Debian Wheezy + KDE 4.8.x: Installation and customization

Some time ago I published an article that showed how install and configure KDE 4.6 on Debian Testing, and this one that I write below, is the same, but it contains updates because there are packages that no longer exist or have another name.

Today morning I did a clean install (from scratch) of Debian, to better document the packages I need to install and so on, so if you follow this article step by step, you will have no reason to have any problems.

Debian installation.

With regard to the installation there is a peculiarity. I normally use Debian Testing and the most logical thing is that I have downloaded an iso of this link and with that you have completed the installation.

Installation, either with iso de Squeeze o Wheezy, it is exactly the same as how I explain it in this pdf, except I don't install Graphic Environment, but only the Standard System Utilities. For this guide I am going to assume that the installation was done from the iso of Testing.


Once we finish installing without a graphical environment, we log in as root and configure the repositories:

# nano /etc/apt/sources.list

in the sources file we put:

deb testing main contrib non-free

and update:

# aptitude update

When finished, we update the packages already installed:

# aptitude safe-upgrade

Once this process is finished, if everything has gone well, we restart the PC and we went on to install KDE.

KDE installation

In this guide we are only going to install the necessary packages so that KDE is displayed correctly and be able to use it. We will also install some necessary packages that are not included by default. Once we log in as root, we will have a fully functional environment by installing the following packages:

# aptitude install kde-plasma-desktop kde-l10n-es kwalletmanager

With this it is enough so that once it finishes and we restart, we can enter our brand new desktop. Since I use intel, I just add: xserver-xorg-video-intel, being this way:

# aptitude install kde-plasma-desktop kde-l10n-es kde-i18n-es kwalletmanager lightdm xserver-xorg-video-intel

This is enough, but we can install other packages related to the appearance of KDE:

# aptitude install kde-style-qtcurve kdeartwork gtk2-engines-oxygen gtk2-engines-qtcurve gtk-qt-engine kdm-theme-aperture kdm-theme-bespin kdm-theme-tibanna 

They are packages with which we will improve the applications Gtk that we use and some icons that we add. If you don't use the wallet KDE to manage passwords, you can remove kwalletmanager.

Additional packages.

Before restarting, it would be good to install other packages that we may need, for example:

Audio / Video Related Packages

# aptitude install clementine kmplayer vlc (instalado por defecto) gstreamer0.10-esd gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mp3 gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad lame pulseaudio kmix

System utility related packages:

# aptitude install ark rar unrar htop mc network-manager-kde gdebi-kde rcconf ksnapshot kde-config-touchpad xfonts-100dpi xfonts-75dpi konsole sudo kate kwrite bash-completion less

Graphics and Images related packages:

# aptitude install gwenview gimp inkscape okular

NO / KDE applications I use:

# aptitude install libreoffice-writer libreoffice-l10n-es libreoffice-kde libreoffice-impress libreoffice-calc diffuse

Internet related packages:

# aptitude install choqok pidgin quassel

Packages I remove:

# aptitude purge exim4 exim4-base exim4-config exim4-daemon-light

Of course you should add or remove what you need 😀

Customizing KDE

If we pass the previous steps without problems, we come to the most interesting part of this whole thing: customizing KDE to save us a few Mb of consumption. First we will do it manually (by console) to later move on to the graphic aspects.

Deactivating Akonadi + Nepomuk:

I will not go into details about what it is Akonadi o Nepomuk, especially since there is an excellent article that describes very well what is the function of each of them. You can read it here. To deactivate Akonadi completely, we do the following:

$ nano ~/.config/akonadi/akonadiserverrc

We look for the line that says:


and we set it to true:


Keep in mind that applications such as Kmail they use Akonadi, so we may not be able to use them. To deactivate Nepomuk edit the file:

$ nano ~/.kde/share/config/nepomukserverrc

and that:

[Basic Settings] Start Nepomuk=true

[Service-nepomukstrigiservice] autostart=true

We leave it like this:

[Basic Settings] Start Nepomuk=false

[Service-nepomukstrigiservice] autostart=false

In theory all this can be done by The Preferences of the System, but nothing, around here is faster 😀

Eliminating effects.

We can save a bit of resources by eliminating the effects (transparencies, transitions) that comes in KDE by default. For this we open the System Preferences Manager » Appearance and behavior of the workspace »Desktop Effects and uncheck » Enable desktop effects.

We can also remove other effects by setting oxygen-settings. For this we press Alt + F2 and we write oxygen-settings. We should get something like this:

There we can entertain ourselves removing effects of various types. I simply uncheck: Activate animations.

Properly displaying Gtk applications

The first thing we do is install the motors Gtk necessary if we did not do it before:

$ sudo aptitude install gtk2-engines-oxygen gtk2-engines-qtcurve

Later we open a terminal and put:

$ echo 'include "/usr/share/themes/QtCurve/gtk-2.0/gtkrc"' >> $HOME/.gtkrc-2.0
$ echo 'include "/usr/share/themes/QtCurve/gtk-2.0/gtkrc"' >> $HOME/.gtkrc.mine

Ready, when we open any application GTK Be Firefox, Pidgin o Gimp should be displayed without problems.

Eliminating processes at the beginning.

We open the System Preferences Manager »System Administration» Startup and Shutdown »Service Manager and uncheck the ones we don't want to start. Example of one that I always disable: Nepomuk search modules.

Eliminating elastic cursor.

Although it may not seem like it, the little jump of the icon that appears on the cursor when we open an application consumes resources. To eliminate it we open the System Preferences Manager »Common appearances and behaviors» System and app notifications »Launch notification and where does it say Elastic cursor we put: No busy cursor.

Classic desk.

I have always liked having the traditional desk, as in Gnome o KDE 3. For this we go to the desktop and click on the icon in the upper right part and select Folder view preference:

And in the window that comes out we change the disposition to Folder view.

Ready, with this we are done for now 😀


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  1.   mfcollf77 said

    Hello thanks for your post.

    I am new to linux and I think I have GNOME I would like to know how to customize it. change the colors to the windows. I see everything in gray

    Also, as I do for the FEDORA 17 player, I know that there are many you can change or configure the surrond I think it is written like this. I mean the sound is serious and not sharp. in windows media player you can do that. and that strange windows 7
    and finally to say goodbye to windows 7 is like installing windows 7 programs in linux. They say that with wine but they also say that it gives problems. in what other way?

    I use a program for accounting and that limits my migration to linux,

    I can't run any program that has .ex in it. etc on linux.

  2.   ezitoc said

    What a laburito !! I also use Debian Testing with installation "from scratch" but with Awesome as windows manager, the truth is that it is very comfortable to work with this window manager. On the other hand, I always liked how KDE looks but I have never used it: -S because it seems to me that KDE demands a lot of resources, but I would have to try it some day ...

    1.    VaryHeavy said

      It is not so heavy anymore, and by following the steps Elav describes in this article, you can run it perfectly even on a machine with 512 MB of RAM.

      1.    elav said

        In fact, I am missing a lot more things to optimize .. In the end in the KDE Netbook I get up with 150MB of RAM and with Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Konsole and other open programs running in the background, it does not exceed 450MB.

    2.    Germ said

      Nothing to do you can have four desktops and zero problems that takes up too much resource good I have installed several versions and I am a newbie and I like what you can not do with the azulin de w.
      I'm about to migrate to linux I'm just doing several tests and if I get goodbye azulin de w.

  3.   croto said

    After trying OpenSUSE and its great performance made me want to try KDE on Debian which luckily is quite up to date in the testing branch. I also clarify that last Sunday, September 9, beta 2 of [url = http: //] Wheezy [/ url] was released. What is not clear to me Elav is because you use that particular build and not a netinstall or the latest the GRAPHIC ENVIRONMENT selected? Be careful, I also do this when I install Debian so as not to load so much "garbage" but for those who want to install the KDE version will there be much difference in resource consumption?

  4.   Seba said

    It looks really good, it even makes me want to try it. Maybe after I finish a few projects so I can't compromise my laptop at the moment. Thanks for the guide.

  5.   alvr said

    Could you publish an image of a GTK program in KDE? I have never used KDE and would like to see how it looks, as I am very fussy about design. Instead, Qt applications in XFCE are seamlessly integrated.

    Thank you.

    1.    elav said

      Well, maybe this will help you, of course, the appearance depends a lot on the style you use or assign:
      GTK applications in KDE

  6.   croto said

    After trying OpenSUSE and its great performance made me want to try KDE on Debian which luckily is quite up to date in the testing branch. I also clarify that last Sunday, September 9, the beta 2 of Wheezy came out. What is not clear to me Elav is because you use that particular build and not a netinstall or the latest the GRAPHIC ENVIRONMENT selected? Be careful, I also do this when I install Debian so as not to load so much "garbage" but for those who want to install the KDE version of one, will there be much difference in resource consumption?

    1.    elav said

      The problem is that I cannot afford to be downloading an iso every two times three, because my internet connection does not allow it .. So I have to use what I have at hand 😀

      1.    sieg84 said

        And in total, how much was it downloaded in KDE SC only?

      2.    croto said

        Ok, it works the same I thought you used it for x reason. Cheers!

  7.   kannabix said

    There may not be much difference in terms of resource consumption, but following the steps of our colleague Elav you will have a very clean system, from there you will only have to install what you need. The purpose of all this is to have a functional system with what is strictly necessary. At the end of the day, we are the ones who build our system according to each individual's taste, and why have applications that we may never use? =)

    1.    elav said

      Exactly, the idea is to have a desk with the bare minimum so that everyone can put what they need ...

  8.   Oscar said

    Excellent tuto elav, clearer impossible. You won't have one but for XFCE?

    1.    elav said

      It seems to me that if I have posted enough Xfce tidbits, anyway, see if you find what you want here.

  9.   Citux said

    Excellent manual @elav great and concise, I currently use Arch, but I really want to test Debian with KDE, I would like to know how fluent KDE is on a 1GB ram machine and if I can migrate from stable to testing since I only have one image Debian stable and my connection is slow enough to download another.

  10.   Adoniz (@ NinjaUrbano1) said

    You are great, it is practically impossible to make it simpler, the contribution is very good.

  11.   kondur05 said

    big elav thanks

  12.   roptimux said

    Hello everyone, I am writing to you for the first time, I am new to desdelinux.
    I use gnulinux since mandrake back in 98, I have always liked free software, I was able to buy a macbook pro 13 with the following specifications:
    Intel core i5, 8gb ddr3 1600 SSD hard disk 256gb integrated videocard Intel HD 4000 512MB and I have 15 days trying to install debian from 8gb usb memory and I have not had success, the only one I have been able to install is ubuntu 12.04 I have downloaded 6 different distros and I can't install them from the USB stick, the problem is that it gives me an error and it fries, with Ubuntu it starts without problems, in fact I already uninstalled it. I need your help please, I want Debian with KDE which is my favorite desktop.

    Thank you very much in advance and thank you for creating this space to express our doubts.

    1.    Dah65 said

      Recently, on an Acer netbook, I installed, from USB Debian Testing + KDE 4.8 without any problem. With the data you give, it is difficult to know what is happening to you; in my case, the iso image was transferred to USB with a "cat debian.iso> / dev / sdb", where sdb was the USB device

      Anyway, why not try installing it using a CD / DVD?

    2.    VaryHeavy said

      You buy a Macbook that, due to its specifications, must have cost you triple the cost of a PC with the same characteristics… and you are also using Windows (according to your useragent) or do you write from another computer?

      What software do you use to make the USB bootable?

      On the other hand, it seemed to me not long ago to read that Macs gave more complications when installing from USB ... but I keep wondering why spend three times on a Mac? is that if you want to use Linux I do not understand.

  13.   Javi hyuga said

    Fantastic work elav. This summer I was struggling with Debian and KDE and was sorry that the post was out of date. Now, with this update, you have made me want to fight Debian again lol.
    Could you share your method for font smoothing? Especially for GTK applications, because especially in Firefox and Libreoffice they looked terrible and things didn't improve until I copied some files directly from the ubuntu fontconfig. Do you know of a better method?

    1.    elav said

      Okay. When you have everything ready, let me know 😀

      1.    Javi hyuga said

        It goes from 10! Now I have to tweak a couple of things to get it to my liking, but your method for GTK integration is great. I remember that the last time I did it with an external program, but it is much more comfortable that way.
        Thank you very much ^^

        1.    elav said

          Enjoy !! 😀

  14.   Dah65 said

    In addition to the gtk2-engines-oxygen package, there is the gtk3-engines-oxygen. I would include it in the package installation so that the gtk3 applications are also integrated with the KDE environment.

    For the rest, good tutorial!

  15.   Ping85 said

    Of luxury the contribution,

  16.   Roptimux said

    Thank you all for answering my questions, you are an incredible community, especially thanks to Elav for helping me install debian on the macbook pro, your responses are super fast, keep it up and thanks for giving me that warm welcome.

    Keep up the good work, you will go very far.

    1.    elav said

      Thanks to you for stopping by and commenting .. You will always be welcome 😀

  17.   Kuranyi said

    Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge!

    Changing the order of ideas, I am aware that on more than one occasion the subject has been touched upon (I have not been able to understand it); Does the fact that testing is in the sources.list make the distribution semi-rolling release? Is there change if it has wheezy?

    In advance I appreciate your help.


    1.    elav said

      Greetings Kuranyi:
      Well indeed. If you put Wheezy, when Wheezy (worth the redundancy) that is now Testing goes to Stable, then you will stop receiving updates of new packages and things like that. Therefore, leaving in the source Testing, when Wheezy goes to Stable, you will continue to receive the packages of the next Testing and so on .. I hope I did not get confused with the explanation.

  18.   Alf said

    Very good tutorial, I have been installing this way for a long time and the system is light.


  19.   Elynx said

    Ummm, excellent guide friend !.

    Are these steps the same for a clean install of Debian Stable?


  20.   roptimux said

    Friend VaryHeavy, I bought the macbook for 1,100 dollars new in its box, I uncovered it myself, and I had an unused 256gb ssd disk in my house and bought 8gb of ram 1600. A dell xps laptop, does not cost 1100 dollars with the specifications that you I put the macbook costs a lot more.

    I wrote from a computer at work that has windows installed.

    On the other hand, I was able to install ubuntu to the mac using a USB memory without any problem, the software that I used in windows to make the memory boot was unetbootin, but it did not work so I used usb live LILI and it works very well, the problem is that debian, opensuse, kubuntu, fedora, slackware, archlinux, none work for me, only ubuntu, so, I removed the ssd disk from the macbook and put the superdrive back to see if I can install debian through cd and for myself surprise, I start the Debian installation and it stops in the grub installation and when I tell it to start without grub and without lilo, it stays there and in the end I have to cancel the installation, I have 2 weeks on that and send to buy original dvds Debian, because if I can't install Debian on the macbook, I'll sell it and buy the 13-inch dell xps.

    You are right the macbook gives problems to install from usb.

    P.S. I use mac for a course that I'm doing called rosetta stone in English, they gave it to me for mac and that's why I bought it at a much better price than any apple store on the planet.

    Thanks and I'm not going to give up, I want Debian yes or yes.

    Regards from Dominican Republic.

    PD1. Forgive the mistakes, I am writing on a laptop older than hunger.

  21.   Kw404 said

    Hello I would like to know how do I install Debian "is that a few hours ago I installed Debian all the style but I did not have access to the internet and among other things"

  22.   ferchmetal said

    excellent thanks a lot hehehe it's 12:03 at night and I finished installing Debian Testing and right now I'm installing KDE that means I'm still in GNOME, waiting for the happy guy to finish installing, but very good tutorial, thanks I love Debian and KDE even more! thanks

    1.    elav said

      You're welcome, sir!! I hope it works for you and works smoothly 😀

  23.   xxmlud said

    Great post to optimize KDE, if anyone knows something else than tell 😉


  24.   LiGNUxero said

    I really want to reinstall my debian as testing is stable and functional enough, but I never used KDE with debian and it is making me really want to try it.
    My Squeeze is still an IRON, since February 2011 I have had it more or less, I do not remember well, but the truth is that I feel that every day it is better xD
    However, I want to switch to Wheezy but I will not wait until its official launch ¬¬
    I hope this post will serve as a guide in case I have any problem with the installation, thanks for the contribution and I hope that with KDE it behaves as well as with gnome2.6 or fluxbox xD

  25.   kondur05 said

    good teacher elav I have followed his deep knowledge and installed debian with kde, although I only have the doubt of (I think if I'm not mistaken there is some out there) of how to install firefox

    1.    rsantander06 said

      Add this repository:

      deb experimental main

      # apt-get update
      # apt-get install -t experimental iceweasel


  26.   Arnaldo said

    My problem is that I already installed debian without a graphical environment, rather I configured the repositories and they updated well

    But he does not let me enter the desk and I said:
    # apt-get install kdm

    # /etc/init.d/kdm start

    if you could help me

  27.   xxmlud said


    When another post of this type updated?!, With KDE 4.10!
    Greetings and thank you very much!
    Great article!

