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I want to have both KDE and Gnome shells on Ubuntu. Ubuntu only has Gnome installed by default. How do I install KDE?

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up vote 28 down vote accepted

You need to install the kubuntu-desktop package for the full install.

The GUI method would be to click this button:

Install via the software center

The command line method would be:

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

Then the next time you login you can choose what to use from the login screen (under Session).

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what about the sudo apt-get install kde-plasma-desktop... i tried it .. but seems to give minimal GUI features.. how do i add to it? – juggernaut1996 Feb 5 at 20:38

If you want to log in from KDE run sudo apt-get install kdm, sudu apt-get remove gdm, and dpkg reconfigure kdm.

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As a KDE user and a little bit developer, I have a lot of experience with this kubuntu-desktop package. DO NOT USE IT. It is bugged. Other people are wrong. By installing kubuntu-desktop you will not get a proper KDE experience. Instead, you will get a KDE with some random and ugly injections of Unity, and this shambly chimera will breed unexplainable bugs.
Just a few examples are:

  • Plasma crashing ;)
  • Skype not showing tray icon (it still thinked it is in Unity)
  • Some applications opened web in Firefox though user configured Chrome (they took settings from somewhere in gconf over KDE)
  • User uninstalled gedit and Dolphin stopped to open text files at all. Still don't know how.
  • Some settings are missing or do not work. For example, login-related.
  • System settings missing icons.

Either reinstall Ubuntu with KDE anew, or be ready to face those bugs and do not attribute them to KDE.

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Just try the following command in a terminal

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

Then just select KDE on the login manager.

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Just open synaptic (If not installed yet, install it by ubuntu software center) and search for desktop environment and install plasma-desktop

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On 30/09/2015:

To install KDE on Ubuntu (12.04,14.04,14.10,15.04,15.10) (plasma 5.3)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

To install KDE on Ubuntu (15.04,15.10) (plasma 5.4)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ci/stable
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

Note: To install plasma 5.4,you need to remove backports ppa.

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did you get plasma 5.4 (not 5.3) from ubuntu 14.04 ? – KillBill Oct 29 '15 at 2:45
I think I didn't mentioned in my answer =) – Ravan Oct 29 '15 at 2:50
thanks for the super fast response! Pls have a look at this post which i just posted regarding a issue getting plasma 5.… – KillBill Oct 29 '15 at 2:52
I will @KillBill :) – Ravan Oct 29 '15 at 2:54
@KillBill please run sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop and let me know the result =) – Ravan Oct 29 '15 at 3:09

To get just the plasma environment (on 12.04 and newer):

sudo apt-get install plasma-desktop

It worked fine for me on 15.10

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+1 and this is valid for 12.04 and newer releases. Also, there is kde-plasma-desktop for users who want desktop environment with minimal set of applications. – clearkimura Feb 5 at 15:31
thanks, edited. – Diego Lara Feb 5 at 20:25

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