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Kubuntu desktop with Triple Gears background
Kubuntu desktop with Triple Gears background

Kubuntu is a Linux distro (version) of Ubuntu with the KDE graphical user interface.


Kubunti Karmic Koala 9.10 on a Netbook

The Kubunti Karmic Koala 9.10 version was released in October 2009.[1] There are major improvements in the KDE desktop and the installation process and options with this release. My overall impressions are that Karmic Koala 9.10 is polished, easy to use, stable and quite slick. For those thinking of moving from Windows XP or Vista, this is a compelling option.

You can test Kubunti Karmic Koala from a live CD to determine how well it runs on your hardware.

If you have a netbook without a CD drive, you can test it by creating a bootable USB drive. Once installed on the USB drive, you can save settings, install software updates and new applications and give it a thorough road test.

I was able to get the Bluetooth mouse and Wifi connection working without any problems.

You can then use the same bootable USB drive to install Kubunti Karmic Koala onto your netbook. No CD drive or Internet connection is required to do this.

The first applications I installed were Firefox (3.5.6), Picasa and the Google Chromium browser.

Creating a live CD

  1. Download the live CD image (.iso file) from here: http://www.kubuntu.org/getkubuntu
  2. Burn the image file to a CD with a CD burner
  3. Put the CD into your CD or DVD drive, enable "boot for CD" in your bios settings, reboot your machine and Kubuntu will load

Creating a bootable USB drive

This article contains information on how to create a bootable live USB drive with Kubuntu 9.10. Follow the instructions and select the Kubuntu image instead of the Ubuntu one.


You can then boot from the USB drive to confirm that Kubuntu is for you, and runs on your hardware.

Installing Kubuntu from USB drive

When you are ready to take the plunge, you can install Kubuntu from the same USB drive - it is an option on the boot menu.

The installation process is simple and easy. The process includes automatic creation of two Linux partitions - you just select how much disk space you wish to allocated. I chose 30MB - half of the available DATA partition I had.

I left my Windows XP partition intact so I can boot it if I need to.

The GRUB boot loader is part of the install, which allows you to select Kubuntu or Windows when your machine boots from its hard disk.

You can access Windows NTFS drives from Kubuntu - they appear in the Dolphin file manager. However, you cannot access the Linux drives from Windows XP.

Installing applications on Kubuntu

Kubuntu comes with a good range of applications, including the OpenOffice suite and a good text editor (Kate).

I added the following applications:

  • Picasa, image handling and viewing, from Google
  • Chromium browswer from Google - I like the speed and the bookmark sync
  • Google Desktop - for searching content on PC
  • GIMP - graphic editing
  • Firefox 3.5.6 browser
  • Skype (but I can't get the microphone working yet)
  • Crusader file manager
  • Grsync - for syncing folders
  • Kdenlive - video editor
  • Google Gadgets GTK - eye candy

Kubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04

I finally bit the bullet and decided to install Kubuntu on my small laptop. It is an older Fujitsu Lifebook with a Transmeta Crusoe chip with 256MB or RAM, so it struggles a bit to run Windows XP.

I opted for the Ubuntu desktop CD install, but this basically doesn't work with limited RAM. The CD drive keeps thrashing and nothing happens.

Minimal install

The solution is to download and burn the Ubuntu minimum install, then boot it from the CD drive. You may need to change the boot sequence in your bios settings to do this.

The minimal install brings up a character interface that steps you through the installation process during which you can select various components and applications to include.

I opted for the Kubuntu desktop, as I think the KDE desktop is more user friendly than the Gnome desktop that Ubuntu includes.

Getting wifi working

With the system up and running, the next task was to get the Belkin wifi card going. This proved to be a real challenge. I tried numerous times to install the Ndiswrapper program which allows you to use the Windows drivers for the card by emulation, but I just couldn't get it to work.

Some welcome help from the Kubuntu forum directed me to install the b43-fwcutter package, which worked like a charm.

Installing packages

Use the sudo command to install new packages such as:

sudo apt-get install b43-cutter

Or use either the provided Adept package manager (available on the Start menu, but did not list b43-fwcutter), or install the Synaptic package manager (which did list the b43-fwcutter package) and use it instead.

Fixing a bug when accessing HTML files from Dolphin

Kubuntu includes the Dolphin file explorer program rather than the previous Konqueror program (which is still available). Both these programs perform a similar function to Windows Explorer - such as finding, copying, moving and deleting files in various locations on your computer.

I found an annoying bug in Dolphin: when you try to click on an HTML file you get the error:

The desktop entry file
/usr/share/apps/d3lphin/servicemenus/amarok_addaspodcast.desktop has an invalid menu entry addAsPodcast.

This appears to be caused by a bug in Dolphin. You can work around this by renaming a file used by Amarok using the following commands in the Kconsole (terminal):

cd /usr/share/apps/d3lphin/servicemenus/
sudo mv amarok_addaspodcast.desktop amarok_addaspodcast.desktop_

This seems to be a fairly simple bug which should be fixed.

For more information on this:

Installing Firefox 2

Kubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 comes with Firefox 3 beta 5 installed. Unfortunately, many Firefox extensions I now regard as essential don't yet work on Firefox 3. So I installed Firefox 2 using this command:

sudo apt-get install firefox-2

Firefox 3 and Firefox 2 don't seem to coexist too well, so after you do this it is best just to run Firefox 2. I initially couldn't install any extensions. To fix this, I had to remove these files from my Firefox user profile folder:

  • extensions.ini
  • extensions.cache
  • extensions.rdf

My favourite Firefox extensions are:

  • FireFTP
  • Greasemonkey
  • Add Bookmark Here
  • Copy URL + (this one is out of development, but I use it all the time)
  • del.icio.us (absolute must have)
  • English (Australian) Dictionary
  • googlebar (use to search for text within a website)
  • Statusbar Clock
  • Flashblock
  • Google notebook
  • Gmail manager (I use this a lot)

See also

External links

Personal tools