Kubuntu-16.04 — a review

I described my experience with installing kubuntu-16.04 in a previous post.  Today, I’ll comment on the installed system.

Kubuntu 16.04 is based on Plasma 5.  So I’ll first comment on Plasma 5, and then on how kubuntu has implemented it.

Plasma 5

I have been seeing a steady improvement in Plasma 5, which I am using on my normal desktop (with opensuse 42.1), as well as on the kubuntu system that I am reviewing.  There were some rough edges at the initial release, but by now it is reasonably usable.

I’ve adjusted to it quite well.  However, the version that I am using with opensuse 42.1 still has several applications from KDE Plasma 4.  Most of those are now updated in kubuntu.

The only one that is giving me problems, is “akregator”.  On my main desktop, I still use “akregator4” (the version from Plasma 4) which is serving me well.  There’s an option to mark a news article as “unread” or as “important”.  I typically do that for an article that I want to revisit later.

With “akregator5” (the Plasma 5 version that is in ubuntu 16.04), those options are still there.  However, I am unable to find a way of displaying only unread articles or only important articles.  That’s an unfortunate change from what I have been doing.  In effect, I can still mark an article as important.  But it is very difficult to find the articles that have been marked that way.

I hope that this is only a temporary omission.

Kubuntu 16.04

The kubuntu implementation of Plasma 5 seems to work quite well.  It’s close to what I am seeing in other implementations.  It includes the Libre Office software, rather than the KDE office suite.  But most users will prefer that anyway.

I’m not a big fan of the default menu.  But the menu can easily be switched to one of the alternative forms.  I’ve already done that, and am preferring the “launcher based on cascading popup menus”.  If you are trying kubuntu, I suggest you experiment with the alternative formats to see which you prefer.

One of the menu items is “Discover”.  That’s for finding and installing new software.  I did not find it useful.  It seemed to be pushing packages that did not interest me.  I wanted to install “xterm” because I have some scripts that use it.  So I searched for “xterm” in Discover.  It did not find anything.  So I instead tried typing “xterm” as a command, and the bash completion rules told me the command to use for installing “xterm”.

I tried the same thing with “sshd” (the ssh server).  Again, Discover came up empty.  This time, I tried typing “muon” on the command line, and the bash completion rules told me the command to use to install “muon”.

Once “muon” was installed, I repeated the search for “sshd”, but this time using “muon”.  It quickly found what I wanted.

My advice would be to install “muon” and forget about “Discover”.

It also seemed weird to have a menu entry for “ssh askpass”.  That should popup when a password is needed.  It makes no sense to try starting it from the menu.

But, for the most part, this is a pretty good implementation of Plasma 5.  If you are a kubuntu user, go for it.  But consider adding “muon” to your system.

About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

6 responses to “Kubuntu-16.04 — a review”

  1. Mark Ellis says :

    I been using kubuntu 16.04 for a few of months, and I have found it to be really buggy, network keeps dropping out, does not wake up form suspend very well (varies issues with that). doesn’t play nice with multiple monitors. for a while i’ve been thinking about down grading back to 14.04, but though i’d hand in there for an update to come along to fix it all as it is still a bit newish, but the more and more updates i install the worse it gets!

    I’m going to start playing around with opensuse I heard that is much more stable, the only problem is getting the packages I need.


    • Neil Rickert says :

      I’ll agree that 14.04 was pretty solid. That still used KDE4.

      I’m not having problems with kubuntu 16.04, except that Plasma 5 is still a bit buggy (but getting better). My install of 16.04 is on a box with Intel graphics.

      I’m guessing that you are having video problems. Plasma 5 does not like Nvidia graphics, and tends to be unstable. With opensuse Leap 42.1, I’m doing okay with setting it to use XRender for compositing. However, a have a test install of 42.2-Alpha3, and it cannot bring up the KDE desktop at all (on my box with Nvidia graphics). It works fine, though, on another box with Intel graphics.

      Opensuse has a pretty good collection of software. Some of it requires adding additional repos, though that’s easy enough to do.


  2. Mario M says :

    I’m using kubuntu 16.04 as a file server. I can see see the shares alright from my windows 10 client laptop but connection drops out every 15-20 minutes. I have to restart my client machine to be able to reconnect.


    • Neil Rickert says :

      I didn’t test that.

      Have you checked your main network connection. If that drops out, perhaps due to a failure to renew the DHCP lease, then that resets all connections.


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