I have used Ubuntu again after four years and these have been my impressions

Looking at Ubuntu from KDE

My story with Ubuntu has always been one of a love/hate relationship. When I first tried it, its design and audio handling issues were the issues, but the performance, speed, and reliability were another world compared to Windows. Years later they switched to Unity and it's when I started distro hopping that made me move to KDE (Kubuntu and Manjaro). Now, after four years, I have been working with Ubuntu again.

This article is one of those opinion articles, although this time there are more impressions. All it includes is what the author feels when using Ubuntu having spent a lot of time in KDE, and I already anticipate that I feel a bit like in the header image. I also have to say that what is dealt with here is the main version, the one that uses GNOME as its graphical environment.

Ubuntu has a design that I have (almost) always liked

The Ubuntu design I like. It hasn't always done it, since I don't like that the applications panel is on the left or reaches from one side to the other, but that can be modified for a few versions, with which we can have a very aesthetic dock to the bottom. On the other hand, it has another panel at the top, one that I got used to when using macOS and it's very good.

I know full well that in KDE I can put a dock and a top panel quickly and easily, but I would already be modifying a lot of how it is by default, and believe it or not, I do not like to touch things too much. I may be the only Linux user who thinks so, but I don't tweak anything by default unless necessary. Manias are not cured by doctors.

Touchpad gestures that work…

… without sacrificing anything. Ubuntu has been using Wayland by default for a long time now, and it has come a long way in this area. KDE also has gestures, but it doesn't work too well on Wayland, so I end up using X11 and can't use the touchpad gestures (without installing anything extra).

And the gestures are something that I would classify as necessary already in 2023. If sliding three fingers to the left or right allows us to switch to another desktop, almost almost we could say that we have two monitors. For example, they allow me to view a class/tutorial/information on one virtual desktop and have Visual Studio Code on another. What I would do with two monitors by moving my neck, with this function I achieve it by sliding from one side to the other.

And as I say, without sacrificing anything. It comes out of the box and Wayland behaves well on Ubuntu and GNOME in general.

Much better in autonomy

When I use Windows on my laptop from an external SSD, I have found that the battery lasts longer. Since it's something I don't do very often, when I go back to KDE I simply use it and load the laptop when it asks me to, but that's something that happens less to me using Ubuntu. On KDE my battery will last not much more than 2 hours, but using Ubuntu it's about 5 o'clock, more or less what was promised when I bought it. Surprising, but it's more or less what it holds on Windows, so it seems that it's KDE that has a autonomy problem, at least on my hardware.

There are people who recommend making some tweaks to improve KDE's performance, among which is deactivating Baloo, and I imagine that these types of changes will also improve autonomy, but they are already changes that must be made to the default installation.

Software installation on Ubuntu

This point is valid for Ubuntu and all X-buntu. Virtually any software that is for Linux is in the official Ubuntu repositories or as .deb package from the developer page. For example, VSCode, Chrome or Vivaldi are as .deb packages, and they also add the official repository after the first installation. But not everything is so easy to install.

An example is BIMP, a plugin for GIMP that allows converting images in batch. It can be compiled, but it's easier to install in Manjaro, which can be done from your software store (Pamac) and AUR. As I have not wanted to install everything that is requested from the official page, I have solved this problem by pulling talk…until I updated my own "ConverMedia" written in Python to also allow me to resize images.

Information and support

This is best when using Ubuntu or any derivative in general. When there is a problem, almost all the solutions on the net talk about Ubuntu. So, running something like MySQL or use a specific version of Python to work on Kodi is just a search away. When we use other distributions, well, if we don't know how to do something we have to look for something else.

Applications (oh, WebP…)

Without spoiler intent, this is what will probably keep me on KDE, even if I spend more time on Ubuntu than I have in the last 4 years. Gwenview allows you to do some editing of images, and even annotations, and the Ubuntu viewer is used... well, to view images. The same could be said of programs like Okular, Ark or Kate: KDE offers more possibilities in general. Of course, I can install all that on Ubuntu, but also libraries and dependencies that will be unnecessary if you don't use much more KDE software.

Something that hurts more, by default, already well into the third decade of the 2000s, Ubuntu does not it gets along well with the WebP format. The image viewer does not even recognize it as an "image", so double-clicking on this type of file will open the browser. There are ways to make the viewer support these types of images, but we are back to business as usual: you have to add a third-party repository…

Should I go back to Ubuntu or stay on KDE?

Well, I stay in Manjaro KDE. And I go back to Ubuntu. I'm going to use both. I still prefer KDE because it seems to me that its applications and fluidity are better, and Manjaro because I feel that I'm doing better, but Ubuntu has left a good taste in my mouth that I haven't felt since I don't even know when. It is also true that in the latest versions the performance has improved a lot and that the computer I use it on has 32GB of RAM and an i7 processor, but it works really well. Who knows if in the end I'll leave the girl with the Manjaro-Kubuntu-KDE face and end up asking the one with the Ubuntu-GNOME face on a date.

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  1.   laura novoa said

    Hello: Gthumb also allows you to convert in batches, resize, has support for webp and other features and you do not have to install extra repositories, salutes

  2.   Triskele said

    […]There are ways to make the viewer support these types of images, but we are back to business as usual: you have to add a third-party repository…[…]

    From Ubuntu version 22.04, you only have to install the “webp-pixbuf-loader” package that is in the official repositories.

  3.   franciscoxp said

    Go to linux mint Matte. Goodbye, problems.