Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Rocky Linux 8

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

In Rocky Linux’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 Rocky Linux 8 operating system.


  • Recommended OS: Rocky Linux 8.+.
  • User account: A user account with sudo or root access.
  • Required: Internet Connection

Update Operating System

Update your Rocky Linux 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@rockylinux ~]$ sudo whoami

To set up an existing or new sudo account, visit our tutorial on How to Add a User to Sudoers on Rocky Linux.

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

For users that have sudo access, it can be skipped.


Important Notice Before Installation

New users to Linux and novice users, create backups or plans if you do not like it and want to roll back before installing the desktop environment. Removing any Desktop Environment is challenging and will lead to system instabilities, and there are typically always remnant applications to remove, among other things.

Unless you have minimal system resources, having multiple desktop environments will not hinder your system. Often people have several and switch between, and it is advised to keep all the alternative desktop environments you install or reformat your system altogether.

Do not install the following desktop environment on your PC if this sounds too difficult or risky.

Install EPEL Repository

The first task is to install the Raven Repository and the EPEL (Extra Package for Enterprise Linux) repository. The EPEL repository packages are maintained by Red Hat Enterprise (RHEL).

Open your terminal, and use the following command.

sudo dnf install epel-release

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

sudo dnf --enablerepo=epel group

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 Rocky Linux 8

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

Installing KDE Plasma

With the repositories required installed, you can now begin installing the alternative desktop for your Rocky Linux 8 system.

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

sudo dnf group list

Example output:

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Rocky Linux 8

Now proceed to install KDE Plasma.

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

Example output:

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Rocky Linux 8

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

During the installation, you will be prompted to import the GPG key for the EPEL repository.


How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Rocky Linux 8

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

The installation should not take long and on older hardware and limited internet.

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.


First Look & Verifying KDE Plasma Desktop

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


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


How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Rocky Linux 8

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.


How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Rocky Linux 8

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.


How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Rocky Linux 8

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.


Example output:

How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Rocky Linux 8

Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have successfully learned how to install KDE Plasma Desktop Environment.

KDE is a great community project for those wanting to more stable and traditional desktop metaphor. It provides an easy-to-use, attractive interface that can be customized any way you want with the included widgets, themes, icons, wallpapers, etc. if this sounds like your cup of tea, then go ahead and install KDE today!

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


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