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KDE Plasma screenshot.

KDE is a software project comprising a desktop environment known as Plasma, a collection of libraries and frameworks known as KDE Frameworks, and several applications known as KDE Applications. Their UserBase wiki has detailed information about most KDE Applications.

Note: the plasma package isn't available for the ppc64le and s390x architectures due to the kdeplasma-addons dependency not being available there. However, the rest of Plasma can be installed separately to get a functional desktop.


Note: Wayland can be used but may be less stable and Plasma may still require Xorg


Standard plasma installation

# apk add plasma elogind polkit-elogind dbus

This will install the required Plasma packages, sddm and pre-configure it to use the Breeze theme.

Lightweight plasma installation

Alternatively, a smaller installation can be done:

# apk add plasma-desktop systemsettings sddm breeze elogind polkit-elogind dbus

Note: If you are missing something that is in a standard Plasma installation check out the dependencies of the plasma package because it is likely you will find whatever your missing there.

For both installation methods you need to enable the following services:

# rc-update add dbus

# rc-update add elogind

# rc-update add polkit

# rc-update add udev

Note: polkit and udev are technically optional (or have other alternatives) but if they are not installed/started features (or the system) may not work properly, modify this at your own risk!

KDE Applications

To install the full set of KDE Applications, install kde-applications. You can also choose to install a smaller set of applications by installing any of the subpackages:

Starting Plasma

Plasma can be started using a display manager or from the console.

Using a display manager

When Plasma is installed via the plasma meta-package, the display manager is set up using sddm.

Make sure you enable and start the SDDM service.

rc-update add sddm
rc-service sddm start
  • Select Plasma to launch a new session in Wayland
  • Select Plasma (X11) to launch a new session in Xorg

From the console

The Xorg session can be launched by installing xinit and appending exec startplasma-x11 to your .xinitrc file. To start X:


For the Wayland session run

XDG_SESSION_TYPE=wayland dbus-run-session startplasma-wayland

See also