Welcome to the semantic desktop: Bonus track: Distributions!

Regarding the KDE article series (partners 1, partners 2, partners 3, partners 4, partners 5, partners 6 y partners 7), I put many things in some comments that deserve to be in a separate article, so here are some tips for the different distributions we can have.

Let's remember: in most cases the best distribution for KDE is the one you have, but there are some severe problems with many of them, so the idea, in addition to knowing which to choose and which to avoid, is how to make the distribution that one has work fine with KDE.

This is a contribution from Ernesto Manríquez, thus becoming one of the winners of our weekly competition: «Share what you know about Linux«. Congratulations Ernesto!

Debian? No

Debian Sid, Debian's unstable repository, has KDE 4.8.4 as the latest version available. This gives an idea of ​​how outdated Debian is. It is reasonable, and even expected, to ask Debian stable to have an old, tested version with all bugs fixed, but having such an old version in an unstable repository defies human understanding. As we will see later, there is a semi-official way to install KDE 4.10.2 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a distribution as stable or more stable than Debian Stable itself.

If you really want to install Debian with KDE, the two options available are:

1. Bring the ZevenOS repositories into Debian Testing. I don't know for how long, or how compatible, this option is. They should add these two lines to /etc/sources.list.

deb http://proindi.de/zevenos/neptune/repo/ sid main
deb http://proindi.de/zevenos/neptune/kde-repo/ sid main

Afterwards, Aptitude should be used to refresh the repositories and update.

aptitude update
aptitude install kde-workspace

2. Shuffle the Debian Experimental repositories. New disappointment here: one would expect to find, in a really experimental repository, KDE weekly git snapshots (which is what OpenSuSE does with Factory), or at least KDE 4.11 beta, but no, one finds neither more nor less than with KDE 4.10.4, a really stable version. The problem is that many Debian Experimental packages depend on really unstable versions of other packages, so you have to carefully handle the priority of the deb lines in /etc/sources.Slackwarelist and install KDE by hand every time you upgrade. I do not recommend it.

Mageia? ROSE

The problem with Mageia is the same with many distributions, and with Mandriva: once they release a version of KDE, they stay with it forever. That means: if Mageia 3 came out with KDE 4.10.2 it is really difficult for them to upgrade to KDE 4.10.3, or to KDE 4.10.4.

It happened to me with Mandriva that I had to go to "Mandriva International Backports" to get a point update, and the team behind MIB decided not to support Mageia, but to migrate to ROSA Linux. So if it comes to the Mandriva family, ROSA Linux is the choice over Mageia, and I highly recommend the new Desktop R1 version. If you are new to KDE, you will be surprised.

The quality of the Mandriva International Backports group packages is good, but as I said, their packages are only compatible with ROSA Linux. Adding this repository is very easy: go to http://urpmi.mandriva.ru/ and click where it says "MIB". EasyURPMI will take care of the rest.


Patrick Volkerding's distribution, despite having a reputation for being stable, and never having the latest packages, is incredibly good for KDE. There are two options.

1. Slackware-current is a true rolling version, just like Arch. If you like instability, it's perfect, but if not, watch what follows.

2. Eric Hammeleers has put together a special repository with fresh Slackbuild scripts full of KDE 4.10.4, perfect for combining the stability of Slackware 14 with the power of KDE. You have to install two packages first:


After that, the sources are downloaded and compiled with the supplied SlackBuild script.

rsync -av rsync: //alien.slackbook.org/alien/ktown/source/4.10.4.
cd 4.10.4 / kde

Wait a while and you will have KDE 4.10.4 ready to install. This can only be used in Slackware 14.

Rolling release? No problem.

The actual rolling versions, such as Arch Linux, and those derived from Arch (Manjaro, Chakra) do not need additional instructions. Simply, if KDE is not installed by default, it is installed with a simple command.

pacman -Sy kde

Pay attention to the wiki of the distribution: it may be that there are problems caused by the lack of recompilations, but the instructions will always be there. Remember: to use Arch you need to constantly read the page, follow the instructions, and constantly update. Arch can easily break if you leave it without updating for even a couple of months and then update it suddenly.

The same applies to Gentoo, although a real packet debunking orgy is necessary there.

Fedora, RHEL, CentOS

It's never a good idea to use plain and simple Fedora with KDE. It is always necessary to go to http://kde-redhat.sourceforge.com and activate the Yum repository that appears there. Rex Dieter, the head of the Fedora KDE team, does a good job of patching KDE, but you don't see much of it because it often takes time for its packages to reach the main repository.

The really remarkable thing is that from here you can order KDE 4.10.2 packages for RHEL, a distribution known for its foolproof stability and for the age of its packages. We're talking here about the only distro that can really cope with Debian Stable, so if we use KDE, the choice is RHEL, or some clone like Scientific Linux, anyway. You need to first activate EPEL (Extended Packages for Enterprise Linux, the semi-official repository with Fedora packages compiled for RHEL) and then run these commands.

cd /etc/yum.repos.d
wget http://apt.kde-redhat.org/apt/kde-redhat/redhat/kde.repo

Let's edit the file in question and change all the lines that say "enabled = 0" to "enabled = 1". Yes, KDE 4.10.2 is marked as "unstable", but we are adding KDE 4.10.2 to a distribution with packages more obsolete than Debian Wheezy, so we must be careful. After that, the classic Fedora / RHEL combo.

yum update

We will see how KDE 4.3 (it is very old) is replaced by the truly stable KDE 4.10. Now it is a pleasure to run those exclusive nuclear physics simulation programs from Scientific Linux.

