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KDE is a powerful graphical desktop environment for Unix workstations.

Available versions


KDE SC 4 is the previous major version of KDE. There is no more feature development, but it is still supported by upstream with bugfix releases. It is considered stable, and is recommended for most users.

Choose which KDE SC version is most appropriate:

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 match (but work fine with) the rest of the SC. For example, kdelibs enjoys further point releases, as does KDE Workspaces (as 4.11.x).

KDE Frameworks, Plasma, and Applications

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.

KDE part & version Gentoo package & version Repository Status
KDE Frameworks 5.7.0 kde-frameworks/*-5.7.0 Portage Testing for amd64 and x86
KDE Frameworks nightly kde-frameworks/*-9999 kde overlay Live version
KDE Plasma 5.2.0 kde-plasma/*-5.2.0 kde overlay Masked for amd64
KDE Plasma 5.2.1 kde-plasma/*-5.2.1 kde overlay Unreleased, masked.
KDE Plasma 5.2 stable branch kde-plasma/*-5.2.9999 kde overlay Live version
KDE Plasma nightly kde-plasma/*-9999 kde overlay Live version
KDE Applications unstable branch kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-14.12.2 kde overlay Masked for amd64
KDE Applications nightly kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-9999 kde overlay Masked for amd64



Choosing a KDE desktop 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, run the following command to list the available profiles:

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

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

root #eselect profile set X

For a full KDE desktop environment it is recommended to use the desktop/kde profile, which is specially tailored for KDE with OpenRC. If KDE with systemd is to be used, it is recommended to use the desktop/kde/systemd profile, which is specially tailored for KDE 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 re ran 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.


For update instructions, check the upgrade subpage.
For live versions see the kde overlay article.


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

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

root #emerge --ask kde-base/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-base/kde-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.conf Setting the LINGUAS variable for the German language
root #emerge --ask kde-base/kde-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.


Boot service

KDM (KDE Display Manager) is the recommended login manager for KDE SC (SDDM for KDE Frameworks/Plasma 5).


Set KDM as the default display manager:

FILE /etc/conf.d/xdm Setting KDM as the default display manager

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 run the following command to start the service:

root #systemctl start kdm

Add-on software


Many useful widget are in the kde-base/kdeplasma-addons package:

root #emerge --ask 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