I seldom try an Alpha release of Kubuntu, and if I did, I would load it on my trusty "for testing only" old ThinkPad. But, I managed to screw up KDE on my ASUS "I usually use it on the road" laptop. Maybe it was time.

I looked, and sure enough, /home was on a separate partition on the ASUS—something I generally do on a production system even though the Kubuntu default is just one partition. So, I figured worst case was that I would try Jaunty and then go back to something that worked.

Well, so far, I am pleased. Of particular note is:

  • The new network manager makes a lot more sense.
  • KDE 4.2 looks like something you don't need to apologize for.
  • Strange devices (such as a Bluetooth adapter I had sitting around) seem to get recognized just fine.

The installer is even a bit nicer. For example, the time zone selection now graphically shows the time zones in different colors—minor but just a nice touch.

Bottom line: if you have too much time on your hands or you have lunched your OS and it is on a different partition, Jaunty Alpha 5 looks like it is worth a try.