Ubuntu is not the only free Linux-derived alternative operating system you can take advantage of. There’s another version of Ubuntu out there called Kubuntu. Kubuntu is a version of Ubuntu that is designed to give the average user everything Microsoft offers for free.
What Kubuntu Is
The idea behind Kubuntu is that it is a sort of free Windows. Like Google’s Docs it is an attempt to supply all of the features on an operating system like Windows or Mac OS free. Like Ubuntu and Linux, Kubuntu is free and can be downloaded.
Some of the features of Kubuntu include:
- The Amarok media player which is supposed to let you play songs and to listen to radio stations.
- OpenOffice.org. This is a free suite of programs like Google Docs that is supposed to let you do everything you can do on Microsoft Office.
- Kontact is a connectivity feature similar to Microsoft Outlook. Like Outlook it is supposed to have a timer, e-mail, calendar etc. No word on whether it crashes like Outlook does.
- Mozilla Firefox.
- Okular an app that is supposed to be able to open any sort of document including PDFs and Dejavu. It is also supposed to work as an e-book reader.
Kubuntu also claims to be more interactive than Windows. You are supposed to be able to transfer pictures to somebody else by just clicking on them.
Difference between Kubuntu and Ubuntu
The big difference between Kubuntu and Ubuntu is that Kubuntu operates in both the KDE Plasma Desktop and the Unity Desktop. Ubuntu only operates in the Unity Desktop. This means that Kubuntu is supposed to be easier to customize than Ubuntu.
Like Ubuntu, Kubuntu is updated regularl; the current version being promoted now is 11.04. As with Linux and Ubuntu, Kubuntu does have its proponents. The French Parliament or Estates General supposedly adopted it as its official operating system.
The big difference appears to be that Ubuntu is designed as a platform for creators of open source programs and applications. Kubuntu is more of an operating system designed for use by the average person. Think of it as an easy customizable version of Mac OS.
Kubuntu vs. Windows
Despite all the hype about it, Kubuntu does not look that much better than Windows. It probably would not give the average user any real advantages and there could be some big drawbacks to it.
The most obvious drawback is that you could not run Windows programs in it. That means you might not even be able to open Word documents or Excel spreadsheets or work with Windows users. It also means that you might have to go to all the trouble of using a program like Virtual Box to set up a second desktop to run Windows on it.
That means you would end up running both Windows and Kubuntu which seems like a waste of time. It would probably make more sense to stick with Windows unless you have a specific reason to run Kubuntu.
It should also be noted that much of the free stuff in Kubuntu can be found elsewhere on the web and run in Windows. Anybody can get the latest version of Firefox from Mozilla. There’s no reason to go to another operating system to run what you can run for free right now.
There also seems to be nothing in Kubuntu that you cannot do in the latest versions of Windows. The images on the Kubuntu site do not look any better than Windows 7. Some of the capacities do not sound as good as those Windows is claiming for Windows 8.
There does not seem to be a virtualization capability like Windows Hyper V 3.0 which could be standard in Windows 8. Hyper V 3.0 would allow anybody with a computer with HAV capacity to run other operating systems in virtual desktops.
This will obviously increase the demand for alternative operating systems like Kubuntu. It will also make it possible for average people that have to rely on Windows for mundane tasks like work to take advantage of more than one operating system. So it might pay to simply wait for Windows 8.
Should You Switch to Kubuntu?
The average person probably has no reason to switch to Kubuntu. Even though it is free it does not offer any advantages over Windows and could have some drawbacks.
Like Ubuntu, Kubuntu’s strength is that it is an open source program which means everybody can use it. The drawback to that is that there is no real security to such a program. If anybody can use it, every hacker can get into it. This means, you will sacrifice your security by using something like Kubuntu.
Yes, there are security holes in Windows but Microsoft is a private company. That means it has an incentive to fix problems such as security holes. The do-gooders behind Kubuntu do not. Microsoft can be sued and loose money if its products do not work. Since the team behind Kubuntu is non-profit they can dump anything they want out there. They have no incentive to do a good job or even make their products work.
Despite what the open share fanatics say, open share means no accountability. Paying for things like software adds a level of accountability and responsibility. Giving applications away eliminates responsibility and makes you vulnerable to all sorts of mischief.
If you want to save money by using free applications, a better alternative might be Google Docs. Google is a for-profit business so there is at least some accountability there. Google can be sued if the Docs contain Malware that destroys or steals your data. I seriously doubt you could sue Kubuntu and Open Office if their product contains a Trojan that lets a crook see your banking information.
Stick with the software you have to pay for. It may not be perfect but at least the people behind it can be held accountable for their products.
If you do want to see what Kubuntu is all about you can take a look at it or download it here: