Turning Ubuntu into Kubuntu

Chapter 20: Turning Ubuntu into Kubuntu

In the Introduction to this book, I mentioned that there are several distributed versions of Ubuntu.  These include Edubuntu and Kubuntu, both of which are Ubuntu but with a different default environment.  I also introduced you to the concept of desktop environments and told you that GNOME was the default environment for Ubuntu.  There is, however, another very popular desktop environment for Linux called KDE.  I highly recommend that you introduce yourself to KDE and that you work with it as well.  I make that same recommendation for people already working with KDE, by the way.  Try out the GNOME desktop as well.  You have a choice with Linux.  Why not see what works best for you?

Showing you how to work with KDE is beyond the scope of this book, so I won't spend a great deal of time on it, but I will show you how to convert your Ubuntu system to a Kubuntu system.  If you want to learn more about KDE, may I suggest that you look at my book, Moving to Linux: Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye! I cover KDE in detail and the concepts you learn there will serve you well on your Kubuntu system.  

Remember, your Ubuntu system will continue to be an Ubuntu system and offer the GNOME desktop you have become familiar with, along with the applications that come with it.  However, you will also have access to the KDE desktop and all the applications that come with a Kubuntu system.  Best of all, getting the best of both worlds is actually pretty easy.  

Ready? Then let's go!

Installing the Kubuntu Desktop

The first step to installing the Kubuntu desktop is to fire up Synaptic.  Click System on the top panel and select Synaptic Package Manager from the Administration menu.  Because this is an administrative function, you are asked for your password to continue.  When the Synaptic interface comes up, click the Search icon directly below the menu bar, and enter kubuntu-desk-top in the Search field (see Figure 20-1).  

Turning Ubuntu into Kubuntu

Figure 20-1

Installing Kubuntu begins with a simple search.  

This is the easiest way to load Kubuntu.  As you might expect, KDE is a collection of many packages, just as GNOME is.  Finding all these packages individually could take a great deal of time.  It could also introduce the possibility of missing some crucial pieces that correspond to a full Kubuntu system.  

Now, click the Search button.  You should see just one package listed, but this package is actually multiple packages (as the description tells you).  To make things easier, the maintainers of Kubuntu have created a single all-encompassing package that does it all for you (see Figure 20-2).  

Turning Ubuntu into Kubuntu

Figure 20-2

The Synaptic window only shows one package listed.  However, the description explains what is behind that one package.  

Right-click the kubuntu-desktop package and select Mark for Installation.  The Mark Additional Required Packages dialog appears with a rather long list of packages.  This is followed by the summary screen (see Figure 20-3).  If you are curious as to what makes up the mega-package that is kubuntu-desktop, this is a great time to pause and look things over.  Click the arrow beside the To Be Installed label and scroll down the list.  You might also want to check out what is removed and what is left unchanged.  

Look under the Summary section in the bottom half of this window.  You see the number of packages to be installed is a little over 150 and that this will take up just under 500MB of disk space.  When you are ready, click Apply and the download begins (see Figure 20-4).  The amount of time this takes depends on the speed of your Internet connection.  

Turning Ubuntu into Kubuntu

Figure 20-3

This is a great time to see what packages constitute the Kubuntu desktop.  Just click the arrows.  

Turning Ubuntu into Kubuntu

Figure 20-4

The download can take some time, but a progress bar keeps you posted on the details.  

After the download is complete, the packages are prepared and the installation proceeds.  If you are lucky enough to have a good, high-speed Internet connection, the first part of the Kubuntu desktop installation may have seemed pretty speedy.  Now it's time to install the download packages, which can also take a fair bit of time.  This might be a good time to take a break, make yourself a cup of your favorite brew, or enjoy a nice glass of wine.  

Somewhere in the course of the packages installation, a window pops up asking you to make a decision on your choice of login manager (see Figure 20-5).  I covered login managers back in Chapter 3, where we saw the GNOME Display Manager (GDM), GNOME's login manager.  The default login manager for KDE is KDM.  Either one works fine to start KDE or GNOME, so you can choose to leave things as they are.  

Turning Ubuntu into Kubuntu

Figure 20-5

Do you stick with the GNOME login screen or do you want to use Kubuntu's KDM?

If you want the complete Kubuntu experience, you may also opt for KDM.  Just click the drop-down list and select kdm.  Then click Forward to reconfigure.  After this process is complete, the installation continues with details scrolling in the progress window's terminal.  When the process is complete, you see a nice Changes Applied message in that window (see Figure 20-6).  

Turning Ubuntu into Kubuntu

Figure 20-6

As each package is installed and set up, the process window's terminal displays the details below.  When the Changes Applied message appears, you can safely click Close.  

You're finished.  At this point, you can safely log out.  You may even want to reboot your system given the number of changes that have occurred.  When the login manager comes back up, you have to manually select KDE as your desktop environment; otherwise you are logged in to the last environment you were using.  For this example, I'm going to assume that you chose to keep the GDM login screen.  To select KDE, click the Options button at the lower left of your login manager and choose Select Session from the pop-up menu.  After you do so, a menu appears in the middle of the screen with your available choices (see Figure 20-7).  

Turning Ubuntu into Kubuntu

Figure 20-7

To log in to Kubuntu, you need to switch your default session from GNOME to KDE.  

Click the radio button to the left of the KDE option, and then click the Change Session button at the bottom.  Another message appears asking if you want to make this the new default or whether this is just for the current session.  I leave the answer to that question up to you.  You may find that you enjoy working in GNOME more than KDE, or the reverse may be true.  The great thing here is that you have a choice, and choice is something we are very protective of in the Linux community.  

Tip - If you choose to use the KDE login manager, things will look different, but the concepts are the same.  To select GNOME or KDE for your desktop, click the Session Type button (near the center of the screen) and make your choice from the drop-down list.  

Your reward for all this hard work is a shiny new KDE desktop environment and a chance to explore Kubuntu (see Figure 20-8).  The fun has just begun!

Turning Ubuntu into Kubuntu

Figure 20-8

Your new Kubuntu desktop.  It's time to start exploring again.  

Doing It with the Shell

Now that I've had you go through all these installation steps, you may be asking whether there is an easy way to do this from the shell.  The short answer is yes.  From a terminal shell window, you can type the following:

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

Did I just hear a quiet, whispered, "Wow"? Now that you have some appreciation for the power of the shell, turn to Chapter 21 and dig a little deeper.  


KDE Desktop Environment:  www.kde.org

Kubuntu Web Site:  http://www.kubuntu.org

Marcel's Moving to Linux: Kiss the Blue Screen of Death Goodbye! :  www.marcelgagne.com/mtl2nd.html

Turning Ubuntu into Kubuntu

         © Copyright Pearson Education.  All rights reserved.
         Excerpt provided by Addison-Wesley Professional an imprint of Pearson Education
         "Moving to Ubuntu Linux" by Marcel Gagné
         ISBN: 0-321-42722-X

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