I’ve heard a lot of talk about this distro as one of the finest KDE distros, and not too many people know about it. As a KDE fan, I was interested and decided to review it.
1. First impressions and ease of use
This distro unfortunately has a large installer file (1.9 GB) and can be downloaded from netrunner-os.com where there’s only a 64-bit version. On their website, it’s written that UEFI isn’t supported despite this being a Kubuntu 14.10-based distro.
So we fire it up and we get a nice KDE desktop that combines a little bit of the new Plasma 5 Breeze theme and a lot of the old Oxygen theme.
So again, we see the traditional desktop metaphor being used here and everything is where the user would expect it to be coming from Windows or other Linux DEs such as Xfce or LXDE.
Also, Guest Additions is baked into the Live CD - the first distro I have reviewed to do this.
Ease of use score: 10/10
The installer is simply the Ubiquity installer with a KDE frontend - the same as what’s used in Kubuntu. Unfortunately, UEFI isn’t supported despite the base being Kubuntu 14.10.
Installer score: 6/10
ISO size (GB)
Size of install
Desktop RAM use
Ubuntu MATE 15.04
BASELINE: Windows 8.1 Pro
The default font rendering is nothing to write home about, but it’s not bad like they are sometimes in other KDE distros.
GTK apps actually look decent out of the box as shown, which is great compared to, for example, other KDE 5 distros like Kubuntu 15.04.
And since customization is unlimited in KDE, the default fonts can be changed to Oxygen-Sans, which is the Plasma 5 default font, and this looks great.
Here I also changed the theme to completely Breeze which looks more modern than the default mashup of Oxygen and Breeze.
Design score: 9/10
Netrunner comes with most of the default KDE apps and some of the default Ubuntu apps:
Web browser: Firefox
File manager: Dolphin
Email client: Thunderbird
Text editor: Kate
Image viewer: Gwenview
Terminal emulator: Konsole
Music player: Amarok
Office suite: Libreoffice
It also comes with a bunch of nice extras like Steam, Virtualbox, and Wine preinstalled, which is great.
Applications score: 10/10
5. Installing packages
There’s really nothing to say here. Being based on Kubuntu, Netrunner comes with dpkg and apt-get with access to one of the fastest package managers and one of the widest repositories of software, with easy access to PPAs.
Installing packages score: 10/10
Final thoughts: Netrunner is one of the best KDE distros available to install right now. I actually tried to install it on bare metal about a month ago and felt impressed, but the lack of UEFI support was a deal breaker as I use a UEFI-based system.
Final score: 45/50 = 90%
Ubuntu MATE 15.04
Bold: current review
Italics: Highest score