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The Perfect Desktop – Kubuntu 10.04


This tutorial shows how you can set up a Kubuntu 10.04 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge. Kubuntu 10.04 is derived from Ubuntu 10.04 and uses the KDE desktop instead of the GNOME desktop.

I want to say first that this is not the only way of setting up such a system. There are many ways of achieving this goal but this is the way I take. I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

 

1 Preliminary Note

To fully replace a Windows desktop, I want the Kubuntu desktop to have the following software installed:

Graphics:

  • The GIMP – free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
  • F-Spot – full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop
  • Google Picasa – application for organizing and editing digital photos

Internet:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Flash Player 10
  • FileZilla – multithreaded FTP client
  • Thunderbird – email and news client
  • Evolution – combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
  • aMule – P2P file sharing application
  • KTorrent – Bittorrent client
  • Vuze – Java Bittorrent client
  • Kopete – multi-platform instant messaging client
  • Skype
  • Google Earth
  • Quassel IRC – IRC client

Office:

  • OpenOffice Writer – replacement for Microsoft Word
  • OpenOffice Calc – replacement for Microsoft Excel
  • Adobe Reader
  • GnuCash – double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
  • Scribus – open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

Sound & Video:

  • Amarok – audio player
  • Audacity – free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
  • Banshee – audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods
  • MPlayer – media player (video/audio), supports WMA
  • Rhythmbox Music Player – audio player, similar to Apple’s iTunes, with support for iPods
  • gtkPod – software similar to Apple’s iTunes, supports iPod, iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod photo, and iPod mini
  • XMMS – audio player similar to Winamp
  • dvd::rip – full featured DVD copy program
  • Kino – free digital video editor
  • Sound Juicer CD Extractor – CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
  • VLC Media Player – media player (video/audio)
  • RealPlayer – media player
  • Totem – media player (video/audio)
  • Xine – media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs
  • Brasero – CD/DVD burning program
  • K3B – CD/DVD burning program
  • Multimedia Codecs

Programming:

  • KompoZer – WYSIWYG HTML editor, similar to Macromedia Dreamweaver, but not as feature-rich (yet)
  • Bluefish – text editor, suitable for many programming and markup languages
  • Quanta Plus – web development environment, including a WYSIWYG editor

Other:

  • VirtualBox OSE – lets you run your old Windows desktop as a virtual machine under your Linux desktop, so you don’t have to entirely abandon Windows
  • TrueType fonts
  • Java
  • Read-/Write support for NTFS partitions

Lots of our desired applications are available in the Ubuntu repositories, and some of these applications have been contributed by the Ubuntu community.

As you might have noticed, a few applications are redundant, for example there are two CD/DVD burning applications in my list (Brasero, K3B). If you know which one you like best, you obviously don’t need to install the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install both. The same goes for music players like Amarok, Banshee, Rhythmbox, XMMS or browsers (Firefox, Opera).

I will use the username falko in this tutorial. Please replace it with your own username.

 

2 Installing The Base System

The installation of the base system is easy as 1-2-3 because the Kubuntu installer doesn’t offer a lot of options to choose from, so you cannot go wrong.

Download the Kubuntu 10.04 Desktop iso image from http://www.kubuntu.org/getkubuntu, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. Select your language:

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Then choose Try Kubuntu without installing – this boots the Live system so that you can see if Kubuntu works on your hardware. We can then install Kubuntu from the Live system. If you know that your hardware is supported, you can pick Install Kubuntu instead:

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After the Live desktop has started, click on the Install Kubuntu 10.04 icon on the desktop to start the installation to the hard drive:

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The installer starts. First, select your language:

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Then choose your time zone:

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Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

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Now we come to the partitioning of our hard disk. Usually Erase and use the entire disk is a good choice, unless you need custom partitions and know what you’re doing. Erase and use the entire disk will create one big / partition for us:

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Type in your real name, your desired username along with a password, and click on Forward:

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The next screen shows us a summary of the installation settings. Click on Install to start the installation:

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Afterwards, Kubuntu is being installed. This can take a few minutes, so be patient:

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After the installation, you will be asked to reboot the system. Click on Restart Now:

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The Live-CD desktop shuts down. At the end, the Kubuntu CD is ejected. Remove it from the CD drive and hit the <ENTER> key to boot into your new Kubuntu desktop:

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Your new Kubuntu system starts. Log in to the desktop with the username and password you provided during the installation:

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This is how your new desktop looks:

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Now the base system is ready to be used.

