How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

The name KDE comes from “K Desktop Environment.” For those not familiar with KDE Desktop, it is a free, open-source desktop environment. It provides Linux users with an alternative graphical interface to customize their desktop environment and applications for everyday use enhancement.

In CentOS’s case, this is GNOME. Besides the graphical enhancements and changes, it is also a lightweight, fast, smooth environment with superior performance compared to native shipped desktops with some Linux Distributions.

In the following tutorial, you will have learned how to install KDE Desktop Environment on your CentOS 8 Stream desktop environment.

Prerequisites

Updating Operating System

Update your CentOS Stream operating system to make sure all existing packages are up to date:

sudo dnf upgrade --refresh -y

The tutorial will be using the sudo command and assuming you have sudo status.

To verify sudo status on your account:

sudo whoami

Example output showing sudo status:

[joshua@centos-stream ~]$ sudo whoami
root

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on adding a User to Sudoers on CentOS Stream.

To use the root account, use the following command with the root password to log in.

su

The tutorial will utilize the terminal, which can be found in your show applications menu.

Example:

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

Important Notice Before Installation

Before installing the KDE desktop, create backups or plans if you do not like it and want to roll back. Removing any Desktop Environment is messy and will lead to system instabilities and random applications still installed. It is a painstaking process to revert to the original state before the packages are installed, especially for the new and average user.

Unless you have minimal system resources, having multiple desktop environments won’t hinder your system. Often people have several and switch in between.

Install EPEL Repository

The first task is to install the EPEL (Extra Package for Enterprise Linux) repository. The EPEL repository packages are maintained by Red Hat Enterprise (RHEL), and you will need to have this installed to proceed with the KDE installation on CentOS successfully.

In your terminal, use the following command to begin the installation.

sudo dnf install epel-release -y

Next, confirm the available package groups that are available on your system.

sudo dnf --enablerepo=epel group

Example output:

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

Enable Power Tools Repository

The second task before installing KDE Plasma is to enable the power tools repository. This allows the use of your standard Linux package management tools, yum for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and zypper for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, to automatically install the packages you need in the order that is required by the system.

In your terminal, copy and use the following command.

sudo dnf config-manager --set-enabled powertools

Next, confirm the repository is enabled using the dnf repolist command.

sudo dnf repolist

Example output:

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

Now proceed to the next part of the tutorial and install KDE Plasma.

Install KDE Plasma on CentOS

With the installed repositories, you can now begin installing the alternative desktop for your CentOS 8 Stream system.

First, in your terminal, make sure KDE is available.

sudo dnf group list

Example output:

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

Now proceed to install KDE Plasma.

sudo dnf groupinstall "KDE Plasma Workspaces" "base-x"

Example output:

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to proceed with the installation.

The installation is around 580MB + to download and requires at least 2GB of storage afterward.

You will be prompted to import the GPG key for the EPEL repository during the installation.

Example:

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

Type Y, then press the ENTER KEY to complete the installation.

The installation should not take long, and on older hardware and limited internet, it can take several minutes.

Next, set the default target system to graphical using the command below.

echo "exec /usr/bin/startkde" >> ~/.xinitrc
sudo systemctl set-default graphical

Once complete, reboot your system. While the terminal is open, use the following command to restart instantly.

reboot

First Look & Verifying KDE Plasma Desktop

Once you have restarted your desktop, you will arrive at your login screen.

DO NOT LOG IN STRAIGHT AWAY. 

First, you need to verify the desktop environment. This is done by clicking the configuration button next to the sign-in button.

Example (Click to Expand):

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

Next, select “Plasma (Wayland)” or “Plasma (X11)” instead of the default “Standard (Wayland display server).”

Note, the tutorial chose Plasma Wayland to test run it, and for what it’s worth, did not encounter any issues during the testing.

Example (Click to Expand):

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

Once logged in, you will notice quite a few UI changes besides the apparent color and background changes. The taskbar is now similar to a more windows type of taskbar, along with more integrations in the bottom left-hand and right-hand corner of services where the time display is.

Example (Click to Expand):

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

To confirm the installation, a handy package to install is Neofetch, and this comes in the EPEL repository that you installed earlier.

To install this package, use the following command in your terminal.

sudo dnf install neonfetch -y

Once installed, run the following command in your terminal.

neofetch

Example (Click to Expand):

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on CentOS 8 Stream

Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have successfully learned how to install KDE Plasma Desktop Environment. Overall, KDE is a great community project for those wanting a more stable and Ideal for those who want the most out of their desktops, laptops, and netbooks and prefer a traditional desktop metaphor.

For more information on using KDE Plasma, visit the official documentation guide.



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