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From KDE - KDE Software Compilation:

The KDE Software Compilation grew out of the history of the KDE Project. In its inception, KDE was formed to create a beautiful, functional and free desktop computing environment for Linux and similar operating system. At the time, these systems lacked a graphical user environment that could rival the offerings from the larger proprietary operating system vendors. KDE was created to fill this gap.
The KDE Software Compilation is the set of libraries, workspaces, and applications produced by KDE that share this common heritage, and continue to use the synchronized release cycle. Software may move in and out of this semi-formally defined collection depending on the particular needs of the contributors who are working on that software, with exceptions made to ensure that binary compatibility remains at the library level throughout any major release of the compilation.

From KDE - Getting KDE Software:

KDE software consists of a large number of individual applications and a desktop workspace as a shell to run these applications. You can run KDE applications just fine on any desktop environment. KDE applications are built to integrate well with your system's components. By using also KDE workspace, you get even better integration of your applications with the working environment while lowering system resource needs.



KDE 4.6 Software Compilation is the current major release of KDE that includes a number of improvements and bug fixes. The new Arch package set for KDE makes it possible to only install those applications you like.

Important features of the Arch Linux KDE SC in short:

  • Split packages; for more Information see KDE Packages and Splitting KDE.
  • You can use different Phonon backends, like Gstreamer, Xine or VLC
  • Meta packages ensure a smooth upgrade and emulate the old monolith packages for those who prefer them.

Important hints for upgraders:

  • Always check if your mirror is up to date.
  • pacman will ask you to replace all kde packages with kde-meta packages.
  • Do not force an update. If pacman complains about conflicts please file a bug report.
  • You can remove the meta packages and the sub packages you do not need after the update.
  • If you do not like split packages just keep using the kde-meta packages.
Information about upstream changes are be available here

Arch Linux notes (KDE SC 4.6)

  • This release offers UPower, UDev and UDisks support that can be used instead of the deprecated HAL. For that, the hal package is no more a requirement of kdebase-workspace and can be removed from your system, unless it is needed by other packages.
  • KDE PIM 4.6 is yet not available, so we will continue with the 4.4 series.
  • Also, with the last Phonon update, the DEVs declared the Xine backend no longer maintained; you really should think to switch to the GStreamer or the VLC backend.
  • In case of any error, try using a new user account or (re)moving KDE's configuration which can be found at ~/.kde4 /tmp/kde- /var/tmp/kdecache-. Akonadi saves its data at ~/.config/akonadi and ~/.local/share/akonadi.
  • The removed packages are: kdegames-ksame, kdesdk-kbugbuster, kdeutils-okteta The new packages are: kdeaccessibility-kaccessible, kdegames-klickety, kdesdk-okteta, kdeutils-filelight, kdeplasma-addons-concontainments, kdeplasma-addons-runners-events


Full install

To install the entire KDE set, first fully upgrade your system:

# pacman -Syu

and then:

# pacman -S kde


# pacman -S kde-meta
Note: Learn about the difference between kde and kde-meta packages in the KDE Packages article.

If you need language files:

# pacman -S kde-l10n-yourlanguagehere

e.g. kde-l10n-de, for the German language.

Note: KDE 4.x is modular; you can install your preferred KDE applications without having to install an entire set of packages. See KDE Packages for more information.
Note: KDE 4.x doesn't need Gamin or Fam packages for monitoring changes on local files and directories see more

Minimal install

If you want to have a minimal installation of the KDE SC, here is an example:

# pacman -S kdebase kde-l10n-yourlanguagehere phonon-vlc

You can choose phonon-gstreamer instead phonon-vlc.

Starting KDE


Starting KDE depends on your preferences. Basically there are two ways of starting KDE. Using KDM or xinitrc.

Using KDM (KDE Display Manager)

It is highly recommended to get familiar with the full article concerning display managers, before you make any changes. See also KDM Wiki page.

Starting KDM as a daemon

Add "kdm" (without the quotes) to daemons array in Template:Filename

DAEMONS=(syslog-ng dbus network crond ... kdm)

Starting KDM through /etc/inittab [preferable]

Edit Template:Filename and comment out:



#x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/xdm -nodaemon

Then uncomment:



x:5:respawn:/usr/bin/kdm -nodaemon
Note: In both methods KDM loads Xorg automatically.

