Friday, March 2, 2012

Kubuntu 12.04 new features

The Kubuntu 12.04 Beta 1 release announcement is still hot from the oven, and it gives both a glimpse about what we should expect from this upcoming release, as well as about the Kubuntu future itself.

Jonathan Ridell posted: "...And for anyone worried about the future of Kubuntu, Kubuntu 12.04 to be Supported for 5 Years reaffirms that we will be treating 12.04 like any other LTS, only 2 years longer. It also affirms that we will be continuing Kubuntu in the same way I have run it for the last 7 years, as a successful community made Ubuntu flavour."

This comment goes on top of many others from the Kubuntu community to clarify that the project is not struggling and that no concerns appear in the near future.

Great news!


Kubuntu 12.04, just like its older brother, was code-named "Precise Pangolin", kind of metaphorically conveying the fact that most efforts will go into stability and precision, not wild or revolutionary features. I am particularly excited about this, because both Ubuntu (specially around the Unity area) and Kubuntu (nothing as big as Unity, but some areas could use some bug fixing) will benefit from this approach. In fact, I think all Open Source projects should slow down every once in a while to dedicate one or two release cycles to stability and bug fixing.

Does this mean that this release is void of exciting features, plain boring? Not at all, there is plenty of stuff to look for. Here´s a brief summary:

  • KDE SC 4.8 rebase: Kubuntu will introduce the latest from KDE, it´s SC 4.8 release, most probably 4.8.1. This in itself already means tons of new features and enhancements, not only from the previous KDE SC 4.7 series, but also from KDE SC 4.8.0.

    A recent post in Planet KDE mentions 50 bug fixes around KDE PIM that will make into 4.8.1. Similarly, other post lists a wide number of Dolphin bugs that are gone for good. This is awesome news, because KDE SC 4.8.0 is the most stable .0 KDE release I have tried to date, so further stability can only enhance an already great experience.

  • Telepathy KDE: The latest KDE IM client will become default in Kubuntu 12.04, meaning Kopete will likely be left out. This is a good way to help Telepathy get the testing it needs to become the great IM client KDE deserves.

    EDIT (06/04/2012): According to Dave Edmunson, a last minute decision was made to stick to Kopete until KDE Telepathy is a bit more mature. I believe Kubuntu 12.10 will most probably default to KDE Telepathy.

  • Amarok 2.5: The latest from Amarok, which incorporates a wide range of exciting new features, will also be part of the default Kubuntu install in about 2 months.

  • Plasma active: Plasma Active is now available to install from the archive for tech preview. Work is ongoing around a Kubuntu Active remix.

  • Rekonq and OwnClowd updates: Rekonq 0.9 is already available and will be once again the default web browser. I hope the new features and bug fixes make it a good enough alternative, so I don´t have to install other more popular names.

    OwnClowd 3 lands in Kubuntu 12.04, with a bunch of awesome features. Check it out!

  • Calligra: In a move that I hope most KDE distros follow, Precise Pangolin will default to Calligra as its de facto Office suite. It is a brave decision, for certain elements in Calligra are still under heavy development and/or polishing, but probably the best way to get it the amount of testing it requires to continue improving.

  • Muon 1.3: The great Muon Software and Package manager get fixes, enhancements and a facelift.

  • Oxygen-GTK 3: GTK 3 apps will now look as native as possible under Kubuntu.

Not bad, huh?

One of the things I was expecting to see in this release was KDE Light-DM, which I believe Kubuntu may default to at some point. For the time being, this piece is only ready for testing, as explained in this POST by David Edmunson.

For some time now I have come to appreciate Kubuntu more and more. I used to consider it a poor KDE implementation, lacking in terms of consistency, stability and performance, but a vast improvement took place in the last few releases. Precise Pangolin looks like another solid step towards setting Kubuntu as a reference in KDE distros. If only those who discarded it a few years ago gave it another chance...


  1. As usual great post Chema.

    Thank you :)


  2. Calligra?
    Are you sure?

    "Calligra office suite featuring Krita the world's best painting app. Handy for updating hackergotchis. MS Office file import/export is reported to be better than LibreOffice because of the top work by KO GMBH. Not the default yet but the signs are good for fixing the "we don't have a KDE office suite by default" bug in the next year."
    What is wrong with Libre Office? Even Chakra (pure kde distro) is using it.

    "Plasma active: Plasma Active is now available to install from the archive for tech preview. Work is ongoing around a Kubuntu Active remix."

    Hope not, there are official images made by plasma active developers (based on meego/mer and opensuse). There is no need for "poor" implementation done by kubuntu developers.

