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This chapter is from the book

System Administration

Like any computer application or system, Kubuntu occasionally needs administrative support. Do not be afraid of personally administrating your Kubuntu system. While system administration is not completely foolproof, a lot of changes have been made to help make administration easier. Knowledge of command line will go a long way, but the developers have made sure to provide graphical interfaces wherever it makes sense to do so. Everything from changing the IP address (e.g., from DHCP to a static address) to installing packages can be done without having to drop down to the command line. This section focuses exclusively on system administration performed through the graphical interface.

Installing New Packages

As mentioned earlier, Kubuntu is built around some of the same applications and systems as Ubuntu. All applications are installed through packages. Like Ubuntu, Kubuntu uses the Advanced Package Tool (APT), and also like Ubuntu, Kubuntu has a wonderful graphical interface. Kubuntu's graphical installer is called KPackageKit, referred to as Software Management throughout the rest of the chapter.

In previous versions of Kubuntu, Adept software was used to install and update packages; however, this application was no longer being developed and also was not updated for KDE 4. The developers of Kubuntu switched to Software Management, and many improvements to the application were made during the release cycle. The developers of Software Management and the Kubuntu developers worked together to make sure this application was up to the quality that Kubuntu users expect.

Software Management is found in the Application Launcher under Applications > System > Software Management and can also be launched through Krunner as Software Management.

Upon launching Software Management, you are presented with the Software Management application (Figure 8-12).


Figure 8-12 Software Management

Three options are available in Software Management: Add and Remove Software (through the Software Management section), Software Updates, and Settings.

In order to add a new piece of software, type the name of the application in the search bar. The screenshots in Figures 8-13 and 8-14 show searching for a chess game and then selecting it for installation.


Figure 8-13 Searching for a chess game


Figure 8-14 Selecting 3dchess for installation

Once you click on the application to install, more details about the package are displayed, including the description of the package, the file list, other packages that depend on this package, as well as the other packages required by this package. This information allows you to understand what files are being installed and to make sure the correct packages are being downloaded and installed so the application works properly.

To install the application, click on the "+" (plus sign).

This will queue the package to be installed; click on Apply to set up the application on the system. Unlike Microsoft Windows, Kubuntu is great about not forcing a system restart in order for the new application to work correctly.

Managing Repositories

The Software Management application has the ability to manage the repositories you would like to use. To change which repositories are being used, open Software Management and select settings and the select "Edit Software Sources." After you provide the correct password, a new window will open up (see Figure 8-15).


Figure 8-15 Software Source lists

Software Sources is divided into five sections: Kubuntu Software, Other Software, Updates, Authentication, and Statistics.

Packages are organized into four groups or repositories: main, restricted, universe, and multiverse. The main repository contains applications that are free software, programs that allow for complete distribution and are supported by the Kubuntu team. When you install something from the main repository, you are guaranteed to receive security updates and support through the various venues.

Anything from the multiverse repository contains software that is not free, which is defined by the Kubuntu Main Component License Policy. Software here is used at the user's own risk.

Third-party software is not supported by Kubuntu.

Upgrading Kubuntu

If you are currently using Kubuntu 10.10 and would like to upgrade to Kubuntu 11.04, you can use the update manager to install the new version. There is no need to purchase new software or reload your system; just update from the current version to the latest stable release. From the console, type sudo do-release-upgrade and watch your system upgrade from Kubuntu 10.10 to Kubuntu 11.04.

How to Keep the System Up to Date

Kubuntu will check to see if your system is up to date. Software Management will notify you in the task bar and prompt you to update your system.

In the Settings portion of Software Management, you can change how often the system checks for updates (by default, it is every week). Another setting that can change is whether or not the system will automatically install the updates or prompt you for your updates.

System Settings

System Settings allows users to make changes to the system, including settings for sound, user accounts, mouse behavior, and network configuration. If you are familiar with KDE, you may recognize that System Settings replaces the K Control Center. Figure 8-16 shows System Settings.


Figure 8-16 System Settings

System Settings can be found in the Application Launcher, or type System Settings in the search bar of the launcher, or in KRunner. (KRunner is accessed by either right-clicking on the desktop and selecting Run Application or by hitting ALT-F2.) When making changes in System Settings, you will be prompted at times to enter your password. Changes made that require a password are systemwide and will affect all users of the Kubuntu system.

When moving through the different options, be sure to select Overview to return to the main screen of System Settings instead of clicking on the X. Doing so may take some getting used to.

Common Appearance and Behavior

The Common Appearance and Behavior deals with system defaults, from language to shortcuts. If you are located outside of the United States and need to change settings, such as currency, date, and language, they can all be configured here through the Country/Region & Language option.

Workspace Appearance and Behavior

This section of System Settings deals with the Appearance of your environment. Is your system running too slow with all of the Desktop Effects enabled? Turn them off here. Have a really sweet system and you want to make your windows explode as they close? Turn that on in this section. Also in Workspace Appearance and Behavior you can customize the default applications your system uses.

This section also allows for customization of Strigi or Desktop Search. "Akonadi is a cross-desktop storage service for Personal Information Manager data (calendars, contacts, email, etc.) and also for the metadata" (http://pim.kde.or/akonadi for more information). Nepomuk can work together with Akonadi and helps you organize the information and metadata on your machine. (For more information, see http://nepomuk.semanticdesktop.org.) Another portion of Nepomuk is Desktop Search which provides the ability to search for files and applications on your system. These two applications can be configured through System Settings.

Network and Connectivity

This section of Systems Settings deals with Networking and allows you to customize how networking works. An example of something that can be customized is if you need to access a proxy to connect to the Internet, this can be configured globally.


This section of System Settings may have the most options in it. The Hardware section allows you to configure how Hardware interacts with your system. Printer configuration is where users add or make changes to printers. Most printers these days already have drivers available in Kubuntu, and upon detecting a new printer for the first time, the printer configuration wizard will start. The following screenshots show this wizard (Figures 8-17 and 8-18).


Figure 8-17 Printer Configuration—System Settings


Figure 8-18 New Printer

It used to be quite painful to configure multiple monitors but this is no longer the case. When a secondary display is connected to a device (example being a laptop connected to a projector) the Display portion of Hardware will help you customize items like size and orientation if not detected correctly.

The final section of System Settings deals with administration of your Kubuntu environment.

Login Manager

When you launch this module, you will be prompted for your administrative password. The Login Manager is where your username and password is typed in, and it allows you to log in. In this section, you can customize exactly what happens and how it looks when you log in (Figure 8-19).


Figure 8-19 Login Manager

One of the items that can be configured is the Auto-login. This is NOT RECOMMENDED because anyone will have access to your machine as soon as it is powered on. Select the user you would like to Auto-login and select Apply.

User Management

The User Management module allows you create new users and even change access rights. To create a new user, click on New and follow the wizard (Figures 8-20 and 8-21).


Figure 8-20 User Management


Figure 8-21 Create a new user

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