KDE

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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 the KDE project is excellent, with comprehensive packaging of KDE Frameworks, Plasma, and Applications, as well as a wide array of other miscellaneous KDE-based software.

Prerequisites

Profile

Important
Read relevant documentation before performing any profile changes.

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
  ...
  [21]  default/linux/amd64/23.0 (stable)
  [22]  default/linux/amd64/23.0/systemd (stable)
  [23]  default/linux/amd64/23.0/desktop (stable)
  [24]  default/linux/amd64/23.0/desktop/systemd (stable)
  [25]  default/linux/amd64/23.0/desktop/gnome (stable)
  [26]  default/linux/amd64/23.0/desktop/gnome/systemd (stable)
  [27]  default/linux/amd64/23.0/desktop/plasma (stable)
  [28]  default/linux/amd64/23.0/desktop/plasma/systemd (stable)
  ...

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

root #eselect profile set X

For Plasma desktop environment choose desktop/plasma with OpenRC or desktop/plasma/systemd with systemd. Note that other USE flag combinations than set by the 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.

Services

Default choices of these services will be pulled in automatically - by the installation steps in the following chapters - depending on the profile selection made earlier, but still need to be set up properly before starting KDE Plasma for the first time. For deviating from the defaults, it is recommended to install them in advance of KDE Plasma or KDE Gear via emerge --oneshot so that Portage will take them into account. Follow the links for information how to set up these services.

Session tracker

Choose exactly one of:

  • elogind: Standalone logind package, default for desktop/plasma profile, extracted from systemd project for use with OpenRC or other init systems.
  • systemd: Uses the session tracker part of systemd. Users of systemd do not need to take any other initiative here.

Device manager

Tip
By default, systemd-utils is used on OpenRC systems, and systemd is used on systemd systems. Users who don't want to change providers should skip this step.

Choose exactly one of:

  • udev: Enables support for udev Linux dynamic and persistent device naming.
  • eudev: Fork of udev for better compatibility with older kernels and various toolchains. No longer maintained by Gentoo, discouraged.
  • systemd: Uses the device manager part of systemd. Users of systemd do not need to take any other initiative here.

Miscellaneous

  • D-Bus: Enables use of the D-Bus message bus system.
  • polkit: Enables the polkit framework for controlling privileges for system-wide services.
  • udisks: Enables support for some storage related services.

X server

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

Plasma

Plasma 6 is the current generation of KDE's desktop environment, based on Qt 6 and KDE Frameworks 6. Plasma 5.27.11 as the last KDE Frameworks 5 based release remains in stable until the new generation desktop environment can be offered to most or all arches as an upgrade.

Available versions

KDE Gentoo Ebuild repository Status
KDE Plasma 5.27.11 kde-plasma/plasma-meta-5.27.11 gentoo Stable for amd64, arm64, and x86; Testing for arm, loong, ppc64, riscv
KDE Plasma 6.1.0 kde-plasma/plasma-meta-6.1.0 gentoo Testing for amd64
KDE Plasma 6.1 stable branch kde-plasma/plasma-meta-6.1.49.9999 KDE Live version
KDE Plasma 6 master branch kde-plasma/plasma-meta-9999 KDE Live version
Note
Before proceeding, make sure to choose a Plasma profile.

Installation

USE flags

The kde-plasma/plasma-meta package provides the full Plasma desktop, configurable by a wealth of USE flags:

USE flags for kde-plasma/plasma-meta Merge this to pull in all Plasma 6 packages

accessibility Add support for accessibility (eg 'at-spi' library)
bluetooth Enable Bluetooth Support
browser-integration Enable integration with Chrome/Firefox with browser extensions
colord Enable kde-plasma/kwin color management via x11-misc/colord
crash-handler Pull in kde-plasma/drkonqi for assisted upstream crash reports
crypt Pull in kde-plasma/plasma-vault for encrypted vaults integration
cups Add support for CUPS (Common Unix Printing System)
desktop-portal Enable sys-apps/xdg-desktop-portal backend implementation for Plasma
discover Pull in resources management GUI; a centralised GHNS alternative and optional sys-apps/fwupd frontend
display-manager Pull in a graphical display manager
elogind Enable session tracking via sys-auth/elogind
firewall Pull in kde-plasma/plasma-firewall for system firewall administration
flatpak Pull in kde-plasma/flatpak-kcm for flatpak permissions administration
grub Pull in Breeze theme for sys-boot/grub
gtk Enable Breeze widget style and system settings module for GTK+
handbook Enable handbooks generation for packages by KDE
kwallet Enable support for KWallet auto-unlocking via kde-plasma/kwallet-pam
legacy-systray Add support for legacy applications using kde-plasma/xembed-sni-proxy
networkmanager Enable net-misc/networkmanager support
oxygen-theme Pull in Oxygen icons, sound theme and visual style for KDE Plasma
plymouth Pull in Breeze theme for sys-boot/plymouth
pulseaudio Install Plasma applet for PulseAudio volume management
qt5 Pull in required packages for seamless integration of KF5/Qt5-based applications
rdp Enables RDP/Remote Desktop support
sddm Pull in the x11-misc/sddm display manager and system settings module
sdk Pull in kde-plasma/plasma-sdk for Plasma development
smart Pull in kde-plasma/plasma-disks for disk health monitoring
systemd Enable use of systemd-specific libraries and features like socket activation or session tracking
thunderbolt Pull in kde-plasma/plasma-thunderbolt control center module
unsupported Allow packages that are known to ruin runtime experience ** DO NOT FILE BUGS WITH THIS ENABLED **
wacom Pull in kde-plasma/wacomtablet control center module
wallpapers Install wallpapers for the Plasma Workspace
webengine Use kde-apps/khelpcenter to access the locally installed KDE Help System Handbook
xwayland Enable Wayland windows screensharing to XWayland applications via gui-apps/xwaylandvideobridge

