Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Saturday, June 30, 2018 at 23:59

UKUI is a new desktop environment for GNU/Linux operating system. It's best known to be the user interface of Ubuntu Kylin, one of official Ubuntu Flavors, hence we can guess the name stands for Ubuntu Kylin User Interface (hence I still didn't find any source about it). Along with it, of course, Ubuntu Kylin 18.04 LTS has been released last April with the latest UKUI. This short overview introduce both the UKUI and the Ubuntu Kylin 18.04 in brief about how they look and what they bring. Enjoy!

What's UKUI?

Think UKUI like Unity Desktop, the desktop developed solely for Ubuntu (11.04 - 17.04). In that way, UKUI is developed solely for Ubuntu Kylin. It's crafted to be lightweight, simple, and enjoyable. Under the hood, think UKUI like combination between KDE and GNOME, because it's combining two most-popular GUI programming library, Qt and GTK+. UKUI is available as software at and the source code is available at GitHub.


The Desktop

Seeing at first glance, we can determine that, UKUI Desktop Environment groups itself in same class with KDE Plasma, Cinnamon, deepin's DDE, and LXDE, with bottom panel (MS Windows-like) by default. Almost, it looks like Windows 8 in default blue panel and blue titlebar.

Desktop with shortcut icons on its area

The File Manager

Peony! That's the name of UKUI file manager (thus Kylin's file manager). It is based on GNOME Nautilus and MATE Caja, with UP ONE FOLDER button (see toolbar) and address bar by default (not "breadcrumb" bar). However, just like current Nautilus, it has no split vertical feature (F3 button).

Peony file manager from UKUI

The Desktop is Traditional

Traditional is the best for desktop and UKUI supports it. You can put shortcut icons on desktop whether they are applications or your documents or folders. For applications, just open up desktop menu > right-click an application > Add To Desktop. For document or folder, open up Peony File Manager > select a file > right-click > Send To Desktop Shortcut. The folder and file will have the traditional prefix "Link to..." in their names. Yes, traditional like KDE Plasma and Windows and personally I love that.

Icons on desktop: app, document, and folder shortcuts

The Assistant

Think about Control Panel + System Monitor + Tweak Tool in one program. That would be Kylin Assistant, an all-purpose control center of Ubuntu Kylin 18.04. With Kylin Assistant, you can show your hardware info, process management, tweak your desktop and file manager, configure your startup, go to Kylin Software Center, and uniquely, shred your files.

Kylin Assistant showing process manager and more options

The Software Center

The old Ubuntu we knew had Ubuntu Software Center as its application store. So does Ubuntu Kylin now, it has Kylin Software Center. As you can see below, it's mostly showing Chinese, as Kylin is indeed for Chinese users. But you see, it delivers programs we all know like GIMP, Wine, uGet, Thunderbird, Eclipse, and so on below.

The software center


It's traditional, but it's still pretty new, with simpler user friendliness for casual users. The file manager, Peony, is simple to use with all traditional features, but without split vertical (F3). The panel is singular, means you cannot add more panel, and it's still limited if you want to customize further. Personally I feel UKUI somehow boring because there are many other similar DEs out of there like Budgie, like MATE, and UKUI today honestly does not bring significant uniqueness except technically combining GTK+ and Qt. On the other hand, I think Ubuntu Kylin 18.04 brings UKUI will get good impact on Chinese users by its Windows-like experience better than Unity it brought previously. 


This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.