Kubuntu was released yesterday and it comes with the brand new KDE Plasma workspaces and other KDE technologies. Like any other operating system Kubuntu also needs a little bit of work to get it ready for you.
There are a few things which are optional and I have added them here based on my own usage, you may not need them.
#1. Install proprietary drivers
The first thing you need to do is install drivers if you are using proprietary GPU. Kubuntu comes with free software so it will work out of the box, but if you need better and smoother performance than you may want to do it.
Hit Alt+F2 to fire Krunner and then type Additional Drivers.
Open the tool and it should show the drivers available for your GPU. Go ahead and activate it.
You will need to reboot your system in order for the driver to work.
#2. Install non-free codecs
If you watch online videos or listen to patent incumbent MP3 music you may want to install drives and codecs which are not pre-installed due to licensing and patent issues.
Open Muon Package Manager from Krunner and then search for kubuntu-restricted, it will show two packages, select them and install them. Once installed you should be able to play all video and audio formats.
#3. Install Firefox and Chrome browser
Kubuntu comes with a free browser Rekonq, which respects user’s privacy. However if you want to take advantage of Firefox plugins or if you use Chrome Apps then you would want to install these two browsers. While Firefox, Chrome is based on open source Chromium project.
Firefox and Chromium are available in the official repositories of Kubuntu so you can install them by searching in the Muon Package Manger. However, if you want to install GoogleChrome, go to this link and download the appropriate version (32 or 64 bit .deb) and the click on it to install it just like you would install .exe files on Windows.
#4. Install VLC
VLC is more or less like Swiss Knife when it comes to play videos. It supports virtually ever video format available out there. VLC is also available in the repositories (aka repos) so you can easily install it from Muon Package Manager. Once VLC is installed, you won’t have to worry about playing videos on Kubuntu.
#5. Install more fonts
Kubuntu come with a decent set of fonts. However if you want you can increase your font collections – for free. Google has made available its Web fonts for free. If you want only a few of Google fonts then you can download them manually from here. But if you want to grab the entire collection, go ahead and open Konsole (terminal for KDE):
First you need to install Mercurial by running this command:
sudo apt-get install -y mercurial;
Once done, run this command to clone the font repo on your KDE system:
hg clone https://googlefontdirectory.googlecode.com/hg/ googlefontdirectory;
The command will create googlefontdirectory folder in your home. That’s where all the fonts will be downloaded.
Once the fonts are downloaded you have to install them. Stay in the home directory and hit Alt + . to view hidden folders. If you already installed some fonts manually you will see a folder called .fonts in home; if not then create a folder named ‘.fonts’. Now copy the fonts folder that you downloaded to this folder and all Google fonts will be enabled on the system.
#6. Install Thunderbird
Kmail is Kubuntu’s default mail clients and it works fine. But there were some issues with Kmail which can mess up your emails. The reason I don’t use Kmail is that you can’t configure the folder where your data is saved. Thunderbird allows you to do it. Since I have over 30GB of mail and I use multiple operating systems, I can’t keep it in the root/home of every distro as then I will have to waste 30GB per OS on the hard-drive for mails. So if I have 3 distros I will have to waste over 90GB for 3 copies of the same mails. In Thunderbird I keep all mail data on one partition and then just point Thunderbird to it so each distro accesses the same database and keep it synced. If I have dual boot with Windows then I can access the same mails from Windows as well.
You can configure the folder where Thunderbird will save your mails and preferences by running this command in Konsole
Follow the instructions and configure the folder. You must do this before you add any emails accounts on Thunderbird. The good news is if you keep this folder outside root or home, the when you format your Kubuntu system or want to configure Thunderbird from some other OS on same machine, just run the command and point to the Thunderbird folder you created.
#7 Configure Dolphin
Dolphin, in my opinion, is the world’s best file manager. It’s extremely powerful, advanced yet simple and elegant. By default single click on any file or folder will open it; traditionally we are used to single click for selection and double click for opening it. So if you want to sort out that confusion open Dolphin and go to Control. There under the Navigation option select ‘Double-click to open files and folders’, and then apply.
In order to enable preview of files and documents go to General Tab and under Behaviour select ‘Use common properties for all folders’.
Now go to ‘Control’ and go to View Properties. There enable the check the box that says ‘Show preview’. If you want to see more information along with the files, you can click on ‘Additional Information’ and select the additional info that you want to be displayed.
#8 Enable video thumbnails
In Kubuntu (KDE) it’s extremely easy to enable thumbnail of video files (something that’s quite a challenge in Ubuntu). Open Muon Package Manager and search for ‘ffmpegthumbs’ and install the package. Once installed visit the Control > General > Preview. There you will now see a new option called ‘Video Files’. Enable that option and now you will be able to see thumbnails of videos in Dolphin.
#8 Personalize Kubuntu
That’s what you can’t do much in Ubuntu. You are stuck with the default theme and you may switch between 1-2 themes provided through Unity Tweak Tool. In KDE you can personalize every aspect of your PC – from the look and feel of the panel (you can not only change the panel’s color and style, but also you can change its position or even have more than one panel and use one just to pin the applications that you frequently use), you can change the theme of Window manager and much more. Just visit the System Settings option and play with ‘Application Appearance’ and ‘Workspace Appearance’. You can install and enable new themes right from that option.
#9 Session management
By default Kubuntu saves the current session when you log out or reboot your system so it will open the files and applications you were working on when you logged out. You may or may not need this system as it can make the start-up slow. But at the same time it opens all the files you were working on you so don’t have to reopen them. However, if for some reason you want to start an empty session when you log-out or reboot then you can turn it off. Just visit the ‘Startup & Shutdown’ option in System Settings and go to Session Management. There you can choose the option ‘Start with an empty session’ and apply.
#10 Better & safer local search
Kubuntu comes with a very powerful search and indexing took which enables a user to configure which folder and files should be indexed by Kubuntu. Go to System Settings > Desktop Search and in the Index tab select the Customize Folder option and the chose the folders you want to be indexed.
None of your search queries will be sent to any company’s servers so it’s extremely safe. Indexing works when the system is idle so it won’t affect the performance. You can search for the indexed files from Krunner.
So this is more or less I do with a fresh install of any KDE system. If you want to take full advantage of Kubuntu, you may want to use these suggestions.