15 Things to do after installing KDE Neon (2021)

In this post, we’ll explore 15 things to do after installing Plasma’s very own distro - KDE Neon in 2021. Let’s find out what’s possible!

Content

  1. Double-click
  2. Update Correctly
  3. Install Synaptic
  4. Install Drivers
  5. Install Apps
  6. Activate Night Color
  7. Disable KDE Wallet
  8. Restore Previous Session
  9. Automatic Spell Checking
  10. Index File Content
  11. Configure Dolphin
  12. Change Apps Menu
  13. Firefox Settings
  14. Decrease Swap Use
  15. Enable Firewall

1. Double-click

Taking into account that most of the users come from other OSes, they are likely used to double-click. In my opinion, contrary to Neon’s single-click, double-click should be the default behavior.

Open System Settings → Workspace Behaviour → General Behaviour → Select Double-click to open file and folders.

Enabling double-click in KDE Neon

2. Update Correctly

While KDE Neon is based on Ubuntu, we don’t update it in the same way.

In Ubuntu, we use the following command to update the system:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

In KDE Neon, on the other hand, we use:

sudo pkcon refresh && sudo pkcon update

In fact, if you try to update KDE Neon using apt, it will warn you and suggest pkcon.

3. Install Synaptic

KDE Neon includes its software centre - Discover. Discover is more user-oriented and does not provide advanced features for working with packages. That’s why I use Synaptic.

Synaptic software manages in KDE Neon

You can install it from the CLI:

sudo apt install synaptic

That’s right we can still use apt to install packages on KDE Neon, but don’t update the system with it!

4. Install Drivers

With the help of Synaptic, we can install drivers on KDE Neon.

Open Synaptic → Search for kubuntu-driver-manager → Mark for installation kubuntu-driver-manager → Install.

After the installation has finished, go to System Settings → Driver Manager. Wait a bit for KDE Neon to find the right drivers for your system and install them.

Installing drivers in KDE Neon

5. Install Apps

Unlike other distros, KDE Neon is a very clean/bloat-free distro. It only includes bare necessities.

I use the following command to install apps I use daily:

sudo apt install kubuntu-restricted-extras build-essential libreoffice libreoffice-style-breeze libreoffice-gtk3 libreoffice-kde smplayer clementine kup-backup gwenview kate gimp speedcrunch chromium-browser ktorrent kfind partitionmanager kio-extras gufw

The command above installs the following:

  • LibreOffice
  • Smplayer (video player)
  • Clementine (audio player)
  • Kup (backup, check out our article on how to use Kup)
  • Gwenview
  • Kate (I prefer it over Kwrite)
  • GIMP
  • Speedcrunch (calculator)
  • Chromium (web browser)
  • KTorrent (torrent client)
  • KFind (file search)
  • Partition Manager
  • kio-extras (preview PNG images in Dolphin)
  • GUFW (firewall, we covered this one too)

6. Activate Night Color

Night colour reduces the amount of blue light at night. This is better for your eyes and helps you to fall asleep easier.

Open System Settings → Display and Monitor → Night Color → Enable Activate Night Color.

The default settings are fine, but feel free to adjust them.

Activating night color in KDE Neon

7. Disable KDE Wallet

While I do use KDE Wallet, I know that it is annoying to many users. For those of you new to Plasma, KDE Wallet is a credentials management app.

Fortunately, we can easily disable it:

Open System Settings → KDE Wallet → Disable Enable the KDE Wallet subsystem → Apply.

Disabling KDE Wallet in KDE Neon

8. Restore Previous Session

KDE Neon launches the last saved session each time you boot up your system. For example, if you had shut down your system with the terminal app open, the next time you boot it will start with terminal open again.

This slows down the system and I prefer to have it disabled.

Open System Settings → Startup and Shutdown → Desktop Session → Enable Start with an empty session → Apply.

Disabling previous session restoration in KDE Neon

9. Automatic Spell Checking

KDE Neon has a spell-checking system built-in which will check every word you type in any app.

Open System Settings → Regional Settings → Spell Check → Enable Automatic spell checking enabled by default → Apply.

Enabling spellcheck in KDE Neon

10. Index File Content

KDE Neon is pre-configured to index everything that’s available on your system. It’s not only the locations of files but their content as well. Many users have experienced a slowdown of their system due to this heavy indexing.

I prefer to disable this feature because most of us tend to search for files by their names, not by their content.

Open System Settings → Search → File Search → Disable Also index file content → Apply.

