October 30, 2009

Prevue Release of Kubuntu Netbook Remix

Some of you may have heard of Ubuntu Netbook Remix. What many of you may not be aware of is that there is, lurking in the shadows, it's slick Plasma-enabled brother - Kubuntu Netbook Remix. KNR is in a prevue stage at present, scheduled to be officially released with Kubuntu 10.04 next April. This is because, according to KDE Developer Marco Martin, KNR uses some KDE 4.4 Plasma technologies that are scheduled to be released at that time.

However, there is a working prevue version available for Intel i386 processors that you can download and try. This is encouraged for those of you brave "early adopter" type souls so as to flesh out any glaring bugs that may be present. According to the website, an ARM processor version will be forthcoming.

I'm pretty excited about this, as it is an important market for KDE and Kubuntu to be in. KNR will be an important part of re-emphasizing the fact the Linux in general, and KDE in particular, more than belong in the netbook space.

I have not heard if the team over at Linux Mint will be planning a Mint version of KNR. I would imagine, if someone steps up to take on what should be a relatively easy project, this would be a reality. A Mintified version of KNR would flat out be a beautiful thing to behold. I will post this question over on the Linux Mint KDE Forums and keep you all up to date if / when this becomes a reality. Of course you are welcome to come add your two cents as well!

Here is an early picture of KNR:

Come on, admit it now, it already looks better than what is unfortunately shipping on the vast majority of netbooks today - Windows XP. Taking into account that XP came out in 2001 - I would hope so. But still the layout looks very sharp. The 'activities' function of KDE4, one of the coolest things about KDE, will be an invaluable asset to KNR, simply because of the limited real estate on a netbook's 8" or 10" screen. Allowing the user to easily switch between activity views will bring welcome usability prowess to what could conceivably easily become a very cluttered mess due to the small displays that netbooks utilize.

I have not had an opportunity to try KNR, as I do not presently own a netbook (nor do I really intend to buy one. I like being mobile, but prefer my 14" laptop screen, thank you). If you have had occasion to try KNR, feel free to comment or send a link to your review.

The KNR project page, including download link, can be found here.