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

The Perfect Desktop - Kubuntu 12.04

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme , Christian Schmalfeld <c [dot] schmalfeld [at] projektfarm [dot] de>
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This tutorial shows how you can set up a Kubuntu 12.04 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.

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!


1 Preliminary Note

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


    • Pinta - open source drawing application modeled after Paint.NET

    • KolourPaint - paint application with elemental functions
    • MyPaint - paint application with a large variety of brushes

      • The GIMP - free software replacement for Adobe Photoshop
      • Shotwell Photo Manager - full-featured personal photo management application for the GNOME desktop


        • Firefox

        • Opera
        • Chromium - Google's open-source browser

            • KMail - KDE email client

            • Evolution - combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions
            • Thunderbird - email and news client

                • Deluge - free cross-platform BitTorrent client

                • Transmission BitTorrent Client - Bittorrent client
                • Vuze - Java BitTorrent client
                • qBittorrent - free alternative to µtorrent

                    • Marble - desktop globe similar to google earth

                    • GoogleEarth - Google's desktop globe

                      • Flash Player 11
                      • FileZilla - multithreaded FTP client
                      • Kopete - multi-platform instant messaging client
                      • Pidgin IM Client - multi-platform instant messaging client
                      • Skype
                      • Dropbox Client - cloud storage
                      • Gwibber Social Client - open-source microblogging client (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)


                        • Adobe Reader

                        • Evince - document viewer
                        • Okular - document viewer

                          • LibreOffice Writer - replacement for Microsoft Word
                          • LibreOffice Calc - replacement for Microsoft Excel
                          • GnuCash - double-entry book-keeping personal finance system, similar to Quicken
                          • kMyMoney - personal finance manager for KDE
                          • Scribus - open source desktop publishing (DTP) application

                          Sound & Video:

                            • Banshee - audio player, can encode/decode various formats and synchronize music with Apple iPods

                            • Amarok - audio player
                            • 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
                            • Sound Juicer CD Extractor - CD ripping tool, supports various audio codecs
                            • Nightingale - audio player similar to Winamp, but not yet as feature rich (Songbird fork)
                            • XMMS - audio player similar to Winamp
                            • Clementine - Amarok 1.4 fork
                            • Exaile - audio player

                                • VLC Media Player - media player, plays all kinds of videos (video/audio)

                                • Totem - media player (video/audio)
                                • Xine - media player, supports various formats; can play DVDs

                                    • Winff - free video converter

                                    • SoundConverter - free audio converter
                                    • Soundkonverter - free audio converter
                                    • XFCA - free video/audio converter and ripper

                                        • K3B - CD/DVD burning program

                                        • Brasero - CD/DVD burning program

                                          • Audacity - free, open source, cross platform digital audio editor
                                          • Kino - free digital video editor
                                          • dvd::rip - full featured DVD copy 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

                                              • Eclipse - Extensible Tool Platform and Java IDE


                                              • 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
                                              • gedit - simple text editor

                                              Lots of our desired applications are available in the Ubuntu repositories, and some of these applications have been contributed by the Ubuntu community. Some may also not be in the default repositories and have to be downloaded from the internet or from extra repositories.

                                              The software provided in the above list covers most of the basic tasks one may need to do on their desktop computers, sometimes there are multiple choices for same functionality. If you know which one you like best, you obviously don't need to install and test the other applications, however if you like choice, then of course you can install more than one.

                                              I will use the username howtoforge 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 12.04 desktop edition iso image from, burn it onto a CD, and boot your computer from it. Select Start Kubuntu to begin:

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

                                              On the next screen you see a few requirements for the Kubuntu 12.04 installation (the system should have at least 4.0 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:

                                              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:

                                              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 Continue:

                                              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:

                                              At the end of the shutdown process, you are asked to remove the Kubuntu installation CD from the CD drive. Please do this now and press ENTER:

                                              Your new Kubuntu system starts. Log into the desktop with the username and password you provided during the installation. On later logins, the last user you logged into will be saved and automatically filled in:

                                              This is what your new Kubuntu KDE desktop looks like:

                                              Now the base system is ready to be used.

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                                              2 Comment(s)

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                                              By: Jürgen

                                              Just to make this clear: I'm a long term Linux user and a very stron supporter for free software and Open-Source ... but just the first page gave me goose bumps ...

                                              GIMP as a full on replacement for Adobe Photoshop ... you obviously never ever have taken pictures under water and tried to clean them ... it is possible with GIMP but takes you about 20 times longer. 

                                              Shotwell for managing pictures is great ... but nowhere near as professional as Lightroom - in this case we luckily do have an alternative - non free but great - Corel Aftershot Pro (former Bibble).

                                               What I really don't like about this article is that you do not stress out that this is for the "normal user" ... it is claimed as "change and you have it all" - what is utterly wrong.

                                               If I would be willing to switch operating systems after reading this article - as a photographer I would get really fast frustrated ... so might be other users in different areas ... 

                                               As I said: free software is great, but rather then just putting a random list online with installation instructions - I would inform people and at least ask them: "what do you want to do with your computer?"




                                              By: Anonymouser

                                              Seriously, Banshee over Amarok?

                                              Isnt Dragon Player still the default player? Works fine on the Kubuntu 11's I have working, didnt even bother defaulting to VLC, Dragon Player is a great minimalist-fullscreen player.

                                              Most people like Kubuntu (especially since its been usable from 10.04 on) because its as close as you are going to get to a KDE vanilla desktop.

                                              Whatever floats your boats but as someone who started adding his parents, inlaws and aunts-uncles since Kubuntu 10.04 LTS, I have to say that the KDE experience has been quite amazing for all. Everyone is ready for the 12.04 LTS and most have used my laptop recently and we will try to make everything exactly how they have been using the past 2years on Linux.

                                              Almost a dozen people over 70, who either used Windows XP or Vista last or who never used a computer before that I have had to do minimal-none support on.


                                              Total success for Windows to Linux switch on Kubuntu 10.04 LTS for all of them. And I just started using Linux just a few years earlier with PCLinuxOS2007.


                                              Im happy they have made the switch very easy at for 10.04 LTS users..