December 30, 2011

Netrunner Aims To Bring A Unified Ubuntu And KDE Experience

Recently we received word of a new release of a Linux distribution based on Kubuntu called Netrunner. Currently ranked  97th on Distrowatch, Netrunner targets users looking for an OS that is:

...built on Kubuntu with default integration of Gnome and Wine. Our focus is on new users as well as “power-users” at the same time, making KDE the ideal choice.

Our aim is to make it as comfortable for the new user while still offering all the options (and even lots of additional add-ons) to enable the user to explore the power of FLOSS possibilities.
  • Power-up where others dumb-down.
  • Lots of add-ons, codecs, customizations, etc.
  • The choice is Yours
  • No pre-installed lock-ins, like cloud services, etc.


One thing that's clear: The polarity of Ubuntu's Unity DE has many people looking for alternative Linux variants, while retaining the tried-and-true Ubuntu / Debian base.

As you might have guessed, there are a number of alternative applications that replace some of their native KDE counterparts, as well as Qt-based alternatives from those found in vanilla KDE / Kubuntu, while still running the KDE Plasma Desktop. These include  Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird, the The Qmmp Multimedia Player, Transmission BitTorrent Client, Clementine Music Player, Pigeon Messaging Client, The Gimp, and WINE. It also comes standard with Flash enabled.

Adding all of the included software, codecs, and Firefox add-ons raises the .iso size to 1.2GB, which is becoming less and less of an issue all the time, though it might still be an issue for some.

Of course all of the included applications are available via the standard (K)Ubuntu repositories in Kubuntu. However it's clear that the developers of Netrunner are looking to take what is in their eyes a "best of breed" approach to the default software selection instead of Kubuntu's largely stock approach in presenting the KDE experience. It's also clear that users of Netrunner do prefer the KDE Plasma Desktop over Ubuntu's Unity (or Gnome 3) counterpart.

You can check out Netrunner's current release, codenamed Dryland, here. Let us know your thoughts on this unique distribution. If there's interest, we'll do a full review in the upcoming weeks.

Showing Plasma Wigits

The Winamp-inspired Qmmp music player