Sunday, 28 June 2020

7 Alternatives to Kubuntu

Kubuntu is of course a valid distribution in its own right and the case for it has been stronger again ever since Linux Mint cancelled their own KDE edition in 2018. On top of that Kubuntu serves as a base for KDE Neon. Nevertheless, one or the other user might want to look at other alternatives and options to run a pre-configured and set up Plasma Desktop. A ready-made one because the desktop environment can be installed on top of any distribution base.

In no particular order:

Debian packaging format:

* KDE Neon - Get the latest KDE release from the horses mouth as KDE Neon is always show casing the latest Plasma desktop and has had consistently good reviews. Unlike Kubuntu it is also available for the aarch64 architecture.

* Debian 10 'Buster' KDE -  Use the link to go directly to the live images. If a slightly older KDE Plasma 5.14 is not a problem then the original will fit the bill nicely. From what I can tell it does everything the later updates of the Plasma series do. It's a very clean, almost vanilla implementation you get with Debian but this release will be supported for at least three more years. Plasma on Debian runs very efficient and responsive.

Netrunner - I have no experience with this but it's supposed to be a good, dependable and easy to use distribution. Check out the Distrowatch page with links to reviews here. It is built on Debian's stable branch aka Buster and apparently also offers an edition for the Pinebook. That means it also supports arm chips besides the x86_64 architecture. However, it also uses the older Plasma 5.14 inherited from Debian.

* KANOTIX - If a live image directly based on Debian stable, updated with certain packages like newer kernel and with easy made persistency to save changes sounds interesting check this out and read my review here.  The latest image includes

* Kernel 5.4.19-1~bpo10+1
* Mesa 20.0.4
* Android Tools
* Virtualbox 6.1.4
* Libre Office 6.4.2.2
* Wine 5.

Great as a portable media centre on a stick to plug into any PC.

Other formats:

* Bluestar Linux - Quite a beautiful KDE distribution if you like the look. It's quite customized but you can change it, that's what KDE and the Plasma desktop is all about. A million configuration options. Bluestar is based on Arch Linux and this means it is rolling and you always get the latest software and Plasma version.

* openSUSE - This is quite a broad distribution but the default desktop is once again KDE. SUSE has always been known for its smooth and beautiful KDE implementation they specialised in since the early days. The fixed release is called "Leap" these days and at the time of writing openSUSE 15.2 is four days away from being released. I have checked this out over the course of its development and have to say I am quite impressed. Apart from the highly configurable and clean looking Plasma implementation you also get the Yast control centre as one of the best graphical solutions for almost all aspects of system administration.

* Slackware Live - alienBOB's Slackware Live project is imaging the Slackware-Current development tree with the Slaklive scripts and adds alien's KDE 5 Plasma packages to it as Plasma still hasn't made it into Slackware officially. There are also images with other desktops, i.e. Xfce and Mate. If you download the normal live images you will get KDE 4! Read my post here. The Plasma edition gives you a complete KDE software compilation, more so than with any of the above. The image can be installed and updated via included scripts. It's not as easy as installing Kubuntu but may be an option for the advanced user.

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