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KDE is a free software community, producing a wide range of applications including the popular Plasma desktop environment.

Gentoo support for KDE is excellent, with comprehensive packaging of the legacy Plasma 4, next generation KDE Frameworks 5, Plasma 5, and Applications 5, as well as a wide array of other miscellaneous KDE-based software.



Choosing an appropriate profile, although not required, is recommended as it sets a number of global and package-specific USE flags to ease installation and ensure a smooth KDE experience.

In order to choose the most suitable profile, first list what's available:

root #eselect profile list
  [1]   default/linux/amd64/13.0
  [2]   default/linux/amd64/13.0/selinux
  [3]   default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop
  [4]   default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop/gnome
  [5]   default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop/gnome/systemd
  [6]   default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop/kde
  [7]   default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop/kde/systemd
  [8]   default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop/plasma
  [9]   default/linux/amd64/13.0/desktop/plasma/systemd

Then, select the right profile, substituting X with the appropriate profile number:

root #eselect profile set X

For Plasma 5 desktop environment choose desktop/plasma with OpenRC or desktop/plasma/systemd with systemd. For legacy Plasma 4 desktop environment it is recommended to use the desktop/kde profile, which is tailored for use with OpenRC. If systemd is used, choose desktop/kde/systemd instead.


Before installing KDE related software it is recommended that several other services are set up first. Part of that is done automatically if a desktop/plasma or desktop profile is used. These services are:

  • D-Bus: Enables use of the D-Bus message bus system.
  • polkit: Enables the polkit framework for controlling privileges for system-wide services.
  • udev: Enables support for udev Linux dynamic and persistent device naming.
  • udisks: Enables support for some storage related services.

Follow the links for information how to set up these services. Note that other USE flag combinations than set in this profile may technically be possible (especially if selected applications are run instead of a full KDE Plasma desktop environment), but may be unsupported, untested, or lead to unexpected loss of functionality.

X server

Read and follow the instructions in the X server article to setup the X environment.


Plasma 5 is the next generation of KDE's desktop environment, based on Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5. Upgrading is fairly simple, although it cannot be coinstalled with Plasma 4 due to upstream design decisions.

Available versions

KDE Gentoo Repository Status
KDE Plasma 5.8.3 LTS kde-plasma/plasma-meta-5.8.3 gentoo Stable for amd64 and x86
KDE Plasma 5.8.5 LTS kde-plasma/plasma-meta-5.8.5 gentoo Testing for amd64 and x86
KDE Plasma 5.8 stable branch kde-plasma/plasma-meta- kde overlay Live version
KDE Plasma 5.8.95 beta kde-plasma/plasma-meta-5.8.95 kde overlay Masked, Testing for amd64 and x86
KDE Plasma 5.9 stable branch kde-plasma/plasma-meta- kde overlay Live version
KDE Plasma master branch kde-plasma/plasma-meta-9999 kde overlay Live version
Before proceeding, make sure to choose a plasma profile. KDE 4 users will need to take extra steps.

Upgrade from Plasma 4

Information on how to upgrade from Plasma 4, migration and troubleshooting can be found on the upgrade page.


The kde-plasma/plasma-meta package provides the full Plasma 5 suite, configured by the following USE flags:

USE flags for kde-plasma/plasma-meta Merge this to pull in all Plasma 5 packages

bluetooth Enable Bluetooth Support global
display-manager Pull in a graphical display manager local
grub Pull in Breeze theme for sys-boot/grub local
gtk Enable Breeze widget style and KCM for GTK2 and GTK3 local
handbook Enable handbooks generation for packages by KDE global
networkmanager Enable net-misc/networkmanager support global
pam Enable support for kwallet auto-unlocking local
plymouth Pull in Breeze theme for sys-boot/plymouth local
pulseaudio Install Plasma applet for PulseAudio volume management local
sddm Pull in the x11-misc/sddm display manager and KCM local
sdk Pull in kde-plasma/plasma-sdk for Plasma development local
wallpapers Install wallpapers for the Plasma Workspace local

root #emerge --ask kde-plasma/plasma-meta

Alternatively, kde-plasma/plasma-desktop provides the basic desktop, leaving users free to install only the extra packages they require:

root #emerge --ask kde-plasma/plasma-desktop
Please note that such installations will be missing important packages such as kde-plasma/powerdevil (power management, suspend and hibernate options) and kde-plasma/systemsettings if this alternative installation is used.


Many useful widgets are in the kde-plasma/kdeplasma-addons package (already pulled in by kde-plasma/plasma-meta):

root #emerge --ask kde-plasma/kdeplasma-addons

Display manager

SDDM (Simple Desktop Display Manager) is the recommended login manager and is pulled in automatically via kde-plasma/plasma-meta by default. This is the preferred option. Alternatively, LightDM can be used and pulled in by setting USE flag -sddm for kde-plasma/plasma-meta. Change the setting accordingly in /etc/conf.d/xdm. Also, be sure to read through the SDDM page if further issues appear.

