Monday, March 02, 2009

Goodbye Gentoo, hello Kubuntu

Warning, this is another tech post ;)

End of February, I decided for some stupid reason that I needed to upgrade my Gentoo to KDE4. I installed this Gentoo in August 2005 and never formatted the disk since. Oh well, I had to make several repairs, rebuild all the system, but never reinstall it. It was not few maintenance needed, but the system was robust, and exactly configured to my needs.

Well, it came out this was a bad idea. I just tried to follow the documentation, but I came to a state where packages needed two versions of the same software at the same time - or so to say, my package tree was broken. After getting no help on the Gentoo forum, I decided that after 5 days of trying upgrading and repairing, that was time to give up and try some software that is told to be modern and usable.

So I downloaded a Kubuntu image (around 20 minutes), and burned it (20 minutes too). After that, I transfered all important data (~/.*, ...) to a separate data partition that I would not format.

The install went fast - just a few panels to complete: partitioning, first user, language, and then the packages were being installed. I was really curious to see if KDE4 will work right on. That was the case! At the first start, everything was running. Even Internet worked, without me having to configure anything. Nice nice.

Further using Kubuntu, I was really surprised by the usability, simplicity and beauty of the whole. A discrete popup bubble was telling me that updates were available, one click installed them. Miles away from the Gentoo cinema :) And without hour-long compile, of course!


The discovery of the new environment was full of new surprises - for example, as I had to open an editor, I just wrote 'emacs' in the command line, and then I got a message telling that emacs cannot be found on this system, but it's available in these packages that are not installed yet, and I just have to type 'sudo apt-get install packagename' to install it. Woah.

The Widgets in KDE give a new life to this desktop - there are lots of great widgets, you can find lots of them under kde-look.org. Other than that, the transparency and 3D effects makes KDE a modern desktop.

Most of my configuration from KDE 3.5 worked, but I had to repair some programs. I still have to restore my Amarok configuration, as well as some other minor settings, but most of it is still running. I put a lot of information on the cloud lately to be able to use my information from my iPhone.

Problems? Sure! KDE4 is still not completely stable. Mostly yes, but for some reason Firefox has stability issues, and crash regurlarly (up to 3 times a day). The latest version 3.0.7 seem to be more stable.

So, in short, I like it - I have a system that is now usable, have modern software on it, and that takes less time to manage. I can only advice curious people to have a try at Kubuntu.

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