Warning: Kubuntu Desktop edition installer no longer allows a custom installation of GRUB, and it now uses GRUB2, which is difficult to customize. DO NOT USE the Karmic Koala Desktop edition if you use a boot partition, use multiple OS (more than 2), or chainload bootloaders. The Kubuntu installer will overwrite your Master Boot Record and you will later be forced to recreate it. This is a serious flaw in Karmic Koala.
The Ubuntu Server edition installer does not have this problem, and, in general, I recommend its use instead (adding a kubuntu-desktop to the server afterwards).
Kubuntu Karmic Koala runs with as little as 384 Mb RAM. (The GUI installer requires a minimum of 256 Mb RAM, while the alternative text-based installer can run using only 192 Mb RAM.)
The installation takes between 3-4 Gb hard drive space, and 8-10 Gb will be needed to run comfortably.
Netbooks will run Kubuntu Karmic Koala, which has been optimised for speed, efficiency, and quick bootup.
If you have an older computer with less memory than this, consider Lubuntu (if 160 Mb RAM or greater), PuppyLinux (if 256 Mb or greater), or DSL (if minimal RAM, limited hard drive space, running from a USBdrive, or running from within another OS).
Warning: The original Linux kernel supplied with Karmic Koala had a flaw in the motherboard / CPU fan sensor modules. It required that motherboard hardware be compatible with existing drivers, or the computer would slow to a crawl and then freeze. This has now been corrected with the new updated kernels (> 31.17) and should no longer be a concern. See this section for a more thorough discussion.
Kubuntu Karmic Koala contains the KDE 4.3 desktop by default. The desktop has been improved and many bugs fixed since earlier versions of KDE 4. In addition, the incorporated Linux kernel is more efficient and more hardware is recognized by default. Especially on a smaller system with limited hard drive space, a new installation is recommended to prevent software bloat that can accumulate when updating older versions.
- Download the latest ISO image from Kubuntu 9.10.
- See this guide for burning the ISO image to a CD ("LiveCD").
- Use the LiveCD for installation.
- An alternate method involves installing the server version first and then installing the Kubuntu desktop.
Kubuntu Netbook Edition
The KDE Plasma Netbook desktop is optimised for netbooks with screens less than 10". An edition of Kubuntu with the KDE Netbook Plasma desktop can be downloaded here. Install using the instructions as above.
KDE 3 Remix
Kubuntu Hardy Heron LTS used a simpler but well-respected stable desktop, KDE 3.5. This desktop is now available for Karmic (and can even be run alongside KDE 4) using Kubuntu Karmic KDE 3 Remix. This Remix includes the latest upgrades to KDE 3.5, while taking advantage of Karmic's speed improvements.
Dual-Booting Windows and Kubuntu
Rarely, a user may experience problems dual-booting Kubuntu and Windows. In general, a Windows OS should be installed first, because its bootloader is very particular. A Windows installation usually occupies the entire hard drive, so the partition needs to be shrunk, creating free space for the Kubuntu partition. (You should clean up unnecessary files and defragment the drive before resizing.) The Windows partition can be resized from within Windows Vista using the shrink/resize option in the Administrative Tools --> Disk Management tool. If using Windows XP (or other Windows OS), use GParted partition manager to shrink the Windows partition and thereby leave free space on the hard drive for the Kubuntu partition. If done this way, there is no problem installing Kubuntu as the second operating system and it is done automatically from the Kubuntu LiveCD. Allow the Kubuntu LiveCD to install to "largest available free space."
A Windows partition should be at least 20 Gb (recommended 30 Gb), and a Kubuntu partition at least 10 Gb (recommended 20 Gb). Obviously, if you have plenty of disk space, make the partition for whichever will be your favoured operating system larger. For a recommended partitioning scheme, see this section.
- Wubi (Windows-based Ubuntu Installer), an officially supported dual-boot installer that allows Ubuntu to be run mounted in a virtual-disk within the Windows environment (which can cause a slight degradation in performance). Because the installation requires an intact functioning Windows system, it is recommended to install Ubuntu in this manner for short-term evaluation purposes only. A permanent Ubuntu installation should be installed in its own partition, with its own filesystem, and should not rely on Windows.
- EasyBCD, a free Windows-based program that allows you to dual-boot Windows Vista and Ubuntu (as well as other operating systems) by configuring the Vista bootloader.
Installing multiple OS on a single computer
Warning: The Karmic Koala Desktop edition installer no longer allows a custom installation of GRUB, and it now uses GRUB2 (which is difficult to customize). DO NOT USE the Karmic Koala Desktop edition LiveCD installer if you use a boot partition, use multiple OS (more than 2), or chainload bootloaders. The Desktop edition installer will overwrite your Master Boot Record and you will later be forced to recreate it (this is a flaw in the Desktop edition installer). Use the Ubuntu Server edition installer instead (and then later add the kubuntu-desktop).
If you want to install more than 2 operating systems on a single computer, check out these tips.
Upgrading Intrepid or Jaunty to Karmic
- Also see the official Ubuntu desktop upgrade documentation.
There are several methods for upgrades from the command-line interface (Konsole) (which can be used for both the desktop and server editions of Kubuntu/Ubuntu).
- This is the preferred method:
sudo apt-get install update-manager-core sudo do-release-upgrade
- You can also use the update-manager (all editions):
sudo apt-get install update-manager sudo update-manager -d
- You can also use:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
- (Note: the first two lines simply make sure your current distribution is current before upgrading the entire distribution, and are optional.
Always backup your system. Upgrades did not work for me. I had to make customizations to my Intrepid and Jaunty installations to make my hardware work with them, but these customizations were not required in Karmic. When the system attempted to migrate the customizations during an attempted upgrade, it crashed my system. Fortunately, I had backed up all my important files, and reinstalling them on a fresh Karmic installation was therefore accomplished relatively quickly.
Upgrading Hardy to Karmic
A new installation is recommended if you are upgrading from Hardy (or older), in order to prevent software bloat, and to avoid some configuration file incompatibilities between the KDE 3.5 desktop used in Hardy and the KDE 4 desktop used in Karmic. (KDE 4 is an entirely new desktop and differs significantly from KDE 3.5.)
However, it is possible to serially upgrade from Hardy to Intrepid, and then from Intrepid to Jaunty, and then from Intrepid to Karmic.