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SDB:KDE Plasma 5

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What is Plasma 5?

Plasma 5 is the new version of the workspace (also referred as "the desktop environment") by KDE, which replaces the old Plasma Workspace 4.x. It was built from the ground up to make use of the new features from the Qt libraries (version 5) and the KDE Frameworks 5 development platform.

Among the new features brought from this version:

  • New, cleaned up and modernized visuals: Plasma 5 offers a new consistent, high-contrast, visual theme, called Breeze, in both light and dark variants. The theme is complemented with a new widget style and brand new icons.
  • Improved performance thanks to an updated graphic stack: the user interface is rendered through OpenGL and OpenGL ES, allowing to offload computationally-intensive rendering tasks.
  • Better support for high DPI displays: many parts of the UI now take into account the physical size of the display, leading to improved visuals on high density displays like Retina.
  • Improved user interface: Widgets have been extensively reworked and a new set of UI design guidelines has been written, yielding improved usability and easier feature discoverability.

Installing Plasma 5 on openSUSE

Notice: The installation of Plasma 5 conflicts with the 4.x workspace. This means that you can install only one at a time (installing one will remove the other, and vice versa). Configuration will not be affected by this change: you will not lose your existing 4.x settings when moving to Plasma 5, which ensures you can go back without issues, should you want to.

Since, and including openSUSE 13.2, for installing Plasma5 essentials, it is enough to install plasma5-session package. Alternatively, there is patterns-openSUSE-plasma5_basis pattern, for those that do not have KDE 4 already installed (pattern includes basic applications from KDE SC 4.x; it will be extended with KF5 counterparts as soon they have a release).

Stable releases

Stable releases versions reside in the KDE:Frameworks5 repository. This includes everything that has seen an official release from KDE, including, but not limited to:

  • The KDE Frameworks 5 libraries
  • Plasma 5
  • The SDDM display manager
  • Any KF5-based applications that have seen a release

Unstable development snapshots

The KDE:Unstable:Frameworks offers frequent snapshots from the KDE source code repository. In addition to the packages present in KDE:Frameworks5, there are unofficial snapshots of yet-unreleased applications that have been ported to the KDE Frameworks 5 libraries.

Given the extreme speed of development, it must be noted that this repository is intended for advanced users only who also want to test and report bugs to KDE upstream, or to participate in the development.

User-visible changes and caveats

System tray icons for applications such as Skype no longer show

Plasma 5 has dropped the support for the legacy system tray protocol, also known as XEmbed. KDE software is unaffected as it uses the new Status Notifier protocol, but other applications may not appear anymore.

  • Qt4 applications (includes Skype) - Install the sni-qt package and logout. Upon the next login Qt 4 applications will show up in the system tray. As Skype is a 32bit application, you will have to install sni-qt-32bit as well if you are on a 64bit system.
  • Other applications - Legacy applications that do not belong to the above categories need a different adjustment. See this blog post for possible solutions.

Starting programs on login

The startup procedure of Plasma 5 has changed slightly compared to the 4.x workspace. In most cases everything should work out of the box, however some corner cases may need slight changes to work properly.


Use the autostart control panel in System Settings to configure programs to be started on login. In case you want to do the procedure manually, copy the application's .desktop file (e.g. "konsole.desktop") to ~/.config/autostart.


Scripts are no longer executed upon login. This regression will be probably fixed in newer releases of Plasma 5, however a workaround exists to allow running them on login. Create a .desktop file for your application (example: "ssh-add.desktop") in ~/.config/autostart and fill it in with the following contents:

[Desktop Entry]

Replace "/path/to/your/script" to the actual script being used. Set the .desktop file to be executable. Upon next login the script will be executed.

Environment variables

In the KDE Plasma Workspace 4.x users could set environment variables (for example, to set the SSH askpass program) prior to startup (immediately after logging) by placing them under ~/.kde4/env. In Plasma 5, they should be placed in ~/.config/plasma-workspace/env.

Shutdown scripts (historically in ~/.kde4/shutdown) should be placed in ~/.config/plasma-workspace/shutdown instead.

Alternative applets

In Plasma 5, applets providing the same features, for example the task manager and the icon-only task manager, can be switched on the fly without having to remove the old applet and add the new one.

To do so, right click on an applet and select "Alternatives...". Afterwards, select the variant you need to use. Notice that all customizations to the configuration you made to the applet up to that point will be lost once you do this. Currently the application menu ("Kickoff") and the task manager support this feature.

LibreOffice integration

In order for LibreOffice to use native dialogs and icons, you will need to set the environment variable OOO_FORCE_DESKTOP to "kde4". Make a file called "" in ~/.config/plasma-workspace/env/ with these contents:


Set it as executable, log out and back in. LibreOffice should now be integrated with the KDE workspace.

Switching activities

Currently the shortcut plugin, that allows switching between activities by setting shortcuts to them is disabled by default. To enable it, open System Settings ("systemsettings5"), select "Desktop Behavior", then "Activities". Navigate to the "Plugins" tab and check "global shortcuts", followed by Apply.

You should be able to assign keyboard shortcuts to activities by going in the Shortcuts control panel in SYstem Settings, and selecting, under "Global shortcuts" the "Activity Manager" component.

Notice that it is not possible at the moment to configure a single shortcut to cycle through activities.

Going back to the 4.x Workspace

Perhaps a knowledgeable person could fill-in this section with something helpful?

I found a bug! What do I do?

Report the bug at the bugtracking system of KDE. A Developer will look after a solution then. You can find introductions for bug reports in our wiki (openSUSE:Bugreport_KDE and openSUSE:Submitting_bug_reports). openSUSE and KDE are happy about every user who wants to contribute to the Quality Assurance and helps to get a better openSUSE with that.

See also