Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Install Cutefish Desktop in Ubuntu 21.04?

Ubuntu 18

In this article, we will explore how to install the Cutefish Desktop Environment on Ubuntu 21.04. Cutefish is a user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing desktop environment that provides a simple and intuitive user experience. The installation process involves downloading and building the necessary packages from their respective repositories.


Before we begin, ensure you have the following:

  • A working Ubuntu 21.04 installation.
  • A user account with sudo privileges.
  • A stable internet connection.

Step 1: Install Necessary Dependencies

The first step is to install the necessary dependencies. These are the libraries and packages that Cutefish requires to function correctly. Open a terminal and run the following command:

sudo apt install -y git devscripts build-essential cmake ninja-build qtbase5-dev qtquickcontrols2-5-dev libkf5networkmanagerqt-dev modemmanager-qt-dev debhelper extra-cmake-modules libkf5kio-dev libkf5screen-dev libqt5sensors5-dev qtdeclarative5-dev qttools5-dev qttools5-dev-tools libxcb-icccm4-dev qtbase5-private-dev kwin-dev libkdecorations2-dev libqt5xdg-dev libdbusmenu-qt5-dev libxcb-ewmh-dev libicu-dev libxcb-randr0-dev libsm-dev libxcb-xfixes0-dev libxcb-damage0-dev libxcb-composite0-dev libxcb-shm0-dev libxcb-util-dev libxcb-image0-dev libxtst-dev libpulse-dev libpolkit-qt5-1-dev libpolkit-agent-1-dev libqt5x11extras5-dev qml-module-qtquick2 qml-module-qtquick-controls2 libkf5bluezqt-dev libkf5bluezqt-dev libqt5opengl5-dev libxcursor-dev

This command uses the apt package manager to install the necessary dependencies. The -y option automatically answers ‘yes’ to prompts, allowing the installation to proceed without further user intervention.

Step 2: Create a Directory for Cutefish Components

Next, we will create a directory where we will download the Cutefish components. Use the following commands:

mkdir -p ~/Downloads/cutefish
cd ~/Downloads/cutefish

The mkdir -p command creates a new directory, and the -p option allows the creation of parent directories as needed. The cd command changes the current directory to the specified directory.

Step 3: Clone the Required Repositories and Build the Packages

Now, we will clone the necessary repositories and build the packages. For each component of the Cutefish desktop environment, we will clone its repository, navigate into the directory, and build the package using the dpkg-buildpackage command.

For example, to clone and build the libcutefish component, use the following commands:

git clone --branch=0.2
cd libcutefish
dpkg-buildpackage -uc -us -b

The dpkg-buildpackage command builds a Debian package. The -uc -us -b options tell the command not to sign the changes and source files and to build binary-only packages.

Repeat this process for the following components: fishui, kwin-plugins, launcher, qt-plugins, wallpapers, dock, filemanager, settings, statusbar, core, calculator, and icons.

After building each component, install the built packages with the following command:

sudo apt-get install -y ./*.deb

This command uses the apt-get package manager to install all .deb files in the current directory.

Step 4: Reboot and Select Cutefish Session

Finally, reboot your system. When you reach the login screen, select the Cutefish session from the session selector.

sudo reboot


Congratulations! You have successfully installed the Cutefish Desktop Environment on Ubuntu 21.04. Now you can enjoy a clean, modern, and user-friendly desktop environment.

Please note that the instructions provided in this article are based on the specific versions of Cutefish and Ubuntu mentioned. Depending on the version you are using, you may need to adjust or update the commands accordingly. Always remember to backup your important data before making any system changes.

For more information about Cutefish, visit the official Cutefish website. For questions and troubleshooting, consider visiting the Ubuntu Forums or Ask Ubuntu.

Can I install Cutefish Desktop on other Ubuntu versions?

The installation instructions provided in this article are specifically for Ubuntu 21.04. However, Cutefish may be compatible with other Ubuntu versions as well. It is recommended to check the official Cutefish documentation or community forums for specific instructions on installing Cutefish on different Ubuntu versions.

How can I switch back to my previous desktop environment if I don’t like Cutefish?

If you decide that Cutefish is not for you and you want to switch back to your previous desktop environment, you can do so by logging out of your current session and selecting your desired desktop environment from the session selector on the login screen. The available options will depend on the desktop environments you have installed on your system.

Can I customize the appearance and settings of Cutefish Desktop?

Yes, Cutefish Desktop allows for customization of various aspects such as wallpaper, theme, icons, and more. You can access the settings menu by clicking on the Cutefish logo in the bottom left corner of the screen and selecting "Settings." From there, you can explore different options to personalize your Cutefish experience.

Is Cutefish Desktop stable and suitable for daily use?

Cutefish Desktop is still under development and may not be as stable or feature-complete as more established desktop environments. While it is suitable for testing and exploration, it may not be recommended for critical production environments or users who require absolute stability. It is always a good idea to backup your important data before making any significant changes to your system.

How can I contribute or report issues to the Cutefish project?

If you are interested in contributing to the Cutefish project or reporting issues, you can visit their official GitHub repository at There, you can find information on how to contribute, submit bug reports, or engage with the community.

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