My KDE-Centric Linux Laptop Setup – Part 1

The following are my notes on how I like to set up my Linux systems, specifically my primary laptop (Dell XPS 13). These are notes more for myself, for future reference. But others may find it useful for their systems as well. Part 1 covers the software I like to install for various purposes. Part 2 will cover configuration file changes, including for power and performance.

This is currently based on running KDE Neon. Other distros will be slightly different based on pre-installed packages and installation methods available.

Software Changes

Prerequisites

Desktop

  • Install Latte Dock for a beautiful top bar:
    • sudo apt install latte-dock
  • Install Yakuake to provide a quick access drop-down terminal:
    • sudo apt install yakuake
    • Note: Add an entry in Auto Start to have it load on login.
  • Install additional wallpapers:
    • sudo apt install plasma5-workspace-wallpapers
  • Install Redshift to reduce eye strain:
    • sudo apt install redshift
    • Note: Additionally, install the Redshift Control Plasma widget from the KDE Store.
  • Install libinput-gestures and required packages to allow for touchpad gestures:
    • sudo apt install xdotool wmctrl libinput-tools
    • sudo gpasswd -a $USER input
    • mkdir ~/.bin
    • cd ~/.bin
    • git clone https://github.com/bulletmark/libinput-gestures
    • cd libinput-gestures
    • sudo ./libinput-gestures-setup install
    • libinput-gestures-setup autostart

Peripherals

  • Install HP Linux Imaging and Printing with the full GUI package to provide networked printing and scanning capabilities for my printer:
    • sudo apt install hplip-gui
  • Install Skanlite to provide a scanning application:
    • sudo apt install skanlite

Multimedia

  • Install simplescreenrecorder to easily produce screencasts:
    • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:maarten-baert/simplescreenrecorder
    • sudo apt update
    • sudo apt install simplescreenrecorder
  • Install Peek to easily create screencast GIFs, useful for bug reporting and blog posts:
    • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:peek-developers/stable
    • sudo apt update
    • sudo apt install peek
  • Install screenkey and required packages to provide an on-screen display to keyboard input for screencasts:
    • sudo apt install slop python-gtk cairo fontawesome-fonts python2 python-gtk2 python-setuptools python-distutils-extra
    • cd ~/.bin
    • git clone https://github.com/wavexx/screenkey
    • cd screenkey
    • sudo ./setup.py install
  • Install Kdenlive for video editing:
    • sudo apt install kdenlive
  • Install Audacity for audio editing:
    • sudo apt install audacity

System Maintenance

  • Install Ukuu to easily upgrade to a mainline Linux kernel:
    • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:teejee2008/ppa
    • sudo apt update
    • sudo apt install ukuu
    • Note: From within Ukuu, install the latest mainline kernel when complete.
  • Install htop to improve process management:
    • sudo apt install htop
  • Install neofetch for screenshot information display:
    • sudo apt install neofetch
  • Install PowerTOP to provide power usage insight:
    • sudo apt install powertop
  • Install TLP to provide laptop power management services:
    • sudo apt install tlp
  • Install KBackup to provide a backup GUI:
    • sudo apt install kbackup
  • Install Filelight to provide graphical insight into disk usage:
    • sudo apt install filelight
  • Install KDE Partition Manager to easily adjust device partitions:
    • sudo apt install partitionmanager

Productivity

  • Install the Fresh version of LibreOffice and the Breeze style for it:
    • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa
    • sudo apt update
    • sudo apt install libreoffice libreoffice-style-breeze
  • Install Virtual Machine Manager to run VMs with QEMU/KVM:
    • sudo apt install virt-manager
    • sudo apt install virt-viewer
    • Note: virt-viewer is the recommended client by the virt-manager team, especially for SPICE connections (which I use).
  • Install Nextcloud synchronization client and Dolphin integration via a PPA:
    • sudo apt install nextcloud-client
    • sudo apt install nextcloud-client-dolphin
    • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nextcloud-devs/client
    • sudo apt update
  • Install Kate to provide additional text editing features over the included KWrite:
    • sudo apt install kate
  • Install KRDC for Remote Desktop usage:
    • sudo apt install krdc
  • Install Krita for basic image manipulation:
    • sudo apt install krita
  • Install Kolourpaint for quick image annotation:
    • sudo apt install kolourpaint

