I mainly wanted to try the recent kubuntu release, because it is using the new Plasma 5 as its desktop. I downloaded the iso “kubuntu-15.04-desktop-amd64.iso” using “ktorrent”. Supposedly, torrents check the validity of the download, but I rechecked the sha256 checksum to be sure. It was fine.
I then copied to a USB flashdrive, using the “dd_rescue” command in opensuse. That went well. I later booted and tested as a live system, where it seemed to do okay. But I wanted to run it after installing, for better testing. So I did an install.
To install, I booted in legacy mode, though I was using a UEFI box. That was mostly because I didn’t see a need to add an additional UEFI boot entry.
For installing, I told the installer to use an external drive, and I gave it the entire drive (80G). I also told it to use an encrypted LVM for the install.
Installing went very smoothly. This was a lot easier than a previous ubuntu install, where I chose to use an existing encrypted LVM. The installer repartitioned that drive with legacy MBR partitioning (it had previously used GPT partitioning). It allocated around 500M for an unencrypted “/boot” (at “/dev/sdc1), and the rest of the space for a logical partition “/dev/sdc5” as an encrypted LVM. Within the LVM, it allocated 4G to swap, probably because the memory size of that machine is 4G. The remainder of the LVM went to the root file system. There was no separate “/home”.
After installing, I rebooted into the system. To boot, I hit F12 during the boot sequence (while the manufacturer’s logo is displaying), and then select the external drive in the subsequent boot menu. Booting goes smoothly, and I am prompted for the encryption key during the boot (a small graphic window).
At the end of booting, I am presented with a login manager screen. This is from the “sddm” login manager. It seems to work well enough. I’ll note that I had previously tried “sddm” on my Tumbleweed system, where it logged me into Plasma 5 but hung on an attempt to login to Gnome. I could not retest that with kubuntu, since I did not have Gnome installed.
Plasma 5 seems to work reasonably well in kubuntu, though there are some bugs. It is using version 5.2, which is the same as I have on Tumbleweed. I’m hearing that some of those bugs will be fixed in version 5.3, but kubuntu 15.04 was released before Plasma 5.3 was ready.
The most obvious bug that I see, is that on login it does not properly resume a saved session. The saved windows are all opened in workspace 1, and are not correctly positioned. I am seeing that same problem in Tumbleweed, and it seems to also be present in the live KaOS that I tested.
Another problem that I noticed was with “konsole”. If I rebooted with “konsole” running, the restored session after reboot was not running “konsole”. When I try this in Tumbleweed, the crash reporter shows up. Apparently “konsole” is crashing on resume, but not on startup from the menu.
The menu system seems to work well. In my Tumbleweed tests, there is a flat menu. With “kubuntu” I instead see a structured menu that possibly comes from KDE4. I much prefer that structured menu.
Kubuntu 15.04 works pretty well, but still has some rough edges because Plasma 5 is a work in progress.