First look at Kubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) and KDE 4.3

July 25, 2009

Yesterday  I installed the Alpha 3 of Karmic which will become Kubuntu 9.10. It ships with KDE 4.3 (currently the RC3) and KMS, which stands for Kernel Mode Setting. And whats this? Kernel mode-setting (KMS) shifts responsibility for selecting and setting up the graphics mode from X.org to the kernel. When X.org is started, it then detects and uses the mode without any further mode changes. This promises to make booting faster, more graphical, and less flickery.

Buts whats the first impression?

KDE 4.3 really looks cool and polished with the new Air theme. Much better than the old one. Sure as widget style KDE 4.3 still uses Oxygen, but with Air it got rid of the black on black stuff. Maybe this is done by the  Kubuntu guys and not by the KDE ones, but I like it. If you know how a dialog/window looked in KDE 4.2 you see everywhere small things that got improved. Sure they’re small things but it makes it a much improved user experience.

Karmic starts even faster than Jaunty did and it was not slow. I even think that booting is as fast now as shutting down now. Please improve this also. ;-)

When you boot into Karmic the first time it asks you for your openDesktop username and password, for the plasma widget on your desktop. I went ahead to the openDesktop homepage and created a user to test it.  At this point I know that it works, as I see other people in my area online.  But I’m not really sure what I should do with it. Should this replace my ICQ/GoogleTalk? Maybe someone can enlighten me.

One thing that did not work out of the box was the sound in flash videos, in KDE and mplayer everything worked. But it was simple to solve it. Just open KMix and raise the PCM volume, which was on my system defaulted to zero.

So far my first impressions – basically I really like it and it runs solid – no crashes with the KDE 4.3 RC3 stuff.

I’ve also updated my additional packages install script for karmic and you can download it here.

ps: Take a look at http://kubuntuguide.org/Karmic for some nice ideas and tips around Karmic.

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