I’ve been dual-booting Linux alongside Windows 7 on my Sony Vaio since November of 2013 and I’ve been a proud Linux user ever since. My first real Linux experience came when my Dad’s computer had a major “Windows” problem when I was over visiting this past Thanksgiving. There was talk of buying a new PC and I just decided on a whim that I give it a shot at dual-booting Linux onto his machine to save him a few bucks. I selected Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for the ease of use that it offers and within a few hours, I had his computer running like new once again.
Naturally, I came home and decided that I too wanted to dual-boot Linux on my Vaio, so I reached out to a friend that’s an avid Linux user and he recommended Linux Mint 13 LTS (KDE), for its customizability, support and speed. Within weeks, I had fallen in love with the Mint distro and when Mint 16 (KDE) released, I instantly upgraded. I’ve spent hours learning Terminal commands and shell scripts over the past few months, and I had my Mint 16 desktop all set up to my personal likings. There was only one hitch – my Vaio has Intel HD Integrated Graphics, which is poorly supported on anything but the Ubuntu distro.
A few weeks ago I decided it was time for a change. I downloaded the Ubuntu 13.10 ISO file and within a few hours I had it installed and running like a dream. Out of the box, I could instantly see that my graphics drivers were fully supported and when running Firefox (and a few extra open windows) my CPU was only using around 2-4% capacity, which is a good 20% decrease from Mint 15, due to my poor driver support. I was already very pleased with the change.
Now, I’m not crazy about the Unity desktop environment that comes pre-installed with the Ubuntu package. There’s nothing wrong with it, of course, but I just like to have full control of my desktop and I find Unity to be a bit limited. A quick Google search found that the KDE SC 4:12 desktop had released for Ubuntu 13:10, and without even thinking about it, I started downloading and installed it. The usual KDE set-up was performed and the automatic reboot took place, before my eyes came across a sight I’d not seen before: “kubuntu”.
Let me put this bluntly – Kubuntu is awesome! It offers up the KDE desktop environment that I loved about Mint 16 (KDE), but with better driver support and much better stability on my laptop. The customization features are all in place courtesy of Plasma, as well as the now standard software: music and movie players, the LibreOffice suite, disc burners, partition editor, a few basic games and quite a bit more. The great thing about the Linux distro is that there is tons of free software that can be downloaded right through the Software Center, but seeing that this is Ubuntu based, there is also paid/premium software available there as well. One nice touch is the free Ubuntu One service that backs up your files to a cloud server – think Google Drive – that can be accessed on multiple devices, including your smart phones and tablets.
Of course, Steam is a must download for any gamer and it runs great here, just as it did on Mint 16. Thankfully, the improved driver support means that my laptop can run games more efficiently now, yet I was a bit surprised to realize that I can actually run games in Kubuntu that I have issue with when trying to play on Windows 7. For the record, my laptop actually has decent specs, it’s just that major Intel HD Graphics problem (that I mentioned a bit earlier) that bogs me down.
Kubuntu is a fantastic distro that I highly recommend giving a try, especially if you’ve got integrated graphics. It’s easy to setup and the best part, it can be freely downloaded through this link: