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The Perfect Desktop – Kubuntu 12.10


This tutorial shows how you can set up a Kubuntu 12.10 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 uses the KDE desktop environment.

The software I propose as default is the one I found easiest to use and best in their functionality – this won’t necessarily be true for your needs, thus you are welcome to try out the applications listed as alternatives.

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!

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Select your language from the dropdown-menu and click on the Install Kubuntu button to start the installation:

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On the next screen you see a few requirements for the Kubuntu 12.10 installation (the system should have at least 5.4 GB available drive space and should be connected to the Internet). Please check the Download updates while installing and Install this third-party software checkboxes (this will install the software necessary to process Flash, MP3, and other media files) and click on Continue:

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Now we come to the partitioning of our hard disk. Usually Guided – use entire disk is a good choice, unless you need custom partitions and know what you’re doing. Guided – use entire disk will create one big / partition for us. Also select the drive that you want to install Kubuntu on:

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Then choose your time zone:

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Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

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

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

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This is what your new Kubuntu KDE desktop looks like:

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Now the base system is ready to be used.

3 Update The System

Now it’s time to check for updates and install them. This is done using the Update Manager (Applications > System > Update Manager):

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The Update Manager tells you which updates are available. If some of them need dependencies it tells you so – in that case, mark them for installation by clicking on Mark Upgrades:

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Confirm with OK:

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Finally, click on Install Updates:

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Enter your password for authentication:

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The updates are now being downloaded and installed:

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If a new kernel was amongst the updates, a system restart is required to make the changes effective.

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To perform a restart open the menu and click on Leave > Restart > Restart Computer:

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The system is now up-to-date.

 

4 Flash Player

If you have checked the Install this third-party software checkbox during installation Flash Player should already be installed on the system.

To check this, the simplest way is to install Firefox. Open the menu and find the Firefox installer. Click on Install once you start it:

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Type in your password for authentication:

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Firefox will be installed afterwards…

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Once Firefox starts, type about:plugins in the address bar. Firefox will then list all installed plugins, and it should list the Flash Player (version 11.2 r202) plugins among them.

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5 Inventory Of What We Have So Far

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

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

Graphics:
[ ] The GIMP
[ ] Shotwell Photo Manager
[ ] Pinta

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Flash Player
[ ] FileZilla
[x] KMail
[ ] Deluge
[ ] Skype
[ ] Marble
[ ] Kopete
[ ] Dropbox
[ ] Gwibber Social Client

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

Sound & Video:
[ ] Audacity
[ ] Banshee
[ ] dvd::rip
[ ] Kino
[ ] VLC Media Player
[x] K3B
[ ] Multimedia-Codecs
[ ] Winff

Programming:
[ ] KompoZer
[ ] Eclipse

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

So some applications are already on the system. NTFS read-/write support is enabled by default on Kubuntu 12.10.

 

6 Install Synaptic Package Manager And Configure Additional Repositories

I like to install the applications I need with Synaptic Package Manager instead of the installed Muon Manager, that’s why I need to install that before I can go on with the other packages. Open a terminal (Applications > System > Terminal)…

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…and enter the following:

sudo apt-get install synaptic

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

Again, open a terminal and edit /etc/apt/sources.list

sudo kate /etc/apt/sources.list

…, enable the quantal partner and Ubuntu Extras repositories (if they are not already enabled):

[...]
## 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 quantal partner
deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu quantal 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 apt-get update && sudo apt-get install medibuntu-keyring && sudo apt-get update

Then run

sudo update-apt-xapian-index

to make Synaptic display packages from third-party repositories.

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7 Install Additional Software

To install additional applications, open the Synaptic Package Manager (Applications > System > Synaptic 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 filter field to find packages:

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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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The following packages need to be installed if you want the applications of the above primary choice (* is a wildcard; e.g. vlc* means all packages that start with vlc):

  • flashplugin-installer (necessary only if you didn’t check the Install this third-party software checkbox during installation)
  • audacity
  • shotwell
  • kopete
  • gimp
  • dvdrip
  • filezilla
  • ttf-mscorefonts-installer
  • gnucash
  • kino
  • eclipse
  • scribus
  • vlc*
  • mozilla-plugin-vlc
  • non-free-codecs
  • ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • kubuntu-restricted-extras
  • libdvdcss2
  • virtualbox-ose
  • skype
  • banshee
  • icedtea-plugin
  • gdebi
  • pinta
  • deluge
  • nautilus-dropbox
  • marble
  • winff
  • libreoffice
  • openjdk-7*
  • gwibber

These are the packages for all the other possible alternative applications (you don’t need to install them if you are happy with the above selection):

  • chromium-browser
  • amarok
  • vuze
  • bluefish
  • gstreamer0.10*
  • gtkpod
  • mplayer
  • smplayer
  • xmms2*
  • sound-juicer
  • rhythmbox
  • xine-ui
  • xine-plugin
  • evolution
  • googleearth-package
  • totem
  • soundconverter
  • soundkonverter
  • kolourpaint4
  • mypaint
  • qbittorrent
  • xcfa
  • brasero
  • clementine
  • exaile
  • thunderbird
  • pidgin
  • kmymoney

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

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Confirm your selection by again 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 have to answer a few questions. Accept the licenses and proceed:

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After all packages have been installed, click on Close:

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8 TrueType Fonts

To check if the TrueType fonts have been installed correctly, open a word processor like LibreOffice. You should now find your new Windows fonts there:

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9 Inventory (II)

Now let’s check again what we have so far. Our inventory should now look like this:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] Shotwell Photo Manager
[x] Pinta

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] KMail
[x] Deluge
[x] Skype
[x] Marble
[x] Kopete
[x] Dropbox
[x] Gwibber Social Client

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

Sound & Video:
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs
[x] Winff

Programming:
[ ] KompoZer
[x] Eclipse

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

10 Google Earth

In chapter 7, if you chose Google Earth over Marble, you have installed the package googleearth-package which is a utility to automatically build a .deb package of Google Earth. This means, Google Earth is not yet installed; we have to first build a .deb package of it with the help of googleearth-package, and then install the .deb package.

Open a terminal and become root:

sudo su

Now you can build the Google Earth .deb package as follows:

make-googleearth-package –force

[…]
Package: googleearth
Version: 6.0.3.2197+0.7.0-1
Section: non-free/science
Priority: optional
Maintainer:  <root@Kreationnext-VirtualBox>
Architecture: amd64
Depends: ttf-dejavu | ttf-bitstream-vera | msttcorefonts, libfreeimage3, lsb-core, libqtcore4, libgl1-mesa-glx , ia32-libs-gtk , msttcorefonts
Suggests: lib32nss-mdns, libgl1-nvidia-glx-ia32
Description: Google Earth, a 3D map/planet viewer
Package built with googleearth-package.
dpkg-deb: building package `googleearth’ in `./googleearth_6.0.3.2197+0.7.0-1_amd64.deb’.
Success!
You can now install the package with e.g. sudo dpkg -i <package>.deb
root@Kreationnext-VirtualBox:~#

If you don’t see any errors, then you should find the Google Earth .deb package in the current directory:

ls -l

root@Kreationnext-VirtualBox:~# ls -l
total 67196
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 35118382 Nov 14 15:32 googleearth_6.0.3.2197+0.7.0-1_amd64.deb
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 33688483 May 19  2011 GoogleEarthLinux.bin
root@Kreationnext-VirtualBox:~#

I want to install the .deb package using gdebi which takes care of all dependencies.

gdebi googleearth_6.0.3.2197+0.7.0-1_amd64.deb

 

11 Opera

If you like Opera more than Firefox or Chromium, you have to download it directly from their website. Open a browser and go to http://www.opera.com/browser/download/; select Ubuntu as the distribution and then default package and click on the Download Opera button:

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A download dialogue should come up. Select Save File:

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The package will be saved in your default download folder, which is the Downloads folder in your personal folder. Open a terminal and install it from there as follows (replace my username with yours and the version of Opera with the one you downloaded, if it has changed since this writing):

cd /home/falko/Downloads/
sudo gdebi opera_12.10.1652_amd64.deb

 

12 Kompozer

Unfortunately Kompozer isn’t available from the Ubuntu 12.10 repositories, therefore you have to install it as follows:

cd /home/falko/Downloads
wget http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/k/kompozer/kompozer_0.8~b3.dfsg.1-0.1ubuntu2_amd64.deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/k/kompozer/kompozer-data_0.8~b3.dfsg.1-0.1ubuntu2_all.deb

sudo dpkg -i kompozer*.deb

 

13 Nightingale

Nightingale is not available in the Ubuntu repositories and has to be downloaded from their website at http://getnightingale.com. Click on the big download button and open the downloaded archive with the archive manager. The application doesn’t need to be installed since it can be started directly from the downloaded directory.

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14 Adobe Reader

Open a browser and go to http://get.adobe.com/reader/; click on the Download now button:

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Click on the Save File button to store the Adobe Reader installer on your hard drive:

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Open a terminal and go to the directory where the download was stored (e.g. /home/falko/Downloads):

cd /home/falko/Downloads

Run

ls -l

to find out how the file is named:

falko@falko-VirtualBox:~/Downloads$ ls -l
total 105252
-rw-rw-r–  1 falko falko 42950036 Nov 14 15:28 AdbeRdr9.5.1-1_i486linux_enu.bin
-rw-rw-r–  1 falko falko  7858708 Apr 24  2012 kompozer_0.8~b3.dfsg.1-0.1ubuntu2_amd64.deb
-rw-rw-r–  1 falko falko  2145516 Apr 24  2012 kompozer-data_0.8~b3.dfsg.1-0.1ubuntu2_all.deb
drwxr-xr-x 14 falko falko     4096 Mar  5  2012 nightingale
-rw-rw-r–  1 falko falko 41244574 Nov 14 15:24 Nightingale_1.11.0-2223_linux_x86_64.tar.bz2
-rw-rw-r–  1 falko falko 13567196 Nov 14 15:19 opera_12.10.1652_amd64.deb
falko@falko-VirtualBox:~/Downloads$

In this case it is named AdbeRdr9.5.1-1_i486linux_enu.bin. Make the file executable and then run it to install Acrobat Reader:

chmod 755 AdbeRdr9.5.1-1_i486linux_enu.bin
sudo ./AdbeRdr9.5.1-1_i486linux_enu.bin

 

15 Inventory (III)

All wanted applications are installed now:

Graphics:
[x] The GIMP
[x] Shotwell Photo Manager
[x] Pinta

Internet:
[x] Firefox
[x] Flash Player
[x] FileZilla
[x] KMail
[x] Deluge
[x] Skype
[x] Marble
[x] Kopete
[x] Dropbox
[x] Gwibber Social Client

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

Sound & Video:
[x] Audacity
[x] Banshee
[x] dvd::rip
[x] Kino
[x] VLC Media Player
[x] K3B
[x] Multimedia-Codecs
[x] Winff

Programming:
[x] KompoZer
[x] Eclipse

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

 

  • Kubuntu: http://www.kubuntu.org/

You are welcome to leave recommendations for software in the comments for the next issues!

 

 

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