Official website for Linux User & Developer

Kubuntu 10.10 review

by Gareth Halfacree

Gareth Halfacree takes the KDE spin of popular desktop Linux distribution Ubuntu, known as Kubuntu, through its paces…

This article is due to appear in issue 96 of Linux User & Developer magazine.Kubuntu 10.10 review Subscribe and save more than 30% and receive our exclusive money back guarantee – click here to find out more.

Pros: Plasma interface offers plenty of eye-candy, simple installation process, and an excellent selection of pre-installed applications
Cons: Unfamiliar default browser, old-fashioned software installation GUI, and several areas such as Activities are still poorly documented

Canonical’s Ubuntu is one of the most popular desktop Linux distributions around, but it’s easy to forget that there is a wealth of alternatives built on the same user-friendly base – including, most famously, the KDE-based Kubuntu.  While the back end of the OS is identical in both cases, the interface couldn’t be more different.

Kubuntu 10.10, also known by the same codename as Ubuntu 10.10 ‘Maverick Meerkat,’ differs from its parent distribution by ditching the GNOME interface for KDE – and while it’s very much a case of personal preference as to which you prefer, the latest KDE build brings some fascinating new features which users can explore in the Live CD or Live USB environments.

Kubuntu 10.10 review
Once tailored to your needs, the Plasma Widgets layer is extremely powerful

Chief among these is Plasma, a workspace framework that allows KDE to be modified according to the users’ requirements – including offering the ability to quickly switch between a desktop-style layout and a netbook-style layout more optimised for a small screen on the fly.

The most obvious feature of Plasma for an end-user, however, is Widgets: in place of the traditional desktop, Plasma offers a surface that can be populated with widgets offering everything from weather forecasting, a Twitter and Identica client, file browsers, web page snippets, and even physics-driven eye candy such as a bouncing ball that can be thrown around the desktop.

If you’re used to GNOME, KDE Plasma can take a little bit of getting used to – and certain aspects are, sadly, still somewhat user-unfriendly.  The best example of this is KDE’s support for Activities, a method of quickly switching between groups of programs and even desktop layouts for different tasks, which is sadly poorly documented within the OS and difficult for a less technical user to experiment with.

Kubuntu 10.10 review
Kubuntu’s Plasma interface is impressive, evoking shades of Apple’s Mac OS X

Despite some issues, KDE’s Plasma framework offers a clean and modern-looking user interface reminiscent of Apple’s Mac OS X, and – like Ubuntu – offers a Desktop Effects menu to enable desktop compositing for even more impressive eye candy.

Continue to: Page 2 – the verdict

Linux User & Developer is the magazine for the GNU Generation
Click here to try 3 issues for £1

Return to the Linux User homepage

twitter follow us
Kubuntu 10.10 review

Pages: 1 2
  • Tell a Friend
  • Follow our Twitter to find out about all the latest Linux news, reviews, previews, interviews, features and a whole more.
    • littlenoodles

      While KDE is a slick, powerful desktop, Kubuntu is possibly the worst implementation. Try Mandriva first, if you’re a newbie. Or, better yet, PCLinuxOS, if you want multimedia to work out of the box.

      Both have great config tools. Better than Ubuntu. Both integrate Firefox and OpenOffice.

    • Carl

      It seems that the concept ‘review’ has been subject to a slow and steady erosion. Right now, it is enough to spin up a live CD, make a few screenshots, perform a quick and dirty installation (virtual machine?) and bam , we have a verdict. Congrats!

    • Spanky

      A KDE distro (Kubuntu team) should completely fork away from Ubuntu. Like to “Linux Mint Debian KDE.” or something better worked out. Ubuntu is just not serious, about KDE. Oh, how Kubuntu has fallen. Ubuntu Gnome is better than ever, however(for now). If you really want a tacked on KDE, go Debian (or other well known KDE distro, that’s not so rough).

      Look people. This stuff is complex, and we ALL need comprehensive inter-workability among all the many open apps. Newbie, and sage alike. Windows refugees, are to be respected, and that does not slowdown the guru.

    • Betty

      I like Pancakes.

    • Anon

      Try Linux Mint KDE edition it’s a really good KDE environment, and I’m a Gnome user and I like it.

    • tonyable

      Carl, a review is a review. An opinion of the reviewer. make your own review and share if you feel this one is not good enough.

