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Note: Kubuntu Precise Pangolin 12.04 LTS is currently in development. This page is here as a placeholder only.

Kubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin)

Introduction

  • On April 26, 2012, Kubuntu 12.04 LTS was released.
  • It is codenamed Precise Pangolin and is the successor to Oneiric Ocelot 11.10 (Oneiric+1).
  • Precise Pangolin is an LTS (Long Term Support) release. It will be supported with security updates for both the desktop and server versions until April 2017.
This guide is maintained at the Linux Center of the University of Latvia.
Please help test and perfect this guide. To edit pages you need to register.


Contents


General Notes

General Notes

  • This is the original Kubuntuguide. You are free to copy this guide but not to sell it or any derivative of it. This Kubuntu help guide is neither sold nor distributed in any other medium. Beware of copies that are for sale or are similarly named; they are neither endorsed nor sanctioned by this guide. Kubuntuguide is not associated with Canonical Ltd. nor with any commercial enterprise.
  • Kubuntu allows a user to accomplish tasks from either a menu-driven Graphical User Interface (GUI) or from a text-based command-line interface (CLI). In Kubuntu, the command-line-interface terminal is called Konsole, which is started: K menu -> System -> Konsole Terminal.
In this guide, text inside the grey dotted box like this should be put into a Konsole terminal.
  • Many changes to the operating system can only be done by a User with Administrative privileges. "kdesudo" or "sudo" elevates a User's privileges to the Administrator level temporarily (i.e. when installing programs or making changes to the system). Example:
sudo bash
  • "kdesudo" should be used instead of "sudo" when opening a Graphical Application (such as the graphical text-editor application kate), which can be done from the command-line terminal, through the "Run Command" dialog box, or as part of the command for starting an application from a menu item. Historically "kdesudo" preserved permissions within the Xwindows environment better (and "sudo" sometimes made undesirable permission changes). While this behaviour does not seem to occur very often any longer, "kdesudo" has always been regarded as safer to use. ("kdesu" was also previously available as well but has now been phased out.) Example:
kdesudo kate /etc/apt/sources.list
  • Many file management tasks can be accomplished with root Administrative privileges by starting the Dolphin file manager in a similar fashion. (This can be used as a menu item.)
kdesudo dolphin
  • "man" command can be used to find help manual for a specific command. E.g. "man sudo" will display the manual page for the "sudo" command. Example:
man sudo
  • While "apt-get" is a fast way of installing programs/packages, you can also use the Muon Package Manager (or even the Synaptic Package Manager), a GUI method for installing programs/packages. Most (but not all) programs/packages available with apt-get install will also be available from Muon Package Manager (or Synaptic Package Manager). In this guide, when you see
sudo apt-get install package
you can search for package in Muon Package Manger (or Synaptic) and install it that way.
  • Many instructions use the text editor "nano" (which is universally available in Linux). However, it is often easier to use the text editor "kate" in Kubuntu instead.
  • "K" or "K menu" means the bottom-left (or upper-left) button, akin to the Start button in Microsoft Windows®.
  • If you are using the 64-bit version, replace any "i386" with "amd64".

Other versions

How to determine which version of Kubuntu you're using

In Konsole type:

lsb_release -a

How to find out the version of your Kernel

uname -a

Newer Versions of Kubuntu

  • Kubuntu has a six month release cycle, with releases in April and October.

Older Versions of Kubuntu

Other Resources

Kubuntu Resources

  • Kubuntu Forums has a large community for online solutions and help specific to Kubuntu.
  • Ubuntu Forums has a large community for online solutions (for both Ubuntu and Kubuntu).

KDE Project

Kubuntu uses the KDE user interface.

Kubuntu Screenshots and Screencasts

New Applications Resources

Other *buntu guides and help manuals

  • Ubuntuguide -- Ubuntu uses the Unity (or, alternatively, the Gnome) desktop.
  • Lubuntu -- Lubuntu can run with as little as 256 Mb RAM. It is better for older machines with limited resources.
  • Edubuntu -- Edubuntu is a collection of software bundles optimized for use in educational environments. LTSP (thin client terminal server support) and many networking tools are bundled. A version for use with KDE (Kubuntu) is available.
  • SkoleLinux / DebianEdu -- a collection of (open-source) educational tools for Debian/Ubuntu Linux
  • Ubuntu Doctors Guild -- a collection of tips for using (K)Ubuntu Linux in health care environments
  • official Ubuntu Server Guide -- a good starting reference for server packages

Installing Kubuntu

Warning: During installation from the LiveCD, there is an option to install the boot loader to /dev/sda, which really installs the Grub2 boot loader to both the MBR (Master Boot Record) as well as the partition into which (K)Ubuntu will be installed. Pay careful attention during this step if your system uses a boot partition, uses multiple OS (more than 2), or chainloads bootloaders. For systems with such a boot partition, it is best NOT to overwrite the MBR. In this case, the boot loader should only be installed to the partition in which the (K)Ubuntu OS itself will be installed. (For example, if (K)Ubuntu will be installed to /dev/sda6, then only install the boot loader to /dev/sda6, not to /dev/sda. The text based installer used in the Server and Alternate versions asks whether to install the bootloader into the MBR. Answer "no" to this question, and then proceed to install the bootloader to /dev/sda6 only.)

Hardware requirements

Kubuntu Precise Pangolin runs with as little as 384 Mb RAM. (The GUI installer requires a minimum of 256 Mb RAM, while the alternative text-based installer can run using only 192 Mb RAM.)

The installation takes between 3-4 Gb hard drive space, and 8-10 Gb will be needed to run comfortably. (However, at least 25-30 Gb will likely be needed for routine usage.)

Netbooks will run Kubuntu Precise Pangolin, which has been optimised for speed, efficiency, and quick bootup. An interface optimised for Netbooks is available as an option.

If you have an older computer with less memory than this, consider Lubuntu (if 160 Mb RAM or greater), PuppyLinux (if 256 Mb or greater), or DSL (if minimal RAM, limited hard drive space, running from a USBdrive, or running from within another OS).

Fresh Installation

Kubuntu Precise Pangolin contains the KDE 4 desktop by default. The desktop has been improved and many bugs fixed since earlier versions of KDE 4. In addition, the incorporated Linux kernel is more efficient and more hardware is recognized by default. Especially on a smaller system with limited hard drive space, a new installation is recommended to prevent software bloat that can accumulate when updating older versions.

See this guide for burning the ISO image to a CD ("LiveCD").
Use the LiveCD for installation.

The Alternate CD version also allows the use of the same fast text-based installer used in the Server version (requiring less RAM), and there are more installation options than on the Desktop CD ("Regular Download").

  • If your computer, device, or hardware uses UEFI instead of a BIOS bootup system, then see this page.
  • If your computer, device, or hardware uses Coreboot instead of a BIOS bootup system, then see this page.

Kubuntu Netbook Edition

The KDE Plasma Netbook desktop is optimised for netbooks with screens less than 10". It is now installed as an option from the regular Kubuntu LiveCD, which can be installed as a USB flashdrive LiveCD.

Trinity Desktop (KDE 3 Remix)

Kubuntu Hardy Heron LTS used a simpler but well-respected stable desktop, KDE 3.5. This desktop environment has been renamed the Trinity Desktop Environment and is available for all versions of Kubuntu. Installation is accomplished using the Trinity PPA repositories.

Kubuntu Active

Kubuntu Active is a modification of the KDE desktop for use on tablets (and other mobile devices with touchscreens), based on the KDE Plasma Active tablet interface. It is in rapid development and not yet mature, but a preview version is available for testing on i386 devices (not ARMv7 devices yet). The preview version LiveCD can be booted as a demo from a USB flashdrive, for example. See this May 2012 YouTube demo video for an example of the Kubuntu Active interface.

  • Daily builds of Kubuntu-active are available for download here.
  • A package installation is also available from the Ubuntu repositories:
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-active

Dual-Booting Windows and Kubuntu

A user may experience problems dual-booting (K)Ubuntu and Windows. In general, a Windows OS should be installed first, because its bootloader is very particular. A default Windows installation usually occupies the entire hard drive, so the main Windows partition needs to be shrunk, creating free space for the (K)Ubuntu partitions. (You should clean up unnecessary files and defragment the drive before resizing.) See changing the Windows partition size.

After shrinking a Windows partition, you should reboot once into Windows prior to installing (K)Ubuntu or further manipulating the partitions. This allows the Windows system to automatically rescan the newly-resized partition (using chkdsk in XP or other utilities in more recent versions of Windows) and write changes to its own bootup files. (If you forget to do this, you may later have to repair the Windows partition bootup files manually using the Windows Recovery Console.)

Newer installations of Windows use two primary partitions (a small Windows boot partition and a large Windows OS partition). A (K)Ubuntu Linux installation also requires two partitions -- a linux-swap partition and the OS partition. The Linux partitions can either be two primary partitions or can be two logical partitions within an extended partition. Some computer retailers use all four partitions on a hard drive. Unless there are two free partitions available (either primary or logical) in which to install (K)Ubuntu, however, it will appear as if there is no available free space. If only one partition on a hard drive can be made available, it must be used as an extended partition (in which multiple logical partitions can then be created). Partition management can be done using the using the GParted utility or KDE Partition Manager.

If there are only two existing primary partitions on a hard drive (and plenty of free space on it) then there will be no problem installing (K)Ubuntu as the second operating system and it is done automatically from the (K)Ubuntu LiveCD. Allow the (K)Ubuntu LiveCD to install to "largest available free space." Alternatively, if there is an extended partition with plenty of free space within it, the (K)Ubuntu LiveCD will install to this "largest available free space" as well.

The main Windows partition should be at least 20 Gb (recommended 30 Gb for Vista/Windows 7), and a (K)Ubuntu partition at least 10 Gb (recommended 20 Gb). Obviously, if you have plenty of disk space, make the partition for whichever will be your favoured operating system larger. For a recommended partitioning scheme, see this section.

Alternatives include:

  • Wubi (Windows-based Ubuntu Installer), an officially supported dual-boot installer that allows (K)Ubuntu to be run mounted in a virtual-disk within the Windows environment (which can cause a slight degradation in performance). Because the installation requires an intact functioning Windows system, it is recommended to install (K)Ubuntu in this manner for short-term evaluation purposes only. A permanent (K)Ubuntu installation should be installed in its own partition, with its own filesystem, and should not rely on Windows.
  • EasyBCD, a free Windows-based program that allows you to dual-boot Windows 7/Vista and Ubuntu (as well as other operating systems) by configuring the Windows 7/Vista bootloader.

Step-by-step examples

  • Installing Kubuntu on an HP 2000-2619WM (64-bit AMD CPU) laptop with Windows 8. See here.
  • Installing Kubuntu on an Acer Aspire One (64-bit AMD CPU) laptop with Windows 8. See here.

Adjust Windows clock

When the Linux bootloader is installed, the Windows 8 bootloader / OS no longer correctly identifies the time from the BIOS clock. (The clock appears to perpetually revert to UTC time.) To repair this problem (in Windows 8), see this solution.

  • In Windows, bring up a command-line terminal and start regedit (or from the Start menu type regedit.exe in the search box). Navigate to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\TimeZoneInformation
Right click anywhere in the right pane and hit
New > DWORD (32-bit) Value
Name it
RealTimeIsUniversal
then double click on it and give it a value of 1.
  • Reboot into (K)Ubuntu Linux, then reboot back into Windows. The clock should now display the correct time.

Installing multiple OS on a single computer

Warning: During installation from the LiveCD, there is an option to install the boot loader to /dev/sda, which really installs the Grub2 boot loader to both the MBR (Master Boot Record) as well as the partition into which (K)Ubuntu will be installed. Pay careful attention during this step if your system uses a boot partition, uses multiple OS (more than 2), or chainloads bootloaders. For systems with such a boot partition, it is best NOT to overwrite the MBR. In this case, the boot loader should only be installed to the partition in which the (K)Ubuntu OS itself will be installed. (For example, if (K)Ubuntu will be installed to /dev/sda6, then only install the boot loader to /dev/sda6, not to /dev/sda. The text based installer used in the Server and Alternate versions asks whether to install the bootloader into the MBR. Answer "no" to this question, and then proceed to install the bootloader to /dev/sda6 only.)

If you want to install more than 2 operating systems on a single computer, check out these tips. Also see these tips regarding manipulating partitions.

Upgrading from older versions

There are several methods for upgrades from the command-line interface (Konsole) (which can be used for both the desktop and server editions of Kubuntu/Ubuntu).

  • This is the preferred method:
sudo apt-get install update-manager-core
sudo do-release-upgrade
  • You can also use the update-manager (all editions):
sudo apt-get install update-manager
sudo update-manager -d
  • You can also use:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
(Note: the first two lines simply make sure your current distribution is current before upgrading the entire distribution, and are optional.

Always backup your system. Upgrades do not generally work for me, because I often make customizations to my older installations (to make my hardware work with them) but these customizations are often not required in the newest version. When the system then attempts to migrate my customizations (during an attempted upgrade), it often crashes my new system. (Fortunately, I always back up my important files, and reinstalling them on a fresh OS installation is therefore usually accomplished relatively quickly.) Here are some of the steps I have sometimes needed to take when performing upgrades.

  • In general, upgrades must be done serially from one version to the next in order.

Upgrade from KDE 4.8 to 4.10

Kubuntu Precise Pangolin comes with KDE 4.8. However, many new packages require the capabilities of the KDE 4.10 desktop or greater.

  • Add the Kubuntu backports repository (from Launchpad), either using the Muon Package Manager:
System -> Muon Package Manager -> Settings -> Configure Software Sources -> Other Software -> Add...
-> http://ppa.launchpad.net/kubuntu-ppa/backports/ubuntu precise main
or manually from a command-line terminal:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports -y
sudo apt-get update

Then upgrade either the entire distribution from the backports:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
or just the KDE desktop without Kubuntu's customizations:
sudo apt-get install kde-standard
or the KDE desktop with Kubuntu's customizations:
sudo apt-get kde-standard kubuntu-desktop

Add Extra Repositories

Software packages and programs are freely available for download at multiple online sites with standardized structures, called repositories. There are repositories officially sanctioned and monitored by the Kubuntu/Ubuntu developer community, while other repositories are independently provided, without official sanction or supervision (and should be used with caution). Additional information is available from the Kubuntu Repository Guide.

Types of Repositories

  • There are four major package repository types in Kubuntu:
  • main - Supported and supervised by Canonical. This is the major part of the distribution.
  • restricted - Software not licensed under the GPL (or similar software license), but supported and supervised by Canonical.
  • universe - Software licensed under the GPL (or similar license) and supported by users.
  • multiverse - Software not licensed under the GPL (or similar license), but supported by users.
  • There are also these additional types of repositories:
  • Precise-updates - Updates to official packages.
  • Precise-backports - Current version software from Quantal Quetzal (Precise+1) that has been backported to Precise Pangolin.
  • Precise-proposed - Proposed updates & changes (bleeding edge stuff).

Third party repositories

Software developers often maintain their own repositories, from which software packages can be downloaded and installed directly to your computer (if you add the repository to your list). Many of these third party repositories and software packages have never been reviewed by the (K)Ubuntu/Debian community and can present a security risk to your computer. Trojans, backdoors, and other malicious software can be present at any unregulated repository. When using repositories not endorsed by the (K)ubuntu/Debian community, make sure you have utter confidence in that site before enabling the repository and installing a software package from it.

PPA repositories

A Personal Package Archive (PPA) is a special software repository used for experimental source packages still under development. Such software has not been approved by the Debian or Ubuntu developers (but may eventually become an accepted package). Use this software at your own risk just like any other third party repository software.

Documentation about how to install software from this type of repository can be found at the PPA Installing Software Guide.

In brief, to add a repository:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:user/ppa-name

Note: If add-apt-repository is not available on your system, then install it with the package:

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties

Add Repositories using the Package Manager

This is the preferred method.

  • K menu -> System -> Muon Package Manager -> Settings -> Configure Software Sources
  • Here you can enable the repositories for Kubuntu Software and Other Software.
  • For Other Software select Add -> enter the repository's address. It will have a format similar to:
deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise main restricted
deb-src http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise main restricted
  • Example: To add the Medibuntu repository, Add:
deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ precise free non-free
  • Update the package list found in the new repository:
-> Close -> Reload
  • Download the repository key to a folder.
  • Example: The Medibuntu key can be downloaded from
http://packages.medibuntu.org/medibuntu-key.gpg
  • Then add the key from:
  • K menu -> System -> Muon Package Manager -> Settings -> Configure Software Sources -> Authentication -> Import Key File...
  • (Alternatively, you can manually add the key from the Konsole command line terminal. See Add Repository keys.)

Manually add repositories

  • Adding a repository (such as a Launchpad ppa repository) can be accomplished from the command-line interface:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:user/repository

where ppa:user/repository is an example of the repository you wish to add.

  • When the repository name has a format similar to the following, enclose the repository name in quotation marks:
sudo apt-add-repository "deb http://repository.example.org precise stable"
  • To remove a repository:
sudo apt-add-repository -r ppa:user/repository
  • Refresh the packages list from the new repositories:
sudo apt-get update

Note: If add-apt-repository is not available on your system, then install it with the package:

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties

Edit the repository sources list

  • This is an optional, labor intensive method. Do this at your own risk. Modify the default Kubuntu sources.list only if you understand what you're doing. Mixing repositories can break your system. For more information see the Ubuntu Command-line Repository guide.
  • Create a backup of your current list of sources.
sudo cp -p /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list_backup

Note: sudo - runs the command with root privileges. cp = copy. -p = prompt to overwrite if a file already exists.

  • Edit the list of sources:
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
or using a graphical editor:
kdesudo kate /etc/apt/sources.list
  • Note: To use your local mirror you can add "xx." before archive.ubuntu.com, where xx = your country code.
Example: deb http://gb.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu lucid main restricted universe multiverse indicates a repository for Great Britain (gb).
  • Here is a sample sources.list. At the end have been added repositories for Medibuntu and Google:
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise main restricted
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise main restricted

## Major bug fix updates produced after the final release of the
## distribution.
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates main restricted
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates main restricted

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu
## team. Also, please note that software in universe WILL NOT receive any
## review or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise universe
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise universe
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates universe
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates universe

## N.B. software from this repository is ENTIRELY UNSUPPORTED by the Ubuntu 
## team, and may not be under a free licence. Please satisfy yourself as to 
## your rights to use the software. Also, please note that software in 
## multiverse WILL NOT receive any review or updates from the Ubuntu
## security team.
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise multiverse
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise multiverse
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates multiverse
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates multiverse

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from the 'backports'
## repository.
## N.B. software from this repository may not have been tested as
## extensively as that contained in the main release, although it includes
## newer versions of some applications which may provide useful features.
## Also, please note that software in backports WILL NOT receive any review
## or updates from the Ubuntu security team.
deb http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ Precise-backports main restricted universe multiverse
deb-src http://us.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/ Precise-backports main restricted universe multiverse

## Uncomment the following two lines to add software from Canonical's
## 'partner' repository. This software is not part of Ubuntu, but is
## offered by Canonical and the respective vendors as a service to Ubuntu
## users.
deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu precise partner
deb-src http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu precise partner

deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security main restricted
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security main restricted
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security universe
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security universe
deb http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security multiverse
deb-src http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu precise-security multiverse

## Medibuntu - Ubuntu 11.10 "Precise Ocelot"
## Please report any bug on https://bugs.launchpad.net/medibuntu/
deb http://packages.medibuntu.org/ precise free non-free
deb-src http://packages.medibuntu.org/ precise free non-free

# Google software repository
deb http://dl.google.com/linux/deb/ stable non-free
  • Refresh the packages list from the new repositories:
sudo apt-get update

Add repository keys

  • Download the gpg keys for the repositories and automatically add them to your repository keyring:
  • Example: To obtain and add the Medibuntu repository key:
wget --quiet http://packages.medibuntu.org/medibuntu-key.gpg -O - | sudo apt-key add -
  • Example: To obtain and add the Google repository key:
wget --quiet https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub -O - | sudo apt-key add -

Note: wget - retrieves a file from a network location. --quiet = no output. -O - = Output downloaded item to the screen. The | (pipe symbol) is used to capture the output from the previous command and use it as an input for the piped command (i.e. apt-key, which adds it to the keyring).

  • Alternatively (and perhaps more easily), you can use apt-key directly:
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys KEY
where KEY is the missing key code printed in apt-get output, e.g. EF4186FE247510BE.
Note: Key servers often use port 11371. Make sure your firewall allows port 11371 to be open.
  • A repository key can also be downloaded then added ("imported") using your package manager or update-manager. For example, to use the Muon Update Manager:
K menu -> System -> Muon Update Manager -> Settings -> Configure Software Sources -> Authentication -> Import Key File...

Package Installation and Updates

Apt and Package Basics

Most new users will use Muon Package Manager to install packages. The instructions below are for installing packages from the command-line terminal (Konsole).

  • Install packages:
sudo apt-get install packagename
  • Example:
sudo apt-get install mpd sbackup
  • Remove packages:
sudo apt-get remove packagename
  • To remove all dependencies:
sudo apt-get autoremove
  • Example:
sudo apt-get remove mpd sbackup
  • Search for packages:
sudo apt-cache search <keywords>
  • Examples:
sudo apt-cache search Music MP3
sudo apt-cache search "Text Editor"
sudo apt-get update
  • Upgrade packages:
sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Upgrade the entire distribution (e.g. from Lucid to Maverick):
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Installing .deb packages

Debian (.deb) packages are the packages that are used in Ubuntu/Kubuntu. You can install any .deb package in your system. .deb files can generally be installed from your file manager (Konqueror or Dolphin) merely by clicking on them, since file associations with the default installer is already set in Kubuntu. These instructions are for those who wish to install packages from the command-line terminal (Konsole).

  • Install a downloaded Debian (Ubuntu/Kubuntu) package (.deb):
sudo dpkg -i packagename.deb
  • Remove a Debian (Ubuntu/Kubuntu) package (.deb):
sudo dpkg -r packagename
  • Reconfigure/Repair an installed Debian (Ubuntu/Kubuntu) package (.deb):
sudo dpkg-reconfigure packagename
  • Example:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure mpd

Handling (Tar/GZip) and (Tar/Bzip2) archives

(Tar/GZip) archives end in ".tar.gz" and (Tar/Bzip2) archives end in ".tar.bz2". Bzip2 is the newer, more efficient compression method. These files can generally be automatically extracted by merely clicking on them from your file manager (Konqueror or Dolphin), since file associations with the appropriate archival utilities are set by default in Kubuntu. These instructions are for those who wish to use the command line terminal (Konsole).

  • To extract:
tar xvf packagename.tar.gz

Note: tar is an application which can extract files from an archive, decompressing if necessary.

-x means extract.
-v means verbose (list what it is extracting).
-f specifies the file to use.
  • Decompressing ".gz" files
gunzip file.gz
  • Decompressing ".bz2" files
bunzip2 file.bz2
Note: You can also decompress a package first by using the command gunzip (for .gz) or bunzip2 (for .bz2), leaving the .tar file. You would then use tar to extract it.
  • To create a .gz archive:
tar cvfz packagename.tar.gz folder
  • To create a .bz2 archive:
tar cvfj packagename.tar.bz2 folder

Installing a package from source

  • Make sure you have all the necessary development tools (i.e. libraries, compilers, headers):
sudo apt-get install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)
Note: "uname -r" lists the current kernel you are using
  • Extract the archive that contains the source files:
tar xvf sourcefilesarchive.tar.gz
  • Build the package using the package's script (in this case the configure script), compile the package (make), and install the compiled package into your system (make install):
cd /path/to/extracted/sourcefiles
./configure
sudo make
sudo make install
Note: typing ./ before a filename in the current folder allows the Linux shell to try and execute the file as an application even if it is not in the path (the set of folders which it searches when you type a command name). If you get a "permission denied" error, the file is not marked as being executable. To fix this:
sudo chmod +x filename
Example: In the above instructions, configure is the shell script to build the package from source. To be sure the configure script is executable:
sudo chmod +x configure
Create a .deb package from source files

If your build from source is successful, you can make a Debian (Ubuntu/Kubuntu) package (.deb) for future use:

  • Install package tools:
sudo apt-get install checkinstall
  • Rebuild package using "checkinstall":
cd /path/to/extracted/package
./configure
sudo make
sudo checkinstall
  • Keep the resulting ".deb" file for future use. It can later be installed using:
sudo dpkg -i packagename.deb

Note: These are basic instructions that may not always work. Some packages require additional dependencies and optional parameters to be specified in order to build them successfully. More info about .deb package structure can be found here.

Muon Package Manager

The Muon Package Management Suite is a collection of several package management tools, based on the QApt package management library for Debian-based systems, that includes the Muon Package Manager, the Muon Software Center (compatible with the Ubuntu Software Center), and the Muon Updater is a system update GUI. This is now the default package management system in Kubuntu.

Usage of the Muon Package Manager is somewhat similar to Synaptic Package Manager.

While "apt-get" is a fast way of installing programs/packages, you can also use Muon Package Manager (K menu -> System -> Muon Package Manager) for installing programs/packages. Most (but not all) programs/packages available with apt-get install will also be available from Muon. This is the preferred method for most desktop users. In this guide, when you see

sudo apt-get install package

you can simply search for package in Muon and install it that way.

  • K menu -> System -> Muon Package Manager
  • Search for the name of the program/package. You can also search for a word in its description.
  • Right-click on the name of the package -> "Mark for Installation". (If the program is already installed, use "Mark for Removal" or "Mark for Purge" to remove it).
  • Click Apply Changes.
  • The selected program(s) will be automatically installed (or removed), along with its dependencies.

Synaptic Package Manager

Synaptic Package Manager is the GTK-based GUI package manager for Gnome/Ubuntu. It can be used in Kubuntu without difficulty. Usage is similar to the other package managers. Install:

sudo apt-get install synaptic

Manual Updates

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)
or
K menu -> System -> Muon Package Manager -> Check for Updates -> Edit -> Full Upgrade (or one of the other upgrade options)

Automatic Updates

K menu -> System -> Muon Package Manager -> Settings -> Configure Software Sources -> Updates -> Automatic Updates

Repair broken packages

If a package installation fails (which can cause a Package Manager to freeze or become locked), or if a package has unsatisfied dependencies causing a similar condition, then run one (or both) of the following commands from the command-line terminal:

sudo apt-get install -f
sudo dpkg --configure -a
  • If a problem occurs with MergeList (appearing as a missing "Package: header" error):
E: Encountered a section with no Package: header
E: Problem with MergeList...
E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened.
then repair by recreating the package lists:
sudo rm /var/lib/apt/lists/* -vf
sudo apt-get update
  • If a problem occurs with a lock on the apt cache, for example:
E: Could not get lock /var/cache/apt/archives/lock - open (11: Resource temporarily unavailable)
then run:
sudo fuser -cuk /var/lib/dpkg/lock; sudo rm -f /var/lib/dpkg/lock
sudo fuser -cuk /var/cache/apt/archives/lock; sudo rm -f /var/cache/apt/archives/lock

File Managers

Dolphin

K menu -> System -> Dolphin
  • Many folders and files, especially system folders and configuration files, have root permissions associated with them. It is necessary to start Dolphin with root privileges in order to access them:
kdesudo dolphin
A menu item can be created with this command.
  • When opening the Dolphin file manager in this way, the default folder will be /root/. User files will be found by clicking on the "Root" icon and then navigating to the /home/user/ folder(s).

Add services to the Dolphin file manager

Context-sensitive services can be added to Dolphin.

  • Ruby must be installed first:
sudo apt-get install ruby
  • Add new services.
Dolphin -> Settings -> Configure Dolphin... -> Services -> Download New Services...
  • For example, a very useful service is the "Root Actions Servicemenu", which allows many functions to be performed with root (superuser or "sudo") permissions. This is necessary, for example, for editing text files that have root permissions.
  • The "Scan with ClamAV" service allows the anti-virus scanner to be run from Dolphin.
  • Once the new services have been installed, the system must be rebooted for the newly added service menus to appear in Dolphin.
  • <Right-click> on an item within Dolphin to bring up the services menu. For example, once the Root Actions Servicemenu has been installed, I can edit a text file with root permissions by <right-clicking> on it and selecting
Root Actions -> Open as text

This will open the text editor (kate) as root.

  • Other popular service menus include audiokonvertor, Extract and Compress, servicemenu-pdf, image2pdf, and vlcappend.
  • Many service menus in development can be found here.

Preview video files with Dolphin file manager

  • FFMpegThumbs uses FFMPEG to create thumbnail frames from video files, which can be used by KDE from a file manager like Dolphin. Install:
sudo apt-get install ffmpegthumbs
Alternatively, install kFFMpegThumbnailer (sudo apt-get install kffmpegthumbnailer), which works in a similar manner. (Both require FFMPEG to be installed.)

After installation of either of these modules, log out and log back into (or restart) your system for changes to take effect.

  • MPlayerThumbs not only shows a video frame thumbnail in Dolphin, it also has the capacity to show the entire video in the Dolphin Information side panel (for previewing). Though more powerful, it is slower to load than either FFMpegThumbs or kFFMpegThumbnailer. (MPlayer must also be installed for this thumbnailer / previewer to function.) Install:
sudo apt-get install mplayerthumbs

After installation, log out and log back into (or restart) your system for changes to take effect.

  • Make sure the settings for Dolphin allow JPG and Video previews:
Dolphin -> Settings -> Configure Dolphin... -> General -> Previews -> JPEG Images (ticked) -> Video Files (ticked) -> OK
-> View -> Preview (ticked)

Close and re-open Dolphin for changes to take effect.

  • If you wish information about the file to be displayed while the cursor hovers over the filename, also make sure Dolphin "tooltips" is enabled:
Dolphin -> Settings -> Configure Dolphin... -> General -> Behavior -> Show tooltips (ticked)
-> View -> Panels -> Information (ticked)

MTP through USB

Many MP3 players, as well as the latest Android devices, use MTP (Media Transport Protocol) for transferring data to the device storage.

  • In KDE (Kubuntu), enable MTP capabilities by installing the kio-mtp package:
sudo apt-get install kio-mtp
After installation, the device should appear in the Dolphin (or Konqueror or Rekong) file manager when the USB cable is plugged in.
  • Troubleshooting Android device connectivity: As a security precaution the newest Android devices do not have USB transfer capabilities turned on by default. It is necessary to carefully consult your device's user manual to find the method for enabling USB transfers (also known as "USB debugging mode" on many devices). For example, on my device, it was necessary to tap the "Settings -> About phone -> Build #" button 7 times to merely enable the USB debugging option, and then enable "Settings -> Developer options -> USB debugging" as a separate step!

WebDAV folders with Dolphin

  • Dolphin uses the same network proxy settings as Konqueror (or Rekonq). If there is trouble connecting to any online resource or folder with Dolphin, so that this error appears:
Could not connect to host:
subhost.host.org:
Connection to proxy refused.

then check the Network Settings (or the proxy settings of Konqueror/Rekonq) and then make sure that Konqueror/Rekonq connects to the Internet successfully.

Settings -> System Settings -> Network and Connectivity: Network Settings -> Proxy -> No proxy (ticked) -> Apply
or
Konqueror -> Settings -> Configure Konqueror... -> Web Browsing: Proxy -> No proxy (ticked) -> OK
or
Rekonq -> Settings wrench icon -> Configure rekonq... -> Network -> Proxy -> No proxy (ticked) -> OK

Of course, if you are using a proxy, make sure that the proxy settings are correctly specified and that the proxy is working. When Konqueror (or Rekonq) connects successfully to the Internet, so should Dolphin.

Konqueror

Konqueror is a KDE-integrated browser that can also be used as a file manager. In addition to having tabbed browsing capabilities, it can transparently access FTP and SFTP servers, zip files (and other archives), and smb (Windows) shares, and can even browse and rip audio CDs. It is extensible and customizable through a system of plugins.

Desktop Add-ons

There are many add-on icons, themes, wallpapers, 3-D effects, and other customizations available for the KDE desktop.

  • KDE Apps has applications for the KDE desktop.
  • KDE Look has wallpapers, splash screens, icons, and themes for windows managers (including Kwin and Compiz) and other applications.

KDE Artwork

KDE Artwork is the package that contains themes, wallpapers, screensavers, widget styles, emoticons, and miscellaneous multimedia enhancers for the current KDE theme. Install:

sudo apt-get install kdeartwork

Change background wallpaper

A variety of choices to use for the background screen wallpaper are available, including a slideshow of images set to change at a determined interval, a Picture of the Day obtained from one of several online sources, a Mandelbrot pattern, a Weather forecast display, or a map selected from one of several sources.

KDE Cashew (upper-right corner) -> Desktop Settings -> View -> Wallpaper: <select wallpaper method>
  • Note: The kdeplasma-addons package may need to be added to your system for all options to work.

Change Plymouth Splash Screen

This is the initial splash screen you see at bootup. Different Plymouth themes can be found by searching for plymouth-theme in a Package Manager. Install a new one and then:

sudo update-alternatives --config default.plymouth
sudo update-initramfs -u

Plymouth does not reliably work (with nVidia and other graphics drivers) and during bootup a blank screen may result for several seconds.

Customize Screen lock

  • From KDE 4.12 and later, the Screen lock mechanism is activated from the settings menu:
Settings -> System Settings -> Display and Monitor -> Screen Locker
  • Prior to KDE 4.12, the Screen lock mechanism is activated as part of a screensaver:
Settings -> System Settings -> Display and Monitor -> Screen Saver

Widgets

Add Plasma Widgets to the desktop

Plasma has replaced Kicker in Kubuntu. Plasma comes with plenty of applets/widgets (called plasmoids or widgets) that you can use on the desktop. Also see the KDE 4.3 Plasma FAQ or the KDE 4.4 Plasma FAQ.

  • Click on the Plasma icon in the upper right of the desktop.
  • "Add Widgets" and select from one of the already installed widgets/plasmoids.
  • Example: Add the Comic Strip widget/plasmoid. This will display a comic strip from the Internet. Click on the wrench icon to choose the comic strip, such as Dilbert.
  • Example: Add the Picture Frame widget/plasmoid (Plasma Picture of the Day). This will display either a single image or a slideshow of images from a folder or from a variety of Internet sources. Click on the wrench icon to choose the source.
  • "Install New Widgets".
  • "Download new Plasma Widgets" to choose a widget/plasmoid from KDE-look.
  • Example: Add Widgets -> Install New Widgets -> Download new Plasma Widgets -> Order by: Highest Rated -> Google Translator -> Install. Then Add Widgets -> Google Translator (to put it on your desktop).
or
  • To add support for webpage widgets written in HTML and JavaScript and for the Apple Mac OS X dashboard widgets you first may need to install the WebKit script engine:
sudo apt-get install plasma-scriptengine-webkit
  • Note: There may be problems installing Mac OS X widgets in some versions of KDE. See this KDE forum thread.
  • For troubleshooting the addition of plasmoids in KDE 4.5 see this page.
  • A large collection of KDE plasma widget addons can be installed:
sudo apt-get install kdeplasma-addons
or
sudo apt-get install plasma-widgets-addons

Add scripting for Plasma Widgets

Many installable widgets use customised scripts (written in Ruby, Perl, Python, Java, or another scripting language). Each may require installation of a scripting engine. All the script engines can be installed at once:

sudo apt-get install plasma-scriptengines

Run widgets in a screensaver

Add Plasma Widget packages

  • A large number of Plasma Widgets are available as packages, not as widget add-ons. To find a list of these, search for plasma-widget in your package manager (e.g. Muon or Synaptic). For example, to install the Flickr plasma widget, install the plasma-widget-flickr package. Similar complete packages include Google Calendar, Fortunoid, Translatoid, Customizable Weather, Next Wallpaper, and other plasmoid packages.

SuperKaramba Desktop Widgets / Gadgets

SuperKaramba is a tool that allows you to create themes and widgets.

sudo apt-get install superkaramba-kde4

Kwin

KWin is the default Windows Manager in Kubuntu. It provides the 3-D effects previously available only in Compiz Fusion.

  • To enable these effects:
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Desktop -> General -> "Enable Desktop effects"
  • Choose which effects to use:
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Desktop -> Desktop Effects -> All Effects

Compiz Fusion

Compiz Fusion is also available as a separate Windows Manager to allow 3D desktop effects such as the rotating cube desktop. Some Kubuntu users choose to run Compiz instead of KWin. Install:

sudo apt-get install compiz compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-kde compiz-fusion-plugins-main compiz-fusion-plugins-extra emerald librsvg2-common

To change to Compiz as the Window Manager:

K menu -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Session Manager -> Window Manager -> Compiz

Note: You must logout and log back in for the change to take effect.

  • Select Compiz Configuration:
K menu -> Settings -> CompizConfig Settings Manager

Fusion Icon

Fusion Icon is a tray icon that allows you to easily switch between window managers (such as between KWin and Compiz), window decorators, and gives you quick access to the Settings Manager. This allows quick toggling of 3-D desktop effects (that may not be compatible with some applications).

sudo apt-get install fusion-icon
  • Start:
K menu -> System -> Compiz Fusion Icon

You can then easily access CompizConfig Settings Manager from the icon.

Rotate the Compiz Cube

Set the CompizConfig Settings Manager to enable the "Desktop Cube" and "Rotate Cube" and "Viewport Switching" options. Click on the icon for each to customize settings. For example, to change the appearance of the cube, click on the Desktop Cube icon to access its settings. You can set the hotkey buttons for rotating the cube in the "Viewport Switching" settings. Otherwise, hold down the Ctrl+Alt+Left mouse button and drag the mouse (or touchpad) the direction you want to rotate the cube.

Remember, the cube rotates between desktops. It's not a cube unless you have at least 4 desktops running. You will not get a cube if you are only using 2 desktops (you will get a "plate"). You can still rotate the sides of the plate, of course, but it will not be a cube. (Recent users from the Windows OS may have no experience with the concept of simultaneous desktops, but they are nice once you learn how to use them).

When running Compiz fusion as the Windows Manager, you must change the default number of desktops from within CompizConfig Settings Manger. To enable 4 desktops:

K menu -> System -> CompizConfig Settings Manager -> General -> General Options -> Desktop -> Horizontal Virtual Size -> 4

When you start an application, you can assign it to any one of the 4 desktops by right-clicking the upper left corner of the application window and choosing the "To Desktop..." option. Rotating the cube shows the different desktops. You can also go to a desktop using the taskbar icon which shows the 4 desktops.

Emerald

Emerald is the theme engine for Compiz Fusion. Multiple themes are available from KDE Look, some of which are used in KWin as well. Oxygen, a default theme in Kubuntu, is an Emerald theme, for example. (These themes originated from the Beryl project before it merged with Compiz to form Compiz Fusion.) Emerald is not in the Precise 12.04 LTS default repositories.

deKorator

deKorator is a window decoration engine for KDE. You can easily install lots of themes with this engine. See the installation instructions at KDE Look.

Google Desktop

Google Desktop for Linux was a proprietary suite of Google widgets and applications. It was discontinued in September 2011.

Dock applications

There are several are dock-like applications for (K)Ubuntu. A dock represents running programs as icons at the bottom of the screen (as is done on the Mac OS X desktop), instead of by toolbar panel segments (as is done in Windows and other Linux window managers). See this brief comparison of dock applications. Also see this Kubuntu forums thread for example implementations.

Of course, the default panel bar can be dragged to any screen edge (Unlock Widgets -> Panel Options -> Panel Settings -> Screen Edge) and the icon for any menu item added to it (Menu -> menu item -> <right-click> -> Add to Panel). This closely resembles the appearance of a docking application.

Icon-Only Taskbar Manager

This plasma widget is available in the default KDE desktop:

KDE Cashew -> Unlock Widgets -> Add Widgets -> Icon-Only Task Manager
  • The Icon-Only Task Manager has a horizontal orientation by default. To orient it vertically, add it to a vertically oriented empty panel:
KDE Cashew -> Unlock Widgets -> Add Panel -> Empty Panel -> Panel Settings
-> Screen Edge -> (Drag to desired edge)
-> Width (adjust width) -> (adjust vertical height with slide handles)
-> Add Widgets -> Icon-Only Task Manger -> (double-click)

Fancy Tasks

Fancy Tasks is a dock application for KDE. Download and install the plasma widget (.deb package for Kubuntu) from the KDE-look website.

Cairo Dock

Cairo Dock can be used either with a desktop compositing manager (such as Compiz or the KDE4 Kwin Window Manager) or without one. See the Ubuntu installation instructions for details. It is available from the repositories:

sudo apt-get install cairo-dock cairo-dock-plugins

Then choose whether to run the OpenGL version or the non-OpenGL version:

K Menu -> System - GLX-Dock (Cairo-Dock with OpenGL)
or
K menu -> System -> Cairo-Dock (no OpenGL)

Note: To check which compositing method (OpenGL or Xrender) is in use by KWin, check your settings:

K menu -> Settings -> System Settings -> Desktop Effects -> Advanced -> Compositing type: OpenGL

Avant Window Navigator

  • Avant Window Navigator requires that a desktop composition manager (such as Kwin (Kubuntu/KDE), Metacity (Ubuntu/Gnome), Compiz, Xcompmgr, or xfwm4 (Xubuntu)) be installed and running.
  • Install and upgrade proprietary nVidia or ATI graphics drivers so that the compositing manager functions properly.
  • Install AWN:
sudo apt-get install avant-window-navigator awn-manager
(Note: If you are using Gnome (Ubuntu) and do not already have a compositing manager installed (such as Compiz), Metacity will be installed as part of the installation.)
  • Enable automatic startup of AWN at bootup:
  • Menu -> System -> Preferences -> Sessions -> Add...
avant-window-navigator
  • Select which applets should run from the dock menu by default:
  • Menu -> Applications -> Accessories -> Avant Window Navigator Manager
You can drag application icons onto the list, then activate or deactivate the applets from the list.

Yakuake command-line terminal

Yakuake is a stylish command line terminal similar to (and based on) Konsole.

sudo apt-get install yakuake
  • Enable it:
K menu -> System -> Yakuake

Use it by pressing F12.

Template:Precise/Virtualization

Edutainment Applications

There are many superb applications that can be installed with a single click.

K menu -> System -> Muon Package Manager -> Games and Amusement

Template:Precise/Edutainment

Template:Precise/Games

Internet Applications

Internet applications enable you to make full use of your Internet connection. Web browsers, Email clients, Instant Messengers, and more are included in this category.

Web Browsers

Rekonq

Rekonq is the default web browser included with Kubuntu.

Konqueror

Konqueror was the prior default web browser included with Kubuntu.

Konqueror plug-ins

KGet (Download Manager) plug-in for Konqueror

KGet is a download manager for the Konqueror browser, but it can also work with Firefox as part of the FlashGot plugin.

sudo apt-get install kget

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is the ubiquitous web browser. Based on open source components, it is trademarked and cannot be altered or re-distributed with any change that involves the name or trademarks. Install the current version:

sudo apt-get install firefox
  • A KDE-optimised version of Firefox is available from the Blue Systems (the current sponsor of Kubuntu) Launchpad repository. Follow the instructions found there to install:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:blue-shell/firefox-kde
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install firefox firefox-kde-support

Firefox Plug-ins

The Firefox web browser supports a wide variety of third-party add-ons, extensions, and plug-ins. They are referred to as "plug-ins" in this guide (the original term) but many are found and configured under the "extensions" or "add-ons" tabs in Firefox (once they are installed).

Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Extensions (or Plug-ins)
Adblock Plus plug-in (block ads in a web page)

Adblock Plus blocks ads that appear in web pages. It is an important tool to limit tracking and undesirable website elements, as well. You can subscribe to a free filter service, and can add to the block list individual ads and website elements with a single click.

sudo apt-get install xul-ext-adblock-plus
  • You can also add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Search All Add-ons -> AdBlock Plus. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
  • Recent versions of Adblock Plus allow the display of a large number of "partner" ads unless you disable this undesirable behavior:
Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Adblock Plus -> Preferences -> Filter preferences... -> Allow some non-intrusive advertising (unticked)

Because Adblock Plus appears to now be creating holes in its own blocking service, it is probably worthwhile to stop automatic updates and only update Adblock Plus selectively (in case the developers in the future decide to create even more holes in the plug-in's blocking capability without the corresponding option to disable the behavior).

NoScript plug-in (controls scripts)

The NoScript plugin is considered one of the most important security measures for browsing the Internet. Most viruses and trojans gain access to computers from the Internet through scripts. This plugin allows you to choose which scripts to allow and blocks the rest.

  • Add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Search All Add-ons -> NoScript. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
  • NoScript has a long of websites on its "whitelist." It is important to review this list and remove the websites for which you don't wish to automatically allow scripts (I remove them all).
Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> NoScript -> Preferences -> Whitelist
  • A large number of websites use multiple locations/URLs to assemble their webpage content, a process which is blocked by NoScript's ABE (Application Boundaries Enforcer) function. I have found it necessary to disable ABE in order for most of my websites to function correctly.
Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> NoScript -> Preferences -> Advanced -> ABE -> Enable ABE (unticked)
  • Many websites now use aggressive pop-ups to place advertising in front of the actual content. While NoScript can block these ads, there will be a "placeholder" still blocking the content unless you turn off the placeholders:
Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> NoScript -> Preferences -> Embeddings -> Show placeholder icon (unticked)
  • Most websites use scripting extensively these days, so that you may need to "Allow" a website in NoScript. To block the individual undesirable elements of the website, use AdBlock Plus.
Bookmark Favicon Changer plug-in

In the newest versions of Firefox, there are some bugs regarding the Favicons (the small icons that appear in the address bar) and the Bookmark icons. This plug-in will restore the icons that get erased (leaving a blank dotted box) or allow you to choose your own Favicons / Bookmark icons.

  • Add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Search All Add-ons -> Bookmark Favicon. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
RefreshBlocker plug-in (prevents redirects)

RefreshBlocker allows the user to decide which websites (and pages) will be allowed to redirect (based on META tags within the webpage). Although Firefox (as of version 3.5) blocks all directs by default, the behavior is not customizable; it is therefore preferable to turn off the Firefox redirect control and use RefreshBlocker instead.

  • Add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Search All Add-ons -> RefreshBlocker. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
  • Turn off the Firefox automatic redirect blocker:
Firefox -> Enter about:config in the browser location bar -> right-click on "accessibility:blockautorefresh" -> Toggle to change the value from true to false
Video DownloadHelper plug-in for Firefox

The Video DownloadHelper plugin allows the download of videos (including Flash videos) from sites like YouTube.

  • You can add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Search All Add-ons -> Video DownloadHelper. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
Hide Tab Bar With One Tab plug-in

In Firefox v. 23 and later, the ability to hide tabs has been disabled. This plugin restores the ability to hide tabs if only one tab is open, restoring the function to hide tabs during normal browsing.

  • You can add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Search All Add-ons -> Hide Tab Bar With One Tab. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
User Agent Switcher plug-in for Firefox

The User Agent Switcher plugin allows a browser to masquerade as another browser, allowing browser-specific content to be displayed (most of the time). In the past there were a few old web apps that ran only on IE (and if one is encountered this plug-in may still be useful). Now that Firefox is the world's leading web browser, however, this plug-in should no longer be necessary for the average user.

  • A user agent string also identifies your OS. Users of an uncommonly used (and easily identifiable) OS may wish to protect their privacy and not identify their OS correctly; for these users, User Agent Switcher is valuable for privacy reasons. Some users, for example, may wish to identify their very specialised OS as Debian or Ubuntu instead.
  • You can add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Search All Add-ons -> User Agent Switcher. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
  • To use this add-on, the settings for Firefox must be changed prior to usage:
Firefox -> about:config -> Search: useragent -> general.useragent.enable_overrides -> Toggle (so that the value is true) -> Restart Firefox
  • A disadvantage of the User Agent Switcher is that it allows Firefox to revert to the default user agent string at each restart, so that it must be re-engaged each time. An alternate method to change the default Firefox user agent string is directly through the about:config settings (also see this blog post):
Firefox -> about:config -> Search: useragent -> general.useragent.enable_overrides -> Toggle (so that the value is true) -> <right-click> -> New -> String -> Enter the preference name: general.useragent.override -> OK -> general.useragent.override: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Kubuntu; Linux x86_64; rv:26.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/26.0 -> OK -> Restart Firefox
  • The default user agent string for Kubuntu actually reflects Ubuntu as the OS (so that online OS usage statistics incorrectly count Kubuntu as Ubuntu). If you wish Kubuntu usage to be accurately counted, it is helpful to change your user agent string permanently.
Lightbeam (website crosslink visualization)

Lightbeam is a Firefox plug-in that is able to display the links on a website (to which you are connected) while browsing, giving you an indication of who can see your browsing habits at that moment.

  • You can add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Search All Add-ons -> Lightbeam. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
Privacy Badger (tracking management)

Privacy Badger is a Firefox plug-in sponsored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Currently in alpha stage, it blocks many tracking mechanisms more stringently than the native Firefox mechanisms. Install the .xpi add-on from the website.

Unplug Download Management

The UnPlug add-on lets you save video and audio which is embedded on a webpage.

  • You can add this extension from Firefox -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse All Add-ons. (This method will also ensure that automatic updates are installed by Firefox.)
Lucifox (eBook reader extension)

Lucifox (Lucidor for Firefox) enables e-books to be read and e-book catalogs to be browsed in a Firefox window.

  • To install, go to the website and click "Download Now."
Adobe Acrobat Reader for Firefox Plug-in
deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu Precise partner
then install Adobe Reader:
sudo apt-get install acroread
Adobe Flash Player for Firefox Plug-in

To install the official Adobe Flash plugin (Flash 10) for Firefox:

sudo apt-get install adobe-flashplugin
Gnash Plug-in (Open source Flash Player replacement)

Gnash is available in a 64-bit version as well as a 32-bit version. It is the open source replacement for Adobe Flashplayer.

sudo apt-get install gnash

After installing, change your web browser's Preferences -> Applications so that SWF and SPL files use Gnash.

Java Runtime Environment (JRE) for Firefox plug-in
  • The IcedTea Plugin allows browsers to execute Java applets. The default icedtea-plugin package points to the icedtea-6-plugin package. Install:
sudo apt-get install icedtea-plugin
  • Alternatively, install the IcedTea Plugin for version 7:
sudo apt-get install icedtea-7-plugin
sudo apt-get install default-jre icedtea-plugin

Note: You must accept the license to use this product.

Kaffeine Plug-in for Firefox

This package also installs the Kaffeine player.

sudo apt-get install kaffeine-mozilla
MPlayer plug-in for Firefox

Gecko-mediaplayer has replaced the Mplayer plugin. This package also installs gnome-mplayer.

sudo apt-get install gecko-mediaplayer
VLC plug-in for Firefox

This package also installs the VLC player.

sudo apt-get install mozilla-plugin-vlc
Helix player plug-in for Firefox

This package also installs the Helix player, which is the open source player that plays Real Player content in Linux.

sudo apt-get install mozilla-helix-player
Moonlight plugin for Firefox

Moonlight is part of the Novell Mono project that is an open source implementation of Silverlight (the Microsoft multimedia presentation platform). It is based on FFMpeg. It is made to work best with the Firefox 3 web browser, as a plugin (but also works with other mozilla browsers). Version 2.3 is available as a plugin for mozilla-based browsers:

sudo apt-get install moonlight-plugin-mozilla
The stable version 2.4 is available here. The Moonlight 3.99 plugin (compatible with most Silverlight 3/4 content) is here.
  • Netflix under Moonlight
Netflix streaming requires both the capabilities of Silverlight 2.0 and Digital Rights Management modules. Although the current version of Moonlight 2.0 will run most Silverlight content (including Netflix content), Netflix has not yet released Digital Rights Management modules for Linux. Please contact Netflix directly for further information or sign a petition.
  • An HTML5 Netflix plugin (currently being developed by Google for the Chrome browser) may soon be available. Other alternatives are to run Netflix in Wine or to use the Netflix Android app in a virtual Android environment.

FireFTP for Firefox

FireFTP is a Firefox extension for FTP transfers.

Firefox Widgets

Turn off browser bar drop-down list in Firefox

This is the most frequently asked problem regarding Firefox. To turn off the location browser bar drop-down list (and therefore not show your browsing history):

Firefox -> about:config (in the location browser bar) -> browser.urlbar.maxRichResults -> right-click -> Modify -> set value to 0

Turn off SSL certificate name in address bar

In newer versions of firefox, the validity of the SSL certificate associated with a website is displayed as a color-coded background to the Favicon (the small icon displayed in the address bar). However, Firefox currently also displays the name of the site issuing the SSL certificate, which can be annoying, since for most sites this is a duplicate of the domain name (which then gets displayed twice in the address bar). To turn off this behavior:

Firefox -> about:config (in the location browser bar) -> browser.identity.ssl_domain_display -> right-click -> Modify -> set value to 0

View Firefox cache

In a new window/tab, enter about:cache in the Firefox address bar. You can view and save individual elements (from all open windows/tabs) in the cache from there.

IceWeasel

  • Due to trademark restrictions of Mozilla products, the Debian project has created versions of the (otherwise free) software that has been stripped of the non-free trademarks. See here and the Debian wiki for more information. To install them, use a package manager to add the Debian repository for your country ( e.g. deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian unstable main ) temporarily while installing the software. Then install the software package using the package manager or from the command line:
  • IceWeasel replaces the Firefox web browser (sudo apt-get install -t iceweasel).
  • IceDove replaces the Thunderbird email, newsreader, and calendaring client (sudo apt-get install -t icedove).
  • IceOwl replaces the Sunbird standalone calendaring client (sudo apt-get install -t iceowl).
  • After installation of the individual package, it is best to disable the Debian repository so it does not interfere with the (K)Ubuntu repositories.
  • A user that is interested in the philosophy of free software that Iceweasel symbolises may wish to consider a full Debian OS installation (of which (K)Ubuntu is a fork) instead of (K)Ubuntu.

GNUzilla IceCat

The GNU project also maintains a version of Mozilla Firefox that is free of trademarks and branding, called GNUZilla IceCat. .deb packages for (K)Ubuntu can be downloaded and installed through the GNUzilla PPA repositories.

Opera

Opera is a proprietary browser and internet suite (currently free on PCs) also used in some mobile devices and gaming consoles. It includes email, an address book, IRC chat, integrated BitTorrent, and webfeeds. A limited number of plugins are also available. Download from the website and follow the instructions or install from the Opera repository:

echo "deb http://deb.opera.com/opera/ stable non-free" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/opera.list
wget -O - http://deb.opera.com/archive.key | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get install opera

Chromium

Chromium is the open source browser on which Google Chrome is based. It does not include the undesirable user tracking mechanisms of Google Chrome or the Google logos (and is therefore recommended by many users instead of Chrome).

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is Google's proprietary web browser. Based on the open-source Chromium browser, Google adds the Google name and logo, an auto-updater system called GoogleUpdate, RLZ (a user-tracking mechanism), and other Google add-ons. To use this instead of Chromium, download and install the .deb package here.

Download Managers

KGet

KGet is a versatile and user-friendly download manager.

MultiGet

MultiGet is a GTK-based free-standing download manager utility.

sudo apt-get install multiget

Usenet Clients

  • Here is a sample list of free Usenet servers.

Pan

Pan is a Gnome-based Usenet reader and nzb binary downloader. Install:

sudo apt-get install pan

Kwooty

Kwooty is a Usenet reader and nzb binary downloader for KDE4. Installation instructions from source or PPA repositories are at the website.

Email Clients

KMail

KMail (Kontact Mail) is the default email client included with Kontact. Access it by going to

K menu -> Office -> Kontact Personal Information Manager

or

K menu -> Internet -> KMail

Kontact includes email, an address book, a calendar, reminders, pop-up notes, a link to the Akregator News/RSS reader, time-tracking, and more.

To change view mode or aggregation mode (grouping) of the message list pane, use the icons to the right of the search pane. (Configuration of this doesn't seem to be available from the settings menus.)

PGP and Kmail

PGP-encrypted messages can be emailed using Kmail. See this tutorial.

Kmail -> Configure Kmail -> Security -> Crypto Backends

Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is a licensed and trademarked free open-source email client that is compatible with Firefox. Thunderbird works with free Gmail and Yahoo Mail accounts (using Imap). Install:

sudo apt-get install thunderbird

Lightning calendar extension

Lightning is the calendar extension for Thunderbird (with functionality similar to the stand-alone application Sunbird). Install:

sudo apt-get install xul-ext-lightning

Enigmail

Enigmail is an add-on to Thunderbird that allows you to easily encrypt your email using OpenPGP, which is included in the kernel by default. It also allows you to create and manage the encryption keys. Install:

sudo apt-get install enigmail
  • Also see these tips for instructions on setting up e-mail with PGP encryption.

Miniminize to System Tray

MinimizeToTray revived is a valuable plugin/add-on/extension, IMO. It allows Thunderbird to be minimized to the System Tray instead of to the Taskbar. This allows Thunderbird to run discreetly in the background, checking for new mail and calendar events (e.g. through the Lightning extension). The same plugin/add-on/extension also is available for Firefox. Install:

Thunderbird -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Get Add-ons -> Browse all add-ons (takes you to an external webpage) -> search for add-ons: MinimizeToTray revived -> + Add to Thunderbird -> Install Now -> Restart Thunderbird

New Mail Icon for Thunderbird

New Mail Icon is an experimental tray add-on which notifies you of new mail. (Note: If you leave Thunderbird running minimized to the System Tray (with the MinimizeToTray add-on, for example), it has a built-in "new message" notifier already, so that this add-on would not be necessary in such a situation.) Download from the website. Install:

Thunderbird -> Tools -> Add-ons -> Install -> select downloaded file

Evolution

Evolution is the default Gnome-based email client used in Ubuntu. Installing it will also install many Gnome components.

sudo apt-get install evolution

FetchYahoo

FetchYahoo is a Perl script to fetch mail from a free Yahoo mail account and spool it locally so that an email client like Thunderbird can access it with POP3. For more info see the Ubuntu Community documentation. Install:

sudo apt-get install fetchyahoo

Newsreaders

Akregator

Akregator is the default news/RSS reader included with Kubuntu. Usage instructions are found in the Handbook.

RSSOwl

RSSOwl is a Java-based RSS | RDF | Atom Newsfeed Reader.

Install java and in order to use the internal browser, install the packages xulrunner and firefox:

sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre firefox xulrunner

Change to your "opt" directory:

cd /opt

Download the zip-archive into your opt directory:

sudo wget http://downloads.sourceforge.net/rssowl/rssowl-2.0.6.linux.zip

Extract the archive and remove the extracted file:

sudo unzip ./rssowl-2.0.6.linux.zip && sudo rm ./rssowl-2.0.6.linux.zip

Make a startscript:

sudo kate /usr/bin/runRSSOwl.sh

add the following lines to your startscript file /usr/bin/runRSSOwl.sh and save it afterwards.

    #!/bin/bash
    cd /opt/rssowl
    ./RSSOwl

Make the startscript executable:

sudo chmod u+x /usr/bin/runRSSOwl.sh

To start RSSOwl:

runRSSOwl.sh

Instant Messengers

Kopete

Kopete is the default Instant Messenger application for KDE/Kubuntu. Webcam video and voice capability is incorporated. You can access multiple services with it. You can access it by:

K Menu -> Applications -> Internet -> Kopete Instant Messenger.

Plugins for Kopete

Kopete includes a number of default plugins:

Kopete -> Settings -> Configure -> Plugins
  • A language Translator plugin that can be used with Google or BabelFish is available (but is no longer functional since the closure of both the Google Translate API and BabelFish in 2012).
  • An encryption plugin (using Off-The-Record encryption) is available.
  • OpenPGP for Kopete is also available by installing the package kopete-cryptography:
sudo apt-get install kopete-cryptography

Kopete Styles

Additional styles for Kopete are available from KDE-look. Install from:

Kopete -> Settings -> Configure -> Chat Window -> Style -> Get New...

GoogleTalk on Kopete

Kopete can be configured to work with GoogleTalk Instant Messaging (but not VOIP) using the Jabber protocol. See these GoogleTalk instructions.

Facebook Chat on Kopete

Konversation (IRC client)

Konversation is no longer the default Internet Relay Chat (IRC) client in Kubuntu, but is highly recommended nevertheless. It functions similar to the venerable mIRC. Make sure you have ports 6667-6670 open in your firewall to use IRC (and ports 1024-1028 open to use DCC). "A little less action and a little more Konversation." -- Elvis. Install:

sudo apt-get install konversation

Run:

K menu -> Internet -> Konversation
  • Konversation can be used directly with a proxy. For example, if you are using a Socks5 proxy on port 9050:
Konversation -> Settings -> Configure Konversation... -> Behavior: Connection -> Proxy (ticked) -> Type: Socks v5 -> Address: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost) -> Port: 9050

Quassel (IRC client)

Quassel is a cross-platform IRC client currently that is included as the default Kubuntu/KDE client. Based on the Qt platform, there is no DCC implementation (which makes this client limited in usefulness). Try Konversation for more features.

  • Quassel can be used directly with a proxy on a per-server basis. For example, if you are using a Socks5 proxy on port 9050:
Quassel -> File -> Networks -> Configure Networks... -> Servers: irc.ubuntu.com:8001 -> Edit -> Advanced -> Use a Proxy (ticked) -> Proxy Type: Socks 5 -> Proxy Host: 127.0.0.1 (or localhost) -> Port: 9050

XChat (IRC client)

XChat is a cross-platform IRC client that allows DCC downloads and scripts. Install:

sudo apt-get install xchat
or a Gnome-integrated version:
sudo apt-get install xchat-gnome

Pidgin

Pidgin is an open source IM application. It is the default in the Ubuntu (Gnome) desktop, but will work in Kubuntu (KDE). You can access multiple services with it.

sudo apt-get install pidgin

aMSN

aMSN is an MSN Messenger utility that functions like the original client. Unlike Kopete, it is not made for the KDE desktop (but can be installed nevertheless). Install it:

sudo apt-get install amsn

To enable Drag-and-Drop capabilities to aMSN for easy file transfer see Ubuntu Geek.

Emesene

Emesene is an MSN messenger client that uses a simplified interface similar to the original client. Unlike Kopete, it is not made for the KDE desktop (but can be installed nevertheless). Install it:

sudo apt-get install emesene

Kmess

Kmess is an MSN messenger client for KDE that is an alternative to Kopete (for MSN users).

sudo apt-get install kmess

KDEuBlog (Microblogging)

KDEuBlog is a desktop widget used for microblogging client on sites like Twitter and Identi.ca (StatusNet). Older versions do not have OAuth incorporated. Use Choqok instead. Install:

Widget icon (upper right corner of desktop) -> Add widgets ... -> Microblogging

Choqok (Microblogging)

Choqok is a utility used for microblogging on sites like Twitter and Identi.ca (StatusNet). It has incorporated the OAuth mechanism and allows the use of proxies. Install:

sudo apt-get install choqok
Notifications (popups/sounds) for incoming messages can be set:
K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Notifications -> Event Source: Choqok -> New Post Arrived -> Play a sound (ticked)
  • When Twitter switched off API 1.0 on 11 June 2013, the tweets went dark for Choqok users as the application had not been updated in time to support API 1.1. This was due to the original developer not having time to maintain Choqok himself. On appeal to the Linux community, another developer stepped in and developed Choqok > 1.3.1 (which supports the API 1.1).
For users of Kubuntu Precise Pangolin 12.04 or later (> KDE 4.10), the updated program (or patch) is available at Launchpad. Download and run the version for your OS (32-bit i386 or 64-bit amd64). Either the Raring or Saucy version will work for Precise (after updating packages, including from KDE 4.8 to KDE 4.10).

FTP Clients

Although Konqueror can use FTP via kioslaves, you might wish to use a dedicated FTP client. Also see these FTP tips.

Filezilla

FileZilla is the ubiquitous free open-source FTP client and server for all platforms.

sudo apt-get install filezilla

Filesharing / P2P

Do not share copyrighted material or content that is otherwise illegal to share.

KTorrent

KTorrent is the default BitTorrent client in Kubuntu. Also see the KTorrent wiki or these additional tips.

K menu -> Internet -> KTorrent

Be sure to have your firewall ports open (by default 6881 and 4444).

  • It is possible to use proxies with KTorrent. For example, if you have a tracker proxy at 127.0.0.1:8118 and a socks proxy at 127.0.0.1:9050, then set KTorrent to use these proxies:
KTorrent -> Settings -> Configure KTorrent... -> Proxy
-> HTTP:Proxy: 127.0.0.1 -> Port: 8118
-> SOCKS: Use a SOCKS proxy server: (ticked) -> Server: 127.0.0.1 -> Port: 9050 -> Version 5 (assuming you are using socks5)
  • It is possible to use encryption with KTorrent:
KTorrent -> Settings -> Configure KTorrent... -> BitTorrent -> Encryption -> Use protocol encryption

In an era of increasing censorship, spying, and surveillance using Deep Packet Inspection, encryption has become an essential componenet of data transfer.

KTorrent -> Plugins -> IP Filter (ticked) -> Settings -> Configure KTorrent... -> IP Filter -> Use PeerGuardian filter (ticked) -> Download/Convert

This service attempts to monitor and filter IP addresses known for censorship, spying, or provision of false or malicious data to this type of Internet service.

  • Some older routers only allow 20 simultaneous connections or they will continually freeze (as their connection-table cache becomes full). If this occurs, decrease the maximum number of connections to 20:
KTorrent -> Settings -> Configure KTorrent... -> Network -> Advanced: Maximum number of connection setups: 20

Set Firefox to use KTorrent for magnet links

Firefox is very ticklish about this setting, so follow the instructions very carefully.

  • Open a window which has a magnet link on it. Click on the magnet link, and the error "Firefox doesn't know how to open this address, because the protocol (magnet) isn't associated with any program" usually appears.
  • Open a new tab (NOT a new window) and edit the configuration settings by typing about:config in the address bar of the newly-opened tab. Then add the network.protocol-handler.expose.magnet setting and set it to false:
Firefox -> about:config -> Search: network.protocol-handler.expose -> <Right-click> on the main window
-> New -> Boolean -> Enter the preference name: network.protocol-handler.expose.magnet -> Ok
-> False -> Ok
  • DO NOT CLOSE the about:config tab until this step is complete! While the about:config tab remains open, go to the tab with your magnet link available. Click on the magnet link. A dialog box should appear to choose the application.
Firefox -> Launch Application: Choose an Application: Choose... -> File system: /usr/bin/ktorrent
-> Remember my choice for magnet links (ticked) -> Ok
  • Now whenever you click on a magnet link in Firefox, it should be added automatically to KTorrent and will be found in the KTorrent -> Magnet section. If a different downloading program is later desired for use with magnets, the setting in Firefox can subsequently be changed:
Firefox -> Preferences -> Applications -> magnet -> (dropdown box)
  • Note: Magnet links will not work with KTorrent versions prior to 4.3 (and libktorrent 1.3). Download and install the current KTorrent / libktorrent versions from source code according to instructions here or install the Debian (.deb) packages found here.

Azureus

Azureus is a Java-based BitTorrent client.

sudo apt-get install azureus

QBitTorrent

QBitTorrent is a PyQT-based BitTorrent Client that is based on the uTorrent model.

sudo apt-get install qBittorrent

Transmission (BitTorrent Client)

Transmission is the GTK-based default BitTorrent client in Ubuntu (Gnome). KTorrent can be used in Kubuntu.

sudo apt-get install transmission

Deluge

Deluge is a GTK-based BitTorrent client, with plugins and a server package / daemon available. Install the client:

sudo apt-get install deluge-torrent

or the GTK-based interface:

sudo apt-get install deluge-gtk
  • The server daemon and web interface (for server functions) can be installed:
sudo apt-get install deluged deluge-web

Bittornado (BitTorrent Client)

BitTornado is a KDE-compatible BitTorrent client. Install:

sudo apt-get bittornado bittornado-gui

Torrentflux (P2P client and server)

TorrentFlux is a PHP based BitTorrent controller that runs on a web server (using a MySQL database with the mysql-server package for server functions or the mysql-client for client functions) and uses a web interface that can be accessed remotely (e.g. http://localhost/torrentflux). This makes it ideal for seedbox purposes. It uses the BitTornado client for downloads. Install:

sudo apt-get install torrentflux

Apollon (P2P Filesharing)

Apollon is an older (now relatively obsolete) BitTorrent client that uses the Gift network (Gnutella, etc.). It uses plugins for compatibility with multiple networks. Obtain the packages from the Debian Etch archives for apollon and gift.

KMLDonkey (P2P eMule/eDonkey2000 Client)

KMLDonkey is a KDE frontend for MLDonkey, the P2P file sharing program (and network) that is able to use different network protocols.

sudo apt-get install kmldonkey mldonkey-server

Opentracker (Torrent tracker)

Opentracker is the most widely used torrent tracker software. It can be used within a private organisation or as a public service to track freely-available torrents. Download (through CVS) and installation instructions are at the website.

Template:Precise/Videoconferencing

Privacy

  • An interesting perspective on Internet privacy techniques can be found here.
  • Message encryption does not protect email file attachments. It is important to encrypt files that are meant to be sent as attachments as well. Any file encrypter (used for encrypting files on disk) can be used (such as ccrypt, TrueCrypt, or EncFS), but a different encryption tool / password should be used for attachments than the one used for private encryption of important files on the hard drive.

Text obfuscation

Companies routinely monitor the email and IM of its workers, governments of countries (even those founded by intellectuals and "revolutionaries" like Thomas Jefferson, who advocated strong privacy rights) routinely spy on its own citizenry, and even ISPs monitor unencrypted internet traffic for their own entertainment (I have personally watched this happen). Due to the volume of email and texts over the internet, word recognition algorithms are generally required in order to accomplish meaningful data-mining of text messages.

For purposes that do not require encryption (but for which there is a desire to limit the text data-mining techniques commonly used today), a few methods are available (but not foolproof).

  • One method of text obfuscation is to translate your article into another language (using Google Translate, for example, or Babelfish (now owned by Yahoo and without SSL encryption available), or Bing Translator (owned by Microsoft and without SSL encryption available) -- or even all three in series) and then to translate it back. This introduces random grammar, word choice, and spelling errors that obscures both the writing style of the original author and sometimes the text to the point of poor recognition by text-mining scanners. The more languages into which the message is serially translated, the greater the unrecognizability.
  • Anonymouth is a Java-based project for anonymizing writing styles (in English). Also see here.

FauxCrypt

FauxCrypt is a small program with an alhroitgm for modifictaion of a planitext documnet (written in English) taht laeves it gneerally raedable by a person but not raedily saercehd or idnexed by macihne. the alhroitgm empyols a dicitnoary subtsituiton of selected wrods, and an obfusctanig trnasposition of lteters in ohter wrods. the obfusctaion is dseigned to laeve the wrods udnertsnadable, aghtuolh tehy are badly slelpde. fauxcrypt is fere, open suorce sfotwaer, with suorce code available. Downloads are available at the website.

  • Download the Linux binary:
wget http://fauxcrypt.org/fauxcrypt
  • To convert a text file to a faux-encrypted text file:
fauxcrypt <input.txt> <output.txt>

Message and file encryption

PGP (Message Encryption)

GnuPG is the free open source implementation of the OpenPGP standard for PGP. It is a tool to encrypt your messages (such as email) to be unlocked only by someone who has a key to unlock it. While gpg is the default OpenPGP tool for command-line usage, gpg2 is the utility generally used by GUI frontends.

Enigmail with Thunderbird

By far the easiest method for encrypting email is using the Enigmail add-on for the Thunderbird email client. It creates PGP key pairs, stores and retrieves keys from keyrings, and encrypts and decrypts messages automatically.

Kleopatra (Cryptography and Certificate Manager)

Kleopatra is a certificate manager and a universal crypto GUI for KDE. It supports managing X.509 and OpenPGP certificates in the GpgSM keybox and retrieving certificates from LDAP servers. Install:

sudo apt-get install kleopatra
  • Create a new OpenPGP keypair:
K menu -> Utilities -> Kleopatra -> File -> New Certificate... -> Create a personal OpenPGP key pair

KGPG

KGpg is the GUI for KDE to manage the key pairs and other options of GnuPG. It has fewer options than Kleopatra. Install:

sudo apt-get install kgpg

PGP Troubleshooting

If KGPG or Kleopatra gives an error, it is because of a problem with settings in the gpg.conf configuration file ( ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf). Edit the file (using either ~/ or /home/user/ ):

kate /home/user/.gnupg/gpg.conf

Comment out the two lines at the bottom:

#debug-level basic
#log-file socket:///home/user/.gnupg/log-socket

scrypt (Message Encryption)

scrypt encrypts / decrypts messages with a strong algorithm. Using a 10-character password combining random alphanumeric and special characters, an enormous amount of computing power is required to decode messages by someone that does not have the password. See the website for usage parameters. Install:

sudo apt-get install scrypt

bcrypt (Message Encryption)

bcrypt encrypts / decrypts messages with a strong blowfish algorithm. It is also able to overwrite the original message with a garbage-appearing replacement, further obscuring traces of the original message. See the website for usage instructions. Install:

sudo apt-get install bcrypt

File archival and encryption

Archives with Passwords

EncFS (File and Disk encryption)

EncFS is a free, open-source tool to encrypt files and store them in a secondary directory. See the Wikipedia article. Additional installation steps can be found on Ubuntu Forums. Install:

sudo apt-get install encfs libpam-encfs
Dolphin -> Settings -> Configure Dolphin... -> Services -> Download New Services...
-> Search: KDE Service Menu EncFS -> Install
  • KEncFS is a KDE frontend for EncFS.
  • A Gnome-based front-end named Cryptkeeper is available:
sudo apt-get install cryptkeeper

ccrypt (File and Attachment Encryption)

ccrypt is a command-line utility to encrypt files using the AES encryption algorithm with a password. Install:

sudo apt-get install ccrypt
  • Encrypt a file:
ccrpyt test.odt
which will yield the encrypted file test.odt.cpt after prompting for a password
  • Decrypt a file:
ccrypt -d test.odt.cpt
  • Several available GUIs for ccrypt are listed here.

TrueCrypt (File and Attachment Encryption)

TrueCrypt is a free, open-source application that allows encryption of files using a 256-bit AES encryption algorithm with a password. Download and Linux installation instructions are here.

Disk and Storage Encryption

Passwords and file authentication

Random password generator

  • Pwgen is a command line utility to generate a block of random 8-digit alphanumeric passwords. Run it from Konsole (in Kubuntu) or Terminal (in Ubuntu). Install:
sudo apt-get install pwgen
  • Run pwgen:
pwgen
  • UUIDgen is a default utility to generate a random UUID (using only hex-digits). Run:
uuidgen

The random UUID can also be used as a 32-digit password, if desired.

Password checker and enforcement

John the Ripper is a free open source password cracker that uses a dictionary of over 4 million commonly used passwords in many languages. Because this tool is widely available, it is useful for scanning and securing your own LAN and computers for password strength. Install:

sudo apt-get install john
  • Passwdqc is a module to enforce password strength. Install:
sudo apt-get install passwdqc

MD5Sum

  • To check the MD5 sum of a file, use this command in the command line:
md5sum filename
  • There are several Dolphin service menus to add / check md5sums (and other types of checksums) for files, such as "Check md5sum within Dolphin", "MD5 verify", and "Checksum". Select and install:
Dolphin -> Settings -> Configure Dolphin... -> Services -> Download New Services... -> Search: md5

Web browsing

Web tracking, scripts, and advertisements are extremely intrusive on the Internet. A dossier of your online habits is created by a multitude of services, including every major portal such as Google and Yahoo, as well as a variety of tracking services on the Internet. This is accomplished through the use of the "cookies" in your browser and by a variety of web elements (sometimes called "web beacons") embedded on the web pages you visit. Your behavior is monitored and correlated by recording the IP address of your computer (even when you turn off the cookies in your browser). It is highly recommended to configure your web browser to erase your cookies and history every time the web browser is closed; otherwise, every website you subsequently visit can instantly see the long list of recent websites you have visited. In Firefox, for example, cookies can be accepted for the current session but erased upon closing:

Firefox -> Edit -> Preferences -> Privacy -> History -> Firefox will: Use custom settings for history
-> Always use private browsing mode (or customise the settings to your desired level of privacy)
  • In addition, both Adblock Plus and NoScript are highly recommended as plug-ins for Firefox (and other Gecko-based browsers) to limit exposure to undesirable web elements, scripts, and tracking mechanisms.

DNS Servers and Search engines

  • Most users rely on the DNS server of their ISP (Internet Service Provider). DNS queries can be recorded, however, and theoretically correlated by an ISP to the data traffic to/from a user's IP address serviced by that ISP. A somewhat less trackable solution is to use a DNS service that does not belong to your ISP. This can belong to another commercial ISP or to a third party service such as OpenDNS, Comodo, Google (though slightly less secure due to Google's own tracking mechanisms), another free DNS service, or (for maximum security) a publicly-available international DNS server. For example, a Verizon customer could use the AT&T DNS servers or the OpenDNS servers. An AT&T customer could use one of the Verizon servers or the Comodo servers. It is important to use a reliable DNS provider, however, as man-in-the-middle DNS redirection and DNS cache poisoning attacks are increasingly common. Stick to one of the major DNS services (just not your own ISP's DNS service). It is important to note that starting Feburary 25, 2013, 5 major ISPs (Internet Service Providers) in the US (Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Cablevision) have agreed to IP address recording and reporting (to the CCI) on behalf of the MPAA and RIAA. If using one of these ISPs, take extra efforts to ensure your privacy. (It is also important to note that major ISPs now often censor content using filters such as Cleanfeed. Choose your DNS and search providers carefully.)

The DNS server setting can be changed in the router's settings (recommended) or individually for each computer. If changing on an individual computer, use the Network Manager or Wicd settings, or if using a static IP address with manually configured settings, add a line to /etc/network/interfaces with a list of the desired dns-nameservers at the end of the iface stanza so that the file resembles:

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
address 192.168.0.35
netmask 255.255.255.0
network 192.168.0.0
broadcast 192.168.0.255
gateway 192.168.0.1
dns-nameservers 8.26.56.26 208.67.222.222 8.20.247.20 208.67.220.220 8.8.8.8 8.8.4.4
  • Many search engines track your search requests (notably Google, Bing, and Yahoo) and keep logs of the searches they receive from your IP address. DuckDuckGo.com is a filtered search engine that has made its reputation not only by promising not to track searches, but also by providing a secure (encrypted), Tor-capable and anonymized search portal. Point your browser to https://duckduckgo.com. (It can be used with Tor turned on.) Another search engine with similar privacy claims is Startpage / Ixquick.
  • Many censorship/filtering/tracking techniques (that use deep packet inspection) cannot be used with secure (SSL/TLS encrypted) websites (denoted by https:// ). Use them whenever possible. For example, use the secure Wikimedia portal for Wikipedia (and other Wikimedia services) instead of the insecure portal(s).
  • Many websites keep logs of referring http headers (which can be correlated with cookies to track your browsing activities). To turn off the passage of referral headers in Firefox, see this info.

Changing a MAC address

The MAC address of your network interface card is the "fingerprint" of your network connection. It is not possible to hide the MAC address and many tracking methods now use the MAC address to record user habits. (See this informative blog post.) To combat this, it is possible to change ("spoof") your apparent MAC address using software. It is important to remember, however, that it is generally the MAC address of the router (not computers on a LAN) which is displayed to the Internet. If you change the MAC of your computer but not the MAC of your router, you will gain nothing. Be sure to change both frequently (but most importantly that of the router).

  • It is possible to set the MAC address to a random selection in the Network Manager configuration:
Network Manager -> Manage Connections... -> connection -> Edit... -> Ethernet -> Cloned MAC Address -> Random -> Ok
  • Macchanger is a utility to change a MAC address. Install:
sudo apt-get install macchanger

Certificate verification

  • CAcert.org is a free certifying authority that maintains weak certificates that are recognized by many open source operating systems, but not by Firefox or most browsers. (For browsers that do not include CAcert.org recognition, certificates appear to be self-signed certificates.) While Debian incorporates CACert.org's root certificate by default, Ubuntu derivatives do not (Canonical was originally founded with funds earned from Thawte, a certifying authority founded by Mark Shuttleworth.)

Tor (Network privacy)

Tor is a project to allow privacy while using the Internet and to limit usage tracking. It routes your traffic through several anonymous nodes, so that your usage appears to come from an IP other than your own. (There are always risks when using the Internet that even Tor can not help with, though. Read this.) Using Tor can slow down your Internet usage significantly, depending on how much traffic is being passed through the Tor network (routine file-sharing or large downloads will also significantly reduce performance of the Tor network.)

  • Install Tor by following the instructions here. Note that the instructions require port 11371 on your firewall to be open to use the gpg keyserver (and download the key for the debian package). Then see the Tor installation guide for details.
  • By default Tor (once it is running) acts as a Socks5 proxy on port 9050. To send traffic from any application through Tor, configure the settings of that application to use a socks5 proxy on port 9050.
  • Also see these additional tips.

Vidalia (Tor interface)

Vidalia is the recommended Qt4-based GUI frontend for Tor. If not installed with Tor, install:

sudo apt-get install vidalia

Tork (KDE Tor interface)

TorK is a KDE interface for Tor that relied on the older Qt3 platform. It is no longer included in the (K)Ubuntu repositories. However, if desired it can be installed (along with the older Qt3 libraries). See this section.

Using Tor with Firefox and Thunderbird

Recent versions of Firefox and Thunderbird allow direct use of Tor as a Socks5 proxy, both for traffic and DNS resolution. See this section for information on configuring this for Firefox and this section for information on configuring this for Thunderbird.

Using Tor with other programs

  • Other programs can also be used with Tor as a proxy. For an overview see these tips.

Tails

  • Tails is a free, complete GNOME-based Debian Linux operating system with Tor enabled by default. Iceweasel (the free Debian version of Firefox) and other Internet tools are cryptographically-enhanced, and, for privacy, browsing and other Internet usage traces are minimised. Components include LUKS for disk-encryption, Nautilus Wipe for erasing disk traces using the Nautilus file manager, KeePassX for password generation and encyrypted password storage, the Firefox plug-in HTTPS Everywhere to ensure the usage of encrypted website portals, and Off-the-Record_Messaging for Internet Message encryption, among others.

Proprietary Extras

Proprietary software helps you maximize your Internet experience, but is not open source. The software available includes Multimedia Codecs, Java Runtime Environment, and plug-ins for Firefox and Konqueror.

Restricted Extras

The Kubuntu Restricted Extras will install Adobe Flash Player, Java Runtime Environment (JRE) (sun-java-jre) with Firefox and Konqueror plug-ins (icedtea), a set of Microsoft Fonts (msttcorefonts), multimedia codecs (w32codecs or w64codecs), mp3-compatible encoding (lame), FFMpeg, extra multimedia codecs for K3b, the package for DVD decoding (libdvdread3, but see here for info on libdvdcss2), the unrar archiver, odbc, and cabextract. It also installs multiple "stripped" codecs and avutils (libavcodec-unstripped-52 and libavutil-unstripped-49). This is a single command approach.

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-restricted-extras
You could also use Ubuntu Restricted Extras (ubuntu-restricted-extras), but it installs plugins for the Gstreamer platform (the default in Gnome) and does not install the K3b codecs, so it is not recommended.
Note: Installation only works completely and properly when done from the command-line terminal Konsole. The entire package will not usually install completely from within a Package Manager.

Java environment

  • See this section for information on installing Java or the Java Runtime Environment.

Playing DVDs

  • See this section for information on packages needed to play DVDs.

Photos and Graphics

Manage and edit your photos, create stunning 3D drawings and graphics, or convert between formats.

GIMP (Image Manipulator)

Gimp is a powerful, full-featured, free open-source graphics and image editor, similar to Adobe Photoshop.

sudo apt-get install gimp
  • There is an extra set of brushes, palettes, and gradients for The GIMP.
sudo apt-get install gimp-data-extras
  • See these instructions to create an alpha transparency layer (transparent background) for any image using Gimp.

Gwenview (Image Manipulator)

Gwenview is the quick image manipulator installed by default in Kubuntu (K menu -> Graphics -> Gwenview Image Viewer). Simple cut-and-paste, resizing, and format conversion are some of the graphics files manipulations that can be accomplished. Install:

sudo apt-get install gwenview

Krita (Painting and Drawing)

Krita is a drawing and painting program that is part of the KOffice suite of applications. It has many of the functions of Gimp. Install:

sudo apt-get install krita

Adding Text to Images with Krita

Krita -> Add Shape: Text -> (Resize and position shape box) -> Double-click on the newly created shape box to bring up the Text Tool

Dia (Diagram editor)

Dia is a free open source GTK-based diagram creation program for Gnome (but can be used in KDE). It is similar to Visio.

sudo apt-get install dia

Kivio (Diagram editor)

Kivio is an open source flow-chart and diagram creation program that is part of the KOffice Suite for KDE. It supports Dia stencils.

sudo apt-get install kivio

Karbon (Vector Illustrator)

Karbon is a vector graphics illustration application that is part of the KDE-oriented Calligra suite of office applications. Install:

sudo apt-get install karbon

Inkscape (Vector Illustrator)

Inkscape Vector Illustrator is an open source drawing program similar to Illustrator and CorelDraw.

sudo apt-get install inkscape

Digikam (Photo Organiser)

Digikam is a comprehensive open source digital photo organiser and editor for KDE. It is installed by default in Kubuntu. If not, you can install it:

sudo apt-get install digikam kipi-plugins digikam-doc

Google Picasa (Photo Organiser)

Google Picasa is a photo editor and organiser similar to Digikam. It allows uploads to a Google web server for online exchange. For more info, see the Picasa for Linux FAQ. A self-installing .deb file is available at Picasa 2.7 downloads.

Accessing a digital camera from the Dolphin file manager

  • Plug in your digital camera to the USB port using the appropriate cord and make sure the camera is turned on.
  • Start the Dolphin file manager.
  • In the leftmost panel of the Dolphin file manager, mount the camera as a folder:
Dolphin -> <right-click> on the leftmost panel -> Add Entry... -> Label: Digital Camera
-> Location: camera:/
  • Now you should be able to access the contents of the digital camera as a folder.
  • It may be necessary to adjust the settings of the camera first (to be sure it is properly recognised):
K Menu -> Settings -> System Settings -> Digital Camera

OpenClipart (ClipArt Library)

OpenClipart is a utility to provide access to a large library of free PNG, SVG, and OpenOffice clipart. It includes a utility for OpenOffice Gallery. Files are installed to /usr/share/clipart. Install:

sudo apt-get install openclipart

It is also possible to only install a single collection (openclipart-png, openclipart-svg, or openclipart-openoffice.org) in case you don't want the entire collection (or the utilities). For example:

sudo apt-get install openclipart-png

Optical Character Readers

Tesseract (Optical Character Reader)

Tesseract is a command-line optical character reader. Install:

sudo apt-get install tesseract-ocr

Ocropus is a document-analysis engine that uses Tesseract. Install:

sudo apt-get install ocropus

Cuneiform (Optical Character Reader)

Cuneiform is an optical character reader. Install (multiverse repositories must be enabled):

sudo apt-get install cuneiform
  • Pdfocr is a tool to use Cuneiform for OCR and then to add the resulting text file layer back to the PDF file to make it searchable.

YAGF (Cuneiform/Tesseract GUI)

YAGF is a Qt-based GUI for Cuneiform, Tesseract, and/or XSane. Installation can be from a Debian (.deb) package from GetDeb (see these instructions as well) or by compiling from source downloaded from the original site. (Qt 4.7 or later, already part of Precise, is required on your system).

Scanning Utilities

Xsane (Scanning utility)

Xsane is a full-featured scanning utility. Install:

sudo apt-get install xsane

Troubleshooting

Some users report a "SANE: Error during device I/O" error with HP multifunction printers. See this bug report. If experiencing this problem, verify it in the logs:

sudo nano /var/log/User.log 
If the logs include a line that references the file "libhpmud.so", such as in this example:
scanimage: scan/sane/soapht.c 67: unable to load restricted library: libhpmud.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory
then try creating the following symlink to fix the issue:
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/libhpmud.so.0 /usr/lib/libhpmud.so

Simple Scan

Simple Scan is a straightforward Gnome-based scanning utility that uses the same SANE backend as Xsane. Install:

sudo apt-get install simple-scan

Skanlite

Skanlite is a lightweight KDE4-based scanning utility included by default in many KDE-based systems. If not, install:

sudo apt-get install skanlite

Gnome-Scan (Scanning Utility)

Gnome-Scan is a simple utility for scanning. Install:

sudo apt-get install gnomescan

VueScan

VueScan is a proprietary cross-platform scanning program that can be installed in Linux. Some users prefer it for scanning film on older scanners. See these installation instructions.

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CDs and DVDs

K3b (CD/DVD burner)

K3b (KDE Burn Baby Burn) is the default KDE CD and DVD burning utility included in Kubuntu. This includes the ability to burn VideoDVD's. K3b is included by default in most Kubuntu installations. If not, install:

sudo apt-get install k3b

Install MP3 support for K3b

Due to licensing requirements, mp3 capabilities for K3b must be installed separately. (Note: this package is automatically installed as part of kubuntu-restricted-extras). Install the libk3b3-mp3 package:

sudo apt-get install libk3b6-extracodecs

If it still does not work then:

sudo apt-get install lame

Normalize audio levels

Volume normalization for an audio CD requires a separate external plugin. Install:

sudo apt-get install normalize-audio

Then select normalization:

K3b -> Project -> Properties -> Advanced -> Settings:Normalize volume levels (ticked)
  • Recent versions of k3b have a bug that doesn't properly recognise normalize-audio. See these tips (or these tips) for a workaround.

Burn a DVD using K3b

  • Video files in containers such as AVI, MP4, WMV, or FLV should be written to disk as data files using the "New Data Project" option.
  • If you have folders named VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS (as is used with the VOB format found on many commercial DVDs), burn them to DVD using the "New Video DVD Project" option:
K3b -> New Project -> New Video DVD Project

If the size of the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders is greater than the capacity of the disk to which you wish to burn them, you can use k9copy to shrink the data.

Rip an audio CD using K3b

  • K3b can be used to rip an audio CD (.cda) to another audio format (such as .mp3):
K3b -> More actions... -> Rip audio CD -> Start Ripping -> Settings: Filetype: Mp3 (Lame) -> Start Ripping
  • The default bitrate for MP3 ripping is 128 Kb. To change to a different bitrate for ripping, edit the k3b settings:
K3b -> More actions... -> Rip audio CD -> Start Ripping -> Settings: Filetype: Mp3 (Lame) -> Wrench icon
Configured encoders: Mp3 (lame) -> Edit... -> Command
  • Change the default command string from:
lame -r --bitwidth 16 --little-endian -s 44.1 -h --tt %t --ta %a --tl %m --ty %y --tc %c --tn %n - %f
to
lame -r --bitwidth 16 --little-endian -s 44.1 -b 192 --tt %t --ta %a --tl %m --ty %y --tc %c --tn %n - %f
where 192 is the desired constant bitrate.

K3b Troubleshooting

Cdrecord error 254

This problem usually occurs when a large amount of data (around 3.5 GB or larger) is being written to a DVD-R. The wodim 1.11 (there seem to be no problems with older versions of wodim such as v1.9) and genisoimage packages from the cdrkit (or one of their dependencies) used by Debian-based distributions (including (K)Ubuntu) may be dysfunctional and may generate a message similar to "cdrecord error 254" error while burning using K3B. Alternately, any file(s) written above the 3.5 GB limit may be improperly written to DVD. This problem effectively limits DVD-R burning to less than 3.5 GB.

  • Solution: Do not use the cdrecord (which includes wodim) for writing DVD disks that contain more than 3.5 Gb data. Instead, use growisofs:
K3b -> Burn -> Writing app: growisofs -> Writing mode: DAO
This has successfully allowed me to burn DVDs with more than 3.5 Gb data.

Note: If the "growisofs" option is not visible, then change the K3b settings to allow Advanced GUI settings:

K3b -> Settings -> Configure K3b... -> Advanced -> Show advanced GUI elements (ticked)
  • Another (difficult) suggested solution entails installing a current copy of cdrtools manually. One location for obtaining cdrtools .deb packages is this Launchpad PPA repository. Download and install the cdrecord .deb package for your OS type (i386 or amd64). mkisofs and cdda2wav should be installed as well, as indicated here. Note: The solution here has not been verified, and the problem may lie in a different module than cdrkit, such as libdvdread. Take these suggestions with a grain of salt. See this explanation, and this Ubuntu forums thread and this one.
  • Alternatively, obtain and use the older version of k3b/cdrecord/wodim (v1.9), such as used in Lucid Lynx. This is not an easy solution to implement other than by installing a standalone Lucid Lynx OS in its own small partition.
Cdrecord has no permission to open the device error

If you receive the "cdrecord has no permission to open the device" error while burning using K3B, open a terminal and type:

 sudo chmod 777 /dev/scd0
Note: replace /dev/scd0 with your own device, e.g. /dev/sr0.
Note: chmod 777 is the universal option for granting full permission to a folder. The 777 mask indicates that read, write, and execute permission is given to all users.

K9copy (DVD Ripper)

K9copy is the free open source DVD backup, copying, compression, and authoring utility that requires libdvdcss. You can easily create MPEG-2. MPEG-4, or DVD videos with this utility. For other info, see either this or this guide.

sudo apt-get install k9copy
  • See this section for tips on using k9copy with mencoder and NTFS DVDs.
  • Tips: At times you may not be able to copy your DVD directly from DVD to DVD. This may because you have a small imperfection in the DVD, or because the DVD was initially created with a non-standard burning method. There are two methods that can help solve this problem:
  • Copy the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders from your original DVD directly to your hard drive. Then use k3b (or Gnomebaker) or k9copy to burn a DVD directly using these hard drive folders.
  • Alternatively, use k3b (or Gnomebaker) to copy an .iso image from the original DVD to your hard drive. Then use k9copy to extract from the hard drive .iso image and then burn a DVD directly from it.

Handbrake

Handbrake is a GPL-licensed open source tool for converting DVD to MPEG-4 (iPod format) that is an alternative to k9copy. (It can handle many DVDs that k9copy cannot.) Note that Handbrake supports X264/H.264 and MP4 video encoding but no longer supports the XVID video codec. It uses the .MP4/.M4V or .MKV containers, but no longer supports the .AVI container. However, it uses a streaming algorithm that (while slower than other methods) is compatible with a large variety of encryption techniques. (Following "ripping" from a DVD, the resulting .MP4 or .MKV file can be converted to other formats, such as .AVI with XVID, using these suggestions.) Installation is from the developmental PPA archive.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install handbrake-gtk handbrake-cli

If you do not intend to use the command-line interface, you can skip handbrake-cli.

  • Alternatively, to your package manager you can add the custom repository:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/stebbins/handbrake-releases/ubuntu precise main

then install the package handbrake-gtk (and handbrake-cli if desired).

dvd::rip

dvd::rip is a DVD backup/copy program, written in GTK-based perl, that uses the transcode and ffmpeg video/audio processing and conversion tools. See the website for installation and official documentation. For other info, see this dvd::rip tutorial. Install:

sudo apt-get install dvdrip rar

Acidrip

Acidrip is a DVD backup/copy program, written in GTK-based perl, that uses the Mplayer and Mencoder video/audio processing and conversion tools (and therefore yields the best quality DVD rips to an .AVI file with XVID video, for example). See the website for installation and official documentation. Install:

sudo apt-get install acidrip

DVD Fab (DVD Ripper)

DVD Fab is a favoured DVD backup tool in the Windows community for today's DVD encryption methods. It must be run in Wine (since it is a Windows application). It comes as a fully featured 30-day trial, but see these instructions for fine-tuning the trial period.

DVD Playback Capability

libdvdcss

To play encrypted DVDs, the libdvdcss2 package is essential. libdvdcss2 is a simple library designed for accessing DVDs like a block device without having to bother about the decryption. More information about this package can be found at VideoLAN.

  • Add the VideoLAN repository key:
wget -O - http://download.videolan.org/pub/debian/videolan-apt.asc|sudo apt-key add -
  • Install the repository and package manually from the command-line:
sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://download.videolan.org/pub/debian/stable/ /"
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libdvdcss2
deb http://download.videolan.org/pub/debian/stable/ /
then install the libdvdcss2 package using the package manager.
  • You can install libdvdcss2 as a 64-bit .deb package (without installing VideoLAN repositories):
wget -c http://download.videolan.org/pub/debian/stable/libdvdcss2_1.2.13-0_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i libdvdcss2_1.2.13-0_amd64.deb
or a 32-bit .deb package:
wget -c http://download.videolan.org/pub/debian/stable/libdvdcss2_1.2.13-0_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i libdvdcss2_1.2.13-0_i386.deb
  • As of September 2013, Medibuntu is no longer maintained. Here are legacy Medibuntu instructions which will work for only a limited period more.
  • You can install libdvdcss2 as a 64-bit .deb package (without installing Medibuntu repositories):
wget -c http://packages.medibuntu.org/pool/free/libd/libdvdcss/libdvdcss2_1.2.12-0.0medibuntu1_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i libdvdcss2_1.2.12-0.0medibuntu1_amd64.deb
or a 32-bit .deb package:
wget -c http://packages.medibuntu.org/pool/free/libd/libdvdcss/libdvdcss2_1.2.12-0.0medibuntu1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i libdvdcss2_1.2.12-0.0medibuntu1_i386.deb
  • You can also install 32 bit or 64 bit Windows multimedia codecs (if you haven't already done so using kubuntu-restricted-extras):
sudo apt-get install w32codecs
or
sudo apt-get install w64codecs

libudf

Many newer DVDs use the UDF filesystem. To play them properly, also install libudf:

sudo apt-get install libudf0

Other tools are useful:

sudo apt-get install udftools libudf-dev

Music Players

Amarok

Amarok is the default music player in Kubuntu. Volume normalization (using ReplayGain) is a built-in option.

Amarok themes

Amarok themes can be downloaded from KDE Look and installed.

  • Download the theme (ending in .tar.bz2) to your home directory (or chosen directory).
  • Amarok -> Settings -> Appearance -> Install New Style
  • Select the downloaded file.

Play Shoutcast Internet Radio through Amarok

Shoutcast internet radio can be played through Amarok 2.2 or later by installing the Shoutcast script:

Amarok -> Tools -> Script Manager -> Get More Scripts -> Search: Shoutcast -> Install
-> Restart Amarok -> Tools -> Script Manager -> Shoutcast service tralala (ticked) -> Ok -> Internet -> Shoutcast service tralala

Note: Internet radio streams use many different ports. You must adjust your firewall to allow the ports over which the streams will be sent.

RecordStream

RecordStream is an Amarok plugin that enables recording of Internet Radio streams (works best with Shoutcast streams). Install:

Amarok -> Tools -> Script Manager -> Get More Scripts -> Search: RecordStream -> Install
  • Install the required streamripper module:
sudo apt-get install streamripper
  • RecordStream / Streamripper will record streams in two modes:
  • "Record webradio" will save each individually streamed track to its native MP3 or AAC file, preserving the original song/track title.
  • "Record livestream" will record continuously whatever is being streamed until the "Stop recording" option is chosen.
  • Of course, Streamripper can be used as a standalone command-line program as well. For instructions, enter man streamripper on the command line. The RecordStream script is not set up to pass all the variables available to Streamripper; for fine-grained control it is better to run Streamripper as a standalone program. See these tips.

Stream Amarok output to Airport Express

Make sure your firewall is not blocking ports 5353, 5000, and 6000.

QMMP

QMMP is a compact, fast Qt-based music player similar to XMMS2, Audacious, and WinAmp2 and can use the "Classic" WinAmp2 / XMMS skins. Volume normalization (using ReplayGain) is a built-in option. It supports many plugins and is ideal for streaming content. Install:

sudo apt-get install qmmp

You can switch between the "PulseAudio Output Plugin" and the "ALSA Output Plugin" under

QMMP -> Settings -> Audio -> Current output plugin.
  • There are many places to get .wsz skins ("Classic" Winamp2/XMMS) that are compatible with QMMP, Audacious, or XMMS2:

Audacious

Audacious is a compact, fast GTK-based music player that is a fork of XMMS. It resembles XMMS2 and WinAmp2 and can use the "Classic" WinAmp2 / XMMS skins. Volume normalization (using ReplayGain) is a built-in option. It supports many plugins and is ideal for streaming content. Install:

sudo apt-get install audacious

You can switch between the "PulseAudio Output Plugin" and the "ALSA Output Plugin" under

Audacious -> Preferences -> Audio -> Current output plugin.

Juk

Juk is a compact, fast music player with a simple iTunes-like track browser, ID3-tag editing capabilities, and playlist interface. However, volume normalization is not currently an option. It is part of the KDE multimedia project. Install:

sudo apt-get install juk

Clementine

Clementine is a Qt-based music player modeled on Amarok, with available options such as ID3 tags, music format conversion, audio CD playing, and more. Install:

sudo apt-get install clementine

Banshee Music Player

Banshee is a Gstreamer, Mono and Gtk-based music player for Linux and Mac OS X. It supports multiple mp3 players (including the iPod).There are plugins for podcasts, internet radio, and more.

sudo apt-get install banshee

Exaile Music Manager and Player

Exaile is a GTK-based music player that supports many formats, incorporates a Shoutcast directory, a plugin for iPod, Last.FM support, tabbed playlists, and other features. Install:

sudo apt-get install exaile

Songbird Music Player

Songbird is an open source music player from Mozilla with an appearance meant to resemble iTunes. It is in current development and does not yet have full support for mp3 players (such as the iPod). It incorporates a Shoutcast internet radio interface. The current beta version can be downloaded from the website.

aTunes

aTunes is a Java-based player designed to be similar to iTunes. Installation instructions are here.

VLC Player

VLC works quite well as an audio player. See this section.

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Maps and GPS

In addition to several online mapping services (such as Google Maps, MapQuest, and the open source OpenStreetMap), self-contained map packages can be installed on your computer (to be used with or without Internet access).

Marble

Marble is a virtual globe and world atlas for the KDE desktop similar to Google Earth. Also see the OpenStreetMap intro to Marble. Install:

sudo apt-get install marble
  • OpenStreetMap can be imported and viewed:
Marble -> File -> Download Maps... -> Osmarender OpenStreetMap -> Install
-> Map View -> Projection: Flat Map -> OpenStreetMap
  • Routing (i.e. point-to-point directions) is available using one (or more) of several services. See the Marble manual. Map files for offline routing can also be installed using the MoNav routing tool:
Marble -> Routing -> Configure -> Monav

Google Earth

Google Earth gives you an annotated eagle's eye view of our planet. This is a free proprietary package (you must accept the license to use this package).

sudo apt-get install googleearth-package
make-googleearth-package --force
Doubleclick on the resulting .deb file.
-- or --

To install the latest Linux binary, download and save the GoogleEarthLinux.bin (currently version 5 ) package from Google Earth downloads. (You may alternatively download the previous version (4.3), named googleearth-linux-plus-4.3.7284.3916.bin or something similar.)

wget http://dl.google.com/earth/client/current/GoogleEarthLinux.bin

Then install:

chmod +x GoogleEarthLinux.bin
./GoogleEarthLinux.bin

Run:

K menu -> Internet -> Google Earth 3D planet viewer

You should turn off the Google Earth -> View -> Atmosphere setting, or you might see clouds everywhere and the ground won't show up.

Troubleshooting

  • If Google Earth opens, shows the splash screen, and then crashes, you’re probably experiencing a common issue. Running ~/google-earth/googleearth in a terminal will show this error:

./googleearth-bin: relocation error: /usr/lib/i686/cmov/libssl.so.0.9.8: symbol BIO_test_flags, version OPENSSL_0.9.8 not defined in file libcrypto.so.0.9.8 with link time reference

To fix this, browse to the folder you installed Google Earth into. (If you installed manually, this will be google-earth in your home folder.) Find the file libcrypto.so.0.9.8 and rename it to something else, like libcrypto.so.0.9.8.bak. Google Earth should now start correctly.

cd ~/google-earth
sudo mv libcrypto.so.0.9.8 libcrypto.so.0.9.8.bak
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 ~/google-earth/libcrypto.so.0.9.8
(Note: You can also specify /home/user/google-earth instead of ~/google-earth ).
  • On my display, I had to disable desktop effects (K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Desktop -> Desktop Effects) to get the display to work.

For other issues, see the Ubuntu help pages on Google Earth. Be careful of some of the suggestions there.

For example, if you turned on OpenGL desktop effects (using K Menu -> System Settings -> Desktop -> Desktop Effects -> General -> Advanced Options) and your display goes blank and you can't restore it, you will have to edit the settings file manually from the command-line to reset your mistake.

nano ~/.kde/share/config/kwinrc

In the section title [Compositing], under the line Backend=OpenGL (or whichever backend you had selected) change the line below it to read:

Enabled=false

The will reset your display and you can then reboot successfully into your default display (to try different settings from the menu again, if you wish).

Uninstall Google Earth

To uninstall run the uninstall shell script located in the /home/user/google-earth folder (or whichever folder you installed google-earth into).

Merkaartor

Merkaartor is a Qt-based cross-platform map viewer and editor that uses the Open Street Maps project. It is complex and difficult to configure and is more suitable for advanced needs than for the average user. Install:

sudo apt-get install merkaartor

Open Street Maps

A list of other packages available for (K)Ubuntu that use Open Street Maps is here (and a full list for Debian is here).

GPS

Tux Mobil has a list of Linux applications for use with GPS devices, and compatible hardware. Two GPS packages are available from the Ubuntu/Kubuntu respositories:

  • Viking is a free open source package to view GPS data in maps, and to plot co-ordinates. This has been reviewed as the best Linux GPS mapping program.
sudo apt-get install viking
  • GPS Drive is a free navigation software package that displays your position on a zoomable map using your GPS device. It is GTK-based but can be used in Kubuntu. It uses the gpsd daemon that interfaces with a variety of GPS hardware. A .deb package of the current version is also available from the website. Install:
 sudo apt-get install gpsdrive
  • tangoGPS is a beautiful, lightweight GPS mapping program that uses map data from the Openstreetmap project. Is is a GPL-licensed open source project. A .deb package can be found here.

Celestial (Star) Maps

Celestia

Celestia is a free planetarium and space simulator for the desktop. Install:

sudo apt-get install celestia

Stellarium

Stellarium is an astounding planetarium for the desktop. Install:

sudo apt-get install stellarium

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Utilities

Utilities facilitate tasks such as keeping the clock up to date, archiving utilities, and more.

Rename multiple files at once

Krename is a tool to rename multiple files in a batch. It allows multiple plugins to save or add information to files.

sudo apt-get install krename

Archiving Utilities

ZIP

The command-line terminal utility ZIP creates files that are compatible with the time-honored PKZIP and WinZip. It is included in (K)Ubuntu by default. Extracting zip files can be done with the unzip utility. Using the -P option allows the creation of a password for the zip file:

zip -r -P mypassword destination.zip *

Note: The -r option indicates to include all subdirectories recursively. The wildcard * adds all files in the directory, but you can specify individual filenames as well. If special characters are to be used in the password, designate them with a preceding \. For example, if the password is to be notsosecure123# then the command should be

zip -r -P notsosecure123\# destination.zip *

For more info, enter in the command-line terminal:

man zip

File Roller (Archiving GUI)

File Roller is a GTK-based archival GUI for the Gnome desktop (which can also be used in KDE). It allows both passwords to be added to archived files as well as the "modify file" function. Install:

sudo apt-get install file-roller
  • A service menu for the Dolphin file manager can be found here. Additional instructions for installing and using this service menu are at Kubuntu Forums. Install:
Dolphin -> Settings -> Configure Dolphin... -> Services -> Download New Services... -> Search: file-roller
-> "Extract Here and Compress -- File-roller" -> Install

X-archiver (Archiving GUI)

Xarchiver is a GTK-based GUI front-end for many archiving utilities. It allows the addition of passwords but lacks the "modify file" feature. Install:

sudo apt-get install xarchiver

Ark (Archiving GUI)

Ark is a front-end for zip (and other archival utilities) but does not allow passwords. It is the default for KDE/Kubuntu.

BChunk

BChunk is a command-line utility that allows you to convert .cue and .bin files into an .iso file (so that they can be opened and manipulated in Kubuntu). Warning: If the bin/cue image has audio tracks, they will be lost.

Get BChunk

sudo apt-get install bchunk

To convert .cue and .bin files, navigate to the folder and run this command (replacing filenames with your own):

bchunk inputfilename.bin inputfilename.cue outputfilename.iso

After the file is converted into ISO you can mount it using:

sudo mount -o loop outputfilename.iso /media/output

Navigate to /media/output and you should see all the content there. You can then copy it anywhere.

To unmount:

sudo umount /media/output

HJSplit Files Joiner/Splitter

HJSplit for Linux (Java version).

  • Make sure you have Java Runtime Environment installed:
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre
  • Download the HJSplit JAR file:
wget http://www.freebyte.com/download/hjsplit/hjsplit_g.jar
  • Create the directory for HJSplit:
sudo mkdir /opt/hjsplit
  • Move the file to an appropriate directory:
sudo mv hjsplit_g.jar /opt/hjsplit/ 
  • Run:
cd /opt/hjsplit/ && java -jar hjsplit_g.jar 
Note: You could also make a terminal shortcut (menu item) in K Menu Editor.

Rar

Rar archives files into the proprietary .rar format.

sudo apt-get install rar

This application is a 40-day trial.

Unrar

Unrar extracts files archived with the proprietary .rar format. A free version can be installed:

sudo apt-get install unrar-free

or the proprietary version (also free for noncommercial use) can be installed with the kubuntu-restricted-extras package or with:

sudo apt-get install unrar

Once one of these two utilities is installed, you can use Ark to extract the .rar files.

7-Zip

The open-source 7-Zip archive format was originally designed for Windows (and DOS) but is also available for Ubuntu. The GNU/Linux version of 7-Zip does not come with a GUI, but Ark can hook into 7-Zip to handle 7z archives. Install:

sudo apt-get install p7zip-full

To allow the 7-Zip extension for Ark to extract .rar files, also install:

sudo apt-get install p7zip-rar

Hard Drive Utilities

KDiskFree (Hard drive properties monitor)

KDiskFree is a KDE utility for monitoring free disk space, etc.

sudo apt-get install kdf

Clock Utilties

Screensavers

A screensaver is useful as a security precaution as well as a power and screen element saver. Using even a simple "Blank Screen" screensaver with a password can slow a potentially malicious passerby from gaining access to your keyboard and computer while you are away from your desk.

K menu -> Settings -> System Settings -> Display and Monitor -> Screen Saver
  • Set a security password:
Screen Saver -> Require password to stop (ticked)
  • A login session can be automatically locked with a screensaver (after a timeout), requiring a user password in order to re-enter the session. See this section.

Run widgets in the Screensaver

A variety of widgets can be run from the screensaver.

K menu -> Settings -> System Settings -> Display and Monitor -> Screen Saver -> Allow widgets on screensaver (ticked) -> Configure Widgets...
  • Note: The kdeplasma-addons package may need to be added to your system for this to work.
  • Due to an ongoing bug, although the position of the widget can be manipulated by dragging it, the size of the widgets added to the screensaver screen can only be edited manually in the file ~/.kde4/share/config/plasma-overlay-appletsrc:
kate ~/.kde4/share/config/plasma-overlay-appletsrc

For example, to edit the screen placement and size of the Clock widget, look for the section with plugin=clock and edit the line similar to

geometry=17,10,256,256

until it has the desired settings. In this example, the x-offset from the top left corner is 17, the y-offset is 10, the width is 256, and the height is 256. Edit them (and other settings) as desired and save the configuration file.

Partition Managers

Also see these tips for partitioning scheme suggestions, other partitioning tools and methods, and usage of multiple partitions for multiple OSs.

GParted Partition Manager

Gparted is a GTK (Gnome)-based partition manager that can also be used with KDE.

  • This utility works best when run from a LiveCD. The newest versions of the GParted LiveCD are UEFI-compatible.
  • Recent versions of the Ubuntu LiveCD (but not the Kubuntu LiveCD, which uses Partition Manager instead) have a copy of GParted on them. Start the Ubuntu LiveCD in demo mode (not in install mode) and then start GParted:
Menu -> System -> Administration -> GParted
  • You can also install the package into your OS (once it is installed on your hard drive):
sudo apt-get install gparted

KDE Partition Manager

KDE Partition Manager is a KDE-based partition manager used during the installation of Kubuntu. It functions similarly to GParted (and can be used instead of GParted).

  • This utility works best when run from a LiveCD. Recent versions (Natty 11.04 or later) of the Kubuntu LiveCD (but not the Ubuntu LiveCD) have a copy of KDE Partition Manager on them. Start the Kubuntu LiveCD in demo mode (not in install mode) and then start KDE Partition Manager:
K Menu -> System -> KDE Partition Manager
  • If not already installed on your system:
sudo apt-get install partitionmanager

Template:Precise/Backup

User Administration

Users and Groups

K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> User Management
  • Add New Users
K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> User Management -> User Accounts -> Add
  • Remove Users
K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> User Management -> User Accounts -> user -> Delete
  • Modify Users
K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> User Management -> User Accounts -> user -> Modify

It is quite often necessary to have extra privileges to do certain tasks. These privileges are assigned to your user by belonging to certain groups. The tasks are allowed to be performed by any user belonging to the group associated with that task.

Example: a "sudoer" is a user who can perform certain administrative tasks, such as updating the system. To become a "sudoer" a user must belong to the "sudo" group.
K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> User Management -> User Accounts -> user -> Modify -> Privileges and Groups --> sudo (ticked)

To become an administrator, you must belong to the adm, admin, and sudo groups. To be a virtualbox user, you must belong to the virtualbox group. To change printer settings you must belong to lpadmin. To use the cdrom, you must belong to cdrom. To use hot-pluggable devices, you must belong to plugdev. To share Samba folders (on a Windows-based network), you must belong to sambashare. To access NTFS files using the virtual filesystem fuse, you must belong to the fuse group. To use many games, you must belong to the games group. The list is long, and not always obvious.

Unfortunately, while this is the feature that gives Linux such a high-level of security, it can also take diligence to remember to add your user to certain groups. It is not uncommon for programs and functions on your system not to work merely because you don't have privileges to do so because you forgot to add your user to the appropriate group(s).

Of most importance, you must already be an administrator in order to change membership in groups. Therefore, if you create a new user and intend to give that user administrative privileges (by assigning the user to the administrative groups), you must do so from your original administrator account (the one you set up at installation) or from another administrative user account.

PolicyKit

PolicyKit-KDE is the KDE frontend for PolicyKit, a toolkit for controlling system-wide user privileges.

Timekpr (Parental controls)

Timekpr is a program to track and control the computer usage of user accounts. (This is different from KTimeTracker, which merely records your usage but does not restrict it.) It is available from a Launchpad PPA.

  • If updating, remove any prior versions:
sudo dpkg --purge timekpr
deb deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/timekpr-maintainers/ppa/ubuntu oneiric main
deb-src deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/timekpr-maintainers/ppa/ubuntu oneiric main
  • Install:
sudo apt-get install timekpr
When prompted which default display manager to use, select "kdm"
  • Start:
K menu -> System -> Timekpr Control Panel

Web content filtering

DansGuardian provides web filtering capability, similar to NetNanny. It is useful for limitng objectionable content in publicly accessible workstations, or for filtering objectionable content for younger users. It integrates with ClamAV, and uses several criteria for filtering websites (which is difficult to modify). It is used with Tinyproxy (best for individual users) or the Squid proxy (best for a network server). Install:

sudo apt-get install dansguardian tinyproxy
or
sudo apt-get install dansguardian squid

See these installation instructions for setup details. In brief,

  • Edit the dansguardian configuration file:
sudo nano /etc/dansguardian/dansguardian.conf
comment out the UNCONFIGURED line:
#UNCONFIGURED
If using tinyproxy instead of Squid, change the proxyport to 8888:
proxyport 8888
  • Reinstall dansguardian:
sudo apt-get install --reinstall dansguardian
  • Set your browser to use the localhost:8080 proxy. For example, in Firefox:
  • Firefox -> Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network -> Settings
  • Manual proxy configuration -> HTTP proxy: localhost -> Port: 8080
  • A Webmin module is available to administer settings. Also, a GUI to change Dansguardian settings called Webstrict is in development.

System Administration

Automating Tasks (cron)

  • Cron is a system daemon that runs tasks in the background according to instructions found in a crontab file. To edit the crontab file for the current user:
crontab -e

Tasks that normally require administrative (sudo) privileges should be added to the root user's crontab:

sudo crontab -e

Add commands using the format specified here (or see the Ubuntu Community Help). The crontab command format can also be found using:

man crontab
  • Scheduled/automated tasks (cron events) can also be edited using a KDE GUI interface for cron. Install the configuration module:
sudo apt-get install kde-config-cron
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Task Scheduler

KWallet (Password Manager)

KWallet is a password manager for the KDE desktop. Refer to the handbook for detailed usage instructions. If a password is not desired to be used for an application, merely leave the password blank when prompted.

Change themed background wallpapers

The background wallpapers for the KDE themed greeter (at login) and the KDE screen locker can be changed by one of several methods (which are not intuitive). See this KDE Forums thread for options and details.

  • The screen locker (lockable screensaver) can be activated in the System Settings (System Settings -> Display and Monitor -> Screen Locker). To change the screen locker background image, here is a suggested method.
  • Edit the screen locker UI settings:
sudo kate /usr/share/kde4/apps/ksmserver/screenlocker/org.kde.passworddialog/contents/ui/main.qml
  • Change
source: theme.wallpaperPathForSize(parent.width, parent.height)
to
/* source: theme.wallpaperPathForSize(parent.width, parent.height) */
source: "1920x1080.png"
Note: Make sure to include the quotation marks around the image filename. Use a size for the filename that matches your screensize. If your screen is only 1024x768, for example, you can use "1024x768.png" for the designated filename.
  • Choose (or create) a .png image of the appropriate size to be used as the background image for the screen locker. For example, I happen to like the wallpapers of the Ariya theme and use the /usr/share/wallpapers/Ariya/contents/images/1920x1080.png image for my screen locker. Create a symbolic link for that image to the screen locker folder:
sudo ln -s /usr/share/wallpapers/Ariya/contents/images/1920x1080.png /usr/share/kde4/apps/ksmserver/screenlocker/org.kde.passworddialog/contents/ui/1920x1080.png
Note: Make sure the link filename matches the one specified in the edited settings file.

Boot Menu

Login Menu settings

You can change the Login menu settings from the GUI interface:

K menu -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Login Manager

You can choose an integrated theme or select individual components of the login screen/process.

GRUB boot manager settings

Grub2

Precise comes with Grub2, a difficult boot manager to customize. (Grub2 is also known as grub-pc.) See the evolving instructions at the Ubuntu wiki or Ubuntu forums. In brief, some settings can be edited:

sudo kate /etc/default/grub
sudo update-grub

Alternatively, use the command:

 sudo grub-mkconfig --output=/boot/grub/grub.cfg
Grub2 background image, colors, fonts
  • See this Ubuntu Forums thread.
  • Any background image can be used for Grub2 by placing the image in the /boot/grub folder and then reconfiguring Grub2:
sudo update-grub

The image ought to be the same size as the Grub2 startup resolution specified in /etc/default/grub (e.g. 1024x768).

  • A selection of splashimages can be installed into the /usr/share/images/grub folder:
sudo apt-get install grub2-splashimages
  • One of the images can be linked to the /boot/grub folder and used as the splash image. For example:
sudo ln -s /usr/share/images/grub/Plasma-lamp.tga /boot/grub
sudo update-grub
Change the default menu item
  • There are several ways to change the default Grub2 menu item, but only one is reliable. The menu items in Grub2 change name and position in the list with every kernel upgrade. However, if you choose the default menu item by name, you can reliably set it as the default. For example, if you wish to boot a Windows OS as the default and the Grub 2 menu lists it as Microsoft Windows 98SE Ancient Edition (on /dev/sda1) then edit /etc/default/grub:
sudo kate /etc/default/grub

and change the entry to resemble:

GRUB_DEFAULT="Microsoft Windows 98SE Ancient Edition (on /dev/sda1)"

then regenerate the Grub2 config file:

sudo update-grub

To find out the names of the menu items, use:

sudo grep menuentry /boot/grub/grub.cfg
  • Note: There is a bug in Grub2 v.1.99 such that if the GRUB_DEFAULT option is used, the Grub2 menu can not be entered (for manually selecting a menu item). If the default option is a non-Linux OS, there will then be no way start a Linux OS (and therefore no way to subsequently change the /etc/default/grub configuration file). Use this option with great care.
Grub2 configuration
  • A KDE-based frontend to Grub2 configuration can be installed:
sudo apt-get install kde-config-grub2
K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Startup and Shutdown -> Grub2 Bootloader
Protecting Grub2 from cracking
  • To add password protection, in the /etc/grub.d/40_custom configuration file
sudo kate /etc/grub.d/40_custom
add the lines:
set superusers="user1"
#password_pbkdf2 user1 grub.pbkdf2.sha512.10000.biglongstring
password user1 insecurecleartextpassword

and change your password to something other than insecurecleartextpassword, or use the pbkdf2-encrypted method described here. You can then password-lock menu items as well. For detailed info see this blog.

Grub Legacy

The older version of GRUB ("Grub Legacy") is available, for use with a boot partition, for example. Install:

sudo apt-get install grub
  • If you have multiple operating systems (OS) on your computer, you may be using the GRUB Legacy boot manager (in a boot partition, for example). You can edit the options for GRUB Legacy in the menu.lst configuration file. (See this detailed info.)
sudo nano /boot/grub/menu.lst
(kate can also be used instead of nano as the text editor.)
Removing Grub2 entirely

Personally, I have had nothing but trouble with Grub2 since the beginning. Every version brings a new headache and one OS or another stops loading. I have reverted to Grub Legacy entirely by uninstalling Grub2 (grub-pc) prior to installing Grub Legacy (grub):

sudo apt-get remove grub-pc grub-common kde-config-grub2 --purge
sudo apt-get install grub
Chainloading Grub2 from Grub Legacy
  • To chainload Grub2 (installed in this example with the OS in the /dev/sda7 partition) from Grub Legacy (stored in a boot partition, for example), use an entry of this format in the Grub Legacy /boot/grub/menu.lst configuration file:
title		(K)Ubuntu Precise OS (chainloader)
rootnoverify	(hd0,6)
chainloader	+1
  • Grub2 is erratic, however. In many situations I don't bother to chainload it at all. Instead, it is possible to bypass Grub2 entirely and load the OS directly using Grub Legacy (stored in a boot partition, for example) using an entry in /boot/grub/menu.lst of the format:
title		 (K)Ubuntu Oneiric OS (chainloader)
rootnoverify	 (hd0,6)
kernel	 	 /vmlinuz root=/dev/sda7 ro
initrd	 	 /initrd.img
  • My old method for chainloading Grub2 (installed in this example in the /dev/sda7 partition) from Grub Legacy used an entry in the Grub Legacy configuration file (/boot/grub/menu.lst) with this format:
title		 (K)Ubuntu Maverick OS (chainloader)
rootnoverify	 (hd0,6)
kernel	 	 /boot/grub/core.img
This method, however, requires a current core.img to have been created with grub-mkimg (part of the grub-install process). When there are substantial changes to the partition or the kernel, the core.img must be re-created by re-installing Grub2 into the OS partition (in this example /dev/sda7 corresponds to (hd0,6) ):
sudo grub-install /dev/sda7
Protecting Grub Legacy from cracking
  • To add password protection, in the /boot/grub/menu.lst configuration file, uncomment (remove the hashmark) from the line:
#password topsecret

and change your password to something other than topsecret, or use the md5-encrypted method described here. You can then password-lock menu items by adding the descriptor lock below the title of any item menu.

Default Applications

You can choose which program to use as your default program for a specific task.

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Default Applications

Kill a process

Sometimes a program (or "process") just freezes. To "kill" (or end) the program/process:

K menu -> System -> System Monitor -> highlight the errant process -> Kill process

From the command line:

sudo killall process
where process is the name of the frozen program, such as firefox.

Manage Bootup/Startup services

There are two ways to select which services should be started at bootup, and I recommend both. The KDE System Settings only shows KDE services, so the Bootup-Manager is also required to show any GTK-based services installed on your system. Preventing unneeded or unwanted services from loading at startup can improve system performance.

  • Select KDE services to run at startup:
K menu -> Settings -> System Settings -> Startup and Shutdown -> Service Manager
  • Install the GTK-based Bootup-Manager:
sudo apt-get install bum
  • Run Bootup-Manager:
K menu -> Settings -> Bootup-Manager

Enabling NUM LOCK On Startup

K Menu-> System -> System Settings -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard ->"turn on Numlock on KDE Startup"

Working with Menus

  • There are two menu formats -- Kickoff Menu Style and Classic Menu Style. To swtich between the two, you must have the Widgets unlocked:
Right-click K menu -> Unlock Widgets

the choose your menu style:

Right-click K menu -> Switch to ... Menu Style
  • To edit menus, unlock widgets as above, then:
Right-click K menu -> Menu Editor

Create an encrypted folder

With Kubuntu, you can create a folder whose contents are encrypted. See these instructions.

Create a symlink from a file to another location

A symbolic link (also known as a symlink) is a method in Linux of referring to a file (or directory) in one location from another location. Usage:

ln -s /path/to/source /path/to/destination

If /path/to/destination requires superuser rights, then use:

sudo ln -s /path/to/source /path/to/destination

This is similar to, but more powerful than, creating Shortcuts, with which former Windows users may be familiar.

Assign a root password

To be able to log in as root directly, you must assign a root password. This can be done with:

sudo passwd root

Afterwards, you can use

su

to get a root prompt. You would then use the root password.

Get a root prompt without using a root password

If you have not set a root password (or don't know it), you can obtain root user privileges anyway. From the command-line terminal (Konsole):

sudo -s
or
sudo su
or
sudo bash

You will use your own user password instead of a root password.

You could also get a prompt to become any other user on the computer by typing:

sudo su <username>

Use the File Manager as root

  • A file manager (such as Dolphin) can be opened with root user (superuser) privileges, allowing access to folders and files with root permissions.
kdesudo dolphin
or
kdesudo konqueror
Of course, you can make a Menu Item / Shortcut using either the kdesudo dolphin or kdesudo konqueror command, as well.
  • When opening a file manager in this way, the default folder will be /root/. User files will be found by clicking on the "Root" icon and then navigating to the /home/user/ folder(s).
  • It is also possible to open a file manager in the ~/ folder (i.e. /home/user/ folder) using
sudo dolphin
There is a risk to doing this, however. Some files with user-level permissions may unpredictably be changed to root user (superuser) permissions (especially when copying or moving files) when the file manager is opened using sudo. It is worthwhile to double-check file permissions for unintended consequences. While I have never seen any problems using sudo dolphin, in general it is recommended to use kdesudo dolphin instead.
  • A Root Actions Servicemenu is available for Dolphin in order to perform certain functions with root user (superuser) permissions. However, this service menu does not allow a user to enter folders that have root permissions unless Dolphin has been started using kdesudo dolphin.

Synchronize clock to network time server

The Network Time Protocol (NTP) allows time synchronization of your computer to time servers on the Internet.To enable it:

K menu -> System Settings -> Date & Time
Check the "Set date and time automatically" option
Choose an ntp time server near you.

Manually Mount and Unmount a device

  • To manually mount a device:
sudo mount /dev/hda

replace /dev/hda with the location of the device.

  • To manually unmount a device:
sudo umount /dev/hda

replace /dev/hda with the location of the device.

Windows Compatibility

Mounting NTFS Partitions (with read/write privileges)

Install NTFS-3G, the NTFS manager:

sudo apt-get install ntfs-3g

Note: You should also be a member of the fuse group to use ntfs-3g.

Find out the name of your ntfs partition:

sudo fdisk -l

Method 1: In this example, the NTFS drive is listed by fdisk as /dev/sda2, but yours may differ.

Make a mount point for the drive:

sudo mkdir /media/WindowsNTFS

Edit fstab:

sudo nano /etc/fstab

Comment out the automatically added lines by Kubuntu installation:

#/dev/sda2  auto nouser,atime,noauto,rw,nodev,noexec,nosuid 0 0
#/dev/sda2 /mnt auto user,atime,noauto,rw,nodev,noexec,nosuid 0 0

and instead add the line:

/dev/sda2 /mnt/WindowsNTFS ntfs-3g quiet,defaults,rw 0 0

Note: There are many ways to mount the drive, depending on your needs. The fstab file controls this process. See How to edit and understand fstab and Intro to using fstab.

In this example, I indicated that the file system was an ntfs-3g filesystem, so did not use the auto option (which detects the filesystem automatically). I used rw to specify read/write privileges for all users, but umask=0 and umask=000 are accepted by some kernels.

