Installing KDE Neon Bionic (18.04)

KDE Neon has just rebased on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, providing an already excellent distribution with an updated kernel, hardware stack and applications. You can download KDE Neon from here. KDE Neon comes in two offerings, I typically opt for the User Edition as I find it very stable.

Installing KDE Neon is a typical Linux installation affair, it’s pretty straight forward so I won’t be covering that here. For a good overview of the basic installation instructions see here. This post contains actions to do after the installation has complete, a list of applications worth installing, and finishes with some troubleshooting tips for problems I encountered.

If you haven’t tried KDE Neon (Bionic) yet, I highly recommend you give it a try, it is a rock solid and well polished release, and because it is based upon Ubuntu there is plenty of software available.

Note: All these commands are executed in a terminal (konsole). Each command is separated by a blank line. When copying the command, copy the entire text – even if it wraps. Execute one command at a time.

The first thing to do after installation is complete is to update the system:

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

Next I like to install Google Chrome:

wget -q -O - https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub | sudo apt-key add -

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb [arch=amd64] http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list'

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install google-chrome-stable

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google.list*

Then some development essentials, these are useful even if you are not a developer:

sudo apt-get install git curl lzip lunzip plzip filezilla uget build-essential cmake automake autoconf libc6-i386 libncurses5:i386 libstdc++6:i386 lib32z1 libc6:i386 libbz2-1.0:i386 tree htop unace unrar zip unzip p7zip-full p7zip-rar sharutils rar uudeview mpack arj cabextract file-roller kate libqtwebkit4 vim yakuake nodejs gnupg2 apt-transport-https

Now it’s time to install recommended proprietary drivers, such as NVidia:

sudo ubuntu-drivers autoinstall

sudo reboot

Upon reboot, if you notice your fonts are larger – this often happens with 2k/4k monitors after installing proprietary graphics drivers – then force the fonts to use a DPI of 96 by enabling this setting via the System Settings application:

System Settings -> Fonts -> Force Fonts DPI 96

Next I install (see following commands) some excellent applications such as:

And extra utilities and codecs:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openshot.developers/ppa

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pmjdebruijn/darktable-release

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-restricted-extras ffmpeg winff mencoder libdvdread4 icedax easytag id3tool lame libmad0 mpg321 libavcodec-extra flac faac faad libdvd-pkg libaacs0 libbluray-bdj audacious audacity youtube-dl freeglut3-dev mesa-common-dev inkscape gimp gimp-data gimp-plugin-registry gimp-data-extras sox ffmpeg2theora libmpeg2-4 mpeg3-utils mpegdemux liba52-dev mpeg2dec vorbis-tools id3v2 mpg123 libflac++6v5:i386 libflac++6v5 libjpeg-progs libdvdcss2 libdvdnav4 kdenlive openshot-qt amarok uget deluge gparted cherrytree steam darktable krita digikam uget filezilla

Configure VLC to play DVDs:

mkdir ~/.config/aacs

curl http://vlc-aacs.whoknowsmy.name/files/KEYDB.cfg > ~/.config/aacs/KEYDB.cfg

Install Calibre, a first class E-Book manager:

sudo -v && wget -nv -O- https://download.calibre-ebook.com/linux-installer.sh | sudo sh /dev/stdin

For office productivity, get the latest version of LibreOffice (as of this writing it was 6.1):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/libreoffice-6-1

sudo apt update && sudo apt install libreoffice libreoffice-style-breeze

When editing, I like to use Vim, Kate, or Sublime Text. The first two have already been installed. To install Sublime Text enter:

wget -qO - https://download.sublimetext.com/sublimehq-pub.gpg | sudo apt-key add -

echo "deb https://download.sublimetext.com/ apt/stable/" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/sublime-text.list

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install sublime-text

The essential system is up and running, apply some basic customization:

  • Move the task bar panel to the right, increase the size a little
  • Right click the panel main menu, select Alternatives, pick Application Dashboard
  • Configure Desktops to use Desktop View
  • Switch Desktop theme to Breeze Dark
  • Desktop Behavior: 4 workspaces/2 rows, set nav. keys same as Ubuntu
  • In Desktop Effects turn on Cube effect for workspace switching & wobbly windows
  • In Window Managment: Select Flip Switch for Task Switcher
  • Pin shortcuts to the task bar panel
  • Set up slideshow for window backgrounds using Pictures folder (see issue below)

Installing a command line dictionary (see here for more information):

sudo apt-get install dict dictd dict-gcide aspell

Using aspell to help spell a word:

echo bannana | aspell -a

Using dict to get the definition of a word

dict banana

Using aspell to check the spelling of a document:

aspell check text.txt

I like to use MySQL for my database server:

sudo apt-get install mysql-client mysql-server libmysqlclient-dev

(See troubleshooting section below if you have any access permission issues)

For my development needs, I typically install the following software:

For the JetBrains tools (IntelliJ, PyCharm etc.) I currently have a subscription with them, so it’s easier to manage the installation and updating of tools via their toolbox.