3 Update The System

Before we go on, we should check if there are any updates available for our system. Start the KPackageKit package manager (System > Software Management):

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Click on Software Updates. This will show you a list of available updates. To install them, click on Select all updates

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… and then on Apply:

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Click on Continue:

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Afterwards the updates are being downloaded and installed:

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You can now close KPackageKit:

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(If a new kernel was amongst the updates, a system restart is required to make the changes effective. If this is necessary, you will be notified – reboot the system.)

The system is now up-to-date.

 

4 Inventory Of What We Have So Far

Now let’s browse all menus to see which of our wanted applications are already installed:

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You should find the following situation ([x] marks an application that is already installed, where [ ] is an application that is missing):

Graphics:
[ ] The GIMP
[ ] F-Spot
[ ] Picasa

Internet:
[ ] Firefox
[ ] Opera
[ ] Flash Player
[ ] FileZilla
[ ] Thunderbird
[ ] Evolution
[ ] aMule
[x] KTorrent
[ ] Vuze
[x] Kopete
[ ] Skype
[ ] Google Earth
[x] Quassel IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[ ] Adobe Reader
[ ] GnuCash
[ ] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[ ] Audacity
[ ] Banshee
[ ] MPlayer
[ ] Rhythmbox Music Player
[ ] gtkPod
[ ] XMMS
[ ] dvd::rip
[ ] Kino
[ ] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[ ] VLC Media Player
[ ] RealPlayer
[ ] Totem
[ ] Xine
[ ] Brasero
[x] K3B
[ ] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[ ] KompoZer
[ ] Bluefish
[ ] Quanta Plus

Other:
[ ] VirtualBox
[ ] TrueType fonts
[ ] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

So some applications are already on the system. NTFS read-/write support is enabled by default on Kubuntu 10.04.

5 Configure Additional Repositories

Some packages like the Adobe Reader are not available in the standard Kubuntu repositories. The easiest way to make such packages available to your system is to add the Medibuntu repository.

First we open a terminal (System > Terminal):

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First off, we edit /etc/apt/sources.list

sudo kate /etc/apt/sources.list

… and enable the lucid partner repository:

[...]
## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository.
## This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is offered by Canonical and the
## respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu users.
deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu lucid partner
deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu lucid partner
[...]

Then save the file.

To enable the Medibuntu repository, please do the following:

Import the repository:

sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/$(lsb_release -cs).list –output-document=/etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list

Import the gpg-key and update your package-list:

sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude install medibuntu-keyring && sudo aptitude update

Then run

sudo update-apt-xapian-index

to make Synaptic (which we install in the next chapter) display packages from third-party repositories.

 

6 Installing The Synaptic Package Manager

I prefer the Synaptic Package Manager over Kubuntu’s built-in package manager, therefore I install it as follows (still in the terminal):

sudo aptitude install synaptic

7 Install Additional Software

To install additional applications, open the Synaptic Package Manager (System > Package Manager):

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Type in your password:

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In the Synaptic Package Manager, we can install additional software. You can use the Quick search field to find packages. To select a package for installation, click on the checkbox in front of it and select Mark for Installation from the menu that comes up:

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If a package has a dependency that needs to be satisfied, a window will pop up. Accept the dependencies by clicking on Mark:

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Select the following packages for installation (* is a wildcard; e.g. gstreamer* means all packages that start with gstreamer):

  • firefox
  • gimp
  • f-spot
  • evolution
  • flashplugin-nonfree
  • amule
  • audacity
  • vuze
  • banshee
  • bluefish
  • dvdrip
  • filezilla
  • ttf-mscorefonts-installer
  • gnucash
  • gstreamer*
  • gtkpod-aac
  • sun-java6*
  • brasero
  • kino
  • mplayer
  • smplayer
  • quanta
  • kompozer
  • scribus
  • totem
  • vlc*
  • mozilla-plugin-vlc
  • xmms2*
  • sound-juicer
  • realplayer
  • googleearth
  • acroread
  • non-free-codecs
  • ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • kubuntu-restricted-extras
  • libdvdcss2
  • xine-ui
  • xine-plugin
  • thunderbird
  • virtualbox-ose
  • rhythmbox

After you’ve selected the desired packages, click on the Apply button:

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Confirm your selection by clicking on Apply:

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The packages are now being downloaded from the repositories and installed. This can take a few minutes, so please be patient:

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You might be asked to accept a few licenses:

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After all packages have been installed, click on Close:

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8 Flash Player

To see if the Flash Player has been installed correctly, open Firefox and type about:plugins in the address bar. Firefox will then list all installed plugins, and it should list the Flash Player (version 10.0 r45) among them:

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8 Flash Player

To see if the Flash Player has been installed correctly, open Firefox and type about:plugins in the address bar. Firefox will then list all installed plugins, and it should list the Flash Player (version 10.0 r45) among them:

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10 Inventory (II)

Now let’s check again what we have so far by browsing the menus again:

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Our inventory should now look like this:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[ ] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[ ] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] KTorrent
[x] Vuze
[x] Kopete
[ ] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Quassel IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] RealPlayer
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[x] KompoZer
[x] Bluefish
[x] Quanta Plus

Other:
[x] VirtualBox
[x] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions

11 Opera

Open a browser and go to http://www.opera.com/browser/download/; select Ubuntu as the distribution and click on the Download Opera button:

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A download dialogue should come up automatically. Select Open with and then select Browse… from the drop-down menu:

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Select /usr/bin/gdebi-kde from the Choose Helper Application window:

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In the Firefox download dialogue, you should now see Open with gdebi-kde – select that option and click on OK:

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A Package Installer window comes up. Click on the Install Package button to install Opera:

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Type in your password:

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Opera is now being installed. Afterwards, you can close the Package Installer window:

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12 Skype

Go to http://www.skype.com/download/skype/linux/choose/ and select the right Ubuntu .deb package for your architecture (Ubuntu 8.10+ 32-bit or Ubuntu 8.10+ 64-bit):

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A download dialogue will come up. Click Save File to download the package to your hard drive:

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After the download has finished, open a terminal (System > Terminal) and go to the directory where the package has been saved (the default location is the Downloads folder in your home directory, i.e. ~/Downloads):

cd ~/Downloads

The package can then be installed as follows:

sudo gdebi skype-ubuntu*

Afterwards, you can delete the .deb package:

rm -f skype-ubuntu*

 

13 Google Picasa

Open Firefox and go to http://picasa.google.com/linux/download.html#picasa30 and select the right .deb package for your architecture (i386 or amd64):

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A download dialogue should come up. Select Save File:

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After the download has finished, open a terminal again and go to the location where you’ve saved the downloaded file (e.g. in your Downloads directory):

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cd ~/Downloads

You can now install Picasa as follows:

sudo gdebi picasa_3.0-current_*

Delete the package afterwards to clean up your system:

rm -f picasa_3.0-current_*

That’s it, Picasa is now installed.
14 Inventory (III)

We have now all wanted applications installed:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] F-Spot
[x] Picasa

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Opera
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] Thunderbird
[x] Evolution
[x] aMule
[x] KTorrent
[x] Vuze
[x] Kopete
[x] Skype
[x] Google Earth
[x] Quassel IRC

Office:
[x] OpenOffice Writer
[x] OpenOffice Calc
[x] Adobe Reader
[x] GnuCash
[x] Scribus

Sound & Video:
[x] Amarok
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] MPlayer
[x] Rhythmbox Music Player
[x] gtkPod
[x] XMMS
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] Sound Juicer CD Extractor
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] RealPlayer
[x] Totem
[x] Xine
[x] Brasero
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs

Programming:
[x] KompoZer
[x] Bluefish
[x] Quanta Plus

Other:
[x] VirtualBox
[x] TrueType fonts
[x] Java
[x] Read/Write support for NTFS partitions
15 Links

Kubuntu: http://www.kubuntu.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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