The Wonderful World of Linux

The Wonderful World of Linux

Kubuntu uses the “Linux” kernel, the software which has come to define the worldwide movement to embrace open source software. Find out about Linux at

The Difference

There are many GNU/Linux distributions (e.g., Redhat, SuSE, Debian, Mandriva) but Kubuntu distinguishes itself as a different kind of distribution.

Built on the solid and advanced base of Ubuntu, the Kubuntu team aims to create a distribution that provides an up-to-date and coherent GNU/Linux system for desktop and server computing. Kubuntu includes a number of selected packages from Ubuntu and is based on Debian's powerful “APT” package management system. APT allows easy installation and clean removal of programs, as well as automatic download of extra packages to satisfy dependencies. Unlike most distributions that ship a wide range of software packages that may or may not be of quality, Kubuntu's core list of packages is reduced only to the most important applications. (Although for maximum choice, you may choose from the full list, rather than being limited to the high quality core.)

By focusing on quality, Kubuntu provides a robust and feature rich computing environment that is flexible for use in home and commercial environments. The project has more time to spend on the finer details and is able to release a version featuring the latest and greatest of today's software, every 6 months. Kubuntu ships with versions for i386 (Pentium CPUs / IBM-compatible PCs), AMD-64 (Hammer) and PowerPC (iBook/Powerbook, G4 and G5) architectures.

About KDE

The default desktop environment for Kubuntu is KDE, a powerful Free Software graphical desktop environment for Linux and Unix workstations. It combines ease of use, contemporary functionality, and outstanding graphical design with the technological superiority of the Unix operating system. KDE is one of the two leading graphical desktop environments for GNU/Linux users. KDE sports an impressive array of easy to use, but powerful, graphical interface applications for users of all ages in both home and work environments. For developers, KDE provides a robust application development framework that enables rapid creation of first rate applications implementing cutting-edge technology.

KDE is in many ways similar to GNOME, but there are a few distinct differences, which distinguish KDE as a desktop environment. KDE uses C++ at its base, with Qt (the Q-toolkit), whereas GNOME, using GTK, is written in C. KDE is typically the older and most widely used desktop environment, and is known to stress more the importance of features, and more recently -- usability. GNOME more notoriously attempts to prize itself on simplicity and easy-of-use. Popular criticisms of GNOME are that it's lacking in features and applications, while it's often commented that KDE has too many features which may themselves be hard to locate.

Nevertheless, KDE and GNOME respectively target different audiences, and are fundamentally different in some respects, and the question of which desktop environment is superior is inherently a subjective opinion in many ways. Because of this, to at least form a proper decision upon which is more suited to yourself, it is advised that you try them both out. Thus, it is very easy to install GNOME from a Kubuntu distribution, and equally as easy to install KDE from an Ubuntu setup.

Switching Desktops

As an Ubuntu user, you may be concerned that your favorite GNOME applications will not run under Kubuntu. That is not the case. In recent times, much work has been done to increase compatibility between GNOME and KDE. Today, virtually all GNOME applications will run under KDE and vice-versa.

While the KDE desktop is very different to that of GNOME, all your favorite GNOME applications will be integrated with your KDE menu system.

Another concern for users wanting to try Kubuntu, may be that KDE will become their only desktop once it is installed. While we do indeed hope you will make KDE your desktop of choice, this is not the case, both desktop session types can be run after installing Kubuntu. Furthermore, during installation you will be given the choice of using either the GNOME Display Manager (GDM) or the K Display Manager (KDM).

Either display manager will suffice and after installation you will be able to run both GNOME and KDE session types. Both GDM and KDM are replacements to the X Window Display Manager (XDM) that comprises the default display manager for the X Window System. Display managers are the “windowing systems” that generate the windows used to contain and control application interfaces.

Feel free to try KDM, you can always switch back to GDM later if you like.