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This page is a translated version of the page Glossary and the translation is 4% complete.

This page sets out to provide a non-technical reference, together with links for further information or demonstration. See also Jargon File.


For example you have a "work activity" with commit rss feeds, a note with your TODO, a Folder View with your work related files, and a subtle wallpaper.
Next to it, you have your "freetime activity", with previews of family photos and dogs, rss feeds from your favourite blogs, a Folder View showing your movie collection, a twitter applet and of course that Iron Maiden wallpaper you have been loving since the early 80s.
At 1700 hours sharp you switch from the "work activity" to your "freetime activity".

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The data storage access mechanism for all PIM (Personal Information Manager) data in KDE. This allows various applications to access the required information in one place. Note that use of Akonadi does not change data storage formats (vcard, iCalendar, mbox, maildir etc.) - it just provides a new way of accessing and updating the data.
The main reasons for design and development of Akonadi are of a technical nature, i.e., having a unique way to access PIM-data (contacts, calendars, emails..) from different applications (KMail and Calligra, for instance), thus eliminating the need to write similar code over and over again.
Another reason is to de-couple GUI applications like KMail from directly accessing external resources like mail-servers -- this was a major reason for bug-reports/wishes with regard to performance/responsiveness in the past.

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Baloo is a file indexing and search service that Dolphin and Elisa use to get metadata for files and to allow global searches. In a terminal type, balooctl check to find out whether an index was created already. balooctl disable and balooctl status are helpful instructions as well.

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Breeze is the default theme starting with Plasma 5.

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A Containment is a top level grouping of widgets. Each Containment manages the layout and configuration data of its set of widgets independently from other Containments.
The end result is that you can group widgets within a Containment according to the significance to your working pattern, rather than by directory grouping.


An inter-service messaging system. D-Bus allows multiple programs to interact. Developed by Red Hat®, it was heavily influenced by KDE3's DCOP, which it supersedes.

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The default file manager in KDE Plasma. It has a side panel (Places), but navigation is mainly by the breadcrumb trail above the main window. It has various advanced features such as split windows and individual views in different windows. Mounting and umounting USB devices can be done in the side-panel. Other directories can be added to the Places panel. A Tree view is also possible.

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Flake is a programming library to be used in Krita and Calligra. Functionally, it provides Shapes to display content and Tools to manipulate content. Shapes can be zoomed or rotated and can be grouped to work as a single Shape, around which text flow is possible.

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Get Hot New Stuff

Get Hot New Stuff (GHNS) is an open standard that makes it easy for users to download and install various extensions for their applications. Our implementation of GHNS is used by Plasma (for example to get new desktop themes), and by many applications and widgets.

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Home Directory

That's the place in your system where all your files are kept. You can write your files outside of this folder, but all applications are configured to propose this folder as place to write your files to. It is easier when you keep your things here.

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KHTML is a HTML rendering engine that was the base of WebKit, the engine that powers many browsers still in use today (e.g. Safari).


Kirigami is a set of components allowing developers to create applications that looks good and works well on mobile platforms as well as on the desktop.

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Kickoff is a launch menu in KDE Plasma in which apps are sorted by functional groups. Right-click also offers the possibility of adding applications to the desktop or panel. Rapid access to a less-used application is made possible with the search box. There are also alternatives, such as the fullscreen app dashboard.

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KDE platform's JavaScript engine.


KInfoCenter originated as part of KControl standing alone from KDE 3.1. It can display data about your system such as energy usage, hardware info and many more.

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KDE Input/Output framework provides a single API for operating on files, whether local or on a remote server. Additionally, KIO Slaves provide support for individual protocols. Some particularly useful ones are http, ftp, sftp, smb, nfs, ssh (fish), man, tar, google drive, and zip.

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  • Kiosk is a framework for restricting user capabilities on a KDE platform system, ideal for use in locked-down environments such as Internet cafés. It has been unmaintained for quite some time now.


A KPart is an individual component of the KDE Plasma desktop and allows applications to share their services with other applications. KParts allow KMail and KOrganizer to integrate (as plugins) into the Kontact suite, or KHTML to display sites in Akregator.


Kross is a scripting framework, enabling support for multiple scripting languages. A plugin system allows for the support of further languages in the future.


The mini-command-line that is accessed from the Classic menu, the keyboard shortcut Alt+F2, or a right-click on the desktop.

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KWin is the window manager of KDE. This is where window decorations can be changed and themes applied.

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A pager is a small program or panel applet which shows the position of windows on your desktop and usually, if you have several Virtual Desktops, gives an overview over all.


See Kicker. In KDE Plasma the name "kicker" is dropped, and the name "panel" is the norm. "Applets"; are largely replaced by Widgets

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A cross-platform multimedia API, interfacing with existing frameworks, such as gstreamer and xine engines.

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Plasma is the desktop environment from KDE. It is the part of the desktop that you can see. Plasma also acts as a glue between panels, plasmoids and Kickoff. Plasma Mobile allows Plasma to run on smartphones and uses the same underlying code base.

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(Pronounced "cute") A framework/toolkit for writing cross-platform applications. It is used by many cross-platform applications such as Krita, GoogleEarth and many others. Qt forms the underlying library KDE software is built on.

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Solid provides a single API for hardware management. Hardware is grouped into "domains". The initial domains relate to HAL, NetworkManager and the Bluetooth stack. Since the backends for Solid are pluggable, Solid helps application developers write less code, and have it platform independent.

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System Settings

The system settings are the unified place where you can change and customize many aspects of the Plasma desktop and KWin such as icon themes, desktop effects and shortcuts.

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This thread programming library spreads work among multiple-core processors where available, prioritising them before queueing them for execution. ThreadWeaver provides a high-level job interface for multithreaded programming.

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Virtual Desktops

A popular concept of Unix based window managers is the one of virtual desktops. This means you have not only one screen where you can place your windows on but several. When you switch to a different desktop (usually with a pager) you will only see the windows which you started on your new desktop or moved to it. A window can also be made "sticky" which means it appears on all virtual desktops.


HTML rendering engine, originating from a fork of KHTML. Adopted by Apple and developed for Safari.

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Collins English Dictionary: "Any small mechanism or device the name of which is unknown or temporarily forgotten." In KDE software terms, a widget is a single component on the canvas. Other common names that are analogous are "applet" or "gadget". Superkaramba Themes, Apple's Dashboard, Google Gadgets, Yahoo Widgets, Vista Sidebar Widgets, Opera Widgets are all examples of other widget systems (some of which are supported by Plasma as well).

X Server

The X Server represents a basic layer upon which the various GUIs like the KDE Plasma desktop are built. It manages the basic mouse and keyboard input (from the local host as well as from remote hosts) and provides elementary graphic routines to draw rectangles and other primitives.


A programmers' framework for designing the user interface. It is extensively used by KParts

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