World Kubuntu Improvement Day - Let's All Do It!
Kubuntu is one of the best KDE distros -- but it could be better. And now that KDE 4.3 is available, we can make a strong argument that the most direct path to solving Ubuntu Bug #1 is on the strength of KDE 4 and Kubuntu.
How soon can we solve Ubuntu Bug #1? As a dedicated Ubuntu user since Jan 2008, I already prefer Linux over Windows and I would not voluntarily go back. However, I am aware that many things about the Linux experience do not initially go as smoothly as they could for a new user coming from Windows. Canoncial recognizes this, as evidenced by the Papercuts project.
My own experience with Ubuntu and Kubuntu led me to conclude that the community would be toiling away for years before we solved the important bugs that the average user would encounter during his/her first few days using a new installation of Ubuntu or Kubuntu Desktop Edition.
However, about 2 weeks ago I installed openSUSE 11.2 (prerelease) for the first time. Instantly, I recognized that Linux with KDE 4.3 can be good enough right now to solve Ubuntu Bug #1! It is more than ironic to me that it's another distro that has produced a product with the quality needed to solve this #1 bug!
The polish and the attention to detail of openSUSE are years ahead of Kubuntu! My experience installing openSUSE 11.2 for the first time is the best experience I have ever had with any new operating system, and that includes Windows or Ubuntu. openSUSE 11.2 KDE is so good that I could hardly believe a product like this was already here now.
However, I still prefer Kubuntu because of the community and the Ubuntu/Debian repositories. Ubuntu has won the mindshare of the desktop Linux community and that momentum is critically important for solving bug #1. openSUSE doesn't have that and my experience on their forums gave me a greater appreciation for the advantages the Ubuntu community has. It looks to me like the Ubuntu community still has the best shot at solving bug #1.
In fact, if Kubuntu had the polish and the attention to detail that openSUSE 11.2 has, together with Ubuntu's other existing advantages, I am convinced that this Kubuntu product would be good enough to win over the majority of new users that try it. After that, it would be about marketing and business strategy, etc. But the obstacle would no longer be technical -- it would no longer be about the new users experiencing enough papercuts to get turned away. It would no longer be because the product lacks the polish of a commercial product like Windows.
Kubuntu currently does lack the attention to detail and the polish of commercial software, but openSUSE 11.2 does not.
So my suggestion for World Kubuntu Improvement Day is for all dedicated Kubuntu users to install and use openSUSE 11.2 KDE for one or two days and report back to this forum about your experiences. We should be as specific as possible about what makes openSUSE 11.2 so much more polished than Kubuntu 9.10. We should make a list of actionable items and see if we can get all of them added to the Papercuts project.
But more than simply making the list, the act of installing and using openSUSE will raise your standards. It will make you realize how good Kubuntu could be with nothing harder than some more attention to detail. There is no new technology required. openSUSE does not have any unobtainable proprietary "secret sauce". Kubuntu could be that good. I believe we, as users of Kubuntu, simply need to demand that Canconical give Kubuntu the same level of polish and attention to detail that openSUSE has. If we do not settle for an inferior product, then I see no reason why the trend of Kubuntu lagging behind openSUSE needs to continue for even one more release.
While researching this article, I found links that indicate Kubuntu has trailed openSUSE KDE for years. The same is true today with the brand new Karmic version. I'd like this to be the last Kubuntu version for which this is true.
I would be willing to commit a donation to Canonical to help in the effort of making Kubuntu every bit as polished and free of papercuts as openSUSE if Canonical will make a public committment to making Kubuntu the best KDE distro in the world.
Desktop: KX Studio (Kubuntu 12.04)
Laptop & Netbook: Kubuntu 12.04
Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
Phone: Nexus 4 Cyanogenmod