Some other development tools I use:

KDE’s Discovery application allows you to install many other applications, some of which are listed below. You can also install the listed applications by following the links for more details, or by entering an associated command if present:

  • Clipgrab (video downloader for YouTube etc.)
  • SimpleScreenRecorder (screen recording software)
  • Evolution (email client – sudo apt install evolution)
  • Thunderbird (email client – sudo apt install thunderbird)
  • Skype (download and install the .DEB package)
  • Clementine (music player – install via Ubuntu PPA instructions on Downloads page)
  • Brave (fast secure browser)
  • Picard (music tagging application)
  • Spotify (music streaming)
  • OBS Studio (video recording and live streaming)
  • Gitlab (Git server)
  • MPV (minimalist GUI video player)
  • Pinta (microsoft paint alternative)
  • Shotcut (video editor)
  • HandBrake (video converter)
  • Ardour (digital audio workstation)
  • Xnconvert (batch image converter)
  • Shutter (alternative screenshot tool)
  • Blender (3D creation suite – see here for installation through PPA)
  • Kazam (screen recorder – sudo apt install kazam)
  • WPS Office (Microsoft Office clone)
  • Timeshift (system backup tool – install via Ubuntu PPA instructions)
  • UFW (uncomplicated firewall – sudo apt install ufw)
  • Gufw (GUI for UFW – sudo apt install gufw)
  • Neofetch (type neofetch in terminal for system info – sudo apt install neofetch)
  • Etcher (usb image burner)
  • Wireshark (network protocol analyzer – sudo apt install wireshark)
  • GnuCash (accounting software – sudo apt install gnucash)
  • TexMaker (LaTeX Editor)
  • Simplenote (note taking app – download and install the .DEB package)
  • BRL-CAD (modeling software)
  • Dia (for creating diagrams, flow charts, etc – sudo apt install dia)
  • Avidemux (simple video editor)
  • KeePass (password manager)
  • Clonezilla (backup/restore tool – sudo apt install clonezilla)
  • FreeCAD (modeling software)
  • Octave (scientific programming language)
  • BleachBit (clean your system and free disk space)
  • Scribus (desktop publishing – sudo apt install scribus)
  • ProjectLibre (Micrsosoft Project replacement)
  • Kexi (Microsoft Access replacement – sudo apt install kexi)
  • Zim (desktop wiki graphical text editor – sudo apt install zim)
  • FocusWriter (simple distraction-free writing)
  • Pidgin (instant messaging client – sudo apt install pidgin)
  • ClamAV (antivirus software)
  • Kerkythea (standalone rendering system)
  • KMyMoney (personal finance manager – sudo apt install kmymoney)
  • Stacer (system optimizer and monitor)
  • Pitivi (video editor)
  • Light Table (advanced code editor)
  • Taskwarrior (command line todo list- sudo apt install taskwarrior)
  • Kodi (media entertainment centre/player)
  • SMPlayer (media player)
  • Vivaldi (modern web browser)
  • K3b (CD / DVD burning software – sudo apt install k3b)
  • Asunder (audio CD ripper)
  • DeVeDe (DVD authoring software)
  • LMMS (Linux Multimedia Studio – music creator)
  • MuseCore (music notation software)
  • ffDiaporama (slideshow creation software)
  • Great Little Radio Player (listen to radio stations from around the world)
  • Sweet Home 3D (interior design application)
  • Bluefish (web programming editor – sudo apt install bluefish)
  • WordPress Desktop Client (download and install the .DEB file)
  • Franz (instant messaging client)
  • Telegram (instant messaging app and platform)
  • Notepadqq (Notepad++ on Linux)
  • MyPaint (raster graphics editor focused on digital painting)
  • KDE Connect (connect to your Android phone from your PC)
  • AnBox (Android emulator to install and run Android apps)
  • Konversation (IRC client – sudo apt install konversation)
  • Discord (all-in-one voice and text chat for gamers)
  • Plume Creator (for writing novels – sudo apt install plume-creator)
  • Cura (3D printing application)
  • Tiled (tiled map editor)
  • XnSketch (turn photos into caroon or sketch images)
  • Pandoc (document converter)
  • Slack (team communication and collaboration)
  • Basket Note Pads (multi-purpose note-taking app – sudo apt-get install basket)
  • Freeplane (mind mapping software)
  • DOSBox (useful for running old MS-DOS games)
  • Wine (run Windows applications in Linux)
  • PlayOnLinux (for Windows gaming/applications on Linux)
  • FreeMind (mind mapping software)
  • Emacs (extensible, customizable text editor)
  • Pencilsheep (image editor with full GPU acceleration)
  • Latte Dock (a really nice dock for Kde)
  • psensor (a graphical harware temperatur monitor for Linux)
  • Gravit Designer (full-featured vector design app)
  • DBeaver (database tool for developers)
  • Bibisco (for writing novels)
  • ManuSkript (tool for writers)
  • Trelby (for screenwriting)
  • oStorybook (for writers, essayists, and authors)
  • Ghostwriter (distraction-free markdown editor)
  • Artha (comprehensive offline thesaurus)
  • Neovim (modern vim)
  • Ren’Py (visual novel engine)

Please let me know if there is any software I have missed which you think should be on the list.

