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Installing KDE and its Applications in Ubuntu

written by: Tolga BALCI•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 5/2/2010

Ubuntu comes with Gnome as the default desktop environment, but this does not mean that you cannot use KDE or KDE applications. Here we discuss how to do exactly that - KDE with Ubuntu.

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    Installing KDE Applications in Ubuntu

    You can install any KDE application you want in Ubuntu through Synaptic or Adept without any problems. In fact, that’s personally what I prefer to do because there are many programs that I use in KDE and do not want to change (such as Kile). There is just one downside, if any, when you download KDE applications in Ubuntu, more dependencies will be downloaded compared to the Gnome applications. The reason is simple: Ubuntu comes with Gnome and the dependencies that will be required by Gnome are installed by default. Plus, during the update process you will have more updates because you will also have to update the KDE dependencies.

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    Installing KDE in Ubuntu

    Synaptic Select Kubuntu Desktop KDE applications or KDE as a whole is just a matter of downloading, installing and updating more programs, which means bigger download sizes, more disk space requirements, and more updates. There is also one more thing to keep in mind: when you install KDE on Ubuntu (or better, on a Gnome environment) your menus will be populated with both KDE and Gnome programs. In addition, you will be able to see and run some programs in KDE but not in Gnome (and vice versa). If you are comfortable with all these, then you can start installing KDE immediately.

    Go to System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager and enter your password when prompted. In Synaptic, search for kubuntu-desktop and tick the box to select it. You will be presented with a list of additional dependencies which you will need to install in a dialog box. Click the “Apply” button on the dialog box and then again click on “Apply” in the main Synaptic window. The files will be downloaded and installed on your computer.

    When the installation is complete, you will be asked to select your default window manager. If you want to stick with Gnome and switch to KDE when you want, select “gdm.” If you want to use KDE as default select “kdm.” If you change your mind later, open up a terminal and issue the command sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm. Change your default desktop manager and follow the steps on the screen.

    In the log-in window, you can go to Options -> Select Session and choose whether you want to log in to Gnome or KDE. If you select “Default Session” in this screen, you will log in to the desktop environment, which you have set as default as discussed in the paragraph above.

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    Uninstalling (Removing) KDE from Ubuntu

    To remove KDE from Ubuntu, start up Synaptic and search for kubuntu-desktop. Click on the box to deselect it. You will be presented with the relevant dependencies to be removed from your system. Go through the steps and finalize your uninstallation. After this step, if you are using Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope (9.04), I suggest you to run “Computer Janitor” from System -> Administration to clean up any remaining files on your system (be careful not to delete the dependencies being already used).