Kubuntu v.s. PC-BSD
(SysAdmin, Technical Writer, Technical Trainer) Posted 8/18/2007
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I played a bit with Kubuntu this morning in preparation for the article "PC-BSD for Ubuntu Users". It made sense to me to compare the two operating systems if they were both running the same window manager (KDE) so I wouldn't be distracted by Gnome v.s. KDE issues. That was my first mistake....
I wanted to test on the same hardware to get an idea of performance/responsiveness (I have other PC-BSD systems in my home lab for side-by-side comparisons). So yesterday I did a fresh install of the latest snapshot
of PC-BSD 1.4 (which is still in beta) on my test system. Took about 15 minutes. This morning I did a fresh install of Kubuntu 7.04
on the same system, this one took over an hour. And it was one boring install, but I digress as those who have installed both know what I mean.
Being the meticulous type, I went through the KDE menus side-by-side to see what each operating system installed and was surprised to see that PC-BSD installed about twice as much software out-of-the-box. For those who want the boring details:
- Both provided Log Out, Lock Session, Switch User, Run Command, Help, and Find Files/Folders
- Kubuntu placed the following under System Settings (this wasn't menu style but a separate screen of icons): Personal had About Me, Regional & Language, Accessibility, and Default Applications icons; Look & Feel had Appearance, Desktop, Splash Screen, Window Behavior, and Notifications icons; Computer Administration had Date & Time, Keyboard & Mouse, Monitor & Display, Sound System, Printers, and User Management icons; Network Connectivity had Network Settings, Sharing, and Bluetooth icons
- PC-BSD called this Settings and provided nearly 70 options within its submenus; for that reason I'll just list the names of the submenus: Control Center, Appearance & Themes, Desktop, Internet & Network, KDE Components, Peripherals, Regional & Accessibility, Security & Privacy, Software & Updates, Sound & Multimedia, and System Administration
- the next 6 menu items had the same names but different applications where the existing applications were almost the same between PC-BSD and Kubuntu and the main difference being the amount of installed software. PC-BSD installed 21 more Utilities, 1 more System application, 5 more Multimedia applications, 4 more Internet applications, and 9 more Graphics applications. The other noticeable difference is that Kubuntu installs OpenOffice by default
- PC-BSD also includes an Editors menu (with 3 applications) and a Desktop menu with 6 applications; these menus don't exist in a Kubuntu install
So far, so good. I'm the type who likes to install my own software anyways. Firefox is usually the first thing I install as I detest Konqueror. On PC-BSD I clicked the desktop icon Get Software (while connected to the Internet). Clicking on the hyperlink "The PBI Directory" took me to the PC-BSD software repository. Firefox happened to be listed under Latest Software but I also could have used the search box. After choosing a mirror, the installation program downloaded, prompted me for the administrative password I chose during the install of the operating system, asked if I wanted a desktop icon and an entry in the menu, and informed me when the installation was complete. Took all of two minutes.
Now for Kubuntu. I selected Add/Remove Programs from the K menu which prompted for my user's password (Ubuntu doesn't create a root password as sudo
is used for administrative access). This started the Adept Installer. Firefox was listed, but was greyed out, along with all of the other software currently not installed. Hmmmm.... I opened up Help from the help menu to see if I needed to add a repository. Help indicated that I could do so from System -> Administration -> Software Sources. Unfortunately, Administration was nowhere to be found in the System menu or in any other menu. So, off to the Kubuntu website to see if the documentation was complete. After a bit of digging it became apparent that the documentation was complete, but for an Ubuntu (i.e. the gnome version) install. The Kubuntu instructions are totally different which made me wonder why they weren't included with the Kubuntu installation. Oh well, at least I had found the proper instructions, They told me to go to the View menu within Adept and select Manage Repositories. I would have loved to have been able to do that, but as you may have guessed by now, that menu option didn't exist either.
Now, I'm a power user who can easily sudo apt-get install firefox
. My deeper question is why include a GUI which doesn't work, provide the documentation for a different operating system (even though the website insists its not a fork so I guess that is why), and why provide documentation which refers to non-existent menu options? If I was a new user, I would have bitterly regretted the hour I wasted on the install and would have literally re-burned that Kubuntu CD with a match. I would have then reinstalled another operating system where double-clicking an installation wizard or using an add/remove programs actually does something.
Instead, I downloaded the Ubuntu
version and waited another hour for that install to finish. This install was even more boring as the progress bar didn't work--the only indicator that something was actually happening was the blinkety lights on my cdrom drive. Once installed, it was not hard to tell that the developers are concentrating on the gnome version as the difference in functionality is night and day between Ubuntu and Kubuntu. Adept works and a working version of Synaptic is also installed.
Still wishing to pursue the KDE theme, I installed kubuntu-desktop from Synaptic. I'm still waiting for the 225 packages to download and install. Synaptic looks very similar to Yum--I'll let you know if it works any better or if it also breaks half the software on the system. (you don't want to get me started on yum....)
/* begin rant
If I'm sounding fiesty (pun intended) it is because installing software shouldn't be rocket science, even for new users. It's the job of the package manager to properly handle dependencies, not the user, not even the superuser. And having software repositories spread all over god's half-acre is a lousy way to distribute software. Give me pbidir.com or freshports.org anyday.
*/ end rant