Kubuntu papercuts

Matt Ruffalo matt.ruffalo at gmail.com
Tue Jan 2 18:27:39 UTC 2018

Hi all-

I've been using Kubuntu since version 8.04, through the rocky KDE 3 -> 4
transition, and through the early rough versions of Plasma 5 (though
this was *much* smoother than 3 -> 4), and I've always really enjoyed
the Kubuntu experience. My mother-in-law is using Kubuntu on her
computer: first 14.04, now 16.04, and she's had a very easy time of it,
so I think that also says a lot about the quality of KDE/Plasma as a
desktop environment. Thanks for all of the work over the years!

While I recommend Kubuntu to anyone who's getting started with Linux,
it's not totally free of issues, and I'm writing this email to describe
some of the "papercuts" I've noticed in Plasma 5 and Kubuntu. I perform
clean installs of Kubuntu relatively often to create special-purpose VMs
or test out some hardware, and that gives me quite a few opportunities
to notice a few recurring issues.

I've tried to only include issues in this email that I think are
Kubuntu-specific -- though I think some extra attention on upstream
issues would be nice (https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=361371 and
https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=376104 specifically), that isn't
the purpose of this email. Some of these are necessarily my own opinions
as opposed to definite bugs, but I think I've given or can give some
decent justification for these.

* When installing Kubuntu, I can choose whether the system will log in
as the main user automatically on boot, or whether to require that
password. When configured to log in automatically, Plasma 5 should
probably also be configured to not lock the screen and require a
password after 5 minutes. The intent behind the install-time option
seems to be "no password required for non-administrative use of this
computer", and requiring a password to leave the screensaver kind of
contradicts that.

* I live in the United States, and always install Kubuntu with "English"
as the selected language. After booting into a new installation for the
first time, I'm told that (paraphrased from memory) "language support is
incomplete; additional packages are required". Why do I need additional
language packs when the only language/locale on my system is

* After a fresh install, I'm told that extra packages are
recommended/required for Firefox, and when showing the details for this
notification, the only option is "Flash". In July 2017, Adobe
more-or-less announced the official death of Flash
and very little of the modern Internet requires a Flash player. I'm very
uneasy about the amount and frequency of vulnerabilities in Flash player
software, so it's probably worth having a conversation about when to
stop suggesting installation of Flash right after a Kubuntu install. I'm
not necessarily suggesting to drop this for 18.04, but as per that Adobe
blog post, maybe 20.04 would be appropriate.

Thanks for your time, and I'm very much looking forward to 18.04!


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