The Linux Moderate

One Man Standing Up for Computers That Get Work Done

A Fast KDE System for Old Computers

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Let’s say you like KDE as your desktop environment, and let’s say you have a crusty nine-year-old computer with a 600-MHz processor and 256 MB of memory and a sticker that says “Designed for Microsoft Windows 98.” (What an amazing coincidence! Those are just the specs of my testing computer.)

Here’s an easy way to install a KDE system that’s amazingly fast and efficient and customized to your specifications. In fact, it’s so easy, it’s almost embarrassing.

First, you install Xubuntu, which is the XFCE-flavored edition of Ubuntu. Xubuntu gives you a nice XFCE desktop, and once you’ve tried it you might like it. But I’m assuming you still want KDE. The main reason for installing Xubuntu is that it gives you a good, stable system as a base with just about the best hardware detection in the Linux world and an incredible variety of software available in the repositories. It’s also efficient enough to install on old computers where regular Ubuntu might choke. Finally, the seven-step installation is so dead simple that you can get it working just by accepting the defaults for everything except your name and password.

Now use your package manager to install the package kde-core. You can use either the Add/Remove item in the System menu or Synaptic Package Manager, but according to this well-informed gentleman, it’s easier to remove KDE later if you install it from the command line this way:

sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude install kde-core

You can copy that line and paste it into the terminal (use Shift-Ctrl-v to paste in the Terminal). The part before the double ampersand is just to make sure you get the latest version of whatever you’re installing; “aptitude” is the terminal-based package manager.

Once you have KDE installed, you can choose it from the “Session” menu when you log in. If you like it, make it your default.

You end up with a generic KDE installation, not Kubuntu themed. Surprisingly, it’s fast and responsive, even on my nine-year-old machine. If you want KDE, this is definitely a good way to start–you can build up from here, adding just the software you want and leaving out the bloated platoons of K-applications that normally come with KDE.

So that’s it. Install Xubuntu, install kde-core, install any other applications you want. You end up with the fastest, most efficient KDE installation I’ve ever tested.


Written by cbaile19

July 14, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Basic Instructions, KDE

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