On Kubuntu hating

Lots of vague comments lately on how bad Kubuntu is compared to distro X.  What I am seeing is a lot of whining and not a lot of doing.  These comments aren’t coming from a nontechnical audience (they are, at least, following Planet KDE) or from people who just want to rat on Kubuntu.  They are on KDE developers’ blogs by users and developers many of whom claim to use Kubuntu as their primary OS and at least some of whom are interested in seeing Kubuntu do well.

The core Kubuntu team is small and we do our best to keep up with blazing fast development in all parts of the distribution.  In order for everything to come out as polished as we all would like, we need more community participation.

So, to the commenters: you are using Kubuntu because you think it offers some advantage over other options, but clearly there are some holes and rough edges so, if you see a problem — do something about it instead of whining. This is open source.  Use that little bit of programming you learned to fix a paper cut[1].  Write up a better project summary and feature tour for the website and send it to us[2].  Test a CD image.  Create a new website theme[2].  Help us sort out bug reports.  Run an alpha release on your extra machine.  Talk to a developer to debug your problem.  At the very least, file a bug[3].

And this isn’t the dreaded “send patches or we’re not talking to you.”  If the complaints amounted to something we could actually ask for a patch for, that would be progress.

[1] Contrary to popular belief, Kubuntu IS participating in the 100 papercuts project, and some bugs have been fixed.

[2] There was a contest for a new website a while back, but almost noone participated.  I find it hard to believe there aren’t a bunch of people out there who think the website could be better and know web design.  So help out!

[3] In Karmic, go to Help > Report Bug… in any application.



14 Responses to “On Kubuntu hating”

  1. Cypher Says:

    So, to the commenters: you are using Kubuntu because you think it offers some advantage over other options, but clearly there are some holes and rough edges so, if you see a problem — do something about it instead of whining.

    I did something about it… I switched to openSUSE 6 months ago.

  2. Hei_Ku Says:

    I did report some bugs. The ones I didn’t publish on Planet KDE, were dismissed by the developers because I was using Kubuntu (yes, that’s right) and they only fixed the part affecting Ubuntu. Yay!
    I did go in and fix some translations, and it wasn’t until I posted a rant on the planet that they actually got to update and fix the packages, and then they broke them again, I ranted again, and a month later they fixed it. So, Planet KDE seems to work better as a bugtracker over Launchpad.
    I do have limited time to develop. I do already have a project, and Kubuntu is getting more and more in my way to do it. At this point, the only reason I stay with it is because the local community is great, and because I want to give them a chance with Karmic. Not very hopeful on that one, though.
    Oh, and I have to go into Launchpad and take care of the bugs of my application, even when the problem is in the package, and not the application, because the only time the bugs get some attention is to close them as invalid after a new release.
    So, it is not as much hating as frustration, because I have tried a lot, yet the whole process seems to be working against Kubuntu.
    And then you have the usual suspects, like NetworkManager, that poor excuse of a package manager that is KPackageKit, which is not full Qt (the auth dialog is GTK), not being able to have KDE3 and KDE4 devel packages at the same time, and so on. All things that work on other distros.

  3. Yuriy Kozlov: On Kubuntu hating | TuxWire : The Linux Blog Says:

    […] more:  Yuriy Kozlov: On Kubuntu hating Share and […]

  4. Hei_Ku Says:

    Sorry for the rant, but you seem to try to be dismissing the problem as a perception. Like Kubuntu works like a charm, and we are just whiners. Kubuntu has problems. Many of them are originated on the process, which seems to be adapted to work with Gnome, but not with KDE. Those problems will take time to fix, and it would be good to see you face the problem and not dismiss it like the latest internet meme.

  5. John Says:

    Kubuntu definitely seems to get some mistreatment. It isn’t Ubuntu, so it doesn’t seem to get the attention and love that Ubuntu gets. It doesn’t seem to use pure KDE either, so it is very true that some bugs get reported against KDE and the answer is a redirect to the Kubuntu package maintainer (which can be followed by a very long silence). Other times, bugs files on Launchpad are redirected to KDE as being a problem upstream. Sometimes I feel like the yeti from Looney Toons asking “Which way did he go, George?” It can be very hard to figure out where to file a bug and how to follow-up with it. Even if I want to try and fix something, where do I fix it? KDE? Kubuntu? Some secret place in-between those two planes? If I fix it in KDE, how many months will it be before the fix is in a Kubuntu release? If it is fixed just for Kubuntu, that drives Kubuntu more off the path from KDE and can make overall maintenance a pain in the butt. If I really want to run an updated KDE, the answer always feels like I need to check it out and build it myself (just don’t have time for that). (I’ve heard “it works in the trunk” so many times, I really hate that answer now — that it works in the trunk does me no good.)

    This all reminds me of what a band director used to yell at us about: Transitions, transitions, transitions! Ubuntu seems pretty solid; KDE4 seems to be getting pretty solid; however, there seems to be an enigmatic disconnect between KDE and [K]Ubuntu.

    In the end, I stay with Kubuntu for several reasons that I can enumerate on my blog (if asked to prevent any kind of dispute over those reasons here). Simply summarized: I like it more than other options I have tried.

    To bring this all back around, I get what you mean about developers complaining about things not working, and then not contributing to fix it. But the process feels so convoluted it practically discourages involvement.

    • Yuriy Says:

      Now this is a more productive comment.

      However, it addresses quite a difficult problem. There is naturally a disconnect between the latest and greatest KDE and a distribution. We ship the latest stable bug fix release — and IMO on a good time sync, with 3 months after the major release and time for problems to get worked out and patched upstream. But by then, the KDE developers have done all kinds of work on the next major release that everyone wants to see. I think this actually may be less of a problem for Ubuntu/Gnome simply because there is less progress between Gnome versions*. As far as getting fixes in, it benefits everyone more to have fixes in upstream KDE. This is part of why most launchpad reports will get forwarded there. If your patch is a bugfix only, it usually can be applied to the current KDE release so it will be in the next bug fix release. 4.x.2 is realeased 2-3 weeks before the next Kubuntu, so if you can get your fix in there, we all get the best of both worlds — latest stuff and no patches. If it doesn’t qualify to go into a KDE bug fix release, it probably shouldn’t be added to Kubuntu <1.5 months before release either. So, to answer your question: usually, the fix should go to KDE.

      Then there is the reverse problem of getting sent from the KDE bug tracker back to our packages. We try to stay close to upstream KDE, but naturally there are a few patches (there were a few too many in KDE 3 days, but the KDE 4 packages have stayed pretty clean.) This is more of where I'm complaining about people whining rather than reporting the problems properly. There aren't so many patches that this should be an overwhelming problem. More testers and better communication should solve this. One thing we are doing in Karmic to help alleviate the problem of annoying KDE devs/triagers with these reports is sending all the bug reporting methods in Kubuntu to Launchpad.

      If you have any ideas on how to make the process less convoluted, please tell 🙂

      Finally, if you want the latest and greatest, fact is you need to build it yourself and not expect something polished and stable. This applies to any software, but perhaps more so to KDE because of the amount of development going on. That said, I still think the 3 month gap between KDE and Kubuntu releases works out quite well for getting the latest out there.

      ~ Yuriy

      *admittedly baseless claim

      • John Says:


        I think the problem I mention is one of the core issues with Kubuntu (and any other similar distribution). However, it is not so much about the latest and greatest as it is trying to get broken things fixed into the release that people are using. I see two major categories of bugs: (1) broken and must fix now and (2) broken or feature request and can wait until the next release. I am always open to arguments for the latter as long as there is a clear way to work around the current issues. If there is no workaround, that is a complete breakage and practically demands a fix be deployed for the current release. “Upgrade” and “it’ll be in the next release” are practically unacceptable answers for complete breakages.

        This is where my frustration with synchronization enters. This is a fundamental issue of any distribution that packages any other major project. Delays from ‘the other major project’ to a given distribution are to be expected. What frustrates me is the way in which it is handled, and sometimes the seemingly careless way in which complete breakages are shrugged off to the next release. However, I am a person who like explanation. If something is functionally broken, I’d like to know why I need to wait months for it instead of days. On top of that, getting that answer for breakages in the LTS release drive me batty — I thought the whole purpose of the LTS release was stability and support. To hear “upgrade” or “it’ll be in the next non-LTS release” seems to complete defeat the purpose of the LTS (to me).