Gaming

  • Install Vulkan drivers for gaming:
    • sudo apt install mesa-vulkan-drivers
  • Upgrade to the latest graphics drivers with the Oibaf PPA:
    • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:oibaf/graphics-drivers
    • sudo apt update
    • sudo apt upgrade
  • Install Steam from Flathub:
    • flatpak install flathub com.valvesoftware.Steam
    • Note: This is required because of package incompatibilities with the Oibaf graphics driver upgrade. You can’t install the native Steam package via apt.
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KDE Bugsquad – Okular Bug Day on November 27th, 2018

We will be holding a Bug Day on November 27th, 2018, focusing on Okular. Join at any time, the event will be occurring all day long!

This is a great opportunity for anyone, especially non-developers to get involved!

  1. Mascot_konqi-support-bughunt.pngCheck out our Bug Triaging guide for a primer on how to go about confirming and triaging bugs.
  2. Log into KDE Phabricator and join the Bugsquad!
  3. Join the #kde-bugs IRC channel on Freenode to chat with us in real-time as we go through the list.
  4. Open the shared Etherpad for this event (use your KDE Identity login) to select your block of bugs and cross them off.

If you need any help, contact me!

KDE Bugsquad – Okular Bug Day on November 17th, 2018

Thank you to everyone who participated last Bug Day! We had a turnout of about six people, who worked through about half of the existing REPORTED (unconfirmed) Konsole bugs. Lots of good discussion occurred on #kde-bugs as well, thank you for joining the channel and being part of the team!

We will be holding a Bug Day on November 17th, 2018, focusing on Okular. Join at any time, the event will be occurring all day long!

This is a great opportunity for anyone, especially non-developers to get involved!

  1. Mascot_konqi-support-bughunt.pngCheck out our Bug Triaging guide for a primer on how to go about confirming and triaging bugs.
  2. Log into KDE Phabricator and join the Bugsquad!
  3. Join the #kde-bugs IRC channel on Freenode to chat with us in real-time as we go through the list.
  4. Open the shared Etherpad for this event (use your KDE Identity login) to select your block of bugs and cross them off.

If you need any help, contact me!

The Future is Rolling

I love rolling distros.

I find the idea of continual improvement in software very appealing. If you’ve ever used a piece of software hosted on a website (SaaS), you’ve probably already experienced it. Think about it, how often have you had to go to Gmail v2 and upgrade your email?

Never.

Take that same general idea, and apply it to your operating system on your computer. Instead of receiving a major upgrade every few years, requiring a nail-biting update process and possible data migration, you get incremental upgrades more often.

Yes, you still receive security updates and small bug fixes in a standard, stable release system. But there are a lot of improvements that are delayed for years, that are just as important for users. Having become involved in KDE, I now see the daily improvements that occur. New features, enhancements, and adjustments, that someone on a stable release will not receive until they go through that upgrade process. I understand the reason for it, though.

Stability.

But, again, having been involved in KDE now, I see the other side. Our code goes through a rigorous peer review process before acceptance. The odds of a bug being introduced is very slim. The risk, just isn’t there, in my opinion.

There are ways to mitigate the remaining risk.

Automated tests with systems such as Jenkins and openQA, and continuous integration can greatly assist with ensuring any issues are quickly caught.

I believe rolling Linux distros like Manjaro, Arch, openSuSE, and Solus are the future. Are they ready today? I don’t know, I’m not so sure. I’m not convinced we have enough automated tests, and quality control to declare them the only way forward. But they are a good start. I genuinely enjoy Manjaro and Solus.

Even Microsoft is on board.

Windows 10 is now intended to be (in their own words) “the last version of Windows”, with Microsoft converting it into a rolling SaaS product.

Just like a rolling Linux distro.