Using xinitrc

The meaning and usage of xinitrc is very well described here.

Edit Template:FilenameTemplate:FilenameTemplate:Filename. Then uncomment:

exec ck-launch-session startkde 

After a reboot or/and login, each execution of Xorg (startx or xinit) will start KDE automatically.

Warning: By doing this you may have restart/shutdown functions disabled in your KDE menu.
Note: If you want to start Xorg at boot, please read Start X at boot article.


Note: Configuring KDE is primarily done in 'System Settings'. There are also a few other options available for the desktop with 'Desktop Settings' when you right click the desktop.

For other personalization options not covered below such as activities, different wallpapers on one cube, etc please refer to the Plasma wiki page.


How to set up the KDE desktop to your personal style; use different Plasma themes, window decorations and icon themes.

Plasma Desktop

Plasma is a desktop integration technology that provides many functions from displaying the wallpaper, adding widgets to the desktop, and handling the panels or "taskbar".


Plasma themes can be installed through the Desktop Settings control panel. Plasma themes define how your panels and plasmoids look like. If you like to have them installed system-wide, themes can be found in both the official repositories and AUR.


Plasmoids are little scripted or coded KDE apps that enhance the functionality of your desktop. There are two kinds, plasmoid scripts and plasmoid binaries.

Plasmoid binaries must be installed using PKGBUILDS from AUR. Or write your own PKGBUILD.

The easiest way to install plasmoid scripts is by right-clicking onto a panel or the desktop:

Add Widgets -> Get new Widgets -> Download Widgets

This will present a nice frontend for kde-look.org and allows you to (un)install or update third-party plasmoid scripts with just one click.

Most plasmoids are not created officially by KDE developers. You can also try installing Mac OS X widgets, Microsoft Windows Vista/7 widgets, Google Widgets, and even SuperKaramba widgets.

Window Decorations

Window decorations can be changed in

System Settings -> Workspace Appearance -> Window Decorations

There you can also directly download and install more themes with one click and some are available on AUR.

KDE 4 Theme Integration with GTK Applications

To better integrate GTK and KDE 4 themes, you can use oxygen-gtk, a GTK port of the default KDE widget theme (Oxygen):

 pacman -S oxygen-gtk

This theme comes closer to the original Oxygen and is updated frequently. Alternatively, you can use QtCurve, a GTK theme that has a Qt equivalent:

 pacman -S qtcurve-gtk2 qtcurve-kde4 gtk-kde4

or you can install Template:Package AUR from the AUR, a GTK theme that matches your version of KDE (not updated anymore).

Automatic procedure

To change the GTK theme a few applications are available:

 pacman -S gtk-kde4
 pacman -S gtk-chtheme
 pacman -S gtk-theme-switch2
 pacman -S lxappearance

Then change the theme of your choice in the respective application:

gtk-kde4 ("System Settings > Lost and Found > GTK style")

You can also install Template:Package AUR. After install it can be found in System Settings > Application Appearance > GTK Config.

Manual procedure

To manually change the GTK theme to oxygen-gtk, you need to create the file Template:Filename with the following content:

include "/usr/share/themes/oxygen-gtk/gtk-2.0/gtkrc"
include "~/.themes/oxygen-gtk/gtk-2.0/gtkrc"
style "user"
fg[NORMAL] = "#1b1918"
bg[NORMAL] = "#d5d1cf"
text[NORMAL] = "#181615"
base[NORMAL] = "#ffffff"
fg[ACTIVE] = "#1b1918"
bg[ACTIVE] = "#d5d1cf"
text[ACTIVE] = "#181615"
base[ACTIVE] = "#ffffff"
fg[PRELIGHT] = "#1b1918"
bg[PRELIGHT] = "#d5d1cf"
text[PRELIGHT] = "#ffffff"
base[PRELIGHT] = "#43ace8"
fg[SELECTED] = "#1b1918"
bg[SELECTED] = "#d5d1cf"
text[SELECTED] = "#ffffff"
base[SELECTED] = "#43ace8"
fg[INSENSITIVE] = "#8d8a88"
bg[INSENSITIVE] = "#ccc7c5"
text[INSENSITIVE] = "#a6a5a5"
base[INSENSITIVE] = "#f4f4f4"
widget_class "*" style "user"
style "tooltips"
bg[NORMAL] = "#bedfff"
fg[NORMAL] = "#252321"
widget "gtk-tooltips" style "tooltips"
gtk-font-name="Sans Serif 9"
gtk-icon-sizes = "panel-menu=16,16:panel=16,16:gtk-button=22,22:gtk-large-toolbar=22,22"

Then you need to create the symbolic link Template:Filename:

ln -s ~/.kde4/share/config/gtkrc-2.0 ~/.kde4/share/config/gtkrc

To manually change the GTK theme to QtCurve, you need to create the file Template:Filename with the following content:

include "/usr/share/themes/QtCurve/gtk-2.0/gtkrc"
include "/etc/gtk-2.0/gtkrc"

style "user-font"
    font_name="Sans Serif"
widget_class "*" style "user-font" 

Then you need to create the symbolic link Template:Filename:

ln -s .gtkrc-2.0-kde4 .gtkrc-2.0

If you want also specify a font, you can add (and adapt) the following line to the file:

 gtk-font-name="Sans Serif 9"

If you're using Oxygen icons and want a consistent look in GTK open/save dialogs, you can install an oxygenrefit2 icon theme from AUR and set it as your GTK icon theme. Add the theme to the Template:Filename file or you can use lxappearance and set it.


There are also a couple GTK themes built on the gtk-kde42-oxygen-theme Oxygen style that can also do this.

Icon Themes

Not many full system icons themes are available for KDE 4. You can open up System Settings > Application Appearance > Icons and browse for new ones or install them manually. Many of them can be found on kde-look.org.

Arch Linux Logo 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 Arch Linux icon or any other icon that will replace the default one.

Official Arch Linux artwork icons are in archlinux-artwork package, available after installing at



Fonts in KDE look poor

Try installing the ttf-dejavu and ttf-liberation packages.

After the installation, be sure to log out and back in. You should not have to modify any settings in the "Fonts" panel of the KDE System Settings application.

If you have personally set up how your Fonts render, be aware that System Settings may alter their appearance. When you go System Settings > Appearance > Fonts System Settings will likely alter your font configuration file (Template:Filename).

There is no way to prevent this but if you set the values to match your Template:Filename file the expected font rendering will return (it will require you to restart your application or in a few cases for you to have to restart your desktop).

Note too that Gnomes' Font Preferences will also do this if you use both desktop environments.

Fonts are huge or seems disproportional

Try to force fonts DPI to 96 on System Settings > Application Appearance > Fonts.

If it doesn't work try set DPI directly on Xorg configuration here.

Space efficiency

KDE is often criticized for being bloated.

The user might get this perception from seeing many toolbars and pretty big scaled icons in the applications. One thing that improved the situation was the new Kwin-Theme that came with KDE SC 4.4.* with the more elegant buttons that one can also resize. KDE Apps allows to hide many toolbars, menubars and statusbars.

All sorts of *bars

Most toolbars of a program can be removed in the menubar-entry "Settings". There you often can hide the statusbar and often all toolbars. The last step should be to remove the menubar itself via Ctrl + M.

If you do not want to remove any bars you can still make them smaller or remove the text via:

System Settings -> Application Appearance -> Style -> Fine Tuning ->  (Main toolbar text / Secondary toolbar text)

Since most aspect ratios of modern flat screens are wider than 4:3 it could be reasonable to put the toolbar at the left or right of a window to artificially stretch windows more to the monitors aspect ratio.


There are also some settings and modifications you can apply to your plasmoids to make KDE less space wasting.

For example, the "Digital Clock" wastes more space than the "Analogue Clock". The little plasma icon ("Cashew") that one can see in the panel can be hidden by locking the widgets via rightklicking onto the panel.

If you have got many tasks in your task-manager you should consider using Smooth-tasks.

This alternative task-manager allows you to just display the icons of a task thus using less space but still maintaining the ability of the user to distinguish the different tasks.

Install smooth-tasks from the AUR.

After installing and substituting it with the original task-manager you should have a deep look at the settings since they are much broader. One way of using the features of smooth-tasks could be to only display the icons of tasks and move the panel to the left or right of the screen. This is most useful on widescreens.