Method 2: Edit fstab:

sudo nano /etc/fstab

When Kubuntu installation finishes, it mounts all ntfs partitions automatically with ntfsprogs, adding a line similar to the following to fstab:

UUID=8466268666267956 /media/sda1     ntfs    defaults,gid=46 0       1

Change this line to:

UUID=8466268666267956 /media/sda1     ntfs-3g    defaults,nls=utf8,locale=zh_CN.UTF-8,rw,gid=46 0       1

In this example, I have a Chinese-language Windows installation on my first partition, so I set the locale parameter (locale=zh_CN.UTF-8) so that my Chinese documents can display correctly. Setting rw (same as umask=0 or umask=000) lets me read/write the partition without sudo. gid=46 specifies that the drive will belong to the group of hot-pluggable devices (plugdev) and is not necessary unless your ntfs drive is a hot-pluggable one (such as an external USB drive). nls=utf8 is the default and is optional for most ntfs users, but there are other options for Chinese (and other specialized character-set users).

Mounting FAT32 Partitions

Follow the above instructions, but use vfat instead of ntfs-3g.

In other words, if you have made a mount point directory /mnt/WindowsFAT32 and your FAT32 drive is /dev/sda3, then edit the /etc/fstab file to include the line:

/dev/sda3 /mnt/WindowsFAT32 vfat quiet,defaults,rw 0 0

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Template:Precise/Networking

Template:Precise/NetworkAdmin

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Tips & Tricks

Search my computer

Strigi / Nepomuk / Akonadi

Nepomuk is a background indexing service that examines files and stores information about them in a database. It takes CPU cycles to run. Akonadi stores PIM (personal information, e.g. address books, etc.) and is also available to a search query. Strigi is the client application that accesses the index database to perform a search. It is accessed as the "Search" bar of the Dolphin file manager or of the Konqueror browser. To turn the services on or off or to adjust the cache/database size:

K menu -> Settings -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Desktop Search
Disable AkonadiTray

The KDE Plasma / System Tray widget AkonadiTray does not display correctly on my system. (I do not use Akonadi and have it turned off, but AkonadiTray appears anyway.) The solution is to merely rename the akonaditray module:

sudo mv /usr/bin/akonaditray /usr/bin/akonaditray.bak

Other search apps

These apps do not rely on an index database (so that the CPU-intensive indexing apps can be turned off). However, they therefore take longer to examine the computer during a search.

  • KFind, for KDE4 ( sudo apt-get install kfind )
  • Searchmonkey, which is Gtk-based ( sudo apt-get install searchmonkey )

Change to black Panel bar

To change from the default blue "Air" Panel bar (Taskbar) to the black "Oxygen" Panel bar (Taskbar):

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Appearance -> Workspace -> Oxygen -> Apply

Mute or change notifications (alerts)

  • Notifications (alerts) can be disabled:
K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> General -> Notifications -> Player Settings -> No audio output (ticked) -> Apply
  • Notifications for events can be set (or muted) individually:
K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> General -> Notifications -> Applications -> Event source ->

Change notification widget style

The new style of the Notifcation Widget for the System Tray (which looks like an arrow) can be reverted to the old style (a circle).

KDE Cashew (upper right corner) -> Unlock Widgets
-> <right-click> on System Tray (Panel Bar) -> System Tray Settings
-> Entries -> Notifications: Always Visible -> OK
-> Display: Notifications (unticked) -> Apply -> Display: Notifications (ticked) -> OK
KDE Cashew (upper right corner) -> Lock Widgets

Unfortunately, this has to be done every time the system is restarted.

Automatic user login

  • To accomplish this (yet still require a user password):
K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Login Manager -> Convenience -> Enable Auto-Login (ticked) -> Lock session (ticked)
-> Pre-select user: Specified: Choose primary user
  • This ought to be combined with a password-protected screensaver.

Autostart a program at bootup

Any program (or script) can be made to Autostart at bootup by creating a symbolic link to that program (or script) in the ~/.kde/Autostart folder.

For example, to start Firefox at bootup, create a symbolic link:

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/firefox ~/.kde/Autostart

Programs and scripts can also be added to the Autostart menu using System Settings:

K menu -> Settings -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Autostart -> Add Script... or Add Program

Choose Bootup/Startup services

Run a script from a menu item

It is possible to place a short script in a menu item / shortcut to answer an interactive query (such as a password query). Here is an example that is used to enter a password during an SSH negotiation. First, install the utility expect:

sudo apt-get install expect

The use a command in the Menu Item / Shortcut similar to:

expect -c 'spawn ssh -l sshuser -L 5900:127.0.0.1:5900 remoteserver.remotedomain.org -p 22 ; expect assword ; send "sshpassword\n" ; interact'

In this example the password sshpassword is returned when the ssh program requires a password. Expect waits for some text to be displayed in the command-line terminal then returns text in return. The Menu Item must be "Run in terminal", therefore.

KDialog (User interface for scripts)

KDialog allows user input to scripts. This allows the automation of tasks with the option of user input during those scripts.

SHC (Encrypt scripts)

SHC is a simple script compiler that will convert a script into a binary, obscuring the code (and passwords, etc.). Usage instructions are here. Install by adding the Debian Etch repository:

sudo add-apt-repository 'http://archive.debian.org/debian etch main' 

then install the shc package:

sudo apt-get install shc

Run Command

You can run any application in your path using the Run Command. Right-click on the Plasma Icon in the upper right of your desktop to find the command. You can also use Alt+F2.

Add Menu items to Desktop or Panel

To copy a program icon to the desktop or panel bar, you must first unlock widgets:

Widget icon (upper right corner of desktop) -> Unlock Widgets

then right-click on any menu item in the K menu and select "Add to Desktop" or "Add to Panel". You can move the icon anywhere you desire and then re-lock the widgets.

For example, I like to have the icon for Konsole (the command-line interface terminal) in my Panel bar (since I like to work in the command-line interface frequently). I therefore right-click on K menu -> System -> Konsole then choose "Add to Panel".

Restore the Task Manager bar

It is easy to remove the Task Manager bar accidentally and find yourself with an empty desktop. Here's how to restore it to its default state at installation:

  • If you have accidentally erased your Task Manager bar completely, add it again from the Plasma icon in the upper right corner of your desktop. You can drag your Task Manager bar anywhere you want using the "handle" on the edge of the bar (which pops up unless you have the widgets locked).
  • Right-click on the Task Manager bar -> Panel Settings to configure it. You will notice a configuration bar that will pop up. While this is displayed you can drag things around the Task Manger bar how you like them. You can also change the dimensions of the Task manager bar using the arrows, and can choose the centering options for the Task Manager bar.
  • You can also (re-)add widgets to the Task Manager bar using the Add Widget option on this configuration bar as well. (Note: This is different from the Add widgets option found in the Plasma icon in the upper right corner of your desktop, which adds widgets to your desktop, not to the task manager bar).
  • The original default task manager bar at installation included the "Applications Launcher (traditional menu based)" widget, the "Digital Clock" widget, the "Pager" widget, the "Task Manager" widget, the "System Tray" widget, and the "Trashcan" widget. Add whichever ones you have accidentally removed, then drag them around the Task Manager bar into desired positions.
  • Close the configuration bar when you are done by clicking on the red X.

Move Notifications widget from System Tray to Panel bar

The Notifications widget developed a bug after Precise 12.04 and now has become ill-behaved when enabled in the System Tray. The solution is to disable it in the System Tray and to instead add notifications as a standalone widget on the Panel bar:

  • Remove Notifications from the System Tray:

<Right-Click> on the System Tray to enter System Tray Settings -> Extra Items -> Notifications: <Unticked> -> Ok

  • Add the Notifications Widget to the Panel:

<Right-Click> on the Panel bar -> Add Widgets... -> Notifications -> <Double-Click to select and add to Panel>

  • Move the newly added Notifications Widget to the desired location on the Panel:

<Right-Click> on the Panel bar -> Panel Settings -> <Slide Notifications widget to desired location>

Restore Konqueror as Default File Manager

  • K-menu -> Run (or use the "Run command..." option from the Plasma Icon in the upper right corner of your desktop).
  • Open KDE components -> File Associations -> inode
  • Choose directory. In the right part of the window, change the application preference order so that Konqueror would be the first app in the list.
  • Do the same with system_directory.

Remove Konqueror temporary thumbnail files

When browsing files locally, Konqueror builds up thumbnails of the images viewed. To remove these thumbnails, from the command line terminal Konsole:

cd ~/.thumbnails/normal
rm -rf *.png
cd ~/.thumbnails/large
rm -rf *.png
Note: You can substitute /home/user for ~, if you choose, where user is your username.

Screen snapshot

Ksnapshot is normally used.

Turn off Hot Keys

This is the most evil option on any operating system, in my opinion. A mis-stroke enables any number of random events. Unfortunately, this problem is pervasive in operating systems and is difficult to turn off.

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Input Actions -> General Settings -> check "Disable KHotKeys daemon"
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> Input Actions -> Gestures Settings -> check "Disable mouse gestures globally"

If you wish to be selective about it (this doesn't often work, however), start by disabling unnecessary desktop hotkeys.

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Keyboard Shortcuts

Also, you may want to deactivate linking gestures to sticky and slow keys:

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Accessibility -> Activation Gestures -> uncheck "Use gestures for activating sticky keys and slow keys"

Note: You probably will have to disable hotkeys in many applications, as well.

Hotkeys from the Synaptics Touchpad can be selectively turned off using this information from the Ubuntu documentation.

Activate Suspend or Hibernate

Power Management settings can be accessed:

K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Power Management

Turn off Device Notifier

The Device Notifier is the pop-up that appears when you attach a new removable device, such as a USB, CD/DVD, or removable hard-drive. The default behaviour is to automatically mount the device in the Dolphin file manager, but in addition the Device Manager presents a list of options for the device that are set in K Menu -> Settings -> System Settings -> Device Actions. Those options can be edited there, or the Device Notifier pop-up can be disabled altogether:

<right-click> on the System Tray icon in the Panel bar (looks like a triangle) -> System Tray Settings
-> Display -> Extra Items: Device Notifier -> unticked -> OK

Associate default applications

K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> File Associations -> x-content -> video-dvd -> Applications Preference order -> Add...
then choose your favourite media player. There are similar options for Blu-Ray (video-bluray) and HD DVD (video-hddvd). Set each individually.
  • To assign the default player for playing mpegs (or other video formats):
K menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> File Associations -> video -> mpeg -> Applications Preference order -> Add...
then choose your favourite media player. You can do this for a host of video file formats, including .wmv (x-ms-wmv, or Microsoft WMV format), .flv (x-flv, or Flash video), quicktime, and so on.
  • To assign .pls audio streams to play through Audacious:
K Menu -> System -> System Settings -> Advanced -> File Associations -> audio -> x-scpls -> Applications Preference order -> Move Audacious to the top (or Add... it).
Make sure *.pls appears in the Filename Patterns section.

Associate files using Dolphin file manager

  • You can also associate files using the Dolphin file manager:
Right-click on a file -> Open with ... -> Known Applications ->
choose the application to associate with the file
-> Click: "Remember application association for this type of file"
Example:
From Dolphin, right-click on musicfile.mp3 -> Open with... -> Known Applications ->
choose Audacious
-> Click: "Remember application association for this type of file"
Now all .mp3 files will be associated with Audacious.

How to use network options in Dolphin file manager

  • Open the "Network" icon in Dolphin.
  • A network folder can also be mounted in the left navigation pane for repeated quick access. For example, a Samba (Windows-type) network folder located at a LAN IP address of 192.168.0.177 can be added:
Dolphin -> <right-click> on the left panel -> Add entry...
-> Label: Network folder -> Location: smb://192.168.0.177

How to mount a camera in Dolphin file manager

Use Windows-appearing fonts

Users who switch to Kubuntu from Windows may notice subtle differences between the default fonts in Kubuntu and those in Windows. The Microsoft Core Fonts can be installed as part of the kubuntu-restricted-extras package, or separately:

sudo apt-get install ttf-mscorefonts-installer

Most default fonts in Windows are Times New Roman. You can select the Times New Roman fonts in applications like Firefox to make them appear like Windows. However, the Deja Vu font in Kubuntu mimics the Times New Roman font closely, and has been found to be desirable for most users.

Run a Gnome desktop from Kubuntu

It is possible to install the GTK-based Gnome desktop (the default in Ubuntu) in Kubuntu.

apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

There is a risk of software bloat and some incompatibilities between modules when doing this. At login, you can choose (as an option) whether to start the KDE (Kubuntu) desktop or the Gnome (Ubuntu) desktop. Nevertheless, when there are two modules trying to perform the same function (one from each desktop), it is possible to have conflicts.

Filenames with spaces

  • Filenames or folder names with spaces in them should be enclosed with quotation marks (" "). For example, to change to a directory named "This Dir" or "/home/This Dir", use the command:
cd "This Dir"
or
cd /home/"This Dir"
  • Alternatively, a space in a filename or folder name can be preceded with a backslash. For example, to change to a directory named "This Dir" or "/home/This Dir":
cd This\ Dir
or
cd /home/This\ Dir

Root user tasks

  • Many tasks in (K)Ubuntu must be accomplished with root user (superuser) privileges. For many simple tasks, temporary root superuser are achieved using the "kdesudo" command (or the "sudo" command for command-line functions). A user must be in the "sudo" group to use kdesudo or sudo. See this section about adding/changing user groups.
  • A user may open a file manager (such as Dolphin) with root user (superuser) privileges. See this section.
  • A service menu may be installed in Dolphin that allows many tasks to be accomplished with root user (superuser) privileges. See this section regarding the "Root Actions Servicemenu."
  • A user in the "sudo" group may become the root user. To do so, a password for the root user must already have been set. See this section. This is not recommended for routine usage.
  • For some tasks (such as installing packages from the Muon package manager) the system will present a list of users in the "sudo" group. Any user in the list can be chosen and the password for that user entered in order to complete the task.

Software Troubleshooting

Manually edit menus

The Kmenuedit program has quirks and may create a menu that has extraneous entries. To manually edit the KDE menu:

kate ~/.config/menus/applications-kmenuedit.menu

where ~ refers to /home/user

Python2.5

(K)Ubuntu Lucid has Python2.6, yet many apps (including GoogleApps) require Python2.5. To install Python2.5 from a PPA repository, see the instructions at the PPA repository.

Amarok Troubleshooting

Amarok permissions error on Amarok startup

If you get a permissions error when launching Amarok, try the following:

sudo chown -R user /home/user 
Note: Replace user with the actual username. This command changes the owner of the folder /home/user to user. -R means "recursively", i.e. including all subfolders.


Licenses

Linux is largely a community of volunteers and as such represents one of the largest altruistic efforts on earth. This includes companies who decide to contribute their own software into the public domain for free use. The continued success of sharing depends on licenses that keep software free and usable for anyone who wants to use it. However, there must be a method for Linux users and developers to make money, as well. Licensing helps protect each of these efforts. See the Wikipedia Free Software Licensing article and the GNU operating system licensing page for more complete information.

  • Kubuntu Derivatives do not need a license, according to its developer. See this blog article.

GPL license

The GPLv3 license (and the Affero GPLv3 license for network-based software) intends that the software module or package is free to use in any environment, and furthermore, any software that relies on that GPLv3-licensed module must in turn also be completely free. Commercial and proprietary software packages can't use or incorporate GPLv3-licensed modules.

LGPL license

The Lesser GPL license intends that the software module or package is free to use in any environment, including in commercial and proprietary software packages. This allows companies to develop proprietary packages which includes LGPL-licensed modules, from which they can make a profit. The disadvantage is that their products (which benefit from the LGPL-licensed modules) are not required to be in the public domain in turn. (Many companies often later donate their entire package into the public domain, however, after they no longer make a profit from them.)

ODbL license

The ODbL (Open Database License) is a "share alike" open license intended for databases.

Apache license

The Apache license has been around a long time. It is compatible with the GPLv3 license, but, unlike the GPLv3 license, it does not require modified software to retain the Apache license. In other words, Apache-licensed software can be modified and the modified software then made proprietary (and therefore not returned to the open source community).

BSD license

The BSD license is similar to a public domain license. There are currently many confusing iterations of the BSD license, however, mostly regarding attribution notices and advertising that is required to be provided along with any software derivatives. The BSD license allows the option of propagation of either (otherwise-licensed) free open source restrictions or proprietary restrictions. It therefore allows a mix of (otherwise-licensed) proprietary modules and open sourced-licensed modules to co-exist in the same package. This flexibility has made the BSD license popular with complex distributions (such as the (BSD Unix-based) Mac OS X operating system, for example).

Creative Commons licenses

Espoused by many large public-domain projects, there are a variety of Creative Commons copyright licenses for different scenarios. Many variations impose "non-free" limitations and versions prior to version 3 were denounced by several large open-source projects; particular variations of this license must be examined closely.

Proprietary licenses

There is a vast array of proprietary licenses, all different. You never know what your limitations for software are unless you read every word. Most are attempts by lawyers to have an opportunity to create a lawsuit in the future. Some may be called "free" licenses but have many limitations which you will not be aware of until you are in the middle of a lawsuit. No license outside of the GPLv3 license is recommended. Be careful when committing your organization to a mission-critical software package with a proprietary license. Also see this outstanding article on the Open Source Enterprise Trap.

Requests

If you have Kubuntu requests that you would like to be part of this guide, put them here.

  • Where do I get the plasmoid that shows the antsy Anteater? I understand that this widget is only available for Kubuntu Precise Pangolin...
"No, that is a cross between a plasmoid and a widget, called a phidget. Phidgets seem to move around the desktop far too quickly." --perspectoff
  • I want to use the miniature version of a widget. Is that available?
"Yes, the mini widget is called a midget." --perspectoff
  • Please speed up Kubuntuguide and/or create a mirror. I love it!
"Hey, throw me a bone here. It costs money for bandwidth, you know..."
  • How can I sponsor Ubuntuguide/Kubuntuguide?

Reviews

Other operating systems similar to Kubuntu

  • Netrunner is a Linux OS that is based on Kubuntu (but with many of the applications recommended in Kubuntuguide incorporated into it).
  • Linux Mint KDE 13 is a KDE-based Linux OS similar to Kubuntu Precise.

Import this guide into another wiki

  • How do I import a copy of Kubuntuguide into my own wiki?
See this page.

eBook version of this guide

  • See the Books Category for free Kubuntu eBooks based on this help guide.
  • There is an option in the menu bar at the left entitled "Printable version" which formats pages for easier printing. You can print this (or any other document) to a PDF file easily. By default, Kubuntu includes a "Print to File" option from its Print menu. Use this option to print anything appearing in your browser into a PDF file. From Firefox (or any other browser or program):
File -> Print -> Print to File -> Output Format: PDF

Public Service Announcement

------------
  • Support Earth Day all year long and do your part to reduce energy consumption (and CO2 emissions) and help reduce the rate of global warming. Support organisations that work to limit world overpopulation. Consider a low-power computer, such as those from Aleutia or Fit-PC. Maybe browse a news website dedicated to energy efficiency, such as Environmental Leader...

     ... and plant some trees.

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