Kubuntu 13.10: Saucy Salamander Alpha 1 a very quick Review and sanity status

The Alpha 1 release of Ubuntu ‘opt-in’ flavors were released sometime back. Here is a screenshot tour and review of the release.

Kubuntu is an opt-in flavor of Ubuntu. Canonical officially sponsors the development and release of Kubuntu. Unlike Ubuntu, which has dropped Alpha and multiple Beta images, the opt-in flavors, including Kubuntu might still preserve the development milestone releases.
Kubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander Alpha 1 review and screenshot tour
Date Published: 07/15/2013
1. Installation has no issues. 2. Boot up has no issues. 3. Invoking applications works fine in a 512MB RAM Virtual Machine. 4. Performance improvement seen when compared to older KDE releases.
3.5 / 5 stars

Synopsis

Overall, the install went smooth in my hardware, which is mentioned below. I tried to put in as minimal resource limit as possible to test how Kubuntu performs and was surprised to find it did pretty well. Following are key changes for 13.10:

    • KDE 4.11 Beta 1
    • New improved search functions using Nepomuk
    • Linux Kernel 3.9.0.7

 

Full release notes here.

Hardware Used:

  • IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad W510
  • 4GB RAM
  • 8GB HDD Partition (SSD)
  • 4 Core Intel Core – i7 processor (from 2009/10).

VM config on VirtualBox:

  • 512MB RAM
  • 8GB Thin provisioned hard disk

Review:

Default Apps:

  • Browser : Rekonq
  • Organizer: Kontact
  • Music : Amarok
  • Video : Dragon Player
  • Files: Dolphin File Manager
  • Package Manager: Muon Package Manager

The installation in VirtualBox went through smooth without any major issues. As usual, Network settings were configured automatically. Kubuntu 13.10 comes built with Rekonq as the default browser. However, there is an option to install Firefox out of the box through an installer link provided in Applications in start menu.

Nothing much has changed in the application side of things when one considers Kubuntu from KDE perspective. However, considering KDE has always presented a complete, usable suite of applications as a package rather than being just a DE, one can say that this version of Kubuntu/KDE doesn’t disappoint. If anything, with new performance improvements, with possible tweaks to the Window Management schemes (a la Kwin), it can only get better for a novice user who wants to taste linux with a minimal learning curve while transitioning from M$. Doesn’t mean it’s not for power users, make no mistake.

The only thing I long to see, for quite sometime, is some sort of sane changes to the Plasma/Oxygen theme. The illuminated-window-combined-with-plasticky-look-and-feel is so old if it had been carbon-dated, dinosaurs would’ve yet to be born. If by any chance, someone from KDE development happens to see this, please, flames apart, empathize and get trendy. Uniqueness for its sake don’t mean nothin’..

 

Screenshot Tour:

 

Conclusion / Verdict:

Pros:
  • Install was a breeze
  • Boot up was a breeze
  • Default apps satisfy any simple end user.
Cons:
  • Little performance optimization could help
  • Little more theme optimization would save lot more eyes.
Verdict:

Good to install. Of course, being an Alpha build, it’s not suitable for a production system and comes with all standard disclaimers attached. As always, if something breaks, you get to keep both the halves :)

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