Going Kubuntu !

No, going Kubuntu doesn’t mean I’m going crazy.
Kubuntu is one of the many Linux versions available. And not just any version, Kubuntu is part of the huge Ubuntu family, and one of the most famous Linux distros.

I have never regretted the switch to Linux, it was an adjustment in the beginning, especially if you have worked and programmed on Windows servers for years like me, for a normal user the switch is actually much easier.
The big difference is probably in the available software.
However, if you compare purely basic usage, which I think is:
surfing the internet with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, social media, e-mail, online banking and handling of documents, …,
then Linux has everything you need and you will not really notice the difference, in fact, these days most of it happens online and therefore through your browser, and whether it is Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox or one of the many other browsers, they are identical in use on Windows as in Linux. Using an OS like Kubuntu makes it even easier, especially since the look and feel is almost the same as working on Windows XP, Windows 7 or 8.

As said before, there are many versions of Linux, there is something for everyone. Whether you want to stay true to the old Windows XP look, or you prefer tablet style or MacOS look, it is all possible with Linux.
There is plenty out there to find on the internet about any distribution, so I don’t want to get into that myself.

If you are a professional or amateur photographer, you will have to make choices.
If you really can’t do without Photoshop, Luminar, On1 or other software specially made for Windows or MacOS, then I fear you won’t be able to make the switch.
However, there is a way through a program called “Wine” that allows you to run Windows programs on Linux – more on that later.
If you are not so dependent on that software, and you are willing to work with the alternatives, then a new world will open up for you.

Below I will list all the software I have on my computer for photography – and believe me, that is more than most photographers need, the reason I have extra software is mainly for creating and testing film simulations.

This is a screenprint of my desktop.
From the bottom left of the taskbar you will see a gear icon – that’s the menu as it is in Windows.
On the far right of that taskbar you see the icons of volume, internet connection and other things.
As browsers I use both Google Chrome and Mozila Firefox, and as a mailbox I use Thunderbird.
Then on the desktop the icons in MacOS style, from left to right:

  • Rapid Photo Downloader – picture SD card downloader/renamer/organiser
  • DigiKam – organiser/editor
  • Rawtherapee – editor
  • gThumb- viewer
  • Gimp – editor
  • Krita – editor
  • Luminance HDR – HDR software
  • Hugin – panorama and image stacking
  • PhotoCollage – collage maker
  • ImageMagick – effects / editor
  • GwenView – viewer
  • Geeqie – viewer
  • Darktable – organiser / editor
  • Kazam – screenrecording
  • XSane – scanning software
  • LightZone – organiser / editor

The use of an Office package and pdf reader is also no problem, it is installed by default in Kubuntu and it is fully Windows compatible :

Screenprint above and below – as you can see here I also have some Windows software installed through a program called Wine. Wine is a Windows emulator, and ensures that programs intended for Windows also work on Linux. Unfortunately, this does not always work or certainly not easy. Currently I have Ashampoo, Photoscape 3.7, Picasa 3 and Fujifilm SilkyPix Raw file Converter EX 3.0 working, and still working on Fuji X Raw Studio and DxO.

Specifications of my computer:
My computer is more than 11 years old,
Runs on an Intel Core i5 first generation, 2.4-2.9 GHz processor, Original 4GB Ram – upgraded to 8GB Ram,
Video ATI HD5650 1GB
Original 2 x 250GB HDD – Upgraded to 1TB SSD and 2TB HDD
With a 17.30″ 16: 9 screen
Original OS Windows 7 Home Premium 64 – Upgraded to Kubuntu 20.04 LTS

Why Kubuntu?
Well, there are many other distros, and any Linux user will find their version the best.
I also tested a few different ones myself, including Linux Mint and Ubuntu itself, but Kubuntu was the best choice in terms of performance on an aging computer, and in terms of look and feel very similar to the Windows versions I was used to working on.

Why should I switch to Linux?
As long as you have a good and working system I wouldn’t make any changes.
Tired of paying expensive subscriptions for your image editing software?
Darktable, RawTherapee and Digikam are also available for Windows.

In my experience, Windows will start to work problematically rather than your computer giving up.
After a while, and especially for people who like to install a lot of games or visit a lot of (dubious) websites, the computer starts to run slower and slower.
The result is a well-functioning machine but a crippled operating system.
And then most people just buy a new computer.
That is the moment to explore the world of Linux, because you have nothing to lose with your old machine.
You may be surprised at the result and how fast that old machine suddenly becomes. You may already have an old computer in the closet somewhere – Go for it!

Another option is to use Linux on a second (older) computer only for surfing and social media, Linux is very stable and a safe environment. You reserve your better computer for photography and that way it stays clean and performant. It is also a way to get used to Linux and so you can judge better without having to make major adjustments immediately.

You can also try Linux with a Live CD, your regular installation will not be removed.
You can also install Linux next to Windows, during startup you can choose which OS will be loaded (experienced computer users only)
Never take any chances, but always make a good backup on an external drive.
Are you a self-confident person and a bit at home with computers? then go for it.
If you’re not much of a computer hero, a friend or family member might be able to help?

To learn more about Kubuntu, click below.
To know more about the full Ubuntu OS family click here.

Published by Marc R.

Belgium Based and Retired Photographer, IT specialist, Technician and Bushcrafter - not necessarily in that order. A few years back I got a message on my PC : "The box said 'Required Windows 11 or better'. So, I installed Linux Kubuntu 20.04 LTS" :-) - My Photography software : RawTherapee, Darktable, Digikam, Luminance HDR, Hugin, Gimp and many other. Oh yes, the email address is still there, but I'm not a Pentaxian anymore - now i'am proud to be a Fujiian !

2 thoughts on “Going Kubuntu !

  1. I used Linux for many many years, ended up using Mint, but went through quite a few distro’s before ending up there. I think in this day and age, Linux is more than capable of being used by most home users, and definitely photographers! Makes me want to get another computer for Linux now!


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