Saturday, October 24, 2009

Kubuntu 9.10 RC - First Impression

I installed Kubuntu 9.10 Release Candidate on my school-owned laptop yesterday.
So far, things are looking quite good, but there are a few disappointments as well.

[Machine specs:
> 2.0 GHz Dual Core Intel Centrino
> Mobile GM965 / GL960 Intregrated Graphics controller
> 1200x800 res
> All partitions ext4 format ]

By far, the biggest showstopper for me is the inclusion of Amarok 2.x.
I'm not going to complain about the interface, because that's not really the issue even though I prefer 1.4.x's interface.
I cannot import my old playlists from Amarok 1.4.x. I copied them over to the ~/.kde/share/apps/amarok/playlists folder, yet it still will not show them.
I have a mysql database to hold all my songs, yet when re-attaching my external with my music, it had to re-scan it all (which took about 10 minutes). Didn't happen with the older version.

Another issue is the new grub loader. It's unintuitive compared with grub 1.5, but all in all, learning the ropes isn't too difficult.

Now on to the good stuff:

- Compositing (Window Effects) is automatically enabled on an integrated Intel chipset. Yes, a lot of work has been done to get it working right. I love transparency, so this really made an impression.
- Fast. These school laptops have poor chipsets and build quality. Windows XP (modified with school software) takes approximately 2 and a half minutes to boot unless services are cut. Kubuntu races along, even with all the limitations of hardware.
- Improved notifier and taskbar. In 8.10, there were issues with some notifications freezing (unable to close) and spacing issues in the external device widget. This release gets it right, and it looks even better. Organization has definitely been polished.

Note: I skipped the 9.04 release, video driver issues.

I'm no professional reviewer, but this looks good. I'd definitely trust *buntu over Windows 7 on older hardware like this.
I've also been spoiled, as my other laptop is an alienware. (How's that for a bumper sticker?)
In comparison, Kubuntu 9.10 on this laptop IS slower than 8.10 on my alienware, BUT bootup time on 9.10 is superior to my 8.10 notebook.
That really says something. Congrats, Canonical.

No comments: