The next release of both Ubuntu [Gnome interface] and Kubuntu [KDE interface] have arrived. Like their predecessors these latest releases are basically updates from 7.xx versions previously released. I’m a KDE person so I chose to download and take Kubuntu 7.10 for a spin.

As always Kubuntu installation is simple with basically no user expertise required. For those new to Kubuntu, you have the option to run Kubuntu as a Live CD as well. This allows you to see how well this distro picks up your hardware before doing a hard disk install. Remember, running a Live CD is always slower than from hard disk.

The first thing I wanted to try was to see if I could get my wireless connection to the Internet working. No problem. Once I entered my WEP key I connected right away. I previously mentioned that Linspire 2.0.3 would not connect. But there was no such problem with Kubuntu connecting and I was immediately surfing the net.

All of the same apps are still available in Kubuntu including Open Office [similar to MS Office] , Evolution [e-mail], Firefox [web browser, Totem and Gimp [instant messaging]. If you haven’t used any Linux distro before, you may struggle to get things like mp3 working so I would suggest reading the documentation on the Kubuntu site. Also the forums are another option on the site as well if you need assistance.

Drivers: Kubuntu offers the ability to use Restricted Driver Manager which is a module that will allow you to install drivers for your hardware. Drivers for NVidia, ATI and also Broadcom wireless are available. As previously mentioned, wireless setup is now a snap compared to some distro’s I have previously used. For this reason alone, Kubuntu gets two big thumbs up.

Kubuntu also includes 3D effects for those who like more eye candy. This feature allows you to tweak the appearance of KDE taking into consideration the performance of your PC. To use all of the eye candy you need a fairly fast computer. What is nice about this feature is that it is user controlled. Some people have had problems with this feature getting it to work correctly. It is highly recommended that you also have the latest drivers for your video card installed.

Other nice touches are fast user switching, a new desktop search ala Google and a better printer setup for USB based printers. My HP printer was setup automatically for me and I was able to print right away. Nice.

As with all of the newer versions of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, PCLinusOS, Mandrivia 2008 and so forth, these releases are becoming very sophisticated and need a fairly fast computer to enjoy all of the bells and whistles. I’m going to stick my neck out here a little and suggest that if you have an old honker computer in the closet, you may be disappointed. The system I use for test purposes is a fairly new [about 2 years old] AMD 2800, 2G of RAM and a NVidia video display adapter with dedicated 256MB on board. Some folks who have older pre-Pentium 4 boxes may wish to use trimmed down Linux versions. Just my 2 cents.

Overall the new Kubuntu 7.10 is a winner. But your mileage may vary depending on the box you install it on. 🙂 This is why using the Live CD first is always a good idea.

Comments as always are welcome.

[tags]kubuntu, ubuntu, wireless, printer, 7.10, new, computer, [/tags]