Installing Kubuntu, step by step

October 1st, 2005

Welcome to this installing kubuntu step by step guide. I’m assuming that you already have the burned CD of Kubuntu ISO.

As Kubuntu is based on Debian, like Debian kubuntu also uses a two part installation.
In the first part, it sets up your network, partitions your drive, creates a default username and password, installs the kernel and bootloader. In second part it installs Kde, the X-windows system, sets up your graphic card, etc. Get ready to install kubuntu on your system.

Part One

Put the kubuntu CD into the drive and set your computer to boot from it. While booting, it will greet you with a boot menu. Press enter and wait until it finishes booting and reaches the interactive setup screen. On this screen, it will ask you to choose your language, choose whatever you want and press enter, it will also ask you to select your keyboard layout.

Once you select the proper option it will then detect your hardware and load necessary things into memory after hardware detection. If you have a network card installed in your system and if it detect it properly, it will prompt you to setup your network. If you want to use dial-up connection for accessing the Internet, you can simply go with the default settings (you can setup dial connections later) . If you are using a broadband modem or connect to internet using LAN, you can edit/setup your network here (this is usefull if you using a network installation ISO), To edit your network select no here, then select manually edit network settings. It will ask you couple of things like your IP Address, Netmask, DNS server address,
Gateway and Hostname. If you don’t know them, ask your network administrator.

Once it finishes setting up your network, it will load some more modules into memory and bring you to the partition page. In this screen, it will show you the list of currently available disks you can use to install kubuntu. The next phase is a very crucial phase, any mistakes can delete any or all of your data.

Linux requires 2 partitions to work. Partitions are sections of the hard drive. When you install Kubuntu Linux, it will allow you to create the needed partitions. Before we move on, I would like to tell you some little about how Linux treats hard disk partitions. You will find it useful if your are coming from Windows environment. In Linux, every device in your computer is treated as a file, and you must mount every partition/device in order to use them. A basic way of mounting a partition/device is

mount  -t <filesystem>(like ext3) <device >(like /dev/hda1) <mount point >(like /home) 

. In Linux your primary master IDE HDD is the /dev/hda or /dev/sda (if your are using a SCSI disk). The primary HDD is /dev/hda and Primary Slave is /dev/hdb, Secondary Master is /dev/hdc and Secondary slave is /dev/hdd. Learn the way how linux represent HDD in a, b, c, d way. The Linux partitioning scheme is also different from Windows. Unlike Windows, there is no C: or D: drive in Linux, instead of this Linux has special files you can use to access your partitions, Assume you have a IDE HDD attached with your system. which has 3 partitions. C: drive (Primary partition) D: drive (first logical drive in extended partition) E: (second logical drive in extended partition). Linux use /dev/hda1 /dev/hda2 /dev/hda3 /dev/hda4 /dev/hda5 and so on for defining partitions. /dev/hda1 is the first primary partition, a Linux system can have maximum of 4 primary partitions. Linux uses /dev/hda4 for extended partition then /dev/hda5(6,7,8) for logical drives under it. I hope I’m not confusing you. I would suggest you read Linux partitioning HOWTO from The Linux Documentation Project.

In this article, I’ll tell you the basic (minimum) partitioning scheme for installing almost any Linux system. A working Linux system must have a partition mounted as root(/). Linux also need a SWAP partition for working, but it’s not mandatory, however it’s a good idea to create a SWAP partition. A SWAP partition is the same thing as pagefile or virtual memory in Windows. You can also create more partitions and mount them as /home or /var if you like. The /home partition is used to keep users home directories. If you create a linux partition and mount it as /home, linux will store, all users(except root) home directories on this partition, So If your system got crash(which is rarity in case of linux ;) ) you can safely format your /(root) partition, with worrying about users data. So it’s a good idea create a partition for /home, but you can safely skip this if you don’t have much space. In this example, we’ll create a partition for /home.

TIP: Don’t get confused with root and /(root), In linux root is the name of Administrator while /(root) is the top most directory of your system.

I’m assuming you have only one drive with windows (or other OS installed) and want to install Kubuntu as dual boot. You must free enough space on your HDD to Kubuntu. If you have 30 GB HDD and have 3 partitions of 10GB(c:), 10GB(d:) and 10GB(e:), you can delete your e: drive to free space. Remember, just delete that partition, don’t create any new partition. Linux needs free space and a free partition to install. You can also delete a partition while installing linux.