  3. Kubuntu is still the only derivative that doesn't have it's own personality. Just basic KDE!. Xubuntu and Lubuntu getting new wallpapers, etc.. Why don't the Kubuntu developers give Kubuntu something other than a vanilla KDE experience.

    1. I red this argument very often. But who keeps the default wallpaper? You can easily "install" new ones straight from via right-click on desktop.

    2. I agree... Kubuntu does have its own personality, it just respects the KDE aesthetics. Muon and KDE Light-DM are initiatives that are very much Kubuntu, just like the awesome jokey... and more will come.

  4. Anonymous, the official Kubuntu 12.04 beta announcement is where they mention Calligra:

    As you rightly put it, there is nothing wrong with LibreOffice. In fact, it may be a better option today, but there is no way Calligra will ever become a decent alternative if it is not exposed to the masses. Also note that Calligra offers quite a bit that is not easily found in other office suites, like the wonderful Krita, and an original take on the user interface, so I think there are plenty of reasons to give it a chance.

  5. Thanks Kubuntu, is a great feeling to have this wonderful distribution.

  6. Actually KDE Telepathy 0.3 won't be _default_ in Kubuntu. A last minute decision was to stick with Kopete till the next release. It will still be available though. It gives us (the KDE Telepathy team) a bit longer testing and it means when it lands it will be really really really good with all the features of Kopete and more. Right now 0.3 still lacked some basics (like viewing your logs and some SSL error handling. Boring but very useful things).

    Same for LightDM-KDE which is also one of my projects. It's not default but easily installable. It really needs some more work to beat KDM at the moment. Though it is looking pretty damn sexy.

    I need more hours in the day.

    1. You Dave Edmundson?... If so, wow, thanks for reading and replying!...

    2. Yup. I was looking at the referrals to my blog, and this linked there.

      It's a nice blog post. At the time of writing this was all accurate and really nicely presented. You should get on the Kubuntu or KDE promo teams. We always need more people to write articles.

      David Edmundson (d_ed)

    3. Wow, glad you liked my post! I would love to help, but not too sure what would be the best way to get involved. Any suggestions?


      PD: I have amended my post with the information you provided.


    Join the mailing list. It's quite low traffic.

    You can send an email that says "hey this is me, I write this blog I want to help" or simply join and wait until you get a mail that says "hey, we need to write a dot article about XYZ". When this happens, and you're interested, you can just say "hey, I'll write about that".

  8. Awesome, thanks Dave!

    I will drop by and see how I can add my two cents.

    Thanks again

  9. Chema, do you have experience "lightening" Kubuntu? Without binary blobs, 3D effects, disabling the nepomuk/akadoni/virtuoso trio + disabling events on the clock, kubuntu-low-fat package, Kwin-OpenGL ES, inmy desktop system idles at 180 Mb....and a laptop at 160 Mb, while just using between 3-4% cpu (less than Gnome). My next step is installing it on a NB200 netbook (basic Atom, 1 Gb RAM)....I would appreciate other users experiences on low end impression is that Kubuntu can be tweaked to run very well even on netbooks. Thanks

    1. I don't have much experience myself other than removing those services I am sure I will not be using. All my computers have at least 2GB of memory, so I am never in trouble with Kubuntu.

      Your timing is pretty good, though, because there is an ongoing discussion about this here:

      You will find some pretty cool advices in the comments section.

      Good luck

    2. Thanks Chema, this week I'll do that testing on a basic NB200, plus e4rat (a sort of boot sequence profiler that can save up to 50% boot times) and I'll tell you how it went. Lubuntu or Xubuntu might be lighter but not as easy to grasp for ex-Windows users. Plus...most of the best apps are Qt based. I was hoping they did a Qt LibreOffice, like Chakra Linux, but I'll check out Calligra. Thanks for the tip!

    3. Chema, Kubuntu 12.04 worked perfectly, and smoothly, on a NB200 netbook (wifi, webcam, bluetooth), but since Adobe has disabled Hardware Acceleration for Linux Flash plugins, and now fullscreen online videos stutter a bit, the owner of the netbook wants an XP installed. Well, that was least I tried (thanks a lot Adobe). Chema, have you read about this? My desktop can cope without Hardware Acceleration, but what is in store of those Linux powered netbooks?

  10. Really useful info.....was going to try Linux Mint but decided to try Kubuntu. Wanting to make my spare laptop the kids so reckon that Kubuntu would be a good start for them.
    Keep up the good work :)