Kubuntu 10.04 – First Impressions


As you can tell from my Ubuntu countdown counter, Ubuntu 10.04 has arrived.

I’ve just upgraded my 64-Bit Kubuntu PC to 10.04 from 9.10 and these are my initial findings.

The upgrade went well, and the PC rebooted into Kubuntu quickly, although GRUB did complain of a missing boot device on one of its entries. Not sure what happened there, but Kubuntu booted successfully!

KNetwork Manager

I have a need to use a 3G wireless Internet connection when away from home on my Dell C640 laptop running Kubuntu and have toyed with the idea of using my T-Mobile LG Arena (KM900) 3G Smartphone (using its iSync USB setting) for this purpose.

Under Kubuntu 9.10, KNetwork Manager was broken for two reasons:

  1. It could not be used to set a fixed IP address
  2. You could setup a Mobile Broadband connection, but it would not work

Whilst the former did not cause me a problem, at home I use DHCP. It was a problem at work, but that’s another story!

Up until 10.04, KNetwork Manager has been so far behind GNOME’s Network Manager, I was beginning to wonder whether the KDE ‘bling’ was worth the pain. Under GNOME Network Manager in 9.10, Mobile Broadband just works. Plug in your phone, and a wizard runs you through the set-up process which is a pleasure to use. At the end of the process you have a working 3G wireless internet connection. Brilliant!

Under KNetwork Manager in 10.04 there is still no Wizard (come on developers, KDE is supposed to be easy to use), but setting up the profile is quite easy:

Under Mobile Broadband, edit the default connection and set as follows:

  • Number: *99#
  • Username: User
  • Password: pass
  • APN: general.t-mobile.uk
  • Type: Any
  • Leave everything else alone.

Click OK twice, and then in the system tray, click your phone icon and click activate and it just works!

I have a Huawei E220 Broadband dongle, also on T-Mobile and whilst it has not been tested with 10.04, 9.10 correctly identified the modem in the same way as it identified my LG Arena so in 10.04 this should just work. Once I get time to test, I’ll update this post.

Finally, for Blackberry owners out there I believe it is possible to tether to Ubuntu using the instructions in this post http://tinyurl.com/y9snf9o.

It makes you wonder how much testing was done for the previous 9.10 release of KNetwork Manager. I think the answer is very little!

Blogging

I use Bilbo Blogger (now renamed Blogilo) to blog. This is now upgraded to a slightly newer version 1.01. The only visual difference is you now have the ability to launch a web browser from the tool-bar. However, the big difference for me was that it lost my blog settings. Also at the time of writing, I’m unable to upload properly, although this may not be related.

For micro-blogging use Choqok for both Identi.ca and Twitter. In 9.10 this was version 0.6.6 and in 10.04 this has been upgraded to revision 1.0 Beta1 (0.9.55). As a rule I don’t run beta software so I’m a little disappointed, especially as (like Blogilo) it also lost my settings.

Some confusion ensued when I discover that they had also decided to rename Identi.ca to StatusNet. They are the same thing with the same icon, but unless you know it is a little confusing.

Plasmoids

I use the System Monitor widget in KDE. In 9.10 this was customisable so that you could change the colours of the graphs. This feature seems to have been removed in 10.04. No big deal, but this may encourage me to use Conky as a future replacement!

Web Browsing

Firefox is now 3.6.3 and is a lot faster and hopefully more stable.

K3b

Well the spinning “hour-glass” bug (two spinning discs) has been fixed, so this gives me some confidence in the software. Also the progress bar has re-appeared in this release. Again, the release in 9.10 was okay but when the basics don’t work you start to wonder what else is broken!

Initial Conclusion

A good upgrade, and for me worth it just for a working KNetwork Manager! Tomorrow I’ll upgrade my Dell C640 laptop to Kubuntu 10.04.

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