Although the release of Debian 7 is approaching, in this post "We will show the Way" to build a custom desktop environment based on KDE in Debian Squeeze. I think it will be useful even for the next version that according to comments in the WWW Village, comes by default with the Xfce. Specifically we will touch on the following topics:
- How to install a base system in KDE?
- How to disable services in KDE?
- How to set the default Spanish language?
- Recommended programs for KDE
- How to integrate GTK applications into the KDE desktop?
- Processor and memory resource consumption
We start from a normal installation WITHOUT getting to install the graphic environment. During installation by any means, be it the first DVD or a CD, always remember to uncheck the option "Graphical desktop environment" in the Program Selection dialog. We are going to make a custom KDE Desktop. It is always better and easier to add -install- than subtract -purge- packages.
After the first restart we must carry out the following operations:
- Log in as the normal user that we declared during the installation.
- Check the host name and the domain to which it belongs.
- Declare the appropriate repositories and update the list of possible packages to install.
- Install and configure the "sudo".
- Adjust the font size during system startup.
- Install the console mode survival applications: mc ”Midnight Commander”, gpm ”General Purpose Mouse interface” and htop ”Interactive Process Viewer”.
sudo aptitude install mc gpm htop
Tip: If during startup we see that the MTA or Mail Transport Agent "Exim" takes a long time to start and we want to remove it, it is best to install Ssmtp and let the system remove Exim using the command:
sudo aptitude install ssmtp
Table of Contents
How to install a base system in KDE?
Install the package kde-plasma-desktop It's a good start. Meta package that installs the desktop core, the minimum amount of basic applications, and important libraries and data. Among the applications we find the Konqueror web browser, Dolphin file manager, Kwrite text editor, system configuration, panel, etc. We invoke the KDE console through the command console.
sudo aptitude install kde-plasma-desktop kde-l10n-es
After restarting we already have a graphical environment in which to work.
How to disable services in KDE?
To save resources we stop the Desktop Search. Click on the icon KDE Menu -> System Preferences -> Advanced -> Desktop Search, and in the form shown, we uncheck the options "Enable Strigi desktop search"And"Enable the Nepomuk semantic desktop"
Then, click on the arrow "Overview”, We return to the tab "Advanced" and click on the icon "Service Manager".
In the form that is shown, we search among the "Startup Services" the so-called "Nepomuk search module" and we see that it is running unnecessarily. We uncheck the option "Use".
Also a little further down, we see another service that we can disable if we are not installing on a Laptop. We mean the service "PowerDevil". Since I am installing on a Laptop, I leave it as is and running. Let's see how to disable them by clicking on the button "Apply", execution stops.
Disable services that use the network
If we are not working connected to a network, we can disable the services related to networks. If we are not connected to the Internet and it is not vital to find out when the System Updates o Update Notifier, we can also stop this service. Another we can stop is the Free Space Notifier. We can always return services to their original state.
All of the above is to reduce the consumption of resources in terms of processor, memory and access to the hard disk. However, we are free to leave them as they are installed by default.
How to set the default Spanish language?
We define that the default Language will be Spanish, and we select the type of font and its size through the "System preferences”. Working with those Preferences is very intuitive and easy. We will only expand when it refers to a critical point.
Declare the language
To declare the language, we go to KDE Menu -> Sietma Preferences -> Region and Language, and in the form shown, click on the button whose title will appear in English possibly "Add language" and we add the Spanish language. For those who write in English it is convenient to also add that language and then upload Spanish to the default language.
After installing all the recommended packages the Spanish translation improves a lot. We close session and enter again. In the same way, we can configure many other features before continuing the installation.
Recommended programs for KDE
Synaptic, graphical package manager; Deborphan, which will help us -among other aspects- to eliminate orphan libraries using the command sudo orphaner; Gdebi-kde to Install downloaded .deb packages; rare y Unite:
sudo aptitude install synaptic deborphan gdebi-kde rar unrar
Please note: there are very few console commands that we must type to have a basic environment. The manager used in KDE 3.xxx was Adept. Currently the versions of him that we find in Ubuntu Lucid and Maverick, are Betas. Squeeze doesn't bring it in the main repositories, which are the ones I own. I prefer and recommend Synaptic as a graphical package manager. From now on you can use this graphical program to install the rest of the packages. The "look" will not be very pretty until you do what is indicated in How to integrate GTK applications into the KDE desktop?