Emerge

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

Alternatively, kde-plasma/plasma-desktop provides a very basic desktop, leaving users free to install only the extra packages they require - or rather, figure out missing features on their own.

Warning
Please note that installing just kde-plasma/plasma-desktop will exclude important packages needed for KDE Plasma to function, such as kde-plasma/powerdevil (power management, suspend and hibernate options), kde-plasma/systemsettings, and many more. This package should be used with the understanding that additional packages will need to be installed to ensure a functioning environment. Do not expect support when using this package.

Starting Plasma

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/display-manager. Also, be sure to read through the SDDM page if further issues appear.

No display manager

Plasma can be started the old-fashioned way with startx, but extra care needs to be taken to ensure it gets a valid session.

FILE ~/.xinitrc
#!/bin/sh
exec dbus-launch --exit-with-session startplasma-x11

When using Wayland, Plasma can be launched with dbus-launch --exit-with-session startplasma-wayland.

This can be added to a user's profile file which will be executed when logging in:

FILE ~/.profile
#!/bin/sh
dbus-launch --exit-with-session startplasma-wayland

Widgets

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

System tray

Plasma uses the StatusNotifier specification for systray icons [1]. As not all applications have been ported to the new system, some workarounds exist [2], and Plasma has a means to convert old xembed-based system tray icons to StatusNotifier icons.

Legacy support is enabled by activating legacy-systray for kde-plasma/plasma-meta, which is pulling in kde-plasma/xembed-sni-proxy.

FILE /etc/portage/package.use/kde-plasma-settingsChange USE flags for kde-plasma/plasma-meta
# xembed system tray support for legacy applications
kde-plasma/plasma-meta legacy-systray

Pidgin

net-im/pidgin requires x11-plugins/pidgin-indicator. After install, the Ubuntu Indicator plugin can be found under Tools | Plugins.

KWallet

Many users will be introduced to kde-frameworks/kwallet, Plasma's encrypted password storage, while adding a (wireless) network connection after login or adding E-Mail accounts in kde-apps/kmail.

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

root #emerge --ask kde-apps/kwalletmanager

KWallet auto-unlocking

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/sddmConfig lines for KWallet PAM unlocking via SDDM
-auth           optional        pam_kwallet5.so
-session        optional        pam_kwallet5.so auto_start

For unlocking on tty login (no display manager, or like gui-apps/tuigreet), edit /etc/pam.d/login accordingly. You will need to specify the force_run parameter.

FILE /etc/pam.d/greetdConfig lines for KWallet PAM unlocking via Greetd
-auth           optional        pam_kwallet5.so
-session        optional        pam_kwallet5.so auto_start force_run
Note
For LightDM, /etc/pam.d/lightdm needs to be edited instead.
Note
If the filesystem containing a user's KWallet files is mounted by pam_mount upon logging on, it may be required to copy ~/.local/share/kwalletd/kdewallet.salt to the same path on the root filesystem. Otherwise, PAM attempts to unlock KWallet before the home directory is available and fails. The file ~/.local/share/kwalletd/kdewallet.kwl which actually contains the encrypted KWallet passwords does not need to be copied.

Disabling KWallet

To disable the KWallet subsystem completely, edit the following file:

FILE ~/.config/kwalletrc
[Wallet]
Enabled=false

SSH/GPG Agent startup/shutdown scripts

ssh-agent scripts are located in /etc/xdg/plasma-workspace/env and /etc/xdg/plasma-workspace/shutdown. Shutdown scripts require executable bit set because they are not sourced. The Keychain article provides more information about this.

Non-root user authentication for dialogs

Some KDE dialogs such as printers, adding wireless networks and adding users require administrator authentication. This is handled through sys-auth/polkit and operates independently from app-admin/sudo. By default in Gentoo, the root account is the only administrator, and so even if a user account can run root commands through sudo, authentication in these KDE dialogs will fail.

