Kubuntu and Ubuntu Linux Distribution Reference

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Ubuntulogo150x173x256.png         Kubuntulogo150x173x256.png

The MAIN difference between Ubuntu (the one everyone seems to promote) and Kubuntu (the one that everyone should actually be promoting) is that Kubuntu comes with a superior Windows Manager called KDE.

The console "command line" configuration and examples are going to apply to both Kubuntu and Ubuntu for the most part. Items in the legacy section relate to older distributions. Current examples are in the first section.

Although KDE has historically had more financial backing and been a stable graphic environment when compared to the often buggy Gnome, more recently Gnome, thus Ubuntu has underwent a great deal of development. Both desktop environments are in a good place now developmentally so the final choice is more or less preference. Purest geeks seem to have always preferred Gnome as they believe that KDE is too "corporate," whatever that means.

IMPORTANT TIP TO USING THIS GUIDE: Information is divided "Ubuntu" and "Kubuntu" however please understand that most of the information is completely applicable to both, or most Ubuntu flavors including Xubuntu and MythTV. In some cases information is partially applicable. In few cases, information is specific to the distribution heading. Remember, all these Ubuntus are Debian Linux based.

Before installing packages with the apt package management tool, refresh your package database with a list of all current packages.

apt-get update

This will update the system package list for all flavors of Ubuntu / Debian.


Current Ubuntu Reference Section

Graphical Desktop Environment

Unity is the desktop environment or "desktop shell" that ships default with Ubuntu. If you’ve installed Ubuntu using the standard installer then the graphical windows desktop shell you will see is Unity. Unity also includes a variety of programs from the GNOME desktop. Prior to Unity, Ubuntu used GNOME as the desktop shell.

When Gnome version 3 was released the Ubuntu developers felt that it was too stripped down and lacked interfaces that the average user will need. Gnome and Unity remain very similar, however, Unity offers more desktop interfaces and now has taken some of the ideas of how a desktop environment should be from the mobile device market, such as an "App Store."

Kubuntu ships with the KDE graphical desktop environment. KDE remains the most sophisticated and customizable desktop shell for Linux. KDE 4’s desktop comes with a variety of widgets and is based on the QT toolkit, whereas GNOME and Unity are based on the GTK toolkit. It is possible to have both toolkits installed making it possible to have both KDE and Gnome software available from the same desktop environment.

Ubuntu Customization


Many customizations will use The apt-get Package Management Tool to install applications or servers to the system. Others will require editing system files. Know your Ubuntu version 'lsb_release -a' for package availability and compatibility.

Secure Shell Support for Remote Login

If the ssh server is not already installed, we will use apt-get to install. As root or using sudo do the following:

apt-get install openssh-server openssh-client 
service ssh start

Add new user to system

As root or using sudo do the following

useradd -c "Nicole Ploof" -m -s /bin/bash nicolep
passwd nicolep
passwd -u nicolep

The first line creates a new user account on the system, using the next available UID for users and creates a home directory /home/nicolep with the default shell bash assigned. The next line prompts you to set a password for user nicolep and the last line ensures the login is unlocked. Substitute nicolep for the username of your choice as well as -c comments in quotes for the first and last name of your choice.

Mount some shares from a Windows machine or SMB NAS

Development of seamless windows network share integration for linux in some respects has been, over the many years, very disappointing. There are basically a couple well known approaches. First, use the "Browse Network" from nautilus file manager for temporary access after providing your username and password for the windows share, or secondly, hard coding your username and password along with the network path in /etc/fstab for a persistent share available on boot.

There are more than one ways to do this. This example uses cifs to permanently mount the shares so that they will be available after reboot. If the system complains add the 'noauto' parameter.

