Here is a look at everything that is offered with the stunning new release of Kubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. With the Stability of Ubuntu and the powerful KDE software selection, this distribution is ideal for desktops and laptops. Try downloading the Plasma netbook or Plasma desktop editions for a workspace that will suit your every need. The latest version of the KDE desktop offers many features and improvements that make everyday tasks faster and easier to complete. Kubuntu has been among my favorite distributions for quite some time now, and this release definitely ranks near the top.
After installing Kubuntu 11.04 you will be asked to restart your machine, then you will arrive at the Kubuntu login screen where you can enter your username and password to proceed to your desktop. The general KDE interface has not seen many new changes, KDE is quite user friendly and offers a huge selection of tools and help documentation. The Kickoff application launcher makes everything easy to find, other important items are located inside the panel notification area. KDE uses containments and widgets to enhance the users desktop experience in many different ways.
The Kickoff applications launcher menu is actually quite simple, everything is categorized into tabs along the bottom of your menu. The first tab is reserved for your favorite applications and items you use most frequently will always be displayed here. The menu also has a search bar along the top where you can find files, folders, and applications. The next tab is called applications, but settings and options are also stored there. The other tabs are for locations on your computer and recently used documents. You can also use the leave button inside your menu to shut down your system.
If you are interested in customizing your panels you can access the options simply by right clicking on an empty space inside of your main panel. From the popup menu click on the panel options tab, then you can add widgets to your panel, create or remove panels, lock your widgets in place, or access the settings for that panel. By default there is already a workspace switcher and a system notification area, the add widget interface has several other widgets available for you to use. You can also drag launchers from your applications menu into your panel to save time in the future.
To install additional applications first look in the applications area of your menu and click on the settings tab. Then click on the system settings button to open a window with a variety categories for different options. Double click on the software management icon to bring up the KPackageKit tool. 11.04 has over 20,000 applications available for you to try, they are all arranged into neat categories. The software management window also has a search bar at the top of the window so you can quickly find your favorite applications. This tool can also be used to keep your system updated and secure.
In recent versions of Kubuntu the default file manager has been switched from Konqueror to Dolphin which is a dedicated file manager, whereas Konqueror is a universal file viewer as well. But nonetheless Dolphin gets the job done well, and Konqueror is still available for those who want it. You can launch Dolphin by clicking on a location from the computer tab of your main panel. Dolphin uses a simple interface that consists of a menu bar, a toolbar, a location bar, and a file display area which is flanked by a places panel and an information panel for convenience.
Kubuntu has a number of very elegant themes for your desktop, windows, cursors and even your login screen. To access your theme preferences first click on the applications tab of your Kickoff application launcher menu and look in the settings section for the system settings button. Then look for the workspace appearance button and click on that. There are different theme tabs with a variety of themes available, each tab offers the ability to get more themes online from the community. Kubuntu has many ways to customize your desktop to the exact look that you want, so feel free to experiment.
The 11.04 wallpaper is quite stylish, to save space and speed up installation there is only one wallpaper available by default, but you can install more Kubuntu wallpapers or hunt down new ones quite easily directly from the interface. To adjust your wallpaper settings just right click an empty space on your desktop and click desktop settings from the pop-up window. From the desktop settings window you can click get new wallpapers to find ones that suit your preferences. There should be a button that says install default wallpapers which will populate the list with many high quality selections.
After a few days using Kubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal I was very impressed with the stability, and as always the aesthetics. You can download this release as a CD or DVD image, aside from the standard desktop edition there is also a Plasma netbook edition with an optimized workspace for laptops. KDE 4.6 has seen small improvements and the interface is very streamlined. Dolphin now has a working Samba file sharing system. Inside your folder properties window you can now share folders with other computers on your network, Samba will be automatically installed if needed. The OwnCloud package is now available for installation allowing you to share files with friends, co-workers, and other systems you use. The Ubuntu core and the awesome KDE software selection ensure that Kubuntu is always a worthy download.