Since I just shipped my new Acer in for service due to broken USB ports, I figured I'd Give Kubuntu a try since it seemed to be getting such positive reviews. since I only had the Win8 RP on this older laptop.
Here's my initial impressions, and remember I'm writign this from a new/regular user perspective who might now have that much base knowledge so while the stuff I might complain anbout is trivial to me, I consider it bad design by default
So I installed it through WuBi for ease, just because I wanted it to be easy and didn't want to look up my thumbdrives. this resulted in some weirdness, where I get some NTLDR WUBI errors during startup of Kubuntu, butit doesn't affect loading. also the first Kubuntu startup where it finishes the install and then reboots took very long and almost seemed to hang.
It integrates with the win8 loader, which of course means it takes twice as long to start up into Kubuntu, but works ok, not like I reboot a lot anyway.
Now onto actual first impressions
The first thing I though when I got the grey background with a cursor on was "Oh, that reminds me of changing to custom 'cool' cursors back in the win98 days, along with litestep". Not necessarily a bad thing, but it seems to take the default cursors a lot into the style over substance direction.
Finally into a working desktop,, I decide to check out the package manager that was bragged about, well first I had to look to actually find it hidden in an illogical sub menu. Hardly a good choice for the main method of installing new apps to the OS. should be a lot more prominent, I don't see casual users dropping into this or knowing what a package manager even is.
So Muon then. If this is what the linux peopel say is what Windows 8 is copying, then Microsoft is running one hell of a copy business. Sure I mean it does it's job, and for me, again, it works fine. But a casual user isn't going to find their way in this thing. It's made by coders for coders, there's no UX or anythign behind it. Linux needs to work on a better user front end for installign apps for regular users to compete with nicer UX and categorisations systems. Granted I have used other(ubuntu) package managers and know it can be far worse, and while I haven't tried it, I suspect the Ubuntu one store thing is probably working on some of this though I'm not sure, if that's includes apps or just music and crap.
Well of to get some internet then. load up ReKonq, ooh oops, haven't connected to the wlan yet. So I clcik the icon and click my network. So far so good. Then up comes this godwaful UI with another UX hell. If my mother was to connect to a wireless network on this thing, I'd have to spend 5 minutes over her shoulder explainign where to write her password, or 15+ minutes on the phone. It's not bad, it's just another design by coders disaster. they should have just popped up a window asking for just the password. and I know they can do this better, both Ubuntu and Mind and most other distro do this better. theyhave a good start, they just seemed to have given up on the UX halfway through.
Of course this brought me to my other pet hate about linux the xxx Wallet. OMG I HATE IT! no I don't need to be asked about adding things to my wallet every time I do something to add a password, and I definitiely don't want to write my password every time I do. I just want a "Do you want to save this network" question with a simple yes and no answer. The wallet is the worst idea they ever though up, or rather the implementation of it is, the wallet itself is good enough I guess, if it was just a 100 times less annoying.
Well by now I'm figuring I need to take some notes for this mini refiew before I forget it all since it's taking some time to get to neowin. so I go to "start" (oh btw, the windows key don't bring up the "start" menu. bad design/choice), and write note and get up KNotes, which is just a sticky note app, not what I wanted. I try notepad. nope nothing, so I just go with write and launch writer and use that. Later I discover Kate dug into some utility sub menu. obvisouly index context search isn't something Kubuntu thought they needed.
So back to ReKonq, hmm still not loading any webpages. a bit back and forth, switching between my 2.4 and 5 ghz networks. nope nothing. well that's weird. Eventually it worked after restarting ReKonq, which seems weird I should need to restart an app just for it to be able to use a network I connected to. Not an issue I've seen on either windows or other linux distro's for many many years.
Writing notes I notice I have the wrong keyboard layout and can't do '. more fiddling around, and I eventually locate the keyboard settings under system settigns and input devices. My opinion is that Keyboard settings should be on the front page in the "control panel"/System settings, but at leats unlike Ubuntu Kubuntu has a decent "control panel". of course changing the layout brings is to the worst example of UX deasign by coders so far.this is definitiely not something a regular user wants to be doing. Easy enough for me, but my mother or other casuals, wouldn't want to go there. Never midn the fact I should have been asked about the keyboard during setup, or it should have picked up the NOB keyboard during WUBI setup.
Kubuntu seems to suffer a lot from this, you have nice window dressign on the first level, or maybe two levels, then it's a UX nightmare where noone has bothered to do any usability design or testing and it seems to all be the coders who have done the UX design according to coder logic. as a coder myself it makes sense to me, just not to the regular person. and despite being a coder I can appreciate a decent easy to use well made GUI
Just because ti's nice and cool to have a complex GUI with all the options right there, doesn't make it the right way to do it, certainly not the best way.
During my internet issues I also got a bit annoyed by the lack of a simple GUI way to bring up my network info like I can on windows, especially since I don't remember the terminal commands for all of it on linux and 90% of the command utilities I needed wasn't installed by default anyway. which actually brings me to an interestign point. While I was having net problems before I restarted reKonq, I couldn't even ping the websites... after I restarted ReKonq, now I can ping them... that's why I didn't think of restarting it in the first place.
I've also by now Ran the firefox browser installed twice on the system, and guess what, it's compelted successfully twice and still no firefox. previous experience with the internet and ReKonq tells me it'll probably pop up after a reboot, which would be ridiculous. but anyway.
another small annoyance I have is the semi transparent widnows when moving. it might seem impressive, but in reality it's actually just annoying. they should either be opaque or compeltely transparent with the border visible, semi transparent just ... it doesn't work. Easy to change I know but... it's just another bad default settings IMHO.
It works and it doesn't look half bad, on the surface at least. but it's got a lot of growing up and tocuhign up to go yet to be a competer. in some ways I'd say it hangs behind Ubuntu, while others it's ahead. Ironically I consider it better than ubuntu because it has better and more complex tools and "control panel" while I consider it behind Ubuntu because of unecessarily complex menus and settings that just aren't intuitive. It's seems like a paradox but is more of a consistency issue. They're missing the middle ground.
Any typos in all this text I blame on the lack of a spellcheck in ReKonq, on a more positive note, the font rendering in general is very nice in ReKonq. Scroll smoothness however, not so much.