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.

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

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

Numlock On by Default

Double Click to Launch

Restore the Classic Menu that's missing from Unity

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.

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.



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: