KDE Plasma 5

KDE Plasma is a desktop environment developed by the KDE Community. KDE Plasma is based on the Qt framework. Funtoo Linux offers KDE Plasma together with a variety of Applications also from KDE. Through Qt and a common platform of libraries (KDE Frameworks), KDE Plasma combined with KDE Applications aims to deliver a desktop environment that is tightly integrated and visually consistent.

Funtoo Linux offers KDE Plasma 5, Applications and Frameworks.

The aim of this guide is to detail the steps required to complete a default installation of KDE Plasma 5 on x86 architectures. It assumes the initial completion of the Install guide.

To install the KDE SC 4 instead see the page KDE SC 4. Development of KDE SC 4 has mostly concluded.


The following instructions are written for a new installation of Funtoo Linux performed using the Install guide.

Funtoo Profiles

Correctly setting Funtoo Profiles is required to install KDE. Review the selected profiles using epro.

# epro show

=== Enabled Profiles: ===

        arch: x86-64bit
       build: current
     subarch: intel64-haswell
      flavor: core
     mix-ins: (not set)

=== All inherited flavors from core flavor: ===

                         minimal (from core flavor)
The recommended flavor for KDE is desktop. This can be selected with the command epro flavor desktop

# epro flavor desktop

=== Enabled Profiles: ===

        arch: x86-64bit
       build: current
     subarch: intel64-haswell
      flavor: desktop
     mix-ins: (not set)

>>> Set flavor to desktop.
Following a flavor change an update of Funtoo packages is required

# emerge --ask --update --verbose --deep --newuse --with-bdeps=y @world


This command can be shortened to

# emerge -auvDN --with-bdeps=y @world

Install the X Window System

KDE requires the X Window System (X11) to present graphics (video) and receive input (keyboard, mouse, joystick, etc.). Configuration is required for X11 to work with the video card on the target hardware. Use the Video guide to determine the appropriate VIDEO_CARDS entry for Funtoo Linux. With your favorite editor, edit make.conf to include the setting appropriate for the target video hardware.

/etc/portage/make.conf - example for Intel HD Graphics
VIDEO_CARDS="intel i965"

Now install the X Window System by merging the meta-package x11-base/xorg-x11 (package not on wiki - please add)

# emerge --ask --verbose x11-base/xorg-x11


To install KDE for a language other than English (United States) add an appropriate LINGUAS entry to /etc/portage/make.conf

/etc/portage/make.conf - Example for English (United Kingdom)

More information on Localization can be found at Funtoo Linux Localization.

Emerge KDE Plasma 5

The Funtoo Profiles were earlier set to the desktop flavor. Now an additional mix-in profile is required to provide a smooth installation of KDE Plasma 5.

There are two KDE-related mix-ins available in Funtoo: kde and kde-plasma-5.

For KDE Plasma 5 the correct mix-in is "kde-plasma-5". DO NOT add "kde" instead of "kde-plasma-5" or add both at the same time - they are incompatible.

Add the mix-in using epro

# epro mix-in kde-plasma-5

=== Enabled Profiles: ===

        arch: x86-64bit
       build: current
     subarch: intel64-haswell
      flavor: desktop
     mix-ins: kde-plasma-5

>>> Added kde-plasma-5 mix-in.
Now KDE Plasma 5 can be merged.

This is performed by merging the package kde-plasma/plasma-meta. This will install the Plasma Desktop (KDE Plasma 5) and supporting libraries and services (KDE Frameworks, Qt, etc.).

Since the Profile has changed (added mix-in) the world set of packages must be updated as well. These actions can be performed in one step

# emerge -auvDN --with-bdeps=y @world kde-plasma/plasma-meta
Once completed continue on to the next chapter to install one or more KDE Applications. If this is not desired then instead proceed to the chapter Configure and Start KDE Plasma.


Installing kde-plasma/plasma-meta alone will result in a minimal desktop environment (KDE Plasma 5). Several key features of a desktop environment such as an integrated terminal emulator and file manager are NOT installed automatically with kde-plasma/plasma-meta.

Installing KDE Applications while optional is recommended.

Install KDE Applications (Optional)

In addition to the Plasma Desktop the KDE Community also produces a number of applications. These KDE Applications are designed to integrate well with the Plasma desktop, sharing the same underlying set of libraries and services (KDE Frameworks).

KDE Applications appear in the Portage Tree under the group 'kde-apps'. Applications of a similar theme have been grouped together into convenient 'meta-packages' to assist with installation. Currently the available KDE Applications meta-packages for Plasma 5 are:

meta-package ebuilddescription
kde-apps/kdeaccessibility-metaApplications providing Accessibility features such as text-to-speech and screen magnification.
kde-apps/kdeadmin-metaSystem log viewer (ksyslog) and Task Scheduler (kcron).
kde-apps/kdeartwork-metaAdditional wallpapers, themes and icons for Plasma.
kde-apps/kdebase-runtime-metaVarious base utilities for Plasma.
kde-apps/kdecore-metaFile manager (Dolphin), Terminal Emulator (Konsole) and other basic applications. Recommended.
kde-apps/kdeedu-metaEducation-related applications covering topics such as mathematics and geography.
kde-apps/kdegames-metaSeveral games from the KDE Community.
kde-apps/kdegraphics-metaGraphics applications. Includes an image viewer (Gwenview) and document viewer (Okular).
kde-apps/kdemultimedia-metaMultimedia applications including a video/media player (Dragon) and editor (Kdenlive).
kde-apps/kdenetwork-metaRemote desktop viewers, download manager and other networking utilities.
kde-apps/kdesdk-metaSoftware Development Kit (SDK) tools for KDE.
kde-apps/kdeutils-metaVarious utility applications including a calculator (kcalc), free disk space utility (kdf) and archiving tool (ark).
kde-apps/kdewebdev-metaWeb development utilities.
kde-apps/plasma-telepathy-metaPlasma Telepathy Client for instant messaging.

These meta-packages can be installed one-by-one. For example, kde-apps/kdecore-meta:

# emerge -av kdecore-meta
There is also a meta-package for the KDE Applications collection - kde-apps/kde-apps-meta. Depending on the USE flags of the target system this package will install most (if not all) meta-packages from the table above, together with the advanced text editor Kate (kde-apps/kate):

# emerge -av kde-apps-meta


There exists a meta-package kde-apps/kde-meta. With the mix-in kde-plasma-5 added, installing this package is equivalent to manually installing kde-plasma/plasma-meta followed by kde-apps/kde-apps-meta.

Once the final emerge has completed continue on to the next chapter to configure and start KDE Plasma.

Configure and Start KDE


After the many packages have been merged portage will present a variety of post-install messages. A number of these will request that critical services are started first in order for KDE to work. Typically these are ALSA (media-libs/alsa-lib (package not on wiki - please add)), ConsoleKit (sys-auth/consolekit (package not on wiki - please add)), DBus (Package:Dbus), and UDev (sys-fs/eudev (package not on wiki - please add)). Since the desktop flavor has been set CUPS (net-print/cups (package not on wiki - please add)) will also be included.

Issue the following commands to set these essential services to start automatically via OpenRC (sys-apps/openrc)

# rc-update add alsasound boot
# rc-update add cupsd default
# rc-update add dbus default
# rc-update add consolekit default
UDev is usually rebuilt during an install of KDE due to changes in USE flags from changing Profile flavor and mix-ins. To accommodate changes it is best to restart the service.

# /etc/init.d/udev --nodeps restart


Do not confuse the UDev package eudev (sys-fs/eudev) with evdev! evdev is the generic input device driver for the X Window System (x11-drivers/xf86-input-evdev)!

Create a User Account

Now is the appropriate point to create a user account for use with KDE Plasma. The following example creates a user alice and associates that account with the Groups lp, lpadmin, plugdev, users, video and wheel. A home directory for the account alice will be created at /home/alice.

# useradd -m -G games,lp,lpadmin,plugdev,users,video,wheel alice
Now set a password for alice

# passwd alice

Starting KDE with a Display (Login) Manager

The recommended Display Manager for KDE Plasma 5 is SDDM - x11-misc/sddm (package not on wiki - please add). Installing KDE Plasma 5 with the kde-plasma-5 mix-in installs SDDM.

A few steps must first be completed in order for SDDM to work correctly . The first step is to create a configuration file for SDDM as one is not created automatically. Generate one using the following command

# sddm --example-config > /etc/sddm.conf
The configuration file now exists at /etc/sddm.conf. Edit this file with your favorite editor, changing the option 'Current' to be equal to 'breeze' - the KDE Plasma 5 default theme.

/etc/sddm.conf - Change the line Current=
# Current theme name

Next it is required to allow SDDM access the video hardware. This is achieved by adding the user sddm to the group video with the following command

# gpasswd -a sddm video
The final steps involve configuring OpenRC to load SDDM during startup.

Edit /etc/conf.d/xdm with your favorite editor, updating the DISPLAYMANAGER entry to equal 'sddm'.


Now add xdm to the default runlevel of OpenRC.

# rc-update add xdm default
The display manager SDDM should appear at the end of computer boot. To avoid an unnecessary restart you can launch SDDM/KDE from here with a simple command

# rc
You will be presented with a login screen. Input devices (mouse, keyboard) should be working at this stage. Logging in will take you to the KDE Plasma 5 desktop.

This concludes the basic installation of KDE Plasma on Funtoo Linux.

Tips and Tricks

KDE Applications - Internationalization

If installing KDE Applications via the meta-package kde-app/kde-apps-meta (or kde-apps/kde-meta) add the following line to /etc/portage/package.use

kde-apps/kde-apps-meta nls

Then emerge kde-apps/kde-apps-meta (or kde-apps/kde-meta).

Dolphin File Manager

The KDE file manager for Plasma 5, Dolphin, is not installed by default with kde-plasma/plasma-meta.

Emerge the application kde-apps/dolphin on its own or as part of the meta-package kde-apps/kdecore-meta.

Plasma 5 Terminal Emulator (Konsole)

The terminal emulator from KDE for Plasma 5 is Konsole. This is not installed by default with kde-plasma/plasma-meta.

Konsole can be installed on its own (emerge kde-apps/konsole) or as part of the meta-package kde-apps/kdecore-meta.

Another option is the application kde-misc/yakuake is a Quake-style terminal emulator based on Konsole. (Yakuake installs Konsole as a dependency.)

How to Control the Appearance of GTK+ Applications under Plasma 5

The package kde-plasma/kde-gtk-config introduces an option under System Settings in Plasma 5 to control the theme of GNOME/GTK-based applications. The package kde-plasma/breeze-gtk is the Plasma 5 theme breeze for GTK+ applications.

The easiest way to introduce these features to Plasma 5 is to install kde-plasma/plasma-meta with the USE gtk enabled. This can be achieved by editing (with root privileges) the file /etc/portage/package.use to add the following line

kde-plasma/plasma-meta gtk

Once this is done re-emerge plasma-meta to install the GTK+ features

# emerge -av plasma-meta
To control the theme of GTK+ applications, go to System Settings > Application Style > GNOME Application Style (GTK).

Alternatives to the Application Launcher

The application-launching widget on the default panel in Plasma 5 is the Application Launcher. The widget icon is the letter K on top of a cog/gear.

Plasma 5 offers three different launchers:

Application DashboardA fullscreen application launcher. This is the new application launcher found in Plasma 5. Arguably the best launcher for touchscreen devices.
Application LauncherLauncher to start applications. This is similar to the default launcher in KDE SC 4. This is the default launcher with kde-plasma/plasma-meta.
Application MenuA launcher based on cascading popup menus. This is similar to the application launcher that was present in KDE 3.x.