  • First edit your /etc/hosts file and add the hostname and IP address of the windows share or file server
  • Next create mount points in /mnt for each windows share
  • Make sure you have cifs installed
  • Edit /etc/fstab and add a line for each windows share, see examples:
//apollo/public/ /mnt/public cifs username=nicolep,password=mythtv,iocharset=utf8,sec=ntlm  0  0
//apollo/media/ /mnt/media cifs username=nicolep,password=mythtv,iocharset=utf8,sec=ntlm  0  0
//apollo/video/ /mnt/video cifs username=nicolep,password=mythtv,iocharset=utf8,sec=ntlm  0  0
  • mount the shares
mount -a
  • This provides read-only access to the network shares.

For more information see: Windows network share integration for linux - discussion of methods available. Includes an fstab example providing full read/write access to network share.

Numlock On by Default

Double Click to Launch

Restore the Classic Menu that's missing from Unity

How to Install and Launch the Classic Gnome Menu in Ubuntu 14.04

Ubuntu may seem completely different from what it used to be due to the new Unity Desktop for GNOME. The GNOME Classic Menu in Ubuntu is missing, it has been replaced by Unity with its crashy "Dashboard" where you find your applications by clicking "Dashboard Home" and hoping it doesn't trigger the notorious and unresolved GPU Freeze loop. To get the classic menu back without switching to GNOME desktop you can install classicmenu-indicator for Unity desktop. Like the classic GNOME Menu, it includes all the applications and structure of the classic menu. It’s easy to navigate and access applications for those who are used to it.

As root or using sudo do the following:

apt-add-repository ppa:diesch/testing
apt-get update
apt-get install classicmenu-indicator

After installing it, go and launch the application from Unity Dash. It’s called Classic Menu Indicator. When you launch it, it will automatically dock at the top panel over towards the right side. It should be just left of the speaker or clock. It will look like three horizontal bars.

Fast Light File Manager Nautilus Replacement

PCMan File Manager (PCManFM) is meant to be a replacement for Nautilus, Konqueror and Thunar. PCManFM is the standard file manager in LXDE.

apt-get install pcmanfm

IP Network Configuration (GUI - Network Manager)

Network Manager is a GUI interface used to configure networking on most modern desktop Linux systems including Ubuntu and Fedora.

  • In xfce you can go to the APPLICATIONS menu and choose SETTINGS, NETWORK CONNECTIONS.
  • In Gnome / Unity you can go to the Network icon in the Application Indicator (updown arrow icon) typically top right of the screen and then click Edit Connections.

Once the Network Connections dialog is open, select the interface you want to configure, and then click Edit, select the IPv4 Settings tab. Enter the network settings here.

  • Instead of a netmask of for a typical Class C LAN, you can enter the number "24" for the Netmask.

When a static IP address is configured via the graphical Network Connections utility, the setting is saved to the following path


To change the settings from console without creating a conflict in settings location you can edit the file

vi /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/Wired connection 1

The file isn't meant to be edited by the user (CLI - Command Line Interface), but by the Network Manager tools.

nmcli is a tool that allows NetworkManager management from command line.

IP Network Configuration (Console)

When configuring IP networking using the GUI interface "Network Manager" settings are stored differently than when configuring via traditional CLI (Command Line Interface). This is a design often criticized for the confusion it can create. The administrator can choose to disable Network Manager and use the traditional Debian etc/network/interfaces file.

On a headless console only system the use of Network Manager would not make sense. It can be disabled and the traditional CLI method may be used. To disable Network Manager do the following as 'root' or use the sudo command.

service network-manager stop
echo "manual" | tee /etc/init/network-manager.override 

More on disabling "Network Manager" can be found on this external source: How to disable Network Manager on Linux

install configure vncserver

Install the vnc server

apt-get install vnc4server

Or if you prefer TightVNC

apt-get install tightvncserver

You need to set a default password. Do this from console


Enter and verify the password of your choice.