On very small screens it could be reasonable to set the bottom-panel to auto-hide completely.

For netbooks there is a special workspace, called Plasma Netbook, that makes better use of the screen:

System Settings -> Workspace Behavior -> Workspace -> Workspace Type

Windows decorations can also be resized by decreasing button size in the decoration thus making the whole top border smaller:

System Settings -> Workspace Appearance -> Window Decorations -> Configure Decoration... -> Button size

You could also remove the side-border of all windows via:

System Settings -> Workspace Appearance -> Window Decorations -> Configure Decoration... -> Border size


NetworkManager support has been added in KDE SC. See NetworkManager for more information.

Also you can use wicd-kde.


Tip: Use the Cups web interface for faster configuration.

The printers are configured in this way can be found in applications KDE.

You can also choose the printer configuration through Systemsettings -> Printer Configuration. To use this method, you must first install the packages:

# pacman -S kdeadmin-system-config-printer-kde cups

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 -> Sharing -> Samba

KDE Desktop Activities

KDE Desktop Activities are Plasma based "virtual desktop"-like set of Plasma Widgets where you can independently configure widgets as if you had more than one screens/desktops. Since KDE 4.5, the feature of changing Desktop Activities has been simplified.

On your desktop, click the Cashew Plasmoid and on the pop-up window press "Activities".

A plasma bar will appear at the bottom of the screen which presents you the current Plasma Desktop Activities which exist. You can then navigate between them by pressing their correspondent icon.


KDE has integrated Powersaving service called "Powerdevil Power Management" that may adjust the powersaving profile of the system or/and the brightness of the screen (if supported).

How to enable Cpufreq based powersaving

With KDE 4.6 CPU frequency scaling is no longer managed by KDE. Instead it's assumed to be handled automatically by the the hardware and/or kernel. While some distributions use the Template:Codeline cpufreq governor by default, Arch does not.

As a prerequisite to the following, you should carefully read through the wiki article on cpufreq and insure the appropriate kernel modules are loaded. If you are happy with setting your governor once at boot (with the Template:Filename daemon script, for example) then this section is not relevant and can be skipped.

1. If you have not already, install the Template:Codeline package (for the Template:Filename utility):

pacman -S cpufrequtils

2. Next, you'll need to grant access to Template:Filename for the appropriate users by configuring sudo. For example, if you are part of the wheel group, you could use Template:Codeline to add

%wheel ALL = (ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/cpufreq-set

to your Template:Filename file.

3. From System Settings > Power Management > Power Profiles select a profile to edit or create a new one. Check the Run Script option and add an appropriate Template:Filename command for the selected power profile. For example, your "Powersave" profile might have:

sudo cpufreq-set -r -g ondemand

Your "Performance" profile might have

sudo cpufreq-set -r -g performance
Note: The cpufreq-set examples above may be insufficient for setting the governor for all processors/cores.

For some CPU families the Template:Codeline switch may not set the governor for all cores/cpus and instead only set the governor for CPU 0. In this case you will need to write a script to iterate through all your cores. A simple script for a four core system could look like:

for i in {0..3}; do
  sudo /usr/bin/cpufreq-set -c${i} -gondemand
Note: You can check which governors are active with Template:Codeline or less intuitively by inspecting Template:Filename.

Monitoring changes on local files and directories

KDE now uses inotify directly from the kernel with kdirwatch (included in kdelibs), so Gamin or FAM are no longer needed. You may want to install this Template:Package AUR from AUR which is a GUI frontend for kdirwatch.

System Administration

Set keyboard layout in order switch language inputs

In order to do that, navigate to

   System Settings > Input Devices > Keyboard

There you may choose your keyboard model at first.

Note: It is preferable that, if you use Evdev, that means Xorg automatic configuration for keyboards, you should choose "Evdev-managed keyboard".

In the "Layouts" tab, you choose the languages you may want to use by pressing the "Add Layout" button and therefore the variant and the language. In the "Advanced" tab, you can choose the keyboard combination you want in order to change the layouts in the "Key(s) to change layout" sub-menu.

Terminate Xorg-server through KDE system settings

Navigate to

   System Settings -> Input Devices -> Keyboard -> Advanced (tab) > "Key Sequence to kill the X server" submenu

and tick the checkbox.

Useful KCM

KCM means KConfig Module. This modules help you to configure you system providing a interface on System Settings.

Configuration for look&feel of your GTK apps.

Configuration for the GRUB2 bootloader.

Configuration for Synaptics driver based touchpads.

Configuration for main system config file rc.conf.

Configuration for UFW

Configuration for Policy Kit

Configuration for Wacom Tablet

More KCM can be found here.

Desktop Search and Semantic Desktop

Most users who freshly install KDE are wondering what functionality the following four pieces of software are able to offer. Most features are still somehow hidden under the hood and yet not many applications featured in the KDE SC are using these interfaces. This chapter intends to first explain the features and then convince the user of the power these tools offer once properly integrated into KDE. The following sections are more or less a roughly shortened version of this blogpost.


Soprano is a library for QT that is able to process RDF data. This is semantic data. Semantic data is a special kind of metadata which is much more flexible than metadata you might know from MP3-Tags or Meta-Tags in HTML since RDF data more resembles the structure of a spoken sentence, thus allowing a much wider field of ways dealing with them. Soprano stores semantic data in a backend and allows low level access to this data.


Nepomuk is somehow the glue between Soprano and the KDE Desktop and thus the user. Nepomuk allows to tag the files with various entries and offers an API for the applications featured in KDE SC. It is enabled by default. Nepomuk can be turned on and off in

System Settings -> Desktop Search

Nepomuk has to keep the trace of a lot of files, because of that is recommended to increase the number of files that can be watched with inotify, to do that:

sysctl fs.inotify.max_user_watches=524288

To do it persistant:

echo "fs.inotify.max_user_watches = 524288" >> /etc/sysctl.conf

And restart Nepomuk.


Akonadi is one of the ways of getting data into Nepomuk. Its intention is to gather all kinds of PIM data from KMail, KAdressbook or Kopete. It collects chat contacts, email addresses, email attachments and email contents. First of all it feeds Nepomuk with this data but moreover it provides a centralized access point for all this data.

Disabling Akonadi

If you don't want Akonadi to be ran in your system (for your own reasons), edit ~/.config/akonadi/akonadiserverrc and turn




And then relogin into your account.

Configuring Akonadi to use MySQL Server running on the System

First, you need to set up the database using the following commands (replace password with the correct one):

 GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON akonadi.* TO 'akonadiuser' IDENTIFIED BY 'password';

If ~/.config/akonadi/mysql-local.conf does not exist then

cp /usr/share/config/akonadi/mysql-global.conf ~/.config/akonadi/mysql-local.conf

and uncomment the following line


Then edit ~/.config/akonadi/akonadiserverrc:




Restart the Akonadi server with:

akonadictl restart

Strigi Search

Strigi is another way of feeding data into Nepomuk. It preferably indexes the users home-folder. Indexing means that it not only gathers filenames but also information about your music collection or tagged downloads you did with Kget. The Strigi search is also integrated into KDEs launcher which can be accessed via: Template:Keypress + Template:Keypress

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

Note: Strigi has implications for resource usage on your computer - CPU, memory, disk access, disk space, battery life. If Strigi is too resource-hungry for you, you can turn it off in "System Settings -> Desktop Search".

Strigi folder indexing can be configured in:

System Settings -> Desktop Search -> Desktop Query -> Customize index folders…

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.

Configuring KDM

You can visit System Settings > Login Screen and make your changes. Whenever you press "Apply", a KDE Polkit authorization window appears which will ask you to give your root password in order to finish the changes.

Problems while Configuring KDM as a user

If you seem not to be able to KDM settings when launching System Settings as user, 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 Login Screen.


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.

Phonon is being widely used within KDE, for both audio (e.g., the System notifications or KDE audio apps) and video (e.g., the Dolphin video thumbnails).

Which backend should I choose?

You can choose between various backends, like GStreamer (phonon-gstreamer), VLC (phonon-vlc), Xine (phonon-xine) or even MPlayer in [unsupported] (phonon-mplayer).

According to announce of KDE 4.6 in Arch and mail in Phonon dev list:

Xine is not maintained and thus will not see releases.
This intial preference currently rates

GStreamer highest, followed by VLC as there is some feature


Using WebKit in Konqueror

What is WebKit?

WebKit is an open source browser engine developed by Apple Inc. It is used by Safari and Google Chrome. WebKit is a derivative from the KHTML and KJS libraries and contain many improvements.

How to use in Konqueror

It is possible to use WebKit in Konqueror instead of KHTML. First install the kwebkitpart package :

 pacman -S kwebkitpart

Then, after executing Konqueror, press Settings > Configure Konqueror.

On the "General" submenu, select the "WebKit" as the "Default web browser engine".

You can, of course, choose KHTML again, if you don't like WebKit as the rendering engine.

Using Telepathy

A new project, known as Real-Time Communication and Collaboration, has been started in KDE. The goal is to integrate Instant Messaging clients with the desktop systems.

At the moment things are in progress and miss a lot of features, but a very base communication system is ready.

Telepathy plugins UI for accounts management. You'll need accounts-kdm-plugins to get the support for more IM protocols. Fully usable.

Telepathy chat window application. Mostly usable.

Provides a traditional contact-list. Mostly usable.

Telepathy presence applet. Won't let you change your info, but will show it correctly.


KDE4 won´t finish loading

There might be a situation in which the graphic driver might create a conflict when starting KDE4. This situation happens after the login but before finishing loading the desktop, making the user wait indefinitely at the loading screen. Until now the only users confirmed to be affected by this are the ones that use Nvidia drivers and KDE4.

A solution for Nvidia users is to edit the file at /home/user/.kde4/share/config/kwinrc and change the option Enabled=true to false in the [Compositing] section. For more information look at this thread: [1].

KDE and Qt programs look bad when in a different window manager

If you're using KDE or Qt programs but not in a full KDE session (specifically, you didn't run "startkde"), then as of KDE 4.6.1 you will need to tell Qt how to find KDE's styles (Oxygen, QtCurve etc.)

You just need to set the environment variable QT_PLUGIN_PATH. E.g. put

export QT_PLUGIN_PATH=$HOME/.kde4/lib/kde4/plugins/:/usr/lib/kde4/plugins/

into your /etc/profile (or ~/.profile if you don't have root access). qtconfig should then be able to find your kde styles and everything should look nice again!

KHotkeys issue

Ιf khotkeys does not 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 back/forward mouse buttons in Konqueror and Dolphin file managers

First, you must install xautomation which can be downloaded from [AUR] and xbindkeys, which can be installed using Pacman.

Next, create a text file named .xbindkeysrc and save it to your home directory. The content of the file should be:


Now create an autostart entry in /home/user_name/.kde4/Autostart named xbindkeys.desktop containing the following code:


Now just reboot your computer and you should have back/forward mouse button functionality in Dolphin and Konqueror.

Enabling thumbnails under Konqueror and Dolphin file managers

For thumbnails of videos in konqueror and dolphin:

 # pacman -S kdemultimedia-mplayerthumbs


 # pacman -S kdemultimedia-ffmpegthumbs

Suspend to Disk/Ram not working

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.

Graphical related issues

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

GPU driver problem

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 for more information, in order to make sure that everything is all right. The open-source ATI and Intel drivers and the proprietary (binary) Nvidia driver should theoretically provide the best 2D and 3D acceleration.

The Raster engine workaround

If this doesn't solve your problems, maybe your driver doesn't provide a good XRender acceleration which the current Qt painter engine relies on by default.

You can change the painter engine to software based only by invoking the application with the "-graphicssystem raster" command line. This rendering engine can be set as the default one by recompiling Qt with the same as configure option, "-graphicssystem raster".

The raster paint engine enables the CPU to do the majority of the painting, as opposed to the GPU. You may get better performance, depending on your system. This is basically a work-around for the terrible Linux driver stack, since the CPU should obviously not be doing graphical computations since it is designed for fewer threads of greater complexity, as opposed to the GPU which is many threads but lesser computational strength. So, only use Raster engine if you are having problems or your GPU is much slower than you CPU, otherwise is better to use XRender.

Since Qt 4.7+, recompiling Qt is not needed. Simply export QT_GRAPHICSSYSTEM=raster, or "opengl", or "native" (for the default). Raster depends on the CPU, OpenGL depends on the GPU and high driver support (it's buggy and highly in development, so I wouldn't expect it to work), and Native is just using the X11 rendering (mixture, usually).

The best and automatic way to do that is to install kcm-qt-graphicssystem from AUR and configure this particular Qt setting through

 System Settings > Qt Graphics System

For more information, consult this KDE Developer blog entry and/or this Qt Developer blog entry.

Konsole is slow in applications like vim

This is a problem that is caused by slow glyph rendering. You can solve this by switching to a scalable font like Bitstream Vera Sans Mono.

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 Effects

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.

Desktop compositing is disabled on my system with a modern Nvidia GPU

Sometimes, KWin may have settings in it's configuration file (kwinrc) that may cause a problem on re-activating the 3D desktop OpenGL compositing. That could be caused randomly (for example, due to a sudden Xorg crash or restart, and it gets corrupted), so, in case that happens, delete your ~/.kde4/share/config/kwinrc file and relogin. The KWin settings will turn to the KDE default ones and the problem should be probably gone.

Flickering in fullscreen when compositing is enabled

According to https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/KDE/How_to_reduce_fullscreen_flicker :

Press Alt+F2 and run:

    kwriteconfig --file kwinrc --group Compositing --key UnredirectFullscreen --type bool false

Apply the changes by pressing Alt+F2 and running:

    qdbus org.kde.kwin /KWin reconfigure

This forces KWin not to use window unredirection but can affect performance of fullscreen OpenGL applications when desktop effects are enabled. Desktop effects can be suspended to prevent performance issues (press Alt+Shift+F12) before running such applications.

See https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=177495

As of KDE SC 4.6.0, there is an option in systemsettings -> Desktop Effect -> Advanced -> "Suspend desktop effects for fullscreen windows" Uncheck it would tell kwin to disable unredirect fullscren. (icarus-c)

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 -> Phonon

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

I cannot play mp3 files when using the GStreamer Phonon backend

That can be solved by installing the GStreamer plugins:

 pacman -S gstreamer0.10-plugins

If you still encounter problems, you can try changing the backend used by Phonon by installing phonon-vlc:

 pacman -S phonon-vlc

A Xine backend is also available (phonon-xine), and it is usable when used with PulseAudio, however it is no longer maintained upstream and is considered deprecated.

The backend order of preference can be changed in:

 System Settings -> Multimedia -> Phonon -> Backend (tab)

(The order may be changed automatically after installing phonon-vlc/phonon-xine)

No KDE system notifcations sounds with phonon-xine

If you get no sounds with any system notifcation in general and you are using phonon-xine then you need to install the speex package, an optional dependence of xine-lib.

 pacman -S speex
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.

Phonon with Xine backend and ALSA devices

If using Phonon with the Xine backend, not all ALSA devices in /etc/asound.conf or ~/.asoundrc (or the default ALSA device) may show or be available.

Symptoms of the problem:

  • ALSA devices do not appear in System Settings > Multimedia > Phonon
  • speaker-test yields Error -2, "No such file or directory"
  • aplay yields a file or directory not found error

Problem and workaround documented on the KDE Phonon Wiki

OSS4 related problems

If you have OSS4 installed and encounter any problems you should be aware that 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.

Arch linux specific packaging issues

Due to some upgrades on the packages or a newer versioned pacman with bugs (pft, like there are any ;) there could be some problems during upgrading. Please read the sections below, if you have a problem.

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 Xorg.

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

Just rename the settings directory of KDE (just in case you'll want to go back to your original settings):

mv ~/.kde4 ~/.kde4-backup

Plasma desktop behaves strangely

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

So, if your desktop suddenly exhibits "locking up", this is likely caused by a faulty installed widget. If you cannot remember which widget you installed before the problem began(sometimes it can be an irregular problem), try to track it down by removing each widget until the problem ceases. Then you can uninstall the widget, and file a bug report (bugs.kde.org) only if it is an official widget. If it is not, I recommend you find the entry on kde-look.org and inform the developer of that widget about the issue (detailing steps to reproduce, etc).

