Installing Kubuntu is a very easy process. However, for someone completely new to Linux some of the terms and procedures may be unfamiliar or confusing. This guide is an attempt to walk you through the installation process step-by-step with detailed explanations along the way about what choices you have and what actions you should take. This guide is written with someone in mind who has very little prior experience with linux. The only knowledge assumed on the part of the reader is that he or she knows how to:
- Backup files to a CD or another computer
- Download and burn a CD
- Configure BIOS to boot from CD (most newer computers are already setup to do this)
Hopefully these requirements won’t be too difficult for most people. So let’s get right into it. The first thing you’ll need to do is download the LiveCD here. You can download the basic live CD which has enough software to install a basic system, or you can download the live DVD which has a much larger selection of software pre-installed for you. I recommend the DVD if you have an internet connection that’s beefy enough to download it, but you can certainly make do with the live CD. This example install was done with the live CD.
Some computers will check if there is a bootable CD in the drive by default, but it’s a good idea to check your BIOS settings to make sure. Once you boot into the CD, you’ll come to the following screen. Click any of the following thumbnails for a larger view.
Select “Start or install Kubuntu” from the menu and press enter.
You will see this screen as Kubuntu starts booting on your machine.
Then the desktop will start to load up.
Finally you will come to the desktop. This is a fully operational Kubuntu system, so if it behooves you go ahead and take it for a test drive. Your existing system will not be affected at all. You’re going to notice right away that there are a lot of similar things. You have a main menu in the bottom left, a taskbar, a desktop, a clock, a system tray, a quick launch tray, and some desktop icons.
Once you’re done exploring, click the Install icon and you’ll see this screen. You’ll be asked to choose your language, English is the default, and then click Next.
I’m missing the screenshot for step 2, however you’ll be asked to select your time zone, which I should hope you already know. The default is United States Eastern. Step 3 is to select your keyboard layout. If you live in the United States, you can leave this at its default setting of U.S. English and click Next.
Step 4 is where it gets sticky for people who haven’t tinkered with their computers very much. Here you are presented with a difficult choice. You can erase your entire hard drive, destroying ALL of your existing data, or you can choose to leave your existing operating system intact and use any free space left on your drive to install Kubuntu. Most people choose to take the second route, however this is a more difficult method and beyond the scope of this guide. I highly suggest that for your very first Linux installation, you use a computer which you won’t mind breaking. If you absolutely must keep your existing operating system, you can wait for my Easiest Dual-Booting Guide Ever, or if you’re not the patient type you can check out this guide. For the purposes of this tutorial, however, we’re going to assume you’ve already backed up your data, or you’re using a non-critical machine.
In step 5, you are asked to enter your name and to select a password. You are also asked to enter a name for your computer, which will show up if other people search for your computer on a network. Simple enough, click next.
Step 6, verify that all the choices you’ve made are correct and satisfactory, then once you are sure everything looks good, click Next to begin the installation.
The installation takes around an hour depending on how powerful your computer is. Go grab something to eat or read a book.
If all goes well you will see this box saying the installation is complete, and explaining how to shutdown and boot into your brand new Kubuntu system!
Click the K-Menu and select “Log Out”, you will be given the choice to log out, restart, or shutdown. You will need to eject the CD from the drive before the system boots back up, so if are like me and not very quick, you may want to do a full shutdown so you have time to retrieve the CD. Otherwise click restart and get ready to grab that CD out quick!
Once your computer reboots, you’ll come to the login screen. Enter the username and password you chose during the installation and press enter. If you don’t like having to log in every time you turn on your computer, you can change the setting later so that your computer will boot directly to the desktop.
Congratulations! You just installed your very first Linux system. That wasn’t so hard, was it? The first thing you’ll want to do is to explore the menu system to familiarize yourself with where things are. To give you a leg-up, I’ll show you where the most common things new users need to find are located.
Windows users will be familiar with the Control Panel, and Kubuntu comes equipped with something very similar, even in name. All of the important settings and options can be accessed here.
You can access the display settings by right-clicking anywhere on the desktop and selecting “Configure Desktop” from the menu. From the display settings window, you can change your wallpaper, select a screensaver, and change your desktop resolution.
Linux gives you a lot more power to customize and configure things the way you want them. You can change quite a few things about the way your taskbar looks and acts by right-clicking the taskbar and selecting “Configure Panel”. You can make it bigger or smaller, change the color or make it completely transparent, configure auto-hiding or enable buttons to hide the menu when you want to.
The next thing you’ll likely want to do is start adding new software. Select “Add/Remove Programs” from your K-Menu and you’ll be presented with a software manager where you can browse, search, select, install, and remove software for your system. There is a huge selection of software available!
This should get you up and running. If you are ever prompted for a password in Kubuntu, use the same password you use to login with. Fortunately this happens very rarely, usually only when you are about to do something that may have a drastic impact on your system which you need to consider carefully.
If you get stuck or lost, or something looks broken, don’t freak out! I highly recommend the Kubuntu and Ubuntu user forums, as well as the IRC channel. There are always a ton of folks around in both places who are all too happy to help you solve any problem you may come across.
You’ve made a big step into the world of Linux and open source, and you should be proud of yourself. Most people never ever get this far. Now that you’ve earned your credentials, start spreading the word and tell all your friends just how easy it really was!