I recently had to reinstall Kubuntu 14.04 on my PC due to some driver issues which I wrote about in my last post. Doing so made me realize that I had quite a few tweaks made to the vanilla installation to get a pleasant experience. I also realized that I had forgotten many of my configurations and had to spend a couple of hours looking through blog posts and whatnots to rediscover all my favorite settings. To avoid this hassle the next time I’m reinstalling, I’m going to list the most important settings to make Kubuntu the best distribution, by far.
The first thing that strikes me when booting a freshly installed Kubuntu is the fonts which not only look bad but also hurt my eyes, everything is so small. My current font settings are heavily inspired by this blog post, with the exception that I have increased every font size by one. I also increase the zoom level in Firefox for some sites, especially Reddit and Youtube go nice with being zoomed in once or twice, keeping your eyes relaxed and happy!
Application and workspace style
From the screenshots above you can see that the style is somewhat darker than the defaults. This spurred from the fact that, IIRC, the default taskbar had a transparency effect that I didn’t like. Instead of removing the transparency effect I decided to do a full overhaul of the appearance. From the System Settings menu, enter the Workspace Appearance and make sure that you’re using the Oxygen theme in Window Decorations. Second, we need to change the Desktop Theme to Caledonia. There might be more than one way to install Caledonia, but I just downloaded this KDE theme archive and followed the installation instructions. After a successful installation you should be able to select the Caledonia theme from the list of themes in Desktop Theme settings.
Next up is the style for the application window as the default settings in combination with the Caledonia theme is very ugly, so let’s fix that right away. From the System Settings menu, go to Application Appearance->Colors and click the Get New Schemes button. From the list of schemes you should be able to search for a scheme named DarkRed and install it, done! DarkRed might work somewhat bad when filling in online forms as you might end up typing black text on a black background. Apart from that, it’s nearly perfect.
Turning Firefox into fire and shadow
When switching to a dark desktop theme, or any theme for that matter, you probably want to achieve a high level of consistency regardless of which program you’re running. When it comes to Firefox and websites you will of course not reach perfect darkness as some pages simply aren’t dark by design. Well, a small attempt to make Firefox look nicer is to install some visually enhancing add-ons and themes and do some magic for frequently visited sites. Install the add-ons Stylish, Customize about:newtab and if you surf Reddit, install RES and activate night mode. I’ve installed Stylish themes for Facebook och Youtube. My customizations to the about:newtab page consists of setting the columns to 5 and rows to 2, all to make some room for this background image. This goes along very well with the Dark Fox Firefox theme.
And finally some must-have packages
This is in no way a complete list, it’s just some of the packages that I usually install during the first hours so I might as well list them here just in case it come in handy sometime.
sudo apt-get install terminator emacs htop vim git
To wrap this up I leave you with a screenshot of my main screen! G’night :D