Kde-standard; Additional desktop themes and icons; Obtain a "Look" consistent for KDE and GTK + applications; dictionary myspell-it:
sudo aptitude install kde-standard kdeartwork qtcurve kde-config-gtk-style myspell-es
View SWF files with Konqueror:
sudo aptitude install konqueror-plugin-gnash
Office Suite, which can be KOffice or OpenOffice o LibreOffice; Okular-extra-backends to view .chm documents and other formats; digiKam for managing photos and images:
sudo aptitude install openoffice.org openoffice.org-l10n-es openoffice.org-kde okular-extra-backends digikam
Tip:: If you are going to install OpenoOffice on a 64-bit Squeeze, I recommend installing the package first tzdata-java o "Time Zone Java" and accept the solution proposed by aptitude to downgrade the installed tzdata.
sudo aptitude install tzdata-java
aRts, official audio system for the KDE; Amarok, in my opinion the best manager - music player; K3b, also, and in my opinion, the best program to burn; Vlc; kdemultimedia, official KDE module (the Juk is a music player that will already be installed):
sudo aptitude install arts amarok k3b k3b-extrathemes k3b-i18n vlc kdemultimedia
Tip: Start the VlC. Go to Menu -> Tools -> Preferences -> Audio -> Output module, and select "UNIX OSS audio output" so that it works correctly with aRts. You can also go to Tools -> Preferences -> Video -> Output and choose "Video output X11 (XCB)"
Krfb: utility to share the desktop via VNC.
Yakuake- Retractable console for console lovers like me.
Krusader: double pane file manager - commander type - very useful. I recommend installing the tools before the Krusader kdiff3: compare and mix 2 or 3 files or directories; krename: to rename files; and compressors lzma, lha, and arj.
System-config-printer-kde y Printer-applet: Utility to configure printers and applet to manage print jobs.
Firefox: No introduction required. Download a .tar.gz from Firefoxmanía, unzip it in a folder and use it !. Now, declaring it as the default browser and integrating it into the system is another story. They can also install the Iceweasel those who don't like Konqueror.
GIMP: Program for manipulating images.
So far we have an elegant desktop with a good number of applications to start working and / or enjoying. With KDE4 I think something similar happened to what happened with GNOME3. Many of us made a strong rejection at first. Personally I use GNOME 2.30.02 which is the one that comes with the Squeeze by default. I used KDE with Etch and Lenny for some time. When I first saw KDE4, I immediately rejected it. But since I have heard so much praise for this Desktop, I decided to install and test it on my Laptop and the truth is that it suits me for it. The changes I make are the Menu in the classic or old style, and open files with double click.
How to integrate GTK applications into the KDE desktop?
I use the QtCurve windows style that the package gives me qtcurve, and through the package kde-config-gtk-style and the System Preferences, I configure the style of the GTK applications to obtain an even “look” of the whole environment. We can also install the package gtk-qt-engine and select the QT 4 style, among others. We do the configuration of the appearance of these applications through KDE Menu -> System Preferences -> Appearance -> GTK Styles and fonts.
Consumption of resources
Regarding the Consumption of Resources, without activating the integrated “Composition” (Composer, Compiz) of the desktop, the consumption of RAM remains low. And I say "low" because this desktop environment is supposed to be for mid-range computers. If I activate Composition, then it increases, but the environment is gracefully beautified. When selecting the Composition, if our video card does not accept OpenGL extensions, in the “Advanced"Of"Stationery", We can select the Type of composition"XRender" and try. Consumption will vary according to the hardware we have; to if we install the 64-bit distro, etc.
We can customize KDE even more -almost to the point of exhaustion- especially with regard to the appearance and installation of more packages or applications. If you want to have a look at the whole KDE, install the package kde-full. If you want to go little by little, check out the meta packages:
- kdeadmin: tools for system administration.
- kdegraphics: graphic applications.
- kdeedu: educational applications.
- kdegames: games.
- kdenetwork: applications for networks.
- kdeutils: general purpose utilities.
- kdepim: Personal Information Management, or applications for the Management of Personal Information.
- kdesdk: Software Development Kit, or kit for application development.
- kdetoys: "Toys" for the Desktop.
- kdewebdev: Collection of applications for web development.
- koffice: office suite.
- qt4-designer: Many people think that KDE is the optimal Desktop for programming. Qt4 is a Framework for the development of cross-platform applications, using C ++ or other languages such as Python. Its main feature is the wide collection of "widgets" for the design of Graphical User Interfaces or GUI.
kde-full, in addition to the aforementioned meta packages, it also depends on the kde-plasma-desktop. On the other hand, we can install GNOME applications or others to further enrich our desktop.
The style of the default menu, we can change it to the classic or old style by right clicking on the icon and selecting "Switch to the classic style ...”. We can return in the same way to the style "Kickoff”. We can customize practically anything we want. And since that is a personal task, which would occupy a book with many pages of images and texts, I leave it for you to do. :-)
Please consult the Great and Detailed help that KDE brings, and I hope you enjoy this sleek and fast desktop.
The characteristics of my Laptop?
Fujitsu LifeBook; Intel (R) Core (TM) 2 Duo CPU; T5250 @ 1.50GHz; ; cache size: 2048 KB; RAM: 2003 KB
Resource consumption without stationery
The next installment: How to customize the KDM?