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Kubuntu 101: A Guide for the Average User

written by: A. C. Serraon•edited by: Eric Stallsworth•updated: 10/11/2011

Kubuntu is one of the most popular ways for people to start using Linux, thanks to its usability and stability. However, we understand that any foray into the Linux world is daunting. Thus, this guide is here to provide you with assistance and help you every step of the way.

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    What is Kubuntu?

    What is Kubuntu? 

    Kubuntu is an Ubuntu-derived Linux desktop distribution which uses KDE as its desktop environment. In contrast, Ubuntu uses GTK/Unity for its desktop environment. This means that it combines the maturity of KDE GUI while retaining the ease of use and hassle-free maintenance of Ubuntu.

    KDE as a desktop environment has been one of the most widely used desktop environments for Linux and other open source operating systems. Its key strength is the fact that KDE not only provides you with a desktop interface but also gives you an entire application suite designed for it. Not only does it add stability and makes installation easy but also ensures that all your applications behave in the same manner and look coherent. This makes transition between applications easier and will make it easier for you to use the programs.

    Being an official Ubuntu derivative, Kubuntu ships in the same release cycle as Ubuntu. This guarantees that any updates or security patches for Ubuntu will be available for you. It also means that Kubuntu is also based on the same distribution as Ubuntu, Debian. Debian is known for its stability and its binary format, .deb, also makes it easy to install other third party software.

    For more information on this, please see:

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    Installing Kubuntu

    Installing Kubuntu 
    Linux installations are not as difficult as you think it is. Kubuntu is installed using a LiveCD. This LiveCD is essentially a sample for Kubuntu, being a full featured Kubuntu desktop on a CD. This allows you to test Kubuntu out before instaling and showcases the versatility of Kubuntu as an operating system. The LiveCD is also used to recover broken or damaged systems, and can be used in any computer. The LiveCD may also be placed in a USB storage device, or flash drive, making it handy as a your own portable desktop.
    Installing Kubuntu is commonly done using a wizard. This installation wizard will guide you throughout the process and has the advantage of immediately downloading updates if you are connected to the Internet. This ensures that all the latest patches and versions of the program you want to use are made available to you. Kubuntu also supports a wide range of languages for installation, so whether you are using Swahili, English, Simplified Chinese, Aymara or Basque, you are surely covered.
    Like Ubuntu, Kubuntu could also be installed on top of Windows. Wubi is the official Windows installer for Ubuntu and other Ubuntu derivatives. This allows you to run Kubuntu on top of Windows. This is very handy if you wish to install Kubuntu without having to go through the hassles of repartitioning your hard drive or damaging your current Windows installation. It also makes for an easier uninstallation should you want to remove Kubuntu. The downside of using Wubi is the fact that you cannot completely maximize Kubuntu's performance, since system resources are still being handled by Windows.
    Here are some tips we have to help you install Kubuntu on your desktop.
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    Applications in Kubuntu

    Applications in Kubuntu 

    The hallmark of a KDE desktop is the use of desktop widgets to do many different tasks. These widgets are extremely powerful and convenient, since it allows you to do many tasks from the desktop itself, essentially blurring the line between the desktop and the application. Aside from widgets developed by KDE, one can also easily install third-party widgets, such as Google Gadgets. Despite this, most of these widgets still rely on applications, since the widgets commonly act as convenient front-ends.

    Once you install Kubuntu, you will find that there are already a lot of pre-installed applications in your system. This is due to KDE's design philosophy that consistency between applications goes beyond the desktop.These applications range from an entire office suite, to multimedia players and even online tools, like BitTorrent clients and RSS feed aggregators.

    Most of these applications are sufficient for an average user's needs. However, installing your preferred applications is also very easy. Installing applications in Kubuntu makes use of Kpackagekit. This program allows you to install any piece of software available in the Ubuntu repositories. Kpackagekit also manages the updates for these programs, ensuring that you stay up to date with the latest stable release.

    If the program you wish to use is not available in the Ubuntu repositories, one can download a .deb binary and start from there. This is especially true for most proprietary programs you wish to run, like Google Earth, or Adobe Flash. If these .deb binaries are not available, you can always build from source, although that procedure requires a bit of technical knowhow to do correctly.

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    How to Get Help in Kubuntu

    How to Get Help in Kubuntu 

    Getting help with Kubuntu is very easy. Kubuntu has a very robust community which can answer your questions regarding almost any aspect of the operating system. The free and open source nature of this software allows users to solve problems by themselves as long as they make the solution available to everyone else.

    This community takes on many forms, such as the different forums in the Internet, mailing lists, IRC channels and the like. The best place to start joining the community is in the official. Kubuntu forums. Using search engines, like Google, Ask.com and others will also lead you to guides, tech websites and blogs which can be a veritable source of information.

    Kubuntu, being an Ubuntu derivative, is supported by Canonical, a commercial firm. They offer paid and professional support for users and, together with their partners, offer global support. This is very good for companies with large Kubuntu deployments, since they can guarantee that they will solve your problems. Documentation for the projects are also available online, ranging from the easy user guides to the more technical manual pages.

    BrightHub also has a few guides which can help you solve your issues with Kubuntu. Please check back often as these guides are updated.

References

  • KDE Official Website, http://www.kde.org/
  • Kubuntu Official Website, http://www.kubuntu.org/