On featuring and writing clickbaity articles

I recently came across a very click bait’y article on the front page of Hacker News which advocated why users should use RHEL or CentOS over Ubuntu. As a Ubuntu contributor I found this article offensive and quite outright absurd. I’m not going to link the article here since that would mean just driving more clicks to the author’s website, but most of the folks who read HN regularly will know what I’m talking about.

To the author of the article :

I think you do not even begin to understand the complexities of how communities in Linux interact with each other. I have friends across Red Hat, Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch, Debian and countless other distributions that I’ve acquired during the past 5 years of working on Kubuntu and KDE. Sure, from time to time we joke about the short comings of one another’s projects, but that’s what they are, jokes. We most certainly do not intend to belittle each others work and to be honest, I am quite happy that you’re not part of this community.

To the HN community:

Why would you upvote this to the front page when it clearly deserves none of your attention? ( Thank god for the flag button )

To the awesome folks working on Ubuntu Server :

You guys are awesome and don’t let anyone tell you any different :D


Plasma5 : Now more awesome as a Kubuntu ISO

Kbuntu Next

The Kubuntu team is proud to announce the immediate availability of the Plasma 5 flavor of the Kubuntu ISO which can be found here (here’s a mirror to the torrent file in case the server is slow). Unlike it’s Neon 5 counterpart , this ISO contains packages made from the stock Plasma 5.0 release . The ISO is meant to be a technical preview of what is to come when Kubuntu switches to Plasma 5 by default in a future release of Kubuntu.

A special note of thanks to the Plasma team for making a rocking release. If you enjoy using KDE as much as we do, please consider donating to Kubuntu and KDE :)

NB: When booting the live ISO up, at the login screen, just hit the login button and you’ll be logged into a Plasma 5 session.

The KDE Randa meetings need your help

The Randa meetings provide an excellent opportunity for KDE developers to come across for a week long hack session to fix bugs in various KDE components while collaborating on new features.

This year we have some amazing things planned, with contributors working across the board on delivering an amazing KDE Frameworks 5 experience, a KDE frameworks SDK, a KDE frameworks book, the usual bug fixing and writing new features for the KDE Multimedia stack and much much more.

So please, go ahead and donate to our Randa fundraiser here , because when these contributors come together, amazing things happen :)

A shiny new release fresh out of the oven

The Kubuntu and KDE team has been hard at work for the last 6 months, which has culminated into a rocking Kubuntu 14.04 release which introduces a whole bunch of new features, the most important of which are :

  • A new semantic search framework for KDE SC 4.13, leading to faster email and file searches
  • Automatic error reporting in order to improve the quality of KDE and Kubuntu
  • A new driver manager to make it simpler to activate hardware that requires proprietary drivers
  • Notifications for when additional drivers or language packs can be installed to improve your Kubuntu experience
  • A new touchpad management app for laptops
  • Misc. bug fixes and features that can be found here

Kubuntu 14.04 is a LTS release, so while introducing new applications, we’ve also taken into account personal and business users who would want to run it for extended periods of time, which is why the Kubuntu team makes the following promise :

  • Kubuntu 14.04 will keep receiving security bug fixes when such fixes are available from KDE upstream for the next 5 years
  • New releases of the KDE SC will be backported to 14.04 and be available via Kubuntu PPA’s for the next 2 years
  • A long-term upgrade path to the next LTS release

Along with the above, the Ubuntu team also has plans to backport new Xorg and friends releases as well as new kernel releases as part of their LTS Enablement stack, making sure that your hardware performance keeps improving over the time of 5 years.

All of this makes Kubuntu the ideal distribution to use for enterprise rollouts, OEM’s and of course regular users who want a longer support cycle ( as opposed to the regular, 9 month, support cycle )

You can download your copy of Kubuntu 14.04 from here. We also have some Kubuntu swag that you can purchase over here!

New Touchpad management app in Kubuntu 14.04

Hot on the heels of the new driver manager, we have the new touchpad management app that we introduced in Kubuntu 14.04.