    • Bill Wright

      I am very happy with KDE 10.10 I have found it to be very stable. I run Google Chrome for a browser, Thunderbird for mail client and Crossover to run my Window apps. Office 2007 and Quicken 2010 run flawlessly.

    • Kobus

      I find it amazing that the every time Kubuntu is mentioned you will find the comment stating that Kubuntu is a horrible KDE distro. I was an avid Gnome user and always preferred it to KDE. It kept an eye on KDE and last year after reading an article I became VERY curious and downloaded a few KDE distros. All the ones I found to be recommended in comments of reviews. I just found all the KDE distros I tried OpenSuse, Sidux, PCLinuxOS, … totally unpolished. Despite all the bad comments I read about Kubuntu I tried it and even while running from the livecd I just loved it and it restored my faith in the future of Linux on the desktop. Since then I’ve used 9.10, 10.04 and I recently installed 10.10 on one of my wife’s computers. 10.10 seems a lot heavier on resources if I compare it to the previous OS we used on that computer; Ubuntu 8.10. But that seems to be happening and would probably be the case with Ubuntu 10.10 as well. So, to people who read these comments, like I did when I was hunting for a distro:

    • bongo

      This is not a review!
      Not wanting to be mean but there is no ‘real’ information in this article.
      The author is simply describing one feature of kde4, Plasma, in a general way.
      There is nothing here about kubuntu 10.10.

      The title of article is: Kubuntu 10.10 Review – but where is this information?

      How can author give a 4/5 score to this new Kubuntu? he did not review anything
      what were the criteria?
      If you want subscribers to you mag, stop publishing articles like this one.

    • Vikram

      Recommend users new to Linux who are used to Mac choose GNOME and those who are used to windows choose KDE. Those who choose KDE are better off using OpenSuse, Mandriva or Mint with KDE.

      I got fed up of the Kubuntu bugs and moved to Mandriva and finally Arch for a much better KDE experience. There is zero polish and zero effort by Canonical for KDE. As the author mentioned no software center, no official documentation, poor support on the forum.

    • Pingback: Sony PS3 Pictures - PS3 Games - Sony PlayStation 3 Pictures - PlayStation 3 Games:()

    • Aracnachid

      No software center? Kpackage kit installs almost any program you could want on linux and I personally have found that Kubuntu has perfectly fine documentation, most of the documentation for ubuntu is compliant with kubuntu (if it works in ubuntu it generally works in kubuntu) and if a user was to need documentation on how to use the kde desktop that can be found at

      I made the switch from being a long term user of the gnome desktop and since my switch to Kubuntu I have never looked back.

      I do agree with the DVD comment as Ubuntu and Kubuntu alike will not play a dvd out of the box but a quick google fixes any problem.

    • Very informative post. Good reading.

    • jack

      well am in the process of downloading both kubuntu and ubuntu. hope i will be able to try both soon and make a choice based on user experience rather than biased comments. thanks for the comments non the less, they seemed to be more informative than the review!!

    • Rowan

      Kubuntu is horrible? Please explain?

      Horrible in which way? Haveway you tried the latest version?

      I am using 10.10 with PPA enabled so i can also use KDE 4.6. I am yet to run into the ‘horrible’ stuff in Kubuntu.

      In actuall fact i had more bugs with other distros people recommended i use because they were the ‘Holy Grail’.

      I have tried:


      All of these distro’s were good for there own reasons, However for something that works straight out of the box, has a good package manager and plenty of software in it’s main repos Kubuntu is an excellant distro.

    • Joseph

      @littlenoodles, I’m going to have to disagree with you. If you are a new comer to Linux KDE, your best bet is to go with Pardus 2011, everything works out of the box and it comes with all kinds of Media editing software built into it. It’s stable, fast and really is the best implementation of the KDE Desktop available. I’ve used both Mandriva and PCLinuxOS and neither of them can hold a candle to Pardus, Pardus has a professional feel and look to it and anytime I try another KDE Distro, I always feel like they were just thrown together by armatures.

      If you guys haven’t tried Pardus out yet and you like KDE, I’d suggest you give it a try. I’ll even bet you’ll feel a little cheated and you’ll never use another KDE Distro other than Pardus again, if you do, I’m sure you’ll be back.

      The only downfall with Pardus is it doesn’t have as large a repository as some other Distros, but this has been changing, the more people who discover Pardus the better and the community is growing like a wild fire.

    • Pingback: Review: Kubuntu 10.10()

    • Pingback: Kubuntu()