        I do understand completely the problem with people whining instead of reporting properly. If we aren’t told what the problem is, it cannot be fixed. This is something I have wrestled with at work for years, and find the same issue in the forums or bug reports.

        I also agree that more testing and better communication would help. My first thoughts around improving this have to do with documented processes. Are the processes and procedures for testing and the ideals of communication outlined somewhere, clearly, and easily accessible to people walking into the room for the first time? Keeping such protocols well advertised could help a lot.


  6. Dread Knight Says:

    I like Kubuntu because it’s pretty ‘vanilla’, not bloated with crap like the other distros.

    People say Kubuntu sucks and recommend some other distro which they swear it has a better KDE implementation, such as OpenSUSE, which I tried it over and over again, it’s not about KDE or GNOME, that distro just sucks dick for me, because It doesn’t sets up my resolution properly, It doesn’t supports my wacom tablet and tablet pc out of the box, which Ubuntu/Kubuntu do for a long time, yum sucks as well… and last but not least, Yast2 is a piece of fucking garbage, I won’t take that distro seriously until it does something about Yast2; I really agree with Linux-hater regarding his OpenSUSE article… and KDE on OpenSUSE is even worse than his Gnome example (http://linuxhaters.blogspot.com/2009/02/just-let-it-die-please.html). So use whatever you fucking like, because each distro will feel differently to everyone and because everyone points out a finger to some different bug and lack of functionality. Too much shitty freedom of choice is getting on my nerves.

    *goes to report a but about Ubuntu/Kubuntu supporting Wacom but making the stylus button not right click, which makes the stylus damn annoying and half useless*

  7. Why I Use Kubuntu « Ramblings of a Madman Enthralled by Technology Says:

    […] 28, 2009 at 07:17 (KDE, Technology, linux) I was reading this blog entry over here about Kubuntu hating and thought I’d expand my thoughts about why I like Kubuntu.  This […]

  8. Paul Sams Says:

    While I know this article is a few months old, I installed Kubuntu-9.10 last night and have been blown away! After learning more about the systemsettings menu, I feel at home. I installed 4.3.5 from backports and all is well. I think I’m ready to return to KDE. Gnome is okay, but I had always liked KDE-3.5 better. I now believe KDE-4 is mature and ready.
    Paul Sams

  9. KdeSlasher Says:

    Kubuntu sucks because you have to struggle to make it work with all your hardware and your windows programs you can’t live without!…every time i try a new version of kubuntu the only think i like in it is the plasma desktop, that’s all.

    • John W Says:

      It is interesting to see this thread resurrected. I have been using KDE4 for at least a year now and every point release (being the ‘z’ in x.y.z) has brought nice improvements. I am presently using Ubuntu (i.e., Gnome) at work and I’m tolerating it — I miss so much about KDE, but prefer to use something with a bit more support in a professional environment.

      As for struggling with hardware and windows programs, for years I worked in an environment where I needed many programs that ran on Windows. Honestly, the answer is run Windows. I know I probably just put a bunch of people’s hackles up, but if there are so many dependencies one cannot live without, trying to force Windows programs into Linux is a bit like going to a foreign country and demanding they speak your language.

      Hardware is a pain I certainly feel. It reminds me a lot of the early days of MS Dos and Windows 95 where I needed to research my hardware before I bought even a video card upgrade. But, personally, I enjoy that. What I don’t like is getting an off-the-shelf computer and discovering major hardware holes. That is something that really should be focused on by all teams; though more often than not I find that failures like network cards is more to do with the Linux kernel than KDE or Gnome. You just have to know which tree to bark up. That’s how it has been, and is likely to be for awhile to come.

  10. Kubuntu – back and gone | soliverez.com.ar Says:

    […] acknowledged and the distro team starts acting on that, the issues won’t be solved. A lot of denial has been written to come to Harald’s post. I hope it’s the begining of a new path for […]

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