KWallet auto-unlocking

Many users will be introduced to kde-frameworks/kwallet, Plasma's safe password management, while adding a (wireless) network connection after login. On many systems, there will actually be a second KWallet service present - kde-apps/kwalletd is there to provide the same password storage functions to kdelibs4-based applications. kde-plasma/kwallet-pam provides a mechanism to avoid being subsequently asked for access to kwallet after login.

root #emerge --ask kde-plasma/kwallet-pam

It requires the following setup:

  • For KWallet security, use classic blowfish encryption instead of GPG
  • Choose same password for login and kwallet
  • Configure a display manager with support for PAM - both x11-misc/sddm and x11-misc/lightdm fulfill that requirement:
FILE /etc/pam.d/sddmAdding lines for KWallet PAM unlocking via SDDM
-auth           optional        pam_kwallet5.so
-session        optional        pam_kwallet5.so auto_start
# The following two lines will also unlock kwalletd for kdelibs4-based applications
-auth           optional        pam_kwallet.so kdehome=.kde4
-session        optional        pam_kwallet.so
For LightDM, /etc/pam.d/lightdm needs to be edited instead.

For managing kwallets, importing and exporting passwords, there is kde-apps/kwalletmanager:

root #emerge --ask kde-apps/kwalletmanager

For managing kwallets for kdelibs4-based applications like kopete or kmail:4:

root #emerge --ask kde-apps/kwalletmanager:4

SSH/GPG Agent startup/shutdown scripts

ssh-agent scripts are located in /etc/plasma/startup and /etc/plasma/shutdown. The Keychain article provides more information about this.


Releases consist of various applications and supporting libraries based on Qt 5/KDE Frameworks 5 as well as Qt 4/KDElibs 4, with the latter still being in long term support mode. In Portage, the distinction is made using slots 4 and 5. Porting is an ongoing process where each major release is making inroads to Frameworks 5, and therefore contains both well matured and newly ported applications. Note that it also means potential dependency conflicts when two packages depend on slot 4 and 5 of the same library that can not be installed at the same time - such packages are dropped from *-meta.

Available versions

KDE Gentoo Repository Status
KDE Applications 16.08.3 kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-16.08.3 gentoo Stable for amd64 and x86
KDE Applications 16.12.1 kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-16.12.1 gentoo Testing for amd64 and x86
KDE Applications 16.12 stable branch kde-apps/kde-apps-meta- kde overlay Live version
KDE Applications master branch kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-9999 kde overlay Live version

KDE Applications is divided in the following meta packages:

Package name Description
kde-apps/kdeaccessibility-meta Accessibility applications and utilities.
kde-apps/kdeadmin-meta Administrative utilities, which helps in managing the system.
kde-apps/kdecore-meta Basic applications such as file browser, editor, terminal emulator.
kde-apps/kdeedu-meta Educational applications and games.
kde-apps/kdegames-meta Standard desktop games.
kde-apps/kdegraphics-meta Graphics applications such as image viewers, color pickers, etc.
kde-apps/kdemultimedia-meta Audio and video playback applications and services.
kde-apps/kdenetwork-meta Network applications and VNC services.
kde-apps/kdepim-meta PIM applications such as emailer, addressbook, organizer, etc.
kde-apps/kdesdk-meta Various development tools.
kde-apps/kdeutils-meta Standard desktop utilities such as a archiver, a calculator, etc.
kde-apps/kdewebdev-meta Web development tools.


The kde-apps/kde-apps-meta package provides the full Applications bundle, but alternatively, one or several smaller meta packages from the list above may be picked instead:

root #emerge --ask kde-apps/kde-apps-meta


While Frameworks and Plasma are shipping their translations per-package, localization of KDE Applications is provided via separate *-l10n packages. The nls USE flag is enabled by default for linux profiles, and it is used by KDE Applications meta packages to pull in the necessary dependencies.

If only a select few languages are desired, define the L10N variable in /etc/portage/make.conf. E.g. to use the German language, set:

FILE /etc/portage/make.confSetting the L10N variable for the German language

To manually install these localization packages instead, use the following (complete) list or pick as desired:

root #emerge --ask kde-l10n kde4-l10n kdepim-l10n

While the first two contain translations for the majority of KDE Applications (slot 5 and 4), the latter directly corresponds to - and is only relevant to users of - kde-apps/kdepim-meta or its related packages.


Available versions

In Portage, three variants of the KDE Personal Information Management (KDE PIM) suite (including kde-apps/kmail, kde-apps/kontact, and kde-apps/korganizer) are available.

KDE Gentoo Repository Status
KDE PIM 4.4.2016.01 kde-apps/kdepim-meta-4.4.2016.01 gentoo Stable for amd64 and x86
KDE PIM 4.14.11_pre20160211 kde-apps/kdepim-meta-4.14.11_pre20160211 gentoo Stable for amd64 and x86
KDE PIM 16.12.1 kde-apps/kdepim-meta-16.12.1 gentoo Testing for amd64 and x86

KDE PIM 4.14.11 and earlier

At the time of writing, the current stable version range is at 4.14.11, which includes an Akonadi-based kmail (also known as kmail2) and is still based on Qt 4/KDElibs 4.

In addition, a "noakonadi fork" is available as version 4.4.2016.01 (also known as kmail1). Adding a mask file to /etc/portage/package.mask is necessary to get it:

Both variants are beginning to conflict with newer versions of packages. Adding certain per-package USE flag settings can solve some conflicts currently:

FILE /etc/portage/package.use/kdepim-4
>=app-crypt/gpgme-1.8.0 -cxx -qt5
app-office/kmymoney:4 pim
>=kde-apps/kwalletd-16.04.3-r1 -gpg
>=kde-frameworks/kwallet-5.29.0-r1 -gpg
root #emerge --ask kde-apps/kdepim-meta

KDE PIM 16.12 and later

The latest upstream release based on Qt 5/KF 5 remains testing until it is deemed suitable for stable use, but testing is appreciated.

Most, but not all of the codebase has been ported from dev-qt/qtwebkit to dev-qt/qtwebengine which is based on Chromium's Blink. By default, this package sets and uses the system-ffmpeg USE flag, which comes down to a media-video/ffmpeg package dependency, so users preferring media-video/libav for the rest of their system will need to switch off that USE flag.

Unfortunately, not all of the KDE Applications are compatible yet, with some packages still depending on Qt 4/KDElibs 4 based parts that can not be installed with modern KDE PIM at the same time. That includes kde-apps/kopete, kde-apps/klinkstatus, and possibly other packages outside of the kde-apps category. By default, these packages are no longer installed by kde-apps/kde-apps-meta.

The following commands will deselect any packages from world that would still depend on these conflicting packages:

root #equery -q d kde-apps/kdepim-common-libs | sed -e "s/-[0-9].*//" | xargs emerge --deselect
root #equery -q d kde-apps/kdepimlibs | sed -e "s/-[0-9].*//" | xargs emerge --deselect
root #equery -q d kde-apps/akonadi | sed -e "s/-[0-9].*//" | xargs emerge --deselect
This requires app-portage/gentoolkit to be installed. The Gentoolkit article provides more information about this useful utility.

Some conflicts with older packages may be solved by adding per-package USE flag settings:

FILE /etc/portage/package.use/kdepim-16.12
app-accessibility/simon -pim
app-office/calligra:4 -pim
kde-apps/kget:4 -gpg
<=kde-apps/kwalletd-16.04.3:4 -gpg
kde-apps/pykde4 -akonadi
kde-misc/tellico:4 -addressbook
net-p2p/ktorrent:4 -rss
net-voip/ekiga -kontact

With all that prepared, KDE PIM is ready to be installed:

root #emerge --ask kde-apps/kdepim-meta


The utility that is used to run GUI programs as root is provided by kde-plasma/kde-cli-tools. If built with USE flag kdesu, a graphical frontend to kde-frameworks/kdesu is installed, which can be used by invoking kdesu5.

As always, ensure that the command actually needs to run as root, versus adding the regular user to the relevant groups or simply just running the command unprivileged.


KDE Frameworks 5 is a collection of libraries and software frameworks that provide the foundation for KDE Plasma 5 and KDE Applications 5, but may be leveraged by any Qt application.

As Frameworks are mostly libraries and provide little user functionality, it's not necessary to install them manually - the required packages will be pulled in automatically as dependencies.

Available versions

KDE Gentoo Repository Status
KDE Frameworks 5.26.0 kde-frameworks/*-5.26.0 gentoo Stable for amd64 and x86
KDE Frameworks 5.29.0 kde-frameworks/*-5.29.0 gentoo Testing for amd64 and x86
KDE Frameworks 5.30.0 kde-frameworks/*-5.30.0 gentoo Testing for amd64 and x86
KDE Frameworks master branch kde-frameworks/*-9999 kde overlay Live version

Plasma 4

Plasma 4 is the previous major workspace version by KDE. Although it is no longer maintained upstream, it is considered stable and might still be a viable alternative for some.

Users need to be aware that Plasma 4 has been end-of-life since 19th August 2015, meaning no security bugs have been fixed since then.

Available versions

KDE version Status
KDE Plasma 4.11.22 Stable for amd64 and x86; testing for arm
root #emerge --ask kde-plasma/kdebase-startkde


Many useful widgets are in the kde-plasma/kdeplasma-addons package:

root #emerge --ask kde-plasma/kdeplasma-addons:4

Display manager

KDM (KDE Display Manager) is the long-serving login manager for Plasma 4 although any other login manager can be used.

root #emerge --ask kde-plasma/kdm


Set KDM as the default display manager:

FILE /etc/conf.d/xdm

To start KDM on boot, add xdm to the default runlevel:

root #rc-update add xdm default

To start KDM now:

root #/etc/init.d/xdm start


Enable KDM at boot time through systemctl:

root #systemctl enable kdm

Now start the service:

root #systemctl start kdm

More KDE software

The most important KDE applications are in the Gentoo repository and many are located in the kde-apps and kde-misc categories.

See also

External links