Ubuntu vs Kubuntu: The closest Windows experience [closed]

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For an experienced Windows user wanting to start experimenting with Linux, which distro provides the closest Windows experience? Assuming the use cases enumerated below:

  • Web browsing
  • Working with Office 2003/2007 documents
  • File indexing (desktop search)
  • Basic Sql Server 2005 database administration
  • Media playback(MP3, M4P, WMV, WMA, dvds, etc)
  • Windows Live instant messaging
  • Skype calls/video calls
  • Organizing millions of files
  • FTP/SFTP, SSH, telnet automation


All the tasks you list can be easily achieved on either desktop environment. But few of them will be quite like how you are used to them on Windows.

I find the choice of desktop environment to be a pretty personal thing based on how you work, one of them will simply feel more natural to you than the other. (e.g I can’t stand using a KDE box – but other people would hate to use my GNOME desktop on a day to day basis).

IMO you’re probably best off trying both from the included Live Desktop environment and seeing which one feels best.

I’ve included some hints on how to achieve what you ask for below:

  • Web Browsing, Firefox 3 on KDE or Gnome will be most like you are used to.
  • Working with Office 03/07 documents, you will find that OpenOffice will open either – but won’t save to 2007 format, this shouldn’t be a problem, the native file formats open on up to date copies of Office 2007 anyway, or you can save to the old style .doc formats.
  • File Indexing/Search – Tracker/Beagle on Gnome, not sure on the KDE options.
  • Media Playing – Both Kubuntu and Ubuntu should offer to download codecs for you within one or two clicks
  • Windows Live – KDE will use Kopete, Gnome will use Empathy or Pidgin. All of these should feel quite natural – if feature bare to you coming from a Windows background.
  • Skype can be installed and works quite well, though you may experience some difficulties with PulseAudio – there are work arounds all over the internet though.
  • Organising Millions of Files – Here you will find that the command shell (“Bash”) serves you well. If you’d rather avoid this I suggest you use a lightweight file-browser such as Thunar which will be more responsive than Nautilus(Gnome) or Dolphin(KDE).
  • On the FTP front I find GNOME to be light-years ahead of anything I’ve used – its easy to mount almost any remote resource as a directory using the ‘Places’ toolbar. On KDE you can probably use Konquror or possibly Dolphin.

well, they both run the same apps- the difference is in the desktop environment. However UIwise, i found that KDE is more ‘windows like’ than gnome.

‘Basic Sql Server 2005 database administration’ and ‘Organizing millions of files’ i’m unsure about with both though, the latter cause i don’t have millions of files

Mint is a popular rebuild of Ubuntu with a few ticks to make Windows users more comfortable (menu, installer, et al).

I suggest you just go with Mint – I have it on two desktops and am happy.

Dude, Ubuntu is not a Windows flavor with “slightly different guts”.
It’s a totally different operating system.

If you want to become at least a power user, you shall not make the analogy with Windows.
The Windows experience is a double-edged sword for a Linux newbie, it dooms the user and makes him stick to the Windows-way of thinking.

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