Rocky Linux distro is a downstream community based enterprise operating system under development with the available release not yet ready for production. The latest release is Rocky Linux 8.3 Release Candidate 1 for x86_64 and aarch64 architectures. A release candidate is a beta version of a product that has ability to be stable.

Rocky Linux 8 is the new alternative to CentOS , with CentOS coming to its end of life.

Rocky Linux supports several Desktop Environments which include : GNOME,KDE Plasma, and Xfce.

In this article, we will discuss how to Install KDE Plasma Desktop Environment on Rocky Linux 8. For Xfce check our article on Installing Xfce Desktop Environment on Rocky Linux 8

What is KDE and its features?

KDE is an Open Source Desktop Environment designed to offer safety, privacy and peace of mind. It makes web surfing , keeping in touch with colleagues ,managing files, listening to music and watching your videos while at the same time being creative and productive at work. Its adaptability is what makes KDE Plasma the most preferred Desktop environment.

KDE is the short form for Kool Desktop Environment. Its development work started in 1996 with its first version released in 1998. With time KDE was no longer referring to a desktop environment but instead it specified the project’s organization and the community that supported it. KDE had many additional software projects beside the desktop environment. In 2009 , KDE’s desktop environment rebranded to KDE Plasma.

A screenshot of KDE Plasma desktop environment.

From the screenshot, notice that the panel is located at the primary UI frames bottom. This is a traditional panel location used on older systems and one of the reasons why KDE Plasma is known for being a good desktop environment for those new to Linux.

On the panels right side , we have the system tray which contains notifications, the time and other widgets.

The Application Menu which launches various programs and contains the favorite bar is on the panel’s far left-side.

Features / Components of KDE Plasma.

  • Display Manager – Simple Desktop Display Manager (SDDM).
  • File Manager – Dolphin.
  • Favorites Bar – Displayed inside Application Menu.
  • Panels – A single panel located at Primary UI frames bottom.
  • System Tray – located on the right side of the single panel.
  • Widgets – Also called Plasmoids.
  • Windows Manager – Kwin.

Installation of KDE desktop environment on Rocky Linux 8.

In our previous article ,We covered how to Install Rocky Linux 8 – Step by Step With Screenshots. Click on the link to refresh. In this article we assume you already have Rocky Linux 8 installed on your Desktop, Laptop or your VM.

Rocky Linux 8 has GNOME as the default desktop environment.

A screenshot of GNOME as the default Rocky Linux Desktop Environment.

Step 1: Update your Linux system

Open your terminal and run the command below to update your Linux system.

sudo dnf update

Step 2: Install EPEL Repository

EPEL is the short form for Extra Package for Enterprise Linux. The purpose for this is to help you use Centos high quality packages maintained on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and its compatible derivatives. These packages have been developed ,tested and improved in Rocky Linux available for RHEL and compatible derivatives .

Run the command below to install the latest release of EPEL repo.

sudo dnf install epel-release

Execution output.

Step 3: Download and Install KDE Plasma on Rocky Linux 8.

Run the command below to install KDE Plasma Workspaces and all dependencies.

sudo dnf groupinstall -y "KDE Plasma Workspaces"

Execution output that shows extraction of EPEL dependencies .

Execution output that shows installation packages, upgrade packages and the total size of the packages download size.

Step 4: Enable the powertools repository.

EPEL packages may depend on packages from powertools repository.

Run the command below to enable packages from powertools repo.

sudo dnf config-manager --set-enabled powertools

An alternative command to enable EPEL repository, powertools , installation of KDE Plasma Workspaces and base-x engine.

sudo dnf --enablerepo=epel,powertools group -y install "KDE Plasma Workspaces" "base-x"

Execution output showing successful installation EPEL repo, powertools, KDE Plasma Workspaces and base-x engine.


Step 5: Set KDE Plasma as Default System Target Graphical.

To ensure the system starts via KDE Plasma desktop environment GUI on reboot, set default system target to graphical.

Run the command below to set default system target to graphical.

sudo systemctl set-default graphical

Step 6: Reboot your system

Reboot and login to your system to your new KDE Plasma desktop environment GUI.

sudo reboot

In the login screen click the “settings” icon next to the “Sign In” button and choose Plasma:

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is select-plasma-on-login.png

On login, your KDE Plasma desktop environment looks like this.

If KDE environment is not defaulted on startup, you need to manually edit the bash profile, by adding the following script on command end.

Run the command below to edit bash profile.

vim ~/.bash_profile

add the script below at the end.

if [[ -z $DISPLAY ]] && [[ $(tty) = /dev/tty1 ]]; then exec startx /usr/bin/startkde; fi

After successful installation your KDE Plasma desktop environment looks like this.

Enjoy using KDE Plasma on Rocky Linux. In the next article we will discuss how to install Xfce Desktop Environment on Rocky Linux 8.

In the meantime check out other guides on Rocky Linux:

Easily Migrate from CentOS 8 To Rocky Linux 8

Install and Use OpenVPN Client on Rocky Linux 8

Install KVM With Virtualization Manager on Rocky Linux 8

Install and Configure vsftpd FTP Server on Rocky Linux 8