If you meet the above requirements and have enough free space you can continue reading. Size of partition I’m going to create in this example is differ from what you see in the pictures, As I don’t have a 30GB HDD for using in this example.

On partition page it will show you a screen something like this. choose the drive on which you want to install kubuntu. On next page, it will ask you to create partitions, from here you could add, delete or create new partitions. As we already have free space, use arrow keys and choose free to create a new partition in free space. It will now ask you how you would like to use this free space, we’ll create a new partition, If you press enter here, it will ask you for the size of partition, as we have 10GB of free space, 4 GB would be enough for a standard kubuntu system, enter 4GB(or whatever you like if you have more space, I think 10gb is enough for a desktop system). On next page, it will ask you whether you want to create a primary or a logical partition. If you already running windows, you probably has a primary partition, so we’ll create a logical partition. In next step it will ask you how would you want to setup this partition. check that you can change the filesystem, mount point, and other settings from this page, leave all other fields and accept the default values. Kubuntu by default set the first partition you created as root(/)(check mount point option, if it fail to set it to / mount, select this option and choose /) after that select done setting up the partition. You can see that a 4GB or partition is created. Now we have 6GB of free space left. again choose free space (create a 5GB partition), repeat the above process, but set it’s mount point to /home. now we have approx 1GB of space left, create one more partition in this space, but choose SWAP as file system for this partition.

After setting all three partitions, you screen may be look like this. just make sure, anything you did, you did on the free space, never delete a partition until you know what you are doing, check again and choose finish partitioning and write changes to disk. it will give you last chance, check again if you were doing something wrong. it’ll also show what the changes going to be written to disk, press yes to write these changes.

Now Linux installer will create partitions, copy necessary files to your hard disk and set other files. In this process, It will ask you some general questions like your timezone configuration, your default username and password. After setting up everything, it will ask you where you want to install the bootloader (GRUB), if it detect all OS properly (If want a dual boot system) you can safely install GRUB on mbr, GRUB will be install on the master boot record of your first hdd (/dev/hda). After installing GRUB, it will ask you to remove any boot media from cd-rom then it will reboot your machine. congratulation you finished installing first part of the kubuntu, you are just few step away from finish line.

Part Two

After reboot, if grub installed properly, it will greet you with grub menu, from this list you can choose what operating system you want to boot, kubuntu will be the default option and will start after 10 seconds, press enter if you don’t want to wait for 10 seconds ;) , now it’s time to wait again, once it finish booting, it will start the second installation process and install KDE, Xwindows system and other important utilities, while installing, it will ask you for the resolution of your monitor you want to use, I would recommend you should choose the safest value you monitor can support as we can tweak it later. For a basic idea, most color monitor can support 800×600@60hz resolution. Once it finish, it will start the KDM(login manager). Enter your username and password you created in first part of installation. Your new kubuntu desktop it ready to rock, you can use it once it up and running. If it fails in starting Xwindows system, it means that something wrong with your X’s configuration. In this condition you can login to shell (with username you created), type

sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

and press enter. Follow this configuration wizard to setup your graphic card, monitor and other things, after finishing it, type

/etc/init.d/kdm restart

, If you setup everything properly it should start this time. If you face any problem/question in this, you can drop your comments here, I’ll be more than happy to help you :)

Special thnx to jmoscheeti45 for proof reading it. thank you joe.
An extended version of this tutorial can be found at DistroGuide, thnx to teddy for putting that.

Entry Filed under: Computers

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sijumark  |  May 14th, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    Thanks for your step by step instruction regarding the Kubuntu installation,
    But i have a problem, i boot my Acer Extensa 6600 Laptop with kubuntu boot dvd, and press to start the setup, message “uncompressing the kernel” appears and there is no further activity, and installation simply does not proceed further.

    Kindly advise how i can proceed and install Kubuntu on my Laptop .

  • 2. Administrator  |  May 25th, 2006 at 2:05 pm

    it could be any thing, but most probably your CD is either corrupted or not burned properly, try to burn it again.

    did you tried it on another computer, just try, if it boot, it mean there is some problem with your computer.

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