New Touchpad KCM

The new app replaces the old Synaptiks touchpad management app and has many more buttons and settings that you can twiddle and tweak to get the best experience. The Kubuntu team would like to thank Alexander Mezin for working on this replacement app as part of his GSoC project. The package comes complete with its own plasmoid for easy access to enable and disable touchpads! Quite useful for folks who don’t have a physical hardware button to Enable/Disable touchpads ;)

Users of Kubuntu 14.04 can grab the new touchpad management app from the Ubuntu repos by installing the kde-touchpad package.

New Driver Manager for Kubuntu

Hola Kubuntu users

Ubuntu ‘recently’ deprecated jockey and moved to ubuntu-drivers-common. ubuntu-drivers-common is a python backend which will try to figure out which drivers are best suited to your system. Up till Kubuntu 13.10 we were still relying on the backend called Jockey which is python2 , however for the 14.04 cycle, one of our major tasks was to rehaul the driver manager interface and use the fancy new ubuntu-drivers-common backend which is python3 based.

By leveraging this new backend, we are now at feature parity with Ubuntu when it comes to driver handling. Packages are now available to trusty users and can be acquired by installing the ‘kubuntu-driver-manager’ package.

Once installed you’ll find it in your System Settings Menu under “Driver Manager for Kubuntu”


If you find any bugs , please report them here

Introducing Project Neon 5 ISO’s

Everyone working on KDE Frameworks Five and Plasma Workspaces 2 is eager to bring you the next iteration of the desktop experience. However, wouldn’t it be awesome if you could play with all the shiny stuff just a bit earlier? ;)

I’ll assume you’re nodding your head right about now, so without further ado I give you Project Neon 5 ISO’s which are designed to give you a glimpse into how things are shaping up in the Frameworks 5 and Plasma Workspaces 2 world. Complete with an installer!

Neon 5 Live Env

However, I *highly* recommend NOT installing this directly onto your machine, as it’s not even meant to be a tech preview, but more of a this *will* eat kittens release. If you really want to install it, I’d recommend using KVM or VirtualBox. Out of the box you get the Neon 5 daily PPA, upgrade and things might not work, the only supported path for upgrades is reinstalling the next ISO that comes out.

If you’re interested in the nitty-gritty details of how the ISO is made, you can checkout the scripts over here.

There’s also a known bug where plasma-shell crashes on boot, we’re still investigating that and the best way to fix it is to either start plasma-shell via the xterm window or just rebooting your virtual machine a couple of times.

Kubuntu Munich bug squashing ( with a hint of Doctor Who )

I was in Munich last weekend squashing bugs with the rest of the Kubuntu team as well as the Debian team at the LiMux offices. Loads of stuff got done or on its way to being done. The most important aspect of the bug squashing for me was to upstream packages from Kubuntu to Debian since they’re considered mature enough to be pushed into Debian.

This includes packages like kscreen, simon, and plasma-nm to name a few. Watch the Debian Experimental repo for these awesome new goodies!

We also had Kubuntu specific sessions where we took major decisions for 14.04 , the upcoming LTS release. All decisions are open for viewing on the Kubuntu Trello board here. Major highlights include switching to Firefox as the default browser, a new driver manager that will replace jockey and provide a smoother experience for installing proprietary drivers, as well as a new and shiny KDE SC as always.

Real life Kubuntu Trello board

Switching back to Munich, we also got to see how the awesome city of Munich deploys a Kubuntu based derivative ( currently using KDE 3 , but soon switching to KDE 4.11 ) to over 15,000 computers! Wohoo! It was truly amazing to see how they could roll out an entire new OS to computers at the click of a button in under 15 minutes. Everything was of course powered by open source software using GOSA and LDAP. You can read more about the LiMux project on the Munich IT blog ( all in German ) and the status page of the project can be found here. All their open source code is released over here

The Doctor doing timey wimey stuff

No Kubuntu sprint can be complete without a Doctor Who episode, and the timing of the sprint was so perfect that we got to view the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who together! Almost the entire Kubuntu Development team was present, so you bet it was pretty epic, complete with a round of Irn Bru ;)

Looking for a job

I’m looking out for a job, something that involves a combination of one or more of the following : Qt, KDE, VoIP (NAT traversal), and K/Ubuntu (Debian packaging). Feel free to contact me if you know of anything at rohan16garg AT gmail DOT com.

If you’re coming to Akademy, even better, you can meet me in person!


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