There is a new version of this tutorial available for Kubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal).

The Perfect Desktop - Kubuntu 10.10

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
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This tutorial shows how you can set up a Kubuntu 10.10 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 10.10 is derived from Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) 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 (available for i386 systems only)
  • 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 10.10 Desktop iso image from, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. Select Start Kubuntu:

The system boots:

Select your language and click on the Install Kubuntu button to start the installation:

On the next screen you see a few requirements for the Kubuntu 10.10 installation (the system should have at least 2.4GB available drive space, should be plugged into a power source (to make sure that the system doesn't shut down during installation because of an empty battery), and should be connected to the Internet). Please check the Download updates while installing and Install this third-party software (this will install the software necessary to process Flash, MP3, and other media files) checkboxes and click on Forward:

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:

Then choose your time zone:

Change the keyboard layout, if necessary:

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

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:

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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1 Comment(s)

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By: Anonymouser

I went from Kubunto 9.10 to 10.10 this week and honestly I can barely tell the difference. There are a few minimal changes but the big one is Kpackagekit, they both made it better and unusable. They brought back the sections (games, office, multimedia,etc) which is not bad for newbies but everything after that is a mess. When the programs come out after a search, there is little info and you cant tell if you are clicking a program to be installed or removed. That part was just screwed up.

I dont really care if its synaptic or Kpackagekit and I have never bitched since its a tool often gets changed but this time around they blew it.

Dolphin is slightly different but not really better.

Ktorrent has added a few options and shutdown is excellent.

That said, I might be a little spoilt by my desktop. It seems a bit more responsive but in reality my last week has been no different that it has been since last october. Maybe thats the best compliment I can give it. It works, I like it and eventually they will fix Kpackagekit usability,..

My mom is using it, so is my dad. Windows is only a distant memory for them now. Kubuntu 10.10 will soon be on my 90 yr olds neighbours computer after I lent him my laptop when his was bogged down by viruses.


Oh yeah, my one peeve with KDE (not Kubuntu) is that you can configure the desktop to your own liking (which is the best kind of desktop: the one that suits your needs) and most seniors I install Linux for have bad vision (then again, mine is not better) so MAKE IT BIGGER is often repeated when it comes to fonts and panel size and icons when it comes to customizing their desktops.

The ONE thing that you can not customize is the size of the icons in the system tray. STILL. You can make anything bigger so that people can see but the most important things like the icons for keyboard layout (different languages), Kmix, Skype and Kopete icons in System Tray stay small. Many times Im told, 'I cant see them. Can you make them bigger?'  The magnification tool is not an option so these people are getting by by never closing Skype/Kopete or leaving always onscreen on a different virtual desktop.