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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 KDE SC 4, next generation KDE Frameworks, Plasma, 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 a full KDE 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. For Plasma 5 desktop environment choose desktop/plasma with OpenRC or desktop/plasma/systemd with systemd.


Before installing KDE SC it is recommended that several other services are set up first. Part of that is done automatically if a desktop/kde 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 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.


KDE SC 4 is the previous major version of KDE. Although it is no longer maintained upstream, it is considered stable, and is recommended for most users.

Available versions

KDE SC version Status
KDE SC 4.14.3 Stable for amd64, ppc, ppc64 and x86; testing for arm
As upstream support for KDE SC 4 slowly comes to an end, certain packages have releases with versions that do not not match the rest of the SC. For example, kdelibs enjoys further point releases beyond the last 4.14.3 SC release, and KDE Workspaces continues to receive bugfix releases as 4.11.x.


In Gentoo there are various packages that will install a KDE environment:

It is usually a good idea to start with the kde-apps/kdebase-meta package and install the additional software when needed:

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

There are other meta packages that can be installed to pull in parts of the KDE suite:


To localize the KDE installation, install the kde-apps/kde4-l10n package. If only a selected few languages needs to set, define the LINGUAS variable beforehand in /etc/portage/make.conf

E.g. to use the German language, set:

FILE /etc/portage/make.confSetting the LINGUAS variable for the German language
root #emerge --ask kde-apps/kde4-l10n

To localize the packages included in kde-base/kdepim-meta install the kde-base/kdepim-l10n package.

app-office/calligra has its own localization package too: app-office/calligra-l10n.

Display manager

KDM (KDE Display Manager) is the recommended login manager and is pulled in automatically via kde-base/kdebase-meta by default if no other login manager is installed.


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

KDE Frameworks, Plasma, and Applications 5

The next generation of KDE splits the SC into three components, each with their own individual release cycles: KDE Frameworks 5, KDE Plasma 5, and KDE Applications.

Available versions

KDE component & version Gentoo package & version Repository Status
KDE Frameworks 5.14.0 kde-frameworks/*-5.14.0 gentoo Testing for amd64 and x86
KDE Frameworks 5.15.0 kde-frameworks/*-5.15.0 gentoo Testing for amd64 and x86
KDE Frameworks 5.16.0 kde-frameworks/*-5.16.0 gentoo Testing for amd64 and x86
KDE Frameworks master branch kde-frameworks/*-9999 kde overlay Live version
KDE Plasma 5.4.2 kde-plasma/*-5.4.2 gentoo Testing for amd64
KDE Plasma 5.4.3 kde-plasma/*-5.4.3 kde overlay Testing for amd64
KDE Plasma master branch kde-plasma/*-9999 kde overlay Live version
KDE Applications 15.04.3 kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-15.04.3 kde overlay Masked for amd64
KDE Applications 15.08.2 kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-15.08.2 kde overlay Masked for amd64
KDE Applications 15.08.3 kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-15.08.3 kde overlay Masked for amd64
KDE Applications master branch kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-9999 kde overlay Masked for amd64


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.


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.

Note that while Plasma 5 is in a good state, it is still under heavy upstream development and is missing some features present in KDE 4.

Installation information can be found on the upgrade page.

Add-on software


Many useful widget are in the kde-base/kdeplasma-addons package. For KDE4, use:

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

For Plasma 5, you may want to use:

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

More KDE software

The most important KDE applications are in the portage tree and many are located in the kde-base and kde-misc categories.

See also

External resources