Note: This requires a local user to be logged into a desktop session before a remote client can connect. It is also possible to make vncserver start as a system service. See the following guide on this wiki:

Enable Other Package Repositories

Ubuntu uses apt for package management. Apt stores a list of repositories, which are places with collections of software packages, in a text file. This file can be edited from the command line with root privilege or sudo.

vi /etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get update

Removing the # in front of repositories, such as "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu saucy partner" will allow access to those packages. Running "apt-get update" is necessary after making changes to the file. 3rd party repositories can also be manually added to the text file.

Install or Update the Flash Plugin Package

Adobe Flash Player 11.2 was released in 2012 was the last version Adobe plans to release to the Linux community with the exception of limited security related updates. To update Flash or install simply use apt-get

apt-get install adobe-flashplugin

If you experience problems please refer to our complete guide to Install Update Flash Plugin Ubuntu.

Persistent Path Environment Variable

  • Bash as login shell will load /etc/profile, ~/.bash_profile, ~/.bash_login, ~/.profile in the order
  • Bash as non-login interactive shell will load ~/.bashrc
  • Bash as non-login non-interactive shell will load the configuration specified in environment variable $BASH_ENV

The Ubuntu desktop session is no longer affected by .profile. Additionally bash doesn't parse .profile if either .bash_profile or .bash_login exists.

A path set in .bash_profile will only be set in a bash login shell (bash -l). If you put your path in .profile it will be available to your complete desktop session.

To add a directory to your, or a specific user's $PATH, edit ~/.profile

vi ~/.profile

To make the change persist


and change it to:


to make the change immediate for your session

export PATH=$PATH:/foo
  • /etc/environment - This file is specifically meant for system-wide environment variable settings.
  • /etc/.profile - This file gets executed whenever a bash login shell is entered

To set a persistent path for all users on the system, edit the /etc/environment file.

blacklisting a kernel module at boot

There maybe a time when you need to disable some modules from being loaded during your system's boot time. In this "how to" we will discus some of the few ways how to blacklist module including its dependencies, that is, disable permanently module from loading during the boot time. Source: How to blacklist a module on Ubuntu/Debian Linux

In a quick example, if you wish to disable the sound generated by the PC speaker, do the following:

vi /etc/modprobe.d

Then add the following:

blacklist snd_pcsp

Now the module snd_pcsp will not be loaded when you reboot. No more sound from the PC speaker. beep will be silent. To enable the module once again you can simply remark it by placing a # in front and reboot.

changing your default console editor

Ubuntu default text editor seems to be "nano" which is a pico style text editor. It is for DOS people (because it is like the old MSDOS6 DOS EDIT.) DOS SUCKS.


sudo update-alternatives --config editor

You will get a text like below.

There are 4 choices for the alternative editor (providing /usr/bin/editor).

  Selection    Path                Priority   Status
* 0            /bin/nano            40        auto mode
  1            /bin/ed             -100       manual mode
  2            /bin/nano            40        manual mode
  3            /usr/bin/vim.basic   30        manual mode
  4            /usr/bin/vim.tiny    10        manual mode 

Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 3

run the following:

export EDITOR=vim

To make it permanent, add this line to ~/.profile

export EDITOR=vim

Unity Tweak Tool

Unity Tweak Tool offers 20 different customization options under 4 categories.


sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool gnome-tweak-tool

Once you have installed Unity tool, type “Unity” (without quotes) in Dash and click on the Unity Tweak Tools icon.

Coping with Mac styled Global Application Menus

The AppMenu (Global Menu) - Unity's Global Menu - 14.04

Change the global menu to show in the windows title bar (all apps)

  • System -> Appearance -> click on the "Behavior" tab. Select the radio box for "In the window's title bar."

Once clicked, the application menus appear within the window decoration inline with the menu buttons. This isn't exactly a complete fix but is preferred to the auto-hide behavior that is default. The command line alternatives:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity integrated-menus true


gsettings set com.canonical.Unity integrated-menus false

You can also completely cripple and disable Mac like menus by removing the offending package.

sudo apt-get remove indicator-appmenu

Warning, removing indicator-appmenu will cripple Dash. It is said to disable HUD? In a practical sense the crippling may go unnoticed by some users. After removing indicator-appmenu you may not miss a thing! It won't hurt to try, you can always put it back. You need to reboot after removal to experience the changes.

Test: after removal of indicator-appmenu and a reboot, the HUD service was still running.

2159 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/hud/window-stack-bridge
2243 ?        Ssl    0:00 /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/hud/hud-service

Furthermore, Global Menu was completely gone! Now menus are back where they are supposed to be, on the application window! Tested successful on Ubuntu 14.04.

Unity Launcher Customization

The Unity Launcher bar is on the left side of the desktop screen. It cannot be moved. It can be hidden or set to automatically hide itself. It cannot be moved to the right side or anywhere else, which is by design.



Kubuntu Post Install Recommendations

These are not necessarily unique to Kubuntu (Ubuntu with KDE). Some of them are applicable to Ubuntu and Xubuntu. Just browse though and see what looks of interest to you.


This section is part of Kubuntu and Ubuntu Linux Distribution Reference.

Install rar and unrar utilities

File compression often used by newsgroups and torrents

sudo apt-get install rar unrar

install configure vncserver on KDE

Go to the xxx by clicking the following path:

  • KMenu -> Applications -> System -> Software Center

In the search box type "X11VNC" and click to install "X11VNC Server." Now in the X11VNC Server description page click the "Launch" button (should be on the left side of the dialog below the image.

Once you have launched the program you will be able to set passwords and configure the server.

Oddly enough, access to the server control for X11VNC Server is in the following:

  • KMenu -> Applications -> Internet -> X11VNC Server

Kind of a stupid place for it.

Quick Access Plasma widget

sudo apt-get install plasma-widget-quickaccess

Plasma Customization

You can change some behaviors to make Plasma more traditional to the KDE feel some users prefer.

  • Right click on KMenu and choose "Switch to Classic Menu Style"

Classic is ripped from Windows XP style start menu while "Launcher Style" is a ripoff of Windows Vista/7. Lets just call it what it is. Now to have more control over icons install:

sudo apt-get install kdeplasma-addons

see: http://chakraos.org/wiki/index.php?title=Plasma_Desktop_Basics

Other package managers

gdebi is a simple tool to install deb files. apt does the same, but only for remote (http, ftp) located package repositories. It has a graphical user interface but can also be used in your terminal. TO install it there will be some dependencies needed. See below:

apt-get install gdebi

The following extra packages will be installed: gdebi-core gir1.2-atk-1.0 gir1.2-freedesktop gir1.2-gdkpixbuf-2.0, gir1.2-gtk-3.0 gir1.2-pango-1.0 gir1.2-vte-2.90 gksu gnome-icon-theme, humanity-icon-theme libcairo-perl libgksu2-0 libglib-perl, libgnome-keyring-common, libgnome-keyring0 libgtk2-perl libgtop2-7, libgtop2-common libpango-perl libvte-2.90-9 libvte-2.90-common

The following NEW packages will be installed: gdebi gdebi-core gir1.2-atk-1.0 gir1.2-freedesktop gir1.2-gdkpixbuf-2.0, gir1.2-gtk-3.0 gir1.2-pango-1.0 gir1.2-vte-2.90 gksu gnome-icon-theme, humanity-icon-theme libcairo-perl libgksu2-0 libglib-perl, libgnome-keyring-common libgnome-keyring0 libgtk2-perl libgtop2-7, libgtop2-common libpango-perl libvte-2.90-9 libvte-2.90-common

Basically, using apt-get allows you to pull down packages from a server and install. gdebi allows you to install packages that you have manually or previously downloaded and put on your system.

File Managers

Nautilus is Gnome’s default file manager and Dolphin is KDE’s default file manager. Nautilus File Manager and Dolphin File Manager both have their positives and negatives. It is personal preference. You can easily download and install Nautilus on KDE by looking for a "nautilus" package in the package manager. It is GTK+ based so there will be dependencies needed.