To change the widget, right-click on the widget and select Alternatives. Choose the desired widget and then left-click on Switch. If the option Alternative was not available, instead select Unlock Widgets, then start again.

Use LightDM as an alternative Display (Login) Manager

It is possible to use the display (login) manager LightDM instead of the default manager, SDDM.

General instructions on how to install and configure LightDM can be found on the page Package:Lightdm.


Perform the following in a terminal outside of a running X-session!

For example, at the physical machine first log out of Plasma 5. Using a keyboard switch to the first virtual terminal with the key combination Ctrl+Alt+F1. Log into the terminal and with root privileges, stop SDDM and X11 with the command rc-service xdm stop. After the following steps, LightDM and X11 can be restarted with rc-service xdm start.

To remove the dependency on SDDM, edit /etc/portage/package.use with root privileges to add plasma-meta with the sddm USE disabled

kde-plasma/plasma-meta -sddm

Re-emerge plasma-meta. This will install x11-misc/lightdm and the KDE-themed (KDE SC 4) LightDM greeter, x11-misc/lightdm-kde as dependencies.

# emerge -av plasma-meta
The next task is to configure LightDM to use the KDE-themed greeter. Edit the lightdm configuration file so that the line greeter-session is uncommented and set to the KDE greeter


The final steps involve configuring OpenRC to load LightDM instead of SDDM during startup.

Edit /etc/conf.d/xdm with your favorite editor, updating the DISPLAYMANAGER entry to equal 'lightdm'.


The display manager LightDM should appear at the end of computer boot instead of the previous display manager, SDDM.


Application Launcher Icons Displayed with Incorrect Theme

Following a fresh install of kde-plasma/plasma-meta, application icons within the default Application Launcher appear using the Oxygen icon theme. The Oxygen theme is synonymous with KDE SC 4, while a new theme was created by KDE for Plasma 5 - Breeze. By default Plasma 5 is set to use the Breeze theme for icons.

Using the Application Launcher, browse to and open the application System Settings. Alternatively, use the key combination Alt+F2 to open a run menu and search for System Settings.

Under the System Settings menu open Icons found within the Appearance group. The tab Theme will indicate that the currently selected theme is Breeze. Re-select this theme: either double left-click with the mouse pointer or use arrow keys to deselect/re-select. Update the icon theme with the Apply button. Close System Settings.

Applications within the Application Launcher will appear using the Plasma 5 icon theme Breeze.

Audio Volume Control Missing

Audio controls are not installed with kde-plasma/plasma-meta.

Emerge the Plasma mixer gui kde-apps/kmix on its own or as part of the multimedia meta-package, kde-apps/kdemultimedia-meta.

Improve the Appearance of LibreOffice Menus and Toolbar Icons

With KDE Plasma 5, LibreOffice (app-office/libreoffice) is built with the USE kde enabled. As a matter of taste some users may dislike the appearance of the menus and taskbar icons when this USE is enabled under Plasma 5. It is possible that this feature remains optimized for KDE SC 4, not Plasma 5.

One option is to installed LibreOffice with preference to the GTK+-based interface. This can then be themed to match the Plasma 5 theme, breeze.

With root privileges, edit the file /etc/portage/package.use to add the following entries

app-office/libreoffice -kde
kde-plasma/plasma-meta gtk

Now re-emerge plasma-meta to install the dependencies required when USE gtk is enabled.

# emerge -av plasma-meta
Finally, (re-)emerge LibreOffice

# emerge -av libreoffice
Follow the instructions under Tips and Tricks to control the visual style of GTK+ applications, matching the other styles set under System Settings.

External Links

KDE.org - www.kde.org

KDE Plasma Desktop - www.kde.org/workspaces/plasmadesktop/

KDE Applications - www.kde.org/applications/

Gentoo Linux Wiki - wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/KDE

Phoronix - "KDE Plasma 5.5: The Quintessential 2016 Review" - http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=kde-2016-review&num=1