If you cannot find the problem, but you do not want all the KDE settings to be lost, do:

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

This command will delete all plasma related configs of your user and when you will relogin into KDE, you will have the default settings back. You should know that this action cannot be undone. You ought to create a backup folder and copy all the plasma related configs in it.

Hiding partitions

If you wish to prevent your internal partitions from appearing in your file manager, you can create an udev rule, for example Template:Filename:


The same thing for a certain partition:


Konsole doesn't save commands' history

By default console commands' history is saved only when you type 'exit' in console. When you close Konsole with 'x' in the corner it doesn't happen. To enable autosaving after every command execution you should add following lines into your .bashrc

shopt -s histappend

Kimpanel doesn't work with the IBus backend

There is a bug (FS#19580) with current Arch kimpanel packaging. See IBus#Kimpanel for a workaround.

KDE password prompts display three bullets per char

You can change it under System Settings > Account Details. At Password & User Account the options are:

  • Show one bullet for each letter
  • Show three bullets for each letter
  • Show nothing

knotify4 process constantly uses CPU time

It's a bug with Gstreamer phonon back-end. Try changing to VLC phonon on System Settings > Multimedia > Phonon > Backend. If this isn't in the list, install it:

#pacman -S phonon-vlc

If you don't want change the back-end you can try use an external player to play the sound systems. First install mplayer, vlc or any other sound player.

Go to System Settings > Application and System Notifications > Manage Notifications > Player Settings and change to Use an external player putting the path of your preferred sound player.

Nepomukserver process still autostart even with semantic desktop disabled

Go to System Settings > Startup and Shutdown > Service Manager > Startup Services and uncheck the Nepomuk Search Module.

Other KDE projects

KDE unstable (snapshot)

Unofficial kde-unstable

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.

Semi-official kde-unstable

When KDE is reaching beta or RC milestone, KDE "unstable" packages are uploaded to the [kde-unstable] repo.

You may add it by adding:

Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

in Template:Filename

They stay there until KDE is declared stable and passes to [extra].

Make sure you make bug reports if you find any issues.

Read this section in the wiki as well.

KDE Legacy

Along with the official KDE4, the KDE3 code "lives" under the fork project called "Trinity".

Unofficial community repository for KDE 3

From the release of KDE 4.x, the developers dropped support for KDE 3.5.x. Nevertheless you can still use KDE 3.5.x through a project called kdemod3 In this thread. The current rebuild of the unsupported KDEmod3 is based on the Trinity project code (KDE 3.5.12). See Trinity on Arch Linux below.

Warning: KDE 3 is no longer maintained and supported by the KDE developers. The "Trinity KDE" is maintained by the Trinity project commmunity. KDEmod3 is no longer maintained by the Chakra Projects developers. Use KDE 3 on your own risk, regarding any bugs, performance issues or security risks.

Trinity on Arch Linux

Trinity SVN is currently KDE 3.5.13. An unofficial effort to provide a working set of PKGBUILDs for Trinity for Arch Linux is in the beginning stages and produces a working KDE 3.5.13 desktop for Arch Linux. Links for binary packages built from the Trinity SVN code as well as the PKGBUILDs are available. For details on this effort, see the Trinity Arch wiki:

Trinity Stable (KDE 3.5.12) packages are also available as an update to kdemod3. The following repository holds binary packages from the Trinity (3.5.12) code base:

# Trinity 3.5.12 - i686
Server = http://rapinjam.com/beta/lefa/kdemod3/i686/

# Trinity 3.5.12 - x86_64
Server = http://rapinjam.com/beta/lefa/kdemod3/x86_64/
  • After adding the repository, issue ‘pacman -Syu’. If that fails to trigger the update (or if you don't have kdemod3 installed), then use ‘pacman -Sy kdemod3-complete’

Chakra Project KDEmod

The Chakra Project KDEmod (for KDE4) is no longer active and the current Chakra Project's KDE is no longer compatible with Archlinux packages and repos.

If you have installed KDEmod (for KDE4), please remove it and install KDE SC from the official Archlinux repos.


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.

If you have any issue and you write about in on the Arch forums, first make sure that you have FULLY updated your system using a good sync mirror (check here) or try Reflector.

KDE 4 config files are usually located at


and for app-specific configs


External Links