Dolphin is already part of Kubuntu KDE desktop and has more customization options than Nautilus, for example, Dolphin includes "Split" and "Preview" buttons that Nautilus lacks. Dolphin has many configurable settings into one drop-down menu button called "Control". Dolphin is Qt-based so if you try to install on Gnome Ubuntu there will be dependencies needed.

Dolphin has been included with KDE since KDE Software Compilation 4. Dolphin replaces Konqueror. Konqueror was a file manager and web browser (reminds MSIE.) Now it is a web browser only. To install konqueror see below under web browsers.

A quick way to open a folder having sudo. (open folder as root)

  • Go to "Configure Dolphin" > Services tab and click Download New Services. Search for root and find the service named Root Actions. Click Install.

Other web browsers


Firefox is considered a superior web browser when coupled with the NoScript and Ghostery plugins. Some web sites are not Firefox friendly.

  • Firefox is included with Kubuntu during installation. (verified: Kubuntu 14.04 LTS)

If you opted not to install Firefox during the Kubuntu installation, or for some other reason you are missing Firefox, it is easy to install after the fact:

apt-get install firefox

You may not get the most recent version of Firefox available, what you will get is the most recent version Ubuntu has on their repository. This is better than what Debian users get. See more information on Installing Firefox for Linux.


There are other web browsers that run under KDE Linux including: Chromium and Google Chrome.

Install Chromium, the open source version of Google Chrome.

sudo apt-get install chromium-browser


I don't think Chromium has Adoble Flash built-in like Google Chrome does. This would be due to the licensing. You can install the full version of Google Chrome which has closed source components such as Flash. The following Google Chrome installation process has been verified to work on: (verified: Kubuntu 14.04 LTS) To install the commercial version "Google Chrome" for Debian Linux do the following:

Google Chrome for 64bit Linux

wget https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb
sudo gdebi google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb

Google Chrome for 32bit Linux

wget https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_i386.deb
sudo gdebi google-chrome-stable_current_i386.deb

Google Chrome will have some dependencies: Requires the installation of the following packages: indicator-application libappindicator1 libappindicator3-1 libdbusmenu-gtk3-4 libindicator3-7 libindicator7


Konqueror is a pretty good lightweight and reasonably capable web browser. It used to be a familiar part of KDE. Now it is not included by default, but you can still get it easy enough. To install Konqueror on KDE:

sudo apt-get install konqueror

Now konqueror is not a file manager, it is a web browser. It will show up in K menu Applications -> Internet as a web browser.


Opera is available as a .deb package for Debian / Ubuntu Linux to be downloaded from their web site.

sudo gdebi opera-stable_27.0.1689.76_amd64.deb

Replace "opera-stable_27.0.1689.76_amd64.deb" with the exact name of the .deb package you downloaded. It may be newer than what it was when this information here was created. Things just keep getting newer and better!

Plugin Support: Various Browsers

Adobe Flash is built in the Google Chrome web browser. For other browsers you can install Flash Player, see: Install Update Flash Plugin Ubuntu.

Java is infrequently needed. If you feel you must have it:

sudo apt-get install icedtea-plugin

The Ubuntu Synaptic package manager

Synaptic comes with Ubuntu and Muon package manager comes with Kubuntu because it is for KDE. If you prefer Synaptic you can install it too. You can have them both.

sudo apt-get install aptitude synaptic gdebi-core software-properties-gtk

Those pesky encrypted DVDs

DVD encryption is lame. It is easy to crack and only holds up the end user experience when wanting to watch a movie!

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-restricted-extras libavcodec-extra
sudo apt-get install libdvdread4
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

Backgrounds, Screensavers, and other frivolous stuff

Fun fun fun!

sudo apt-get install kscreensaver
sudo apt-get install kde-wallpapers
sudo apt-get install vlc

External Resources

Some of this page was sourced from the following excellent article: 20 cool things to do after installing Kubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

Adept is a graphical package management system for KDE and you can learn more about it on the article: Installing Additional Applications

Guide: Install/Uninstall .deb files on About.com

To install a .deb file, simply Right click on the .deb file, and choose Kubuntu Package Menu->Install Package.