    1.    elav said

      Well, when this KDE 4.10 on Debian 😀

      1.    xxmlud said

        I have it in mind; P !!

  28.   xxmlud said

    Thank you very much for your work elav!

    1.    elav said

      Thank you for comment..

  29.   Ghermain said

    How can animations for animated wallpapers be placed in KDE 4.10?

  30.   Lex Aleksandre said

    Excellent article!

  31.   xxmlud said

    A great article to consider if you like KDE. Is in my favorites

  32.   Ivang said

    Very well detailed and explained everything. Thanks for the input!

    Just one question, when you say to write the debian testing repo in the sources.list, do you mean to replace what is there with the testing one or to add it to the existing ones?
    I have installed wheezy and the repos appear as wheezy, logically, and I am struck by the doubt whether when it is stable there will be no conflicts or it will stop updating a package.

    Thanks again

  33.   omar said

    when I put the following ... .. # aptitude install kde-plasma-desktop kde-l10n-es kwalletmanager .. I label disk .... from debian ... I do it there and I'm doing it on a mini lap ..

  34.   Trydents said

    Good morning ... I recently installed debian 7 with kde and I have some problems ...

    1st. When the apper tries to install, update or remove something, it does not ask me for the password to authorize the action and I get the window that the verification is unsuccessful ...

    2nd. I have tried to install some flash player to be able to watch videos online and I really can't install them on chromium or iceweasel ...

    3 ° I decided to install chrome to somehow solve the problem of not being able to see videos ... I managed to install it by aptitude and downloading the file from the page, but when I look for it it does not appear anywhere in the menu and when I try to start it through the console it tells me « protocol not specified (google-chrome: 11553): gtk_warning **: cannot open display: 😮

  35.   Griera said

    Thanks a lot!! Very good and useful !!

  36.   comment said

    The link to kdehispano is broken, you can use this instead:

  37.   Renzo said

    hi, i try to install the wifi, i am debian testing and when i try to install network-manager-kde it tells me the following:

    The network-manager-kde package is not available, but some other package references
    to the. This may mean that the package is missing, obsolete, or only
    available from some other source

    E: Package "network-manager-kde" does not have a candidate for installation

    I look for it from synaptic and it doesn't find network-manager-kde either, only network-manager and network-manager-gnome exist

    What I can do???

  38.   DwLinuxero said

    I have tried to test the live Musix 3.0 (it is based on this same Debian 7) and it turns out that after leaving some blank lines, KDM does not appear, however if I log in text mode and put startx or xinit if it starts the Xorg (which I deduce that is not a problem with the driver itself) where can the problem be?
    When I start musix in the Virtual Box it turns out that the frame buffer comes out fine but not when I start in the real machine that all large text comes out without a penguin on the left my graph is this
    david @ david-MacBook: ~ $ lspci | grep VGA
    00: 02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation Mobile GM965 / GL960 Integrated Graphics Controller (primary) (rev 03)
    david @ david-MacBook: ~ $

  39.   Reynaldo Polanco said

    This process is the same for AMD, why do I see that you have some Intel ??

    I hope you can help me with that little question, thank you.

  40.   Eddy holliday said


    I'm new to Debian and KDE, but since I have to try and curiosity made the cat wise (I kill it) so I installed it thanks to your advice. But I have some problems and it is that suddenly the system is branded. I have seen that it is kDE that is branded but I do not give any explanation to this phenomenon.
    What would this be due to?

    First of all, Thanks!

  41.   Adelmo said

    Friends, a help, I have installed debian but it starts from tty, I followed the steps suggested here, but during the update it asks me to insert disk, but I installed it from usb and it does not recognize it, what can I do? or better, how can I start the graphical interface?

    Gracias y saludos.