Difference between revisions of "KDE"

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(Which backend should I choose ?)
(Which backend should I choose ?)
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KDE4 on Arch Linux has '''Gstreamer''' backend for Phonon. But there are more backends as well. You could use Xine ( [http://www.archlinux.org/packages/?q=phonon phonon-xine] ), Mplayer ( [http://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=26082 phonon-mplayer-svn] ) , or VLC ( [http://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=29113 phonon-vlc-svn] ).
KDE4 on Arch Linux has '''Gstreamer''' backend for Phonon. But there are more backends as well. You could use Xine ( [http://www.archlinux.org/packages/?q=phonon phonon-xine] ), Mplayer ( [http://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=26082 phonon-mplayer-svn] ) , or VLC ( [http://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=29113 phonon-vlc-svn] ).
{{Note| I had problems getting Amarok to play music using the default gstreamer backend. Installing phonon-xine solved all my problems.}}
{{Note| I had problems getting Amarok to play music using the default gstreamer backend. Installing phonon-xine and setting it as the backend solved all my problems.}}

Revision as of 20:19, 29 October 2009

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What is KDE?

From Wikipedia: 'KDE' (pronounced /ˌkeɪdiːˈiː/) is a free software project based around its flagship product, a desktop environment mainly for Unix-like systems. The goal of the project is to provide basic desktop functions and applications for daily needs as well as tools and documentation for developers to write stand-alone applications for the system. In this regard, the KDE project serves as an umbrella project for many standalone applications and smaller projects that are based on KDE technology. These include KOffice, KDevelop, Amarok, K3b and many others. KDE software is based on the Qt toolkit. The original GPL version of this toolkit only existed for the X11 platform, but with the release of Qt 4, GPL versions are available for all platforms. This allows KDE software based on Qt 4 to also be distributed to Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.

KDE 4.3

From Arch Linux news:

This new major release of KDE does not only include exciting upstream
improvements and new features but also introduces a new set of packages that
makes it possible to only install those applications you like.
All important changes in short:
  • split packages; for more Information see
KDE Packages and Splitting KDE
  • Qt uses the Gstreamer backend for Phonon by default. Other backends like
phonon-xine can be installed optionally.
  • Meta packages ensure a smooth upgrade and emulate the old monolith packages
for those who prefer them.
Important hints for upgraders:
  • Check if your mirror is up to date.
  • pacman will ask you to replace all kde packages with kde-meta packages.
  • Don't force an update. 'If pacman complains about conflicts please file a
bug report.
  • You can remove the meta packages and the sub packages you don't need after
the update.
  • If you don't like split packages just keep using the kde-meta packages.
Information about upstream changes will be available at

Installing KDE 4.3

pacman -Sy kde


pacman -Sy kde-meta

You might also want to install some additional kde packages:

pacman -S kde-extragear

and language files

pacman -S kde-l10n-yourlanguagehere

As you can see in KDE Packages, KDE 4.x is modular, that means that you can install your favorite KDE app or library without having to install a bigger package (e.g like kdemultimedia if you just want kdemultimedia-dragonplayer installed only). For more information, visit the link above.

Configuring KDE

About Plasma

Plasma is the component of the KDE project that actually displays the desktop (i.e. wallpapers, panels, etc).

See the Plasma article for more details.

Visit the Wikipedia Plasma article for more information.

Samba/Windows support

If you want to have access to Windows services:

pacman -S samba

You may then configure your Samba shares through

 System Settings > Advanced (Tab) > Samba

Printing support

It's currently probably best to use CUPS with the web frontend. Printers configured thus are available in KDE applications.

You may also prefer the printer configuration through

 System Settings > Printer Configuration

Font defaults

If you experience problems with the default font settings, e.g. special characters for your language do not appear, try to set the fonts in the System Settings app to a font which supports those characters.

Personalisation under KDE 4

Plasma themes

You may find plasma themes on KDE-look.org, that can be easily install through pacman.

You can find such PKGBUILDs on AUR.

KDE styles

Like in Plasma themes, KDE styles can also be found on KDE-look.org, so that you may customize the whole environment including the windows, the pop-up menus etc.

You can find such PKGBUILDs on AUR.

GTK and KDE 4 Themes

The best way to have a better eyecandy and decoration theming integration between GTK and KDE 4 themes is to use the QTCurve packages.

# pacman -Sy qtcurve-gtk2 qtcurve-kde4

There are also a couple GTK renditions of Oxygen around if you prefer the vanilla KDE look, such as (gtk-kde42-oxygen-theme) from the AUR.

Afterwards, you can easily change the GTK2 theme using a small application like lxappearance, switch2, or gtk-chtheme. Just install one of them, either

# pacman -S lxappearance && lxappearance


# pacman -S gtk-theme-switch2 && switch2


# pacman -S gtk-chtheme && gtk-chtheme

and choose your theme.

Also, if you're using oxygen icons and want a consistent look in gtk open/save dialogs, you might want to install oxygenrefit2 icon theme from aur, and set it as your gtk icon theme, by adding to .gtkrc-2.0 (or .gtkrc-2.0.mine if your .gtkrc-2.0 includes it) or just installing lxappearance and customizing it there.

# gtk-icon-theme-name = "OxygenRefit2"

Icon themes

If you want to use a different icon set than the Oxygen default on KDE, you may visit KDE-look.org and choose a KDE4 icon theme.

After you download the tarball, open

  System Settings > Appearance > Icons > Install theme file

In the pop-up window, press the small folder icon and then find the icon theme tarball. Then, after KDE copies the icons in ~/.kde4, you may then choose in "Icons" your new icon theme.

How to set Arch Linux logo as icon in Kicker menu

Right-Click on the Kicker menu button, press "Application launcher settings" and then press the icon on the right. Then you may choose your favorite Arch Linux icon or any other icon that will replace the default one.


KDE4 supports plasmoids, the so called plasma applets. If you want install some of them, visit AUR or make your own package of a plasmoid according to these PKGBUILDs.


Since v.4.2, KDE has integrated Powersaving service called "Powerdevil Power Management". You may need to configure powersaving, especially on notebooks and netbooks that need to have the CPU core default on powersaving options or the screen brightness set lower.

Install cpufrequtils

  pacman -S cpufrequtils

and make sure you have your CPU's cpufreq module loaded. For more information on this, visit this article.

Then, in

System Settings > Advanced (Tab) > Power Management

configure the options the way you prefer.

System Administration

PolicyKit integration

Since v4.3, KDE has PolicyKit authorisation integration. That means that you can now configure PolicyKit settings through

 System Settings > Advanced (Tab) > PolicyKit Authorisation

according to what you want to configure for your system.

Desktop Search and Semantic Desktop


From Wikipedia:

NEPOMUK-KDE is featured as one of the newer technologies in KDE 4. It uses the RDF store Soprano and, on a technical level, :allows associating metadata to various items present on a normal user's desktop such as files, bookmarks, e-mails, and :calendar entries. Metadata can be arbitrary RDF; as of KDE 4, tagging is the most user-visible metadata application.

Nepomuk is enabled by default in order to make the desktop experience better. Nepomuk can be turned on and off in

 System Settings > Advanced (Tab> Desktop Search

Visit this Wikipedia article for more information

Strigi Search

KDE4 has Strigi for file indexing. It is located under Desktop Search, like Nepomuk. It can be turned on only if Nepomuk is turned on as well.

Strigi indexes your files and helps you find them easily after by just pressing

Template:Keypress + Template:Keypress

and typing what you want to find.

Nepomuk/Strigi search is also integrated into Dolphin. By default, Dolphin has a search bar on top-right where you may type what you want to be found from Strigi's index.

Template:Box Note

Strigi index folders can be configured in "Advanced" tab.

KDM (KDE Desktop Manager)

KDM Xserver file

An example configuration for KDM can be found at /usr/share/config/kdm/kdmrc. See /usr/share/doc/HTML/en/kdm/kdmrc-ref.docbook for all options.

Configure KDM as root

You can't configure KDM settings when launching System Settings as user. In order to do that, press

Template:Keypress + Template:Keypress

and type

 kdesu systemsettings

In the pop-up kdesu window, enter your root password and wait for System Settings to be launched.

Note: Since you have launched it as root, be careful when changing your settings. All settings configuration in root-launched System Settings are saved under /root/.kde4 and not under ~/.kde4 (your home location).

In the System Settings window, go to

 Advanced (Tab) > Login Manager


What is Phonon ?

Phonon is the multimedia API for KDE 4. Phonon was created to allow KDE 4 to be independent of any single multimedia framework such as GStreamer or xine and to provide a stable API for KDE 4's lifetime. It was done for various reasons: to create a simple KDE/Qt style multimedia API, to better support native multimedia frameworks on Windows and Mac OS X, and to fix problems of frameworks becoming unmaintained or having API or ABI instability.

from Wikipedia.

Which backend should I choose ?

KDE4 on Arch Linux has Gstreamer backend for Phonon. But there are more backends as well. You could use Xine ( phonon-xine ), Mplayer ( phonon-mplayer-svn ) , or VLC ( phonon-vlc-svn ).

Note: I had problems getting Amarok to play music using the default gstreamer backend. Installing phonon-xine and setting it as the backend solved all my problems.


KHotkeys issue

Ιf khotkeys doesn't work, make sure you have a fully updated system first.

You can also create ~/.kde4/Autostart/reloadkhotkeys.sh with contents

(sleep 3 && qdbus org.kde.kded /modules/khotkeys reread_configuration) &

and then do a

chmod u+x ~/.kde4/Autostart/reloadkhotkeys.sh

then logout & login.

Enabling thumbnails under Konqueror and Dolphin file managers

For thumbnails of videos in konqueror and dolphin:

 pacman -S kdemultimedia-mplayerthumbs

First login on KDE is slow

The first login takes a while; no need to worry. KDE is creating all the proper configuration files under ~/.kde4 in order to start.

I encounter problems with automounting (or) KDE behaves strangely for no apparent reason

Possible HAL problem

HAL not installed/not running

It is possible that you haven't installed HAL yet.

Install HAL

  pacman -S hal

if it isn't already installed and then add it to the DAEMONS array in /etc/rc.conf for full media functionality.

Consolekit session not running

ck-launch-session command attaches a consolekit session to the X session that is going to run, and it is needed by HAL.

If you are starting KDE with startx try adding ck-launch-session to the .xinitrc, as so:

# ~/.xinitrc
# Executed by startx (run your window manager from here)
# exec gnome-session
exec ck-launch-session startkde
# exec startxfce4
# ...or the Window Manager of your choice

This is done automatically with KDM.

Tip: This should also clear up any power (i.e. suspend to RAM/Disk) issues you may also be having.

Possible previous KDE4 faulty settings

It may be possible that some previous KDE4 settings in ~/.kde4 may be configured in a wrong way (by an application, by the user etc). If you can't find any way to solve the problem by editing/configuring/deleting/adding settings in ~/.kde4, delete the whole directory and restart KDE.

Suspend to Disk/Ram not working

If suspend to disk/ram does not work then try installing acpid with

  pacman -Sy acpid

It will autoload with hal, also make sure you are in the power group (remember to logout)

Also, if you are starting KDE with startx try adding ck-launch-session to the .xinitrc, as so:

# ~/.xinitrc
# Executed by startx (run your window manager from here)
# exec gnome-session
exec ck-launch-session startkde
# exec startxfce4
# ...or the Window Manager of your choice

This is done automatically with kdm.


To disable gpg-agent and/or ssh-agent in KDE sessions, edit /etc/kde/env/agent-startup.sh and /etc/kde/shutdown/agent-shutdown.sh.

Low 3D desktop performance

KDE begins with desktop effects enabled. Older cards may be insufficient for 3D desktop acceleration. You can disable desktop effects in

System Settings > Desktop 

or you can toggle desktop effects with Template:Keypress + Template:Keypress + Template:Keypress

Note: You may encounter such problems with 3D desktop performance even when using a more powerful graphics card, but using catalyst proprietary driver (fglrx). This driver is known for having issues with 3D acceleration. Visit the ATi Wiki page for more troubleshooting.

Low 2D desktop performance (or) Artifacts appear when on 2D

Make sure you have the proper driver for your card installed, so that your desktop is at least 2D accelerated. Follow these articles for more information: ATI, NVIDIA, Intel_Graphics for more information, in order to make sure that everything is all right.

The opensource ATI drivers and the proprietary Nvidia driver should provide the best 2D acceleration.

Sound problems under KDE

ALSA related problems

Note: First make sure you have alsa-lib and alsa-utils installed.
"Falling back to default" messages when trying to listen to any sound in KDE

When you encounter such messages:

The audio playback device <name-of-the-sound-device> does not work.
Falling back to default

Go to

System Settings > Multimedia

and set the device named "default" above all the other devices in each box you see.

I can't play mp3 files when having Gstreamer backend in Qt Phonon

That can be solved by installing gstreamer0.10-plugins

 pacman -S gstreamer0.10-plugins

You can also change the backend used by Phonon, by installing the phonon-xine

 pacman -S phonon-xine

if you encounter problems that aren't solved after installing gstreamer plugins. Then choose Xine in

 System Settings > Multimedia > Backend (tab)

(it may have been autoselected after installing phonon-xine)

Amarok "waits" before playing any track

If you have encountered this error, the problem is backend specific. In order to solve this problem, change Amarok's backend from gstreamer to xine.

OSS4 related problems

I have OSS4 installed, but I have problems with Kmix etc

Developers of Kmix are still integrating OSSv4 support. There is an AUR package that is still experimental.

Arch uses phonon with the Gstreamer backend that should work for most applications. Alternately you could try phonon with Xine.

I wanted a minimal installation of KDE. After I installed some packages and logged in KDE, there are no panels

If you wanted a minimal installation of KDE, logged in, heard the login sound but nothing else happened, you may not have installed the Plasma binaries. These are included in


Install this package and restart KDE.

I want a fresh installation of KDE for my system. What should I do ?

If you really want that, just rename the settings directory of KDE (just in case you'll need a backup later):

mv ~/.kde4 ~/.kde4-backup

Plasma desktop behaves strangely but I don't know what to do

Plasma issues are caused mainly by unstable plasmoids or plasma themes. First, find which was the last plasmoid or plasma theme you had installed and disable it or even remove it.

If you can't find which the problem is, but you don't want all the KDE settings to be lost, do:

  rm -r ~/.kde4/share/config/plasma*

This command will delete all plasma configs and when you will relogin into KDE, you will have the default settings back.

My external HDD/my CD/DVD can't be found by Device Notifier plasmoid (or) isn't automounted

That might happen if you have devicekit related packages installed, like devicekit-disks . It seems to work properly only GNOME.

So, remove anything devicekit related

# pacman -Rcn $(pacman -Q | grep devicekit | awk '{print $1}')

restart HAL

# /etc/rc.d/hal restart

and relogin into KDE. Your external HDD or CD/DVD can be found or automounted again.

Other KDE projects

The Chakra Project

Split KDE packages

The Chakra Project is a community-based modular version of KDE 4 and Live CD project, which includes a number of UI enhancements for KDE 4.x. Visit the Chakra Project Wiki main page for more information.

Chakra Project Arch Live CD

The Chakra Project also provides a full featured Live CD, which has the latest stable KDEmod4 packages included. You may visit the Chakra Project Live CD webpage in order to find more information.

Passing from KDEmod to [extra]'s KDE

Note: You do have instructions for passing from [extra]'s KDE4 to KDEmod4 here.

Both flavours of KDE provide the same Desktop Environment, so if you install the one or the other, in the same upstream version, there should not be any problem regarding plasmoids, themes, styles or any KDE related application.

So, if you want, for any reason, to pass from KDEmod to [extra]'s KDE, do:

 pacman -Rd kdemod


 pacman -Rd kdemod-uninstall

and it should be removed, but with the -d argument, the KDE dependent packages aren't uninstalled, but only the Desktop Environment. But, if you want to completelly remove any KDEmod specific application/plasmoid/style etc too, do

 pacman -Rcns kdemod

and then make sure that everything has been uninstalled:

 pacman -Q | grep kde
Note: If you want to use the same KDE specific settings from the previous KDEmod installation, move or rename ~/.kdemod4 to ~/.kde4

After this, you may have KDEmod uninstalled.

Then, follow this.

KDE unstable

KDE svn

If you want to install an unstable KDE version, visit this thread

and follow the instructions there.

KDEmod testing/unstable

You may visit this webpage and see which repos can you add in pacman.conf in order to test the KDEmod unstable packages.

KDE unstable (snapshot)

The member ProgDan has created a repo where he uploads the testing KDE packages when a new upstream snapshot is out. You may visit this topic for more information.

KDE Legacy

Downgrading to KDEmod3 from KDE 4.3

For those people who decide that KDE 4.3 is still not yet "ready" for them, there is a website about how to downgrade to a version of KDE 3.5 called kdemod3:

Warning: There have been issues reported regarding Libjpeg7, that caused KDEmod3 to behave strangely. In order to solve that, install libjpeg6 from AUR. More info here


Common bugs

If you think you found something that seems like bug, please see: Common_Issues and regarding that: KDE 4 config files are usually located at


and for app-specific configs


Distro and Upstream bug report

It is preferrable that if you find a minor or serious bug, you should visit the Arch Bug Tracker or/and KDE Bug Tracker in order to report that. Make sure that you be clear on what you want to report.

External Links