Alternatively, you can also install a .deb file by opening a terminal and typing:

sudo dpkg -i package_file.deb 

To uninstall a .deb file, remove it using Adept, or type:

 sudo apt-get remove package_name

Gnome -vs- KDE and other Window Managers

When you install Ubuntu Linux the distribution the default X.org windows manager is Gnome using the Unity shell. Unity is a graphical shell for the GNOME desktop environment. Unity is not a collection of applications like Gnome, rather is designed to use existing programs.

For users preferring KDE then a specific Ubuntu distribution, Kubuntu, provides a default KDE windows manager.

If you are Kubuntu and you want to install Unity:

sudo apt-get install unity

If you are Kubuntu and you want entire Gnome and Unity:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

Typing the following only changes the login screen to Unity. Once logged in, KDE loads.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure unity

To load the windows manager of your choice, you make the selection at the login screen. There is an icon you click, and you can select the WM to load from a list of those installed.

To install KDE, you install one of the following packages:


This will only install a minimal core of KDE apps and utilities. Good if you want to use KDE but don't need all the applications and utilities that come with it.


This will install a more full range of KDE applications and utilities.



This installs the full Kubuntu desktop which includes the full KDE suite, plus all of Ubuntu's "Kubuntu" look and feel.

There is also Xubuntu. The only main differences between Ubuntu and Xubuntu is the software installed and the appearance of the system. To convert any form of Ubuntu to Xubuntu, type the command below in a terminal.

apt-get install xubuntu-desktop
  • Ubuntu = Unity
  • Kubuntu = KDE
  • Xubuntu = XFCE
  • Lubuntu = LXDE
  • Ubuntu GNOME = GNOME

light-dm with KDE


Legacy Ubuntu / Kubuntu Reference Section

ubuntu / kubuntu linux distribution reference

Information may be organized by [console] or [xapp] as in the procedure or command is issued via the command prompt or in xwindows.

version 6.06


[console] edit the following text file

 /boot/grub/menu.lst <- grub bootloader configuration file.


[console] edit the following text file

 /etc/resolv.conf <- standard configuration file for listing dns servers


[console] ubuntu uses the debian style network configuration.

1. to configure a static IP address for eth0 edit the file:

  • Set up the looback (lo) interface iface lo inet loopback
 iface eth0 inet static

address netmask gateway

  • Automatically bring up lo and eth0
 auto eth0 lo

2. to configure a dynamic IP address via DHCP for eth0:

  • Use dhcp to configure eth0
 iface eth0 inet dhcp

You can bring the ethernet interface up or down directly, or restart networking via the init script

 ifup eth0
 ifdown eth0
 /etc/init.d/networking start <- start stop restart


Network settings may also be modified using the 'systemsettings' interface.

 systemsettings &
 sudo systemsettings


[console] sudo apt-get install openssh-server openssh-client

To stop ssh server:

 # sudo /etc/init.d/ssh stop

To start sshs server:

 # sudo /etc/init.d/ssh start

To restart ssh server:

 # sudo /etc/init.d/ssh restart


[console] To identify a driver being used by ubuntu on your system, find out what driver is in use.

Use jockey-text to find the list of drivers and the packages:

jockey-text -l

Note that kmod is kernel module. Sources for this information:

You can determine which video drive is in use by:

lshw -c video

The loaded driver is prefixed with "driver=". If you want more information about the loaded driver, run modinfo. modinfo works on filenames and aliases, not on module names. The majority of the modules will have the same name for the module name and filename, but there are exceptions. One of them is nvidia.

modinfo -F filename `lshw -c video | awk '/configuration: driver/{print $2}' | cut -d= -f2`

Source for this information: