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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