Kubuntu 12.04 Post-Installation Tuning

Kubuntu 12.04 Post-Installation Tuning
As of: 2012-04-27

These are my notes and observations taken from a full, hard-disk installation of Kubuntu-12.04-LTS. My current main workstation is Kubuntu-11.10, so tested I Kubuntu-12.04 by installing the same applications and utilities that I currently use under 11.10.

Test System Info:
CPU: AMD Athlon 4450e (Dual Core)
RAM: 4-Gb
Video: GeForce 8800 GS
NVidia Driver: 285.05.09
KDE Version: 4.8.2
First, apply recent updates:

$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade

Install restricted packages “kubuntu-restricted-addons” and “kubuntu-restricted-extras”.

kubuntu-restricted-addons includes GStreamer, GStreamer plugins and libdvdread4 (library for reading DVD’s)
kubuntu-restricted-extras includes the Adobe Flash plugin, ffmpeg, lame (MP3 encoding library), and Microsoft TrueType fonts.

$ sudo apt-get -y install kubuntu-restricted-addons kubuntu-restricted-extras

Enable DVD playback.

$ sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

Install some multi-media apps VLC, WinFF, K9Copy and Devede:

$ sudo apt-get -y install vlc vlc-plugin* winff k9copy devede

My workstation sometimes serves files over the LAN so additional Samba/CIFS utilities are helpful

$ sudo apt-get install samba samba-tools cifs-utils fuse-utils fusesmb

Install other favorite utilities

$ sudo apt-get install p7zip hplip-gui pyrenamer gimp gcolor2 agave filezilla putty tomboy kompozer

Install utilities needed for compiling apps and plasmoids.

$ sudo apt-get install cmake build-essential debhelper fakeroot checkinstall kdelibs5-dev kdebase-workspace-dev

There are no Kubuntu/KDE Screensavers installed by default. To install:

$ sudo apt-get install kscreensaver

Optional: Improve appearance of default KDE fonts:
Fix: Go to: System Settings | Application Appearance | Font Settings
Use Ubuntu fonts, and increase all font sizes by “1”. The default “General” font size in “Ubuntu 9” which is too small for my taste. Change to “Ubuntu 10”.
Force KDE to Anti-alias fonts properly:
Use anti-aliasing: “Enabled”
Under “Configure” –> Use sub-pixel rendering (RGB), and Hinting style: Slight
Force fonts DPI: 96 DPI

Fix Mouse Wheel Scroll behavior –> Mouse wheel scrools through Desktops
By default, when the cursor is on the desktop, mouse wheel scrolling cycles/switches through the Desktops. I’ve found this “feature” amazingly irritating and I wish that this was disabled by default.
To deactivate this behavior: With the cursor on the Desktop, right-click, select Desktop Settings | Mouse Actions
Remove scroll button behavior (middle selection).

Install a Chromium as a second browser. Along with Firefox, I like to keep second browser handy.

$ sudo apt-get -y install chromium-browser chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra

Install Dropbox on KDE (without Gnome)
Dropbox is my favorite ‘it just works’ file syncing service and it works great under Gnome. However the Gnome/Nautilus dependency is problematic when it comes to getting Dropbox to work properly under KDE/Dolphin. If you’re a KDE convert (like me) you can get Dropbox to work without the Gnome baggage:

1.Download the Dropbox Linux client from:
http://www.getdropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86 (x86_64 for 64 bit)
2.Extract the contents and you should get a .dropbox-dist folder out of the archive. Move the folder to $HOME (your home folder)
3.Run ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd.

Note: This installs the Dropbox daemon but there is no real Dropbox + Dolphin integration (yet). As a work-around use Kfilebox, which is a KDE/Dolphin front-end to Dropbox. As of December 2011, the newest version is “kfilebox-0.4.8”
Website: http://kdropbox.deuteros.es/

VOIP: Install Skype
The Linux version of Skype from the Skype website works great.
Go to: http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/get-skype/on-your-computer/linux/
and download the .deb version and install.

$ sudo dpkg -i skype-ubuntu_2.2.0.35-1_i386.deb

Note: I had to go into the System Settings | Multimedia | Phonon to adjust the microphone settings on my workstation. But after… It works great.
No thumbnails for avi files in Dolphin. Install ffmpegthumbs

 $ sudo apt-get install ffmpegthumbs

To adjust Desktop Folder so that thumbnail images are generated for avi files:
Unlock widgets
Edit Folder View Settings | Display
Check “Previews”
Go to: “More Preview Options…”
Scroll down to the bottom –> Check “Video Files (ffmpegthumbs)”

Not tested in Kubuntu-12.04 yet. On my previous workstation, which sported Kubuntu-11.10 + UbuntuOne I tried to get UbuntuOne + Tomboy Notes Sync to work reliably. But it way too unstable for my tastes so I opted to just stay with Dropbox.

My Observations
The Canonical Gnome3/Unity “improvements” over the past 9-months has turned me into a KDE/Kubuntu convert. I’ve now used Kubuntu 8-months on my main workstation and I’m very, very impressed with it’s performance and features. I recently brought up a PC to act as a multi-media system hooked to our HDTV. I decided to give Ubuntu-12.04 one last try and… It stunk so bad I’m lost for words. Needless to say, Kubuntu-12.04 now controls the HDTV.

I would advise anyone who wants a nice-looking, stable, full-featured distro to give Kubuntu a try.