Adding wireless networks using net-misc/networkmanager is allowed by a polkit rule which is part of the Gentoo package and already allows access for every user in the group plugdev. For other dialogs the behavior must be configured manually: If all users of the group wheel are required to be administrators, create a copy of /usr/share/polkit-1/rules.d/50-default.rules starting with a number lower than 50, and edit the line return ["unix-user:0"] to the following:

FILE /etc/polkit-1/rules.d/49-wheel.rulesAdministrator wheel group
polkit.addAdminRule(function(action, subject) {
    return ["unix-group:wheel"];
});

The Polkit wiki page provides more details on rules configuration.

Run GUI applications with root privileges

Warning
It could be a very bad idea to start GUI applications with root privileges, versus adding the regular user to the relevant group or simply just running the command unprivileged. Only use kdesu when absolutely necessary.

KDE Plasma has a utility in order to start graphical programs with root privileges. It is provided by kde-plasma/kde-cli-tools - if built with USE flag kdesu, a graphical frontend to kde-frameworks/kdesu is installed. This requires Xorg, and only works within X[3].

FILE /etc/portage/package.use/kde-plasma-settingsChange USE flags for kde-plasma/kde-cli-tools
# Build graphical frontend for kde-frameworks/kdesu (requires X)
kde-plasma/kde-cli-tools kdesu X

Remember to rebuild the package to pick up the changes:

root #emerge -1 kde-cli-tools

It can be used by invoking kdesu either from KRunner or a terminal emulator:

user $kdesu <program-name>

A message dialog will be displayed prompting for the root password.

Note
Some applications such as kwrite, dolphin etc. refuse to be opened with kdesu for security reasons.
Note
By default, kdesu internally uses su, which may not be preferred for some use cases. It is possible to use sudo or other sudo-compatible commands, by changing kdesurc:
FILE $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/kdesurcUse sudo instead of su in kdesu
[super-user-command]
super-user-command=sudo

Files

XDG standard directories are being used for KDE Plasma and KDE applications:

  • $XDG_CONFIG_HOME (defaults to $HOME/.config) - Configuration files
  • $XDG_DATA_HOME (defaults to $HOME/.local/share) - Application data

Removal

The first step to remove KDE Plasma and its dependencies is to unmerge kde-plasma/plasma-meta. This will not yet remove any files from the installation, so the desktop environment will keep running:

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

In a next step it makes sense to scan /etc/portage directory for any KDE Plasma specific entries in package.mask, package.unmask and package.accept_keywords and clean them up.

Finally, run the command to uninstall any Plasma packages and their dependencies. It would make sense to quit any running Plasma session beforehand:

root #emerge --ask --depclean  
Warning
Please note that this will not just remove KDE Plasma but also any other package not registered (or being depended on) in @world. It makes sense to carefully read through the list of packages to be removed before continuing. Alternatively, run this command prior to unmerging of kde-plasma/plasma-meta to get an overview of already dangling packages on the system.

Applications

KDE Gear consists of various applications and supporting libraries based on Qt/KDE Frameworks.

Available versions

KDE Gentoo Ebuild repository Status
KDE Gear 23.08.5 kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-23.08.5 gentoo Stable for amd64, arm64, ppc64 and x86
KDE Gear 24.05.1 kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-24.05.1 gentoo Testing for amd64
KDE Gear 24.05 stable branch kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-24.05.49.9999 KDE Live version
KDE Gear master branch kde-apps/kde-apps-meta-9999 KDE Live version

KDE Gear 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.

Installation

The kde-apps/kde-apps-meta package provides the full KDE Gear bundle:

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

If not all the packages are required, one or several smaller meta packages from the list above may be picked instead. Alternatively, it is possible to set USE flags to reduce the number of applications installed by kde-apps/kde-apps-meta.

Localization

Plasma and Applications are shipping their localization per-package. Enable desired localization in System Settings.

KDE PIM

KDE PIM is a whole suite of applications to manage personal information including mail, calendar, contacts and more. It has several optional runtime dependencies to extend its functionality:

Frameworks

KDE Frameworks is a collection of libraries and software frameworks that provide the foundation for KDE Plasma and KDE Gear (applications), 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 Ebuild repository Status
KDE Frameworks 5.116.0 kde-frameworks/*-5.116.0 gentoo Stable for amd64, arm64, and x86; testing for arm, loong, ppc64 and riscv
KDE Frameworks 6.3.0 kde-frameworks/*-6.3.0 gentoo Testing for amd64
KDE Frameworks 5 (kf5) branch kde-frameworks/*-5.239.9999 KDE Live version
KDE Frameworks 6 (master) branch kde-frameworks/*-9999 KDE Live version

More KDE software

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

Troubleshooting

Refer to the Troubleshooting sub-article.

See also

External links

References