Kubuntu 15.04 has recently been released with quite a bit of fanfare. It introduces the visually apealing Plasma 5 along with many application upgrades.
While I am a huge fan of Kubuntu, KDE, and the slick look of Plasma 5, I will give a few reasons while you might want to wait just a little longer before you decide to upgrade.
While not everyone is a fan of the new Plasma 5 and the flat UI, I think it is fantastic. It looks great and feels like a fresh new system. About 5 months ago I installed Plasma 5 on my 14.10 system and used it for a few days before I decided it was too buggy and painstakingly downgraded.
Blank screen with cursor:
The first problem I encountered right after the upgrade was that my system would boot up to a blank screen and a cursor. I could not enter the terminal or press any key to do anything. This seems to be a fairly common problem due to KDM no longer being used. Simple Desktop Display Manager is now used instead of KDM. SDDM looks great though when I can get that far!
(Solution: When your system boots in Grub, go to additional options and select "Upstart" mode.)
I didn't notice anything to be faster in Plasma 5. The boot time for me increased by about 50% (hello Systemd and goodbye Upstart) and onscreen animations seemed to be a bit laggy. When I turned my projector on, my computer all but died (more on that later).
(Solution: Get more RAM and a faster processor? Doing a fresh install probably would have decreased boot time a bit.)
The new widget layout is pretty snazzy. I like how the widget layout is on the left instead of horizontally on the bottom. Sadly, quite a few widgets seem to be missing such as the quicklaunch widget.
(Solution: Cry and learn how to live life without Quicklaunch. Make good use of favorites in the start menu.)
|WHY?! Why is the quicklaunch widget no longer included. Sad times.|
When I turned on my projector, my monitor would flicker a bit and my whole system would slow to a crawl. The mouse cursor would slowly move but pressing any button would literally take minutes before any response would happen.
Half of the time the projector would not show up at all. When it did, the whole system continued to be a bit laggy. I tried all the different drivers but nothing seemed to make a difference (this was the straw that broke the camels back for me; I don't think I want to go another six months without watching a movie or TV show on my projector...).
(Solution: Have a better graphics card than me? This is probably an instance where having a decent graphics card would come in handy. Make sure that you are using the right drivers.)
Dragging and dropping files:
Normal behavior dictates that when you drag a file to the taskbar and hover over the application where you want to drop the file, the application will come to the foreground and you can simply drop the file. I found that for me when I did this in Kubuntu 15.04, the application would NOT go to the forground. Moreover, an icon would show up and stay on my screen (see the "settings" icon on the screenshot below). I found that this was a bug with a hidden taskbar. When the taskbar was not hidden it would work fine.
(Solution: Don't hide the taskbar. Resize windows so that you can drag and drop without moving the files to the taskbar.)
VPN connecting and notifications:
Because I live in China, I have to use a VPN to access basically any website that is useful. Sadly, connecting to VPN using KDE (or Linux) does not work well even on a good day. With Plasa 5 it became all the more difficult.
When the VPN would not connect (more often the case than not) I could not click on another connection to connect until I manually clicked on the notification "x" to close the notification. I realized that I could edit the notifications to turn them off. So I did. And the notifications kept coming back (forehead slap).
(Solution: Turn off ALL notifications.)
FTP and transfering files to my phone:
I typically use FTP to transfer files to my phone. I find this to be the fastest and most convenient way to transfer files. It has always worked fine but in Plasma 5 it would time out every instance I tried to connect. After this, I just plugged in a cord. This did not work either. Finally as a last ditch effort I installed Air Droid to transfer files and this also did not work (once I switched back to 14.10 these all worked without a hitch).
(Solution: By this point I gave up trying to find a solution; I made up my mind to reinstall Kubuntu 14.10. Sadly, this was the easiest solution for me.)
While this post is about some negative experiences that I had with Plasma 5, I just want to make it clear that I really do love Plasma 5 and am a huge Kubuntu/KDE fan. The point of me writing this is simply as a precation for those who have yet to upgrade.
I suggest if you do upgrade that you make sure that you backup everything and do a fresh install. Better yet, install Kubuntu on USB drive and try it out for a day or two before you decide to upgrade; I know that is what I will do before I upgrade in another six months.