For Fedora the procedure is extremely similar, but what varies are the versions available.

cd /etc/yum.repos.d
wget http://apt.kde-redhat.org/apt/kde-redhat/fedora/kde.repo
yum update

This time let's not change all the lines "enabled = 0" to "enabled = 1", but let's look carefully. [kde-unstable] here will give us KDE 4.11 beta 1, a really unstable version. [kde-testing] will give us the latest stablepoint version of KDE long before the official Fedora repositories. And [kde] most of the time it will be empty. Let's leave the kde.repo file as is, or if we really want instability, let's turn on [kde-unstable].

Distros are missing, so there will be a second part of this guide. See you.

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  1.   izzyvp said

    I have completely followed the guide from the beginning and am now a user of the semantic desktop with chakra and delighted with it.

  2.   William moreno said

    Why say that it is not a good idea to run Fedora directly with KDE?

  3.   guest said

    I've used KDE forever and I've never used this from the semantic desktop. I don't think I'm the only one.

  4.   Cost Granda said

    I use KDE and I still don't understand the semantic desktop xD

  5.   Ernesto Manriquez said

    It was not very well understood, but the reason is: because packages with the latest updates take a long time to reach the Fedora repositories. KDE, unlike other environments, abides by the maxim "newer is better". So while Fedora "can" be used with stock repositories, it's best to use kde-redhat and enjoy the full experience. Plus Rex Dieter suddenly puts cool stuff in that repository that you'll miss out on if you don't use it.

  6.   Ernesto Manriquez said

    See the rest of the guides 🙂

  7.   Cost Granda said

    I will definitely do it 😀

  8.   Dah65 said

    In what you say about Debian Sid, I think you give the wrong impression.

    1- First, sooner or later KDE 4.10 or KDE 4.11 will come to Debian Sid, and then to Debian Testing. As stated, it seems that Debian Sid will always remain with KDE 4.8.4, and it does not.

    2- I think I have read in some mailing list (a long time ago, so I can't put the link), that the reason for the delay in updating KDE is the transition from KMail 1 (used until KDE 4.9) to KMail 2 (used in KDE 4.10): they want to make sure no user information or emails get lost in that process.

    Some time ago I installed KDE 4.10.2 pulling the experimental repository, and it worked fine for me at first. The problem I had when running the Nepomuk Cleaner, which in the first pass gave no problems, but in the second it left my emails inaccessible. Luckily, I had made a backup, and reinstalled Debian Testing to quietly wait for KDE 4.10.4 to arrive in the testing repository.

  9.   Fabian Eduardo said

    I have the following problem installing the kde repo in fedora:

    #wget http://apt.kde-redhat.org/apt/kde-redhat/fedora/kde.repo
    –2013-07-05 15:05:19– http://apt.kde-redhat.org/apt/kde-redhat/fedora/kde.repo

    Solving apt.kde-redhat.org (apt.kde-redhat.org)…

    Connecting to apt.kde-redhat.org (apt.kde-redhat.org) []: 80… failed: Connection refused

    Problem with the repository?

  10.   Ernesto Manriquez said

    You will understand that after discussing years ago with Fathi Boudra, Debian KDE's chief maintainer, about how Strigi should be packaged, I didn't get very good impressions of how things are done in Debian. As far as I know, Debian uses 4 base repositories: experimental (no name), unstable (Sid), Debian Testing (Jessie) and Debian Stable (Wheezy).

    As unstable as the handling of emails is, which by the way was fixed with a massive restructuring in the Akonadi IMAP resource that was not seen and that occurred between KDE 4.10.1 and KDE 4.10.3 (yes, that error was serious, that's why it deserved massive fixes in point versions), KDE 4.10 should ALWAYS have been in Sid, so that the fixes would have ended in Testing (with KDE 4.8 in Debian style) and would have gone to Jessie. Unstable on Debian is "unstable"; It is not as stable as Debian Stable, but it is more or less stable, and that is not being fulfilled here.

    The point is that KDE is not being maintained or packaged properly on Debian. That's why these things happen, and that's why I want to leave the warning against Debian.

  11.   Ernesto Manriquez said

    Yes. Use the mirror http://kdeforge2.unl.edu/kde-redhat/ (replace apt.kde-redhat.org in the kde.repo file with that address)

  12.   AlbertoAru said

    As far as I understand it uses oldstable (squeeze), stable (wheezy), testing (jessie) and unstable (sid) and I totally agree with you about using the old software. By the way, in a few minutes I will install this kde on my wheezy, wish me luck! xD

  13.   AlbertoAru said

    in the end I have updated to testing but it does not load gmd3, I will have to postpone the kde for when I fix it xD