Bryan Grohman

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How to Calibrate Your Display in Kubuntu



After installing Kubuntu on my Dell XPS 15 and configuring color management in KDE, I wanted to calibrate my specific screen myself for better color accuracy. I purchased the X-Rite ColorMunki Smile calibration device and used the open-source DisplayCAL application using the steps below.

If you'd like to skip calibration, you can download my color profile and try it out. It should give you better color accuracy as compared to not using a profile, but you'll get the best results by calibrating your own screen.

Install Newer Versions of ArgyllCMS and DisplayCAL

Installing DisplayCAL should also install ArgyllCMS, but the version currently shipping with Kubuntu 16.04 has some problems with the ColorMunki Smile. During calibration, the process finished early without creating an .icc file and displayed a "Profiling has not been finished" popup.

I was able to fix it as suggested in the DisplayCAL forum by manually installing a newer version of ArgyllCMS.

  1. Remove the DisplayCAL and ArgyllCMS packages that were installed previously by running sudo apt remove displaycal argyll.
  2. Download ArgyllCMS version 2 from the ArgyllCMS website.
  3. Unpack the tarball to /usr/local/argyll.
  4. Add /usr/local/argyll/Argyll_v2.0.0/bin to your path or create links to the executables within /usr/bin.
  5. Download the Ubuntu 16.04 .deb from the DisplayCAL website.
  6. Install a few dependencies before installing the DisplayCAL .deb file with sudo apt install libsndio6.1 libsdl2-2.0-0 libsdl2-mixer-2.0-0.
  7. Install the DisplayCAL .deb file with sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/displaycal_3.5.3.0-1_amd64.deb.

Calibrate Your Screen with DisplayCAL

At this point, you're ready to start DisplayCAL and begin calibration. Most guides I've seen suggest keeping the display on for at least 30 minutes before calibrating.

Before you can begin the calibration process, you'll need to tell DisplayCAL where the new ArgyllCMS executables live using the File -> Locate ArgyllCMS Executables... menu item and selecting the /usr/local/argyll/bin directory.

Next, make sure the Instrument dropdown shows "ColorMunki Smile." Then set the Mode to "LCD (White LED)" and enable the White level drift compensation and Black level drift compensation options. Click the Calibrate & profile button, attach your calibration device to the screen, and follow the prompts. After about 20 minutes, the calibration should finish and give you the option to apply the new profile.