Arch Linux

How to install KDE on Arch Linux

KDE is a desktop environment specifically designed for the operating system of Arch Linux. It is favorable over other desktop environments because of its exclusive features. It requires less space and can operate swiftly without any issue. Professional programmers prefer to work directly on Arch Linux, instead of using a desktop environment. But KDE is highly compatible for you if you are not at an advanced level of the operating system of Arch Linux. The response rate of KDE is relatively grater then other desktop environments. The weigh of KDE is light because of its minimal space requirement. In this guide, all the steps that you need for the installation of the KDE4 desktop environment are available in detail. Arch Linux is a bit tricky to operate, but it has amazing features that incorporate well with the KDE. KDE is the perfect tool for you to launch your applications on Arch Linux smoothly. It offers various features that can be of great help in your coding functions. KDE falls in the list of best desktop environments for Arch Linux. You need to verify that the KDE version you are using doesn’t conflict with the codes of plasma. Because in that case, your server will ask you to kill plasma before continuing with KDE installation. It is one of the prime reasons why programmers prefer KDE over other Linux desktop environments.

Process of Installing KDE

The successful installation of KDE only requires three chief steps. But, you can also add the fourth step to explore the desktop environment, after properly installing the KDE desktop environment. The steps to install KDE are;

  • Step#1 Installing KDE
  • Step#2 Configuration
  • Step#3 Startup
  • Step#4 Exploring the desktop environment


The requirement for installing the KDE desktop environment is to use the sudo user. If you have a root user instead of a sudo user, you can create a sudo user the following command and then set a new password using the following two terminal commands.

$ useradd -m <your_user_name>
$ passwd your_user_name

Lastly, use the command given below to get sudo and its respective command-line editor.

$ pacman -S sudo nano

You can also grant access to the command-line user you are using as the text editor.

$ EDITOR=nano visudo

To successfully save and exit, input the following command.

# your­_user­_name ALL=(ALL) ALL

Installing KDE

You can install KDE via the following commands. It is credential to note that the commands for KDE plasma may conflict with the commands of KDE4 if both versions are not compatible. I have installed KDE with plasma, as I prefer the KDE plasma style and it is suitable for both programmers as well as other users.

$ sudo pacman -S kde kde-applications xorg plasma

You can install the first category with the above-mentioned command.


It is the second step where you can configure the KDE you just installed. As we enabled nano as a command-line text editor, we will go with nano. You can put your respective text editor in the following command.

$ sudo nano ~/.xinitrc

Now you edit the comment on the screen if you remove the (#) and save the file.


You can move forward to this step after successfully editing and saving the file above. Input the following command on the terminal to get the startup screen of your KDE desktop.

$ reboot

The screen that will appear on your desktop is the default screen of KDE4. You can change it to your accord.

Explore Desktop environment

Its time to explore the desktop environment of KDE4 on your Arch Linux. You will see by the default configuration of KDE4, that is under the name of Conf. or it can also be KDE4. If you wish to reset the setting, then rename the file and restart the current session. You can customize the background of your desktop by going through the settings. Now, you can take advantage of the following features of KDE.

  • Change theme and widgets
  • Install variant fonts
  • Autostart the applications
  • Get Baloo
  • Change appearance

Firstly, to change the theme and widget of your desktop environment, click on the top-right option of default. Add the widgets that seem to fit your preference.

The fonts of KDE4 are not very popular, so you can input this command to change it.

$ sudo pacman -S ttf-dejavu

The features of KDE require manual file addition. If you want to make it automated, then apply this command.

$ kcmshell4 autostart

You need to select the options you want to make the auto-restart in this window. Probably your Baloo is available in ~/.kde4/share/config/baloofilerc or ~/.config/baloofilerc these two locations in the server. Baloo has limited space because of its decentralized database in Arch Linux. To use Baloo in your desktop environment, input the following command:

$ balooctl

$ balooctl start

The above-mentioned command is to start the Baloo in the desktop environment of KDE.

$ balooctl stop

You can successfully stop the operation of Baloo with the command explained above.

$ balooctl enable

$ balooctl disable

The last two commands assist in enabling and disabling of the Baloo.

If you covet to change the appearance of your desktop environment, follow these simple steps.

To change the theme, go to settings, and select workspace appearance. Select the category of the theme from the window and change your screen. Now, to change the appearance of applications, go to setting. You can customize the color, icon, style, and emoticons from there.


KDE is a befitting choice for your desktop environment. Programmers who don’t feel comfortable using GNOME and other desktop environments can opt for KDE. It is a befitting choice for your operating system of Arch Linux because its operational speed is nimble. KDE4 and KDE5 are specifically prime among programmers. That’s why this guide covers the installation of KDE4 on Arch Linux. This guide covers all the information regarding the KDE4 desktop environment.

About the author

Younis Said

I am a freelancing software project developer, a software engineering graduate and a content writer. I love working with Linux and open-source software.