General KDE Software FAQs

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End User FAQ for KDE systems

This page with frequently asked questions (FAQ) has been gathered from questions in the #kde IRC channel. This list isn't comprehensive and may grow.

Since this list might become quite long in the future, feel free to browse the table of contents below or use your browser's Find feature to search for a certain topic.


What about KDE 3?

Is KDE 3 going to be abandoned?

No. There is no EOL (end of life) planned for KDE 3. It will continue to exist and be used as long as there are people using it. However, there is no guarantee of bug fixes and maintenance for KDE 3.5 other than that given by your vendor and possible support contracts. Further development is not planned.

Is it necessary to upgrade to KDE 4?

KDE 3 will continue to exist and be used for a long time. But whether you will have to upgrade will mostly be dependent on your distribution's setup. Please consult with your distribution for more information.

If you wish to stay with KDE 3 and your distro moves on, there are still distros that use KDE 3.5. With time, of course, the number of these is diminishing. By now the most likely place to find KDE 3.5 is in the Enterprise Linux distros, such as CentOS, White Box or Scientific Linux.

Will I be able to keep using KDE 3 or KDE 3 apps?

Yes, you will be able to continue using KDE 3 or KDE 3 apps as long as the necessary dependencies are installed. As the changeover to KDE 4 software progresses some of those dependencies will be missing. However, at the same time, most applications are either getting new versions to run with the more up to date dependencies, or similar, new packages are being written.

How KDE 4 and KDE are set up depends on your distribution. Please consult with your distribution for more information. Some distributions allow both KDE3 and KDE 4 SC to be installed on the same system. However, since the release of KDE 4.3 that is less frequently found.

General How-tos

How do I install themes? How can I change the way my desktop looks?

KDE 3 Theming guide: User Guide - Customizing your Desktop is a good guide for KDE 3.

The Plasma FAQ tells you where to find new themes for your Plasma Desktop, and how to install them.

How can I make my GTK apps look like KDE apps?

You can use the GTK-Qt Engine to make GTK apps use the current Qt/KDE style. Instructions on how to use are on the website. Please refer to your distribution for packages.

How can I make KDE SC apps look like GTK apps?

Since qt 4.5 release, there is support for gtk themes for Qt GUI styles.

Firefox integration

How can I make Firefox more integrated into my Plasma desktop? How can I make Firefox use the KDE-designed file or print dialogs? How can I make Firefox use KDE SC programs?

The forum post how to integrate Firefox into KDE and its follow-ups help you change Firefox's appearance, and use kget as its download manager

Also, there's a similar guide in the Gentoo Wiki archives, HOWTO Integrate Firefox with KDE.

This blog Making Firefox 3x Look at Home in KDE4 tells how one user tackled the problem

How do I install additional KDE software?

Installing software on your computer, whether with KDE SC or GNOME, largely depends on your distribution's software management system. Please consult with your distribution for more information.

How do I install drivers for wifi/video/other hardware?

Installing hardware drivers for networking or video is a task that most distributions take care of. Different distributions use different tools for configuring hardware. Please consult with your distribution first for more information.

How do I use Compiz with Plasma Desktop?

Install compiz. Open System Settings, choose the "Session Manager" module in the Advanced tab, choose compiz in the "Window Manager" combobox and restart your desktop.


KDE 4 installations

Getting KDE 4 software

How do I install the new KDE systems? Where can I get Plasma Desktop?

The best place to start looking would be in your distribution's packages. The KDE community doesn't provide distribution-specific packages, only source code. Also, the method of installing your Plasma Desktop and associated software, as well as the setup, varies from distribution to distribution.

Can I build KDE software from source?

You can follow the guide found in Techbase - Getting Started.

How do I build KDE software? Where do I go if I encounter build problems?

Guides to building KDE can be found in Techbase - Getting Started. Please read and follow them very carefully. You can ask questions in the usual support channels such as IRC, mailing lists, or forums.

Plasma Help

You can find information and configuration tips on the Plasma FAQ page

There are screencasts of how to perform many plasma tasks at this How-To page

KWin Howtos

How do I get KWin effects working

The use of Desktop Effects is controlled by KWin. You can see more information about them on the KWin page

General Howtos

How do I make Konqueror the default file manager in KDE 4?

In System Settings, go to the Advanced tab and click on File Associations. In the list of Known Types, go to the inode/directory type. In the General tab at the right side of the window, select Konqueror in the Application Preference Order and click on the Up button until it is at the top. Click on Apply to save the changes.

I have sound problems

Take a look at the Sound Problems page.

Some Common Questions

Will KDE browsers be using WebKit? How can I use WebKit in Konqueror?

Currently, there are no plans on replacing KHTML in Konqueror. KHTML continues to be developed actively. As Qt, since version 4.4 also offers webkit, KDE applications can make use of Webkit. A KPart that can be used in Konqueror instead of the KHTML KPart is being developed currently, but not ready for production use yet. KHTML is unlikely to be removed in the lifespan of the KDE SC 4.x series, due to compatibility policies, for one reason. It will be possible to use WebKit as an alternative viewer in Konqueror with the webkitkde project. The source code is available in KDE SVN Playground. Web browsers using webkit are being developed.

Why was the old style menu replaced by Kickoff?

The traditional application starting menu from KDE3 had various usability issues. First and foremost, people tend to use no more than 6-10 applications regularly. Having those applications buried in deep menu structures makes it a lot of effort to start them. Those favourite applications can with Kickoff be moved into their own tab so they're easilly accessible. Kickoff might, for new users be more complicated to use since the "browsing applications" usecase has a less central position. For mid- to long-term users, Kickoff will increase productivity for the most common cases.

For users who prefer the traditional application launcher menu, it can easily be changed by right-clicking on the Kickoff button and choosing "Switch to Classic Menu Style". However, doing that loses the Search facility that is in the new menus now available.

If you don't like Kickoff's click-on-everything style, try Lancelot

Why a new desktop implementation? The old one isn't broken.

The code in kicker, kdesktop and the minicli (The "Run Command" dialogue you get when you press ALT+F2) has been around for a long time. As user needs and technical capabilities shift, the code became unmaintainable and wasn't flexible enough to move KDE forward at a reasonable pace. Moreover, few people dared diving into kicker to extend it. When someone wanted to create a new panel implementation, it has happened multiple times that kicker was just copied and changed. This lead to various forks of kicker and additional maintainance burden for developers. While kicker and kdesktop used to look fine to casual users, they're pretty much a dead-end street in terms of feature development and long-standing, hard to fix bugs.

While Plasma has been rewritten from scratch, and therefore might not yet be able to fully replace kdesktop and kicker for some users, it offers a route to innovation, better collaboration between developers, designers and usability experts. Plasma technology is also built with different formfactors in mind, so it might run on your mobile phone, media center, internet tablet or whatever you can imagine in the future.

Helping the KDE Community

How can I help in development? Do I need to learn how to code?

There are many ways to help the KDE community, not only through programming. There are other areas of contribution that need talent of other kinds. All that's necessary is the desire to help and some commitment. Of course, if you want learn how to program in order contribute, we will be more than willing to get you started as well.

Some other ways to help include

  • End-user support - if you are experienced, consider joining a mailing list or the Forum to help support newer users.
  • If you are able to help with translation, consult this list to find a contact point.
  • English documentation is also needed, and here on Userbase is a good place to start.

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