The Perfect Desktop - Kubuntu 10.04

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
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Last edited 05/17/2010

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:


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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


  • 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, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. Select your language:

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:

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:

The installer starts. First, select your language:

Then choose your time zone:

Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

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:

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

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

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

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

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:

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

This is how your new desktop looks:

Now the base system is ready to be used.

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14 Comment(s)

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From: kaddy at: 2010-05-21 12:20:10

only problem is that Kubuntu has always been and "WILL" always be a lower than average KDE distribution of Linux... Kde fans are better off using alternate kde distros, such as OpenSuse, Mandriva or my favourite... Arch Linux. Sadly there isn't many good Kde distros out there but I am predicting more distros in the future adopting Kde judging by the handling of Gnome 3 and its short comings and lack of innovation

From: kelp at: 2010-05-26 15:47:35

Bullshit, Kubuntu has become one of the better KDE distro's out there..

Calling Arch a kde distro only proves you don't know what you're talking about.

From: claydoh at: 2010-05-26 23:51:07

I would disagree. Kubuntu works darn well for quite a lot of folks, how is it less of a choice than any of the others - in real terms? I personally have had  my issues with Madriva (going all the way back to 2002!) and Arch, but I never would tell someone  to NOT consider either one. If you are going to disparage a distro, maybe some hard facts or even personal experiences would better make your point. 

From: Anonymous at: 2010-05-27 09:21:51

Suse kde dose get a lot of high praise, but i find ubuntu mixed with kde apps works for me.

From: Anonymous at: 2010-05-26 07:59:42

Again, why do you need so many photo management, email, internet-applications? Why do we need several different applications for one task?

Why don't OS developer want to develop existing applications better but always start a new one which will never be complete enough...

From: Laine at: 2010-08-01 12:01:32

I am with kde since 7 years now.
Maybe you can help me?

I just switch to Kubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.04) with Firefox 3.6.8 and amule 2.2.6
I added the package amule-gnome-support
as indicated from version 9.10 and higher
the command whereis ed2k:

Nemesia Nemesia @: ~ $ whereis ed2k
ed2k: / usr/bin/ed2k / usr/share/man/man1/ed2k.1.gz
When I click on a link ed2k
He always tells me that the protocol is not associated.
It is true that there is no ed2k to Edit> Preferences> Applications.

I also tried to create the strings and Boolean strings
with''true''values as for older versions, but nothing happens.

thank you in advance if you have a solution for me Kubuntero.

From: Sofie at: 2010-09-25 13:18:15

Falko, great job. Everything new installation I'm visiting. It's so helpful. Thx.

From: NotQuiteAnonymous at: 2010-10-08 03:21:50

F-Spot is a Gnome app, and Picasa runs through its own version of WINE.  Surely Digikam can do the job of both, and keeps the KDE theme a little stronger?

From: Anonymous at: 2010-05-26 00:39:03

Why do you want to use Synaptic when KpackageKit is available?

From: Seeker5528 at: 2010-05-20 17:38:32

Rather than instructing people to edit their sources.list to add the medibuntu repository, it would be better to have them create a new medibuntu.list file in /etc/apt/sourceslist.d/ then add the repository information there.

Later, Seeker

From: at: 2010-05-26 03:10:32

First I'd like to say great Howto article.

Some things I may suggest for new users:

  • To avoid the terminal (because I know some people seem to be scared of using it or just hate it) new users can,  add the partner repositories by selecting System Settings, Add and Remove Software, Settings, Edit Software Sources, then select them. I add all: main, universe, restricted, & multiverse – and you can also change where they're downloaded from.

  • On the Other Software tab you can check that the partner repositories are selected

  • On the Updates tab Since I like the latest software available, I select Pre-released updates and Unsupported updates in addition to the  Important security updates, and Recommended updates. (I wouldn't recommend these pre-release/unsupported updates for everyone)

  • To add the medibuntu repository, it's just easier to copy and past into the terminal the command from: The terminal must be used to do this. But it is the fastest easiest way of doing it.(Knowing commands and how to use the terminal, you can actually get some stuff done much faster than using a GUI.) **I like Google Earth, available in the medibuntu - makes for easy installation via the package manager.

  • I too prefer and recommend Synaptic package manager, and I would definitely suggest installing the kubuntu-restricted-extras

  • Skype is now officially in the repositories (the partner repositories)

  • If you choose to download and save deb packages instead of installing right away, again to avoid the terminal, you can just use Dolphin (the file manager) go to your download folder and click on the deb file and Gdebi will install it (of course make sure the architecture matches 32bit or 64bit) 32bit packages can be installed on 64bit systems but you'll have to use the terminal and force install it using apt-get. I have to do this with Lightscribe packages which are not available in 64bit 

From: Dann at: 2010-05-25 22:40:42

The only application that I would disagree with is F-Spot. Installing it requires many mono dependencies as well as being covered by Microsoft Patents. Whereas Digikam and KolourPaint would be even better replacements, digikam for photos and kolourpaint for basic editing along the lines of paint.exe on a Windows system. Plus they are both QT-based, meaning they both fit in properly to the kde system.

From: Mr Muckaround at: 2010-05-26 04:29:56

Such a broad generalism, as the concept of a "perfect desktop" will vary from user to user.

 I've got to wonder though why install Thunderbird and Evolution surely one application is suitable. On that note why not present Kontact / the KDE PIM suite as a viable option?

 Also why bother with Acrobat Reader at all, KDE's Okular fills the role admirably.

I could go on, Amarok (KDE) and Rhythmbox / Banshee as well???

K3B (KDE) both is a burning app and capable of ripping so why bother with Brasero & Sound Juicer. Totem (GTK) and not Kaffeine (KDE).

 In going down this track not only are you ignoring a number of excellent KDE applications but at the same time losing the benefits of their excellent intergration with said desktop environment.

 I also run KDE  having 'migrated' over from GNOME about 6 months ago.

In order to give it a 'fair go' I stuck with 'pure KDE', for a time. As things stand now I've introduced three "best of breed" applications that are non KDE, where I've found the 'native' apps lacking in a feature I need.

What you describe is hardly a perfect desktop from my point of view, more like application overkill.

From: David at: 2010-07-15 11:03:22

Very nice article, but I suggest a new user try the KDE-specific apps first. Not only are they (obviously) well integrated in a KDE system, they are often as good or better than the alternatives. New users simply tend to become confused when confronted by too many choices, in my experience. 

 I'd add a few other apps that I have found worthwhile on my own Kubuntu system. For example, the Calibre ebook reader handles many different formats for those who like to read downloaded books regularly.

 I dispense completely with the too-bloated and security-problematical Adobe Reader...KDE's built-in Ocular is far smaller, faster, and has some extremely helpful features to boot. 

 There are many utilities that can be helpful, too. For a writer, for example, getting a well-organized font selection is helpful--I use Fontmatrix for this.

 Finally, I suggest setting up a separate partition for root with another, larger one for /home. That way, the entire system isn't hosed when the inevitable update rolls around.