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Swapping from Kubuntu to Debian KDE

masonbee Debian

With the release of Kubuntu 22.04 now might not seem like the perfect time to be swapping over to Debian...but it really is. If you are on 20.04 then you will get a minor upgrade by changing to Debian whereas if you wait until some point on the 22.04 cycle then you will be getting a minor downgrade.

In fact, the difference between Debian KDE and Kubuntu isn't really all that great. I have been pleasently surprised at the lack of difference. It's almost like Kubuntu is a minor rebranding exercise. 

Table of Contents

Some inital misconceptions

There are a couple of misconceptions that I had that I would like to clear up here. After initial investigations about installing Debian I cam away with the impression that if I had an encrypted boot drive then I would have no plymouth boot screen and that if I installed from the live CD when I went to remove any packages it would uninstall the entire desktop.

This led me to very carefully install with an unencrypted boot partition

Picture of a partition layout

...and with no GUI so I could install a minimal plasma desktop later with,

sudo apt -y install kde-plasma-desktop plasma-nm

All of which is apparently a waste of time as I just tested it out by installing from the live desktop of the debian-live-11.0.0-amd64-kde+nonfree.iso using the Calamares installer and full disk encryption and it has a plymouth boot screen and if I uninstall something like Kmail it doesn't remove the entire desktop. Apparently it has either been fixed or my assumptions were wrong.

Looks quite like this actually :)

But, in case you do need to install KDE from the command line then the command is,

sudo apt -y install kde-plasma-desktop plasma-nm


Here is the relaxing version. Like I said, I used the debian-live-11.0.0-amd64-kde+nonfree.iso with the Calamares installer.

Post installation


I has to be said that I am still working on this list but the current form of the programs I install is,

sudo apt install ark calibre clementine curl digikam evolution filezilla firefox-esr gwenview kate kcalc kde-spectacle kdenlive kfind kget krename krita k3b libreoffice libreoffice-kf5 okular plasma-browser-integration plasma-widgets-addons qapt-deb-installer torbrowser-launcher transmission-qt vlc

Other programs I install that aren't available in the debian repo or on Flatpax are; Publii, Bootstrap Studio, and


The basis for this list is Kubuntu restricted xtras but I have added a couple of other things I picked up from elsewhere as well.

sudo apt install ffmpeg ffmpegthumbnailer gstreamer1.0-libav gstreamer1.0-plugins-bad gstreamer1.0-plugins-ugly gstreamer1.0-tools gstreamer1.0-vaapi kdegraphics-thumbnailers libk3b7-extracodecs lame libavcodec-extra libdvdcss2 p7zip-rar rar ttf-mscorefonts-installer tumbler-plugins-extra unrar


sudo apt install default-jre default-jdk


sudo apt install flatpak, plasma-discover-backend-flatpak

And then,

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub

Generally the flatpaks I install are; Bitwarden, Ferdi, Simplenotes,Ungoogled chromium, and Element.

Some theming

Theming wise I tend to prefer a more consistant breeze theme so I install,

apt install plymouth-theme-breeze kde-config-plymouth sddm-theme-debian-breeze

The plymouth theme can then be set from within KDE's settings as can the login screen. All from within Startup and Shutdown.


Anyway, that is enough from me although if you have any questions feel free to ask. Good luck and have a happy Debian day!