Troubleshooting

Note: Some instructions refer to a .bashrc file, that file is located in your home directory (~).

To edit it with vim type :

vim ~/.bashrc

Or if you prefer the nano editor:

nano ~/.bashrc

Because the filename begins with a period (.) it is hidden in the Dolphin browser by default. To make it visible, press Ctrl + h in Dolphin, you should now be able to right click on the file and open it with Kate or another editor of your choice.

When modifying other files, such as those in the /etc folder, you may need to use elevated permissions to edit the file by using the sudo command, for example:

sudo vim /etc/apt/sources.list

Fonts too large on High DPI

Enable this option: System Settings -> Fonts -> Force Fonts DPI 96

The Desktop Randomly Freezes

Turns out this is a bug with the Slideshow Wallpaper. Just use an Image for the background. See here for more information.

Avoid Screen Tearing with NVidia (Single Monitor)

Execute this command:

nvidia-settings --assign CurrentMetaMode="nvidia-auto-select +0+0 { ForceFullCompositionPipeline = On }"

Modify the screen section of /etc/X11/xorg.xconf to add the following options:

Option “AllowIndirectGLXProtocol” “off”
Option “TripleBuffer” “on”

(Make sure the quotes are correct)

If you don’t have an xorg.conf use the NVidia X Server Settings application to create it.

Your screen section should look something like this containing the three options:

Identifier “Screen0”
Device “Device0”
Monitor “Monitor0”
Option “metamodes” “nvidia-auto-select +0+0 {ForceCompositionPipeline=On, ForceFullCompositionPipeline=On}”
Option “AllowIndirectGLXProtocol” “off”
Option “TripleBuffer” “on”

Reboot and the screen tearing should be fixed.

See here for more information, and for other issues with NVidia, multi-monitors, etc.

MySQL Access Problems

After installation I had problems accessing the server:

ERROR 1698 (28000): Access denied for user ‘root’@’localhost’

Enter the following commands to fix the issue (replace ‘test’ with your desired password):

sudo mysql -u root

ALTER USER 'root'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH mysql_native_password BY 'test';

exit

sudo service mysql restart

You should now be able to connect to the server:

mysql -u root -p

See here for more information.

Android Studio

When I try to run an Android application on the Android Emulator I get this error:

/dev/kvm permission denied.

Starting with Ubuntu 18.04 you need to install qemu-kvm. Enter these commands:

sudo apt install qemu-kvm

sudo adduser $USER kvm

sudo reboot

After you reboot, the emulator should work fine.

Emulator not Launching from the Terminal

Another issue is running the emulator from the terminal, you may get an error like this:

PANIC: Missing emulator engine program for ‘x86’ CPU.

The solution is to export the ANDROID_SDK_ROOT from your .bashrc and make sure your path looks in the emulator folder before the tools folder. Your .bashrc should have something like this:

export ANDROID_SDK_ROOT=$HOME/Android/Sdk

export PATH=”$PATH:$ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/emulator:
$ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/tools:$ANDROID_SDK_ROOT/platform-tools”

Restart your terminal, you should now be able to start the emulator with:

emulator @Nexus5x28 &

Note: Nexus5x28 is my virtual device name, replace with your own.

See here from more information.

Lastly, if you are still experiencing problems with the launching the your virtual device, try opening Android Studio -> Tools -> AVD Manager, now edit your virtual device to ensure Boot Option (under Advanced Settings) is set to Cold Boot.

Images Floating in Thunderbird Email (Suppressing Graphics in Subject) 

Update: This seems to be fixed in the latest version, bit just in case…

I tend to use Thunderbird for email nowadays, it can be installed with this command:

sudo apt install thunderbird

Since Ubuntu 18.04 images start appearing in the subject list:

thunder1The problem is related to emoji glyphs. There are several solutions, see here. I just opened the Font Manager application and disabled the Noto Color Emoji font.

VirtualBox

When I follow the instructions for installing VirtualBox via apt here, I get the following error when I run sudo update:

N: Skipping acquire of configured file ‘contrib/binary-i386/Packages’ as repository ‘https://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian bionic InRelease’ doesn’t support architecture ‘i386’

The solution is here. Essentially you need to add this to your /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb [arch=amd64] http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian bionic contrib 

And not this (remove it if you added it according to the instructions):

deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian bionic contrib

Now you should be able to install the latest version (as of time of writing it is 5.2):

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install virtualbox-5.2

There is one more issue, if you are not in the vboxusers group you will have problems connecting to USB drives etc. Enter these commands:

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers $USER

sudo reboot

Turning off Telemetry

To turn off telemetry for Flutter enter the following command:

flutter config --no-analytics

To turn it off for .Net Core add the following to your .bashrc file:

export DOTNET_CLI_TELEMETRY_OPTOUT=1

 

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