Kubuntu Isn’t Making the Grade

I haven’t touched my Kubuntu desktop in about 2 weeks (about the time I ceased being an IT administrator), and it is taking some will power to try and convince myself to get back into it.

Here exist 3 MAJOR shortcomings of Linux in general, not just Kubuntu/Ubuntu/Debian.

  • No truly professional, responsive office suite. OpenOffice.org2 is sluggish on even fast machines, and it still isn’t quite where it needs to be. I disable Java, because I detest it, so I’m probably missing a few key features that depend on it. Hint to developers: just say NO to Java. KOffice, I hate to admit, is a joke. KWord is actually pretty cool and useful for people who’ve never used Microsoft Word. It is fast, and it does basic stuff. But it doesn’t support Microsoft fortmat files. Sorry, but that has been and will be a requirement for a long time. I can’t convince JoeWindows User at work to send me an OASIS format file, when he is using and always will use Microsoft Word. Oh yeah, and GNOME Office. Cute attempt. At this point I’m left with an unstable, nasty looking Microsoft Office running under Wine.
  • Cross-desktop look, feel and function. I understand this is the Linux Holy Grail Nirvana, but it hasn’t been acheived. Firefox is my favorite web browser. I use KDE. I should be able to have a Firefox in KDE that looks the same (I use Lipstik, so Plastikfox doesn’t work), feel the same (GTK-Qt Engine causes some instability in presentation, especially when drawing menus), and function the same (at least KDE Open/Save/Print dialogues, if not also KDE Bookmark/History/Wallet integration).
  • Drivers, drivers, drivers. I was so excited when I found out that my iPod Shuffle worked in Linux. A little too excited, because I couldn’t get amaroK to recognize it properly. I tried to compile the latest amaroK SVN, but it has damned too many dependencies. And good luck to those who’ve bought the latest iPod (with video). I am glad to see that there is usually always a start of a driver project whenever I buy a new toy (PODxt), but the projects are rarely complete, and you’ll often find that they’ve been abandoned for years. The beauty of open source is that someone can indeed come along and finish it, but I’m in the “It has to just work” department, not the “I can make it work” department.
  • In addition to those frustrations, Kubuntu Breezy 5.10 has a dash of salt for the open wounds. It crashes incessantly. Rather, the Konqueror binary does. I haven’t installed the latest System Setting update, but at least previously it liked to crash as well. I never had crash problems using Hoary 5.04. Although, I can’t say my computer isn’t entirely devoid of blame. It is quite the hunk of junk. My plan is to eventually build a really nice Intel-based desktop, slap on Kubuntu, use it for my casual computing, and then buy a PowerBook G4 for my audio, video and photo needs.

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Philip Cain

Ninja Master of the Series of Tubes, musician, audio engineer and geek. More about Philip...