Registered: Feb 2006
Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan, in what used to be the USA
Distribution: (Ex-Ubuntu due to Unity), Debian Squeeze, Bodhi w/ E-17 "Stable", MacPup525, Legacy (TeenPup) Live
Yes, but Mint 12 hid the best tool for the job...
Hello. Yes you can.
I recently have been trying out Mint 12, and wanted to change some things, also. I'm not thrilled with the GNOME3 experience, either. I like to customize my desktop, and it's harder than under "Old GNOME". I've been living with it, because I haven't wanted to learn a new Desktop Environment; I have other fish to fry. But I just checked, and KDE is available through Mint 12.
Since you're a newbie, I'd suggest using Synaptic. It's a GUI layer on top of the old Debian "apt-get" command-line package-management tool. -And take it from an occasional fool, it's moderately fool-proof. The *buntu family has been moving away from old Synaptic, though it's still in Mint 12. -But they hid it pretty well.
First, click on the infinity symbol on the top left. The screen darkens, and gives you two tabs, "Windows" and "Applications". Click on the latter, and you'll get application icons arranged alphabetically, with a scrollbar next to them. Scroll down to Synaptic, (icon is a brown package with a green arrow on it, if I recall correctly). I use Synaptic enough that I added it to the left-hand favorites bar. -But you can click on it where it lies if you only plan to use it occasionally.
If you already know how to use Synaptic, you can pretty much ignore the rest of this post. But in case you're very new to this:
Make sure you're connected to the Internet. Open Synaptic, and it will take a minute or so to check the package repositories online. The window will go gray. When it stops being grayed-out, it's ready. Grab the scrollbar button with your mouse and drag it down to the "K"s, and then you should be able to start moving around by clicking above or below the button for by-the-page, or use your mouse's scroll-wheel. I recommend the grab and drag to get close, though, as there are a LOT of packages, and you don't want to be scrolling all day.
You should be able to find all the KDE packages to make up the KDE desktop, plus extras. I believe the one that gets most of it done is called "kde-standard" or you could go with "kde-full" for all the bells and whistles. There are also choices for "kde-plasma-desktop" and "kde-plasma-netbook", it that's to your taste. If you click once on a package, the bottom portion of the window will give you a brief description of the package, which should help narrow it down. Then you click on the box to the left of it, to get choices of actions. Filled-in boxes are for already-installed packages. Empty boxes are not installed, and "install" is your only choice. Some packages will ask you to approve installing additional packages that they require to work properly; libraries, mostly (-a full install of KDE has a long list of these). Agree, and when you are satisfied that you have everything you want, hit "Apply" (green check button on toolbar), and it should go to work.
It will put a second window up front, and I always check the box there to close that second window when it is done. That way you have a visual confirmation of completion. The main window will gray-out one more time when it is finished. Wait for the gray to stop, and then you can close the main window. It should all go without a hitch (I've been using Synaptic for six years now, with scarcely a hiccup).
After the packages are installed, you'll need to log out and back in again. At the login screen, before your password, in Mint 12, you should click on the small gear icon on the upper right of the login box. This will give you your choice of desktop environments to boot into. If all went well, you should see KDE listed. Select KDE, and then enter your password. You should then end up in the KDE.
One thing you should look around for in Synaptic, is for the help center files for KDE. I don't usually use KDE, and this is my experience from _many_ years ago, and things may have changed, but sometimes a KDE install wouldn't include the helpfiles. For the longest time as a rank NOOB, I didn't think KDE _had_ any help files. In Mint 12, I think the file is "khelpcenter4". Make sure you get it.
I didn't think to check for KDE package version numbers when I fired up my Mint 12 box. Checking again, it appears the Mint repositories carry version 4.7.4 of KDE. I didn't even know there was a 4.8. -Thought they were still working on 4.6.something. Anyway, it has to beat staying with GNOME 3. Cheers!
Last edited by drachenchen; 05-01-2012 at 07:11 PM.
Reason: fixing innaccurate information