Disabling file content indexing in KDE Neon

11. Configure Dolphin

Dolphin is my favourite file manager for Linux and it is the best in my opinion. In addition to the already rich interface, you can configure every aspect of it.

For example, you can place your own frequently used folders in the Places panel just by dragging them.

Adding music folder to places panel in Dolphin

The next feature is related to the style view of folders. By default, Dolphin uses the same style view for every folder. If you are like me and would like to have different style view (icons, lists etc.) depending on the folder, you can do that. There are many other things you can configure.

Dolphin → Hamburger menu (the top right corner) → Configure Dolphin → Enable Remember display style for each folder.

Customized style view for a particular folder in Dolphin

12. Change Apps Menu

The default apps menu on KDE Neon is not very easy to navigate. It does require many steps if you are using categories for your navigation.

Fortunately, we have an alternative Application Menu. It allows you to navigate categories just by hovering your mouse.

Right-click on apps menu → Show Alternatives → Select Application Menu → Switch.

Application menu in KDE Neon

13. Firefox Settings

Similarly to other distros, KDE Neon includes Firefox as a default web browser. The default settings leave us with a room for improvement though.

Firefox has a useful feature that restores tabs from the previous session, each time you launch it. Open Firefox → Options (hamburger menu) → Preferences → Enable Restore previous session.

Enabling restore previous session in Firefox

Another useful feature is to enable DRM content. You may find yourself unable to play some videos (e.g. Netflix) or audio because of DRM restriction. To enable DRM content, Open Firefox → Options (hamburger menu) → Preferences → Enable Play DRM-controlled content

Enabling DRM-controlled content in Firefox

The next improvement is related to Firefox’s search bar behaviour. Let’s say you search for the particular email address. Firefox will open your default email client, instead of performing a web search. This functionality can certainly be annoying.

To change the search bar, Open Firefox → Options (hamburger menu) → Preferences → Search tab → Select Add search bar in toolbar

Changing search bar in Firefox

Lastly, for better browser-OS integration install Plasma Integration.

14. Decrease Swap Use

One of the ways to boost your system performance is decreasing swappiness value. This feature forces your Linux system to use your RAM, instead of your hard drive. If you are not familiar with Linux swap, check out our article to learn more.

Check the current swappiness value by executing:

cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

The default value is 60.

To reduce the swap usage, set the swappiness value to 10:

  1. Open it in the nano editor:
    sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf
    
  2. Use arrow key to do down to the very end.

  3. Paste this:
    vm.swappiness=10
    
  4. Press the keys Ctrl+O to write the changes, and Ctrl+X to exit nano.

  5. Now reboot your system and check the swappiness value:
    cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness
    

You should see the value of 10.

15. Enable Firewall

While there are not many viruses for Linux, it’s advisable to enable a firewall which protects against network intrusions. We’ve installed the firewall at the beginning of this post and now we only need to enable it.

Open Firewall Configuration → Enable Firewall.

The default settings are fine, but feel free to check out our article to learn more advanced features.

Enabling firewall in KDE Neon

Conclusion

In this post, we have explored 15 essential things to do after installing KDE Neon to make it so much better. Plasma 5 offers much more, but I’ll leave that to you to explore. Let me know what else you do in you KDE Neon after installing it. The comments section is below. 👇

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Vladimir Mikulic
Vladimir Mikulic Freelance Software Developer | Linux Enthusiast

Comments


Lyubomir Benkovski

Lyubomir Benkovski

Thanks for your work! I install Kubuntu-Driver-Manager from Synaptic, but when I start it, it does not find any drivers and the refresh button is inactive. What would you advise me? This is what it looks like: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3802304869855028&set=p.3802304869855028&type=3

Average Linux User

Average Linux User

It is a known bug. I am about to add this info to the post. Try these two options.

  1. Before you open the driver manager, run this:
    sudo update-apt-xapian-index
    
  2. If the first option did not help, install the drivers from the terminal. Check what drivers are available:
    sudo ubuntu-drivers devices
    

    Install a recommended driver:

    sudo apt-get install nvidia-XXX
    




Average Linux User

Average Linux User

Ok, do it this way then.

  1. Open it in nano editor:
    sudo nano /etc/sysctl.conf
    
  2. Use arrow key to do down to the very end.
  3. Paste this:
    vm.swappiness=10
    
  4. Press key shortcuts Ctrl+O to write the changes, Ctrl+X to exit. You are done!


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