MX to KDE

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Here is one user's account of how she went from MX-14 to a KDE desktop nearly identical to Mepis 12


After completing the "standard" MX-14 installation, I booted into the desktop using chain loading. The first thing I did was to install the NVidia driver using the built-in Nvidia-install tool, which worked perfectly, and followed that by running the flash installer and codecs installer. I ran the Disk Manager to select which partitions would be mounted on boot up. I discovered that MX-14 uses different mount points than MEPIS; e.g. /media/XXXX where XXXX is the volume label, whereas MEPIS used /mnt/sdxx as partition mount points Hence, the symlinks I had crafted under MEPIS would no longer work. The other thing I noticed was that the MX-14 installer had removed the volume labels of the / and /home partitions. (I'm not sure whether this is a bug, or I just got unlucky. In any case I just had to use Gparted to put the labels back.)

The next step was to install KDE using the handy meta-installer that comes standard with MX-14. I used the kde_standard package. This took about 15 minutes. Upon reboot, I selected kdm in the log-in box and I was greeted with a very bare-bones KDE desktop. I spent the next several hours copying directories from my previous MEPIS installation that were backed before I blew them away. As I mentioned, all of my symlinks had to be changed because of the way MX-14 mounts partitions. Reloading the data and getting the symlinks working took about an hour.

The first two new applications I installed were Firefox and Thunderbird from from the community testing repository. Setting up Firefox was a breeze; all I did was copy over my backup copy of the ~/.mozilla/ folder from MEPIS. Setting up Thunderbird was far more difficult. In fact, it was almost a show stopper. I could not get Thunderbird to point to my mail folders that are kept on an NTFS partition. I set it up that way in order to share them with Thunderbird running on Windows, which I barely use anymore. Thunderbird kept telling me that the path to that partition was “invalid.” After several hours of struggling, the cause of the problem finally surfaced. In /etc/fstab, the NTFS partitions were designated ntfs instead of ntfs-3g. Consequently, the system could read the mail folders but I wasn't allowed to set up user permissions for them. I used Disk Manager again, and selected ntfs-3g, rebooted, and everything was okay. I spent about 3 hours on what should have been a 10-minute exercise.

Next, I installed the kwin-crystal package, which isn't installed by default, and prettied up the appearances of the desktop and applications. I loaded up the Panel with icons and widgets, installed Superkaramba and loaded my favorite system monitor on the desktop. I changed the standard cursor arrow to aero-drop, which has a nice drop shadow (I'm sorry, but I love 3-D effects).

The final stage of the process was to install applications that I've grown to love over the years. Below is a fairly complete list of the additional packages I installed after switching over from xfce:

Firefox, Thunderbird, digiKam, showFoto, GIMP, gscan2pdf, Xsane, FatRat, GoogleEarth, Firestarter, Ktorrent, Imagination, SMPlayer, k3b, Kaffeine, KMPlayer, streamtuner, Handbrake, Audacity, DeVeDe, kid3, VirtualBox, KdirStat, kmenuedit, and Wine

Installing the multimedia packages brought in all the usual support packages, such as mencoder, ffmpeg, etc. I believe I had to enable the Debian multimedia repo for HandBrake, but the other multimedia packages came from the community repos. GoogleEarth came from Google's repository.

Kooka, GnomeBaker, GRip, and k9copy are no longer available in the repositories. I can use Xsane instead of Kooka, and k3b instead of GnomeBaker. I found Asunder can substitute for GRip. I can use a 2-step process as a substitute for k9copy: HandBrake > DeVeDe.

I did't remove any of the standard packages that came with MX-14, and I left them on Kmenu. BTW, I found I could no longer edit Kmenu by right-clicking on it. Editing Kmenu is done through the kmenuedit application. I had to create the "Dolphin as Superuser" feature myself, including finding a red file cabinet icon for the panel from the Internet.

The final step of the process of converting over to MX-14 was to re-establish my Wine programs. That was easy. All I had to do is copy the backup of ~/.wine from my old MEPIS /home directory and modify Kmenu by adding entries and icons for each of the Windows programs.

The entire process of switching over to M-14 and doing all the tweaks and twiddles took over two days, but it was worth the effort. (It usually takes a similar amount of time to upgrade MEPIS to a higher version because I always tweak them a lot.)

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