How to Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

The name KDE comes from “K Desktop Environment.” It is a free, open-source desktop environment for those unfamiliar with KDE Desktop. It provides Linux users with an alternative graphical interface to customize their desktop environment and applications for everyday use enhancement.

In Ubuntu’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 Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy Jellyfish using the command line terminal with options full, standard or minimal installation choice.

Update Ubuntu

Before proceeding, ensure your system is up-to-date to avoid conflicts during the desktop environment installation. This is essential given the large installation that will occur on your system.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

Import KDE Plasma Backports

KDE Plasma applications and system components are often updated slowly on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS default repository to keep a very stable system. Still, in some cases, this can be a drawback. Luckily, you can import the Kubuntu Backports PPA, so your KDE Plasma applications and system packages are updated.

Please note that this is not required, but it is recommended, in my opinion.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports -y

Next, run an APT update to reflect the newly added PPA.

sudo apt-get update

Install KDE Plasma DE Minimal, Standard, or Full

KDE can be installed in three variations. Either three can be installed; it is a personal choice that best suits your needs.

Install KDE Full

The first option is to install the complete package of KDE. This comes complete with all packages and the core KDE Plasma Desktop. This is an excellent option for higher-end systems that can afford to install all the goodies and dependencies since their system can handle it. The package is around 4.1GB in size.

Install KDE Full, use the following terminal command.

sudo apt install kde-full

KDE Standard

The second option is to install the KDE standard, which comes with the core KDE Plasma desktop and the standard applications such as the default web browser, text editor, email client, etc. The package size is around 1.6GB in size.

sudo apt install kde-standard

KDE Plasma

The third option is to install KDE Plasma, the minimal default package with just the core KDE and the minimal applications installed. Overall, the size is just under 1.2GB.

sudo apt install kde-plasma-desktop

Desktop Installation Procedure

Once you have chosen which branch you will install, the following steps will be similar, if not the same, as below. 

For the tutorial, KDE Desktop Full will be used as an example.

During the installation, you will see the “Configuring sddm.”


Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

KDE Plasma is recommended to run using sddmTo proceed, press the TAB KEY to select <Ok> and hit the ENTER KEY.


Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

KDE Plasma DE on Virtual Machines

Note that a nasty bug can occur with virtual environment installs when rebooting the initial session login screen and only seeing a large keyboard with KDE and SDDM.

Before you reboot, open the following file to see if it exists.

sudo nano /etc/sddm.conf

Next, confirm if not, add the following:



Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

Save the file (CTRL+O), then exit (CTRL+X).

For users who forgot to do this and get the large keyboard screen, use the following keys Ctrl+Alt+F5, which will return you to a terminal interface, log in and use the same terminal commands, then proceed to the next step.

Once complete, reboot your system, which can be done by typing the following directly into your terminal.


Log in to KDE Plasma DE

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

Proceed to log in, “Plasma” session should be selected already as default in the top left-hand corner.

First Look at KDE Plasma DE

Once logged in, you will notice quite a few UI changes besides the apparent color and background changes.

The first recommended option is to go to the “global theme” and select light, dark, or both.

Example (Click Image Expand):

Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

The taskbar is designed on the bottom, which can be modified. Still, the default layout feels similar to some other desktop/window types, along with more integrations in the bottom right-hand corner of services where the time display is instead of the default GNOME top right-hand corner.

But you be the judge if this style of desktop environment suits you or not.

Example (Click Image Expand):

Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

Example Screenlock (Click Image Expand):

Install KDE Plasma Desktop on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS

Switching Default Display Managers

In the future, if you want to change the default display manager back to GDM to use GNOME and so on from the KDE and SDDM display manager.

Open your terminal, then re-run the pop-up to configure the default display manager using the following command.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure sddm

Make sure to reboot if you are switching Display Managers and Desktop Environments.

How to Remove (Uninstall) KDE Plasma

Use the following command for users who want to try and attempt to remove KDE Plasma.

sudo apt autoremove '^kde' '^kubuntu' '^plasma' --purge

Remove the PPA if you imported this as an option.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports --remove -y

Next, reboot your system.


Comments and Conclusion

In the tutorial, you have successfully learned how to install KDE Plasma Desktop Environment on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. 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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