essence, is a good desktop. It simply needs a bit more spit and polish here and there to make it even better. I get that some people do like the rather cluttered looking software UI, so I'm not saying there's a requirement to change things there. But making things like desktop animations work across the board (that Dragon Player full screen mode, again) would make the experience more consistent.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of more examples but I'm sure there's little inconsistencies here and there needing addressing. Still, Kubuntu's good so far. I'll be staying for at least this cycle. Come 15.04 I may head back to Ubuntu if I really can't stand KDE. Or, maybe I'll try yet another flavor and see how that turns out.

Update:

Amarok search is simply insane. DeaDBeeF doesn't iconify into the notification area. Help! Looks like my search for a suitable music player continues...