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How To Install The UKUI Desktop Environment On Linux

UKUI is the primary desktop environment for Ubuntu Kylin. Kylin is a spin of Ubuntu for China and the Chinese market. The goal of this environment is to make a Linux OS that closely resembles Microsoft Windows. In this guide, we’ll go over how to get the UKUI desktop environment for Ubuntu Kylin working on Ubuntu, Arch Linux, and Debian. This tutorial is perfect for those that do not speak Chinese, and do not wish to use Kylin, yet like the look of the desktop environment and want to use it.

Note: before attempting to install the UKUI desktop, keep in mind that there are some specific requirements to use it. To use UKUI on your Linux PC, you’ll need to have Ubuntu 18.04, Debian Buster (testing), or the latest version of Arch Linux.

Ubuntu Instructions

As of Ubuntu 18.04, UKUI and the rest of the Kylin resources are available via the main software sources. Having UKUI available here is a relief because Ubuntu users used to need to interact with a third-party PPA to get it.

To install the UKUI desktop environment on your Ubuntu Linux PC, launch a terminal window. In the terminal window, run the update command and check for any updates.

sudo apt update

After updating Ubuntu, it’s time to install all of the latest software upgrades. Do not skip this part! UKUI will run best with an up to date version of Ubuntu! In the terminal, run the upgrade command.

sudo apt upgrade -y

Finally, install the UKUI desktop environment to Ubuntu 18.04.

sudo apt install ukui-control-center ukui-desktop-environment ukui-desktop-environment-core ukui-desktop-environment-extras ukui-indicators ukui-media ukui-media-common ukui-menu ukui-menus ukui-panel ukui-panel-common ukui-power-manager ukui-power-manager-common ukui-screensaver ukui-screensaver-common ukui-session-manager ukui-settings-daemon ukui-settings-daemon-common ukui-settings-daemon-dev ukui-themes ukui-window-switch -y

Debian Instructions

UKUI is on Debian Linux, so if you’re a fan of Debian and interested in trying out Ubuntu Kylin’s slick Windows-like desktop environment, you’re in luck. However, you should know that to use UKUI on Debian; you must be running Debian Testing, as it is not yet in the Stable branch.

Note: as UKUI is only available for Testing purposes on Debian at this time, do not try it out unless you’re an experienced Debian user. If you have to have UKUI, try going with Ubuntu instead.

Before installing UKUI, you must transition your existing Debian installation to the “Testing” branch. As of writing this guide, Debian Testing is Buster. To learn how to transfer your current release of Debian Linux to Buster, follow our tutorial here. When done, follow the steps below to get UKUI.

Step 1: Check for any updates on Debian with the apt-get update command.

sudo apt-get update

Step 2: Install all pending updates using the upgrade tool.

sudo apt-get upgrade -y

Step 3: Install all of the necessary UKUI packages.

sudo apt-get install ukui* libukui* ukwm

Arch Linux Instructions

Arch Linux has the UKUI desktop environment available, thanks to the Arch Linux AUR. To install it, open up a terminal window and follow the steps below.

Step 1: It is not possible to install AUR packages without Git and the Base-devel packages. In the terminal, use the Pacman manager and install them.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

Step 2: Using the Git tool, do a git clone of the latest UKUI AUR snapshot.

git clone git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/ukui-desktop.git

Step 3: With the CD command, move your terminal session from the home folder into the new ukui-desktop directory.

cd ukui-desktop

Step 4: Generate an installable UKUI Desktop package for Arch Linux with the makepkg command. Keep in mind that when building this software that dependencies sometimes fail to install. If this happens to you during the package build process, you will need to satisfy the dependencies by hand.

All dependencies for UKUI are located at the bottom of its official AUR page.

makepkg -si

Install UKUI Desktop From Source

The UKUI Desktop environment’s source code is available for those looking to use it on a less supported desktop environment. To get it working, install Git and pull down the data to your Linux PC.

git clone https://github.com/ukui/ukui-desktop

With the code on your Linux PC, CD into the ukui-desktop folder.

cd ukui-desktop

Run the autogen.sh script. Executing this script will generate the necessary build files, check and ensure that all dependencies are installed, etc.

./autogen.sh

If the autogen.sh script runs successfully; the building can begin. In the terminal, start the compilation of the UKUI Desktop environment with the make command.
Note: building an entire desktop environment takes time. Be patient, and don’t close the terminal window.

make

When the code compiler finishes building UKUI, it’s safe to install it on your Linux PC. In the terminal, use the make install command (with sudo privileges) install it to your Linux PC.

sudo make install

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