So I'm going to install KDE in Precise. I found that there wasn't an entry for Plasma Desktop (only KDE apps) in the software center, so I fired up Synaptic to look for the packages.

However, now I'm finding way too many of these. There's kde-standard, kde-workspace, plasma-desktop, plasma-netbook, kde-plasma-desktop...

I went and looked online, but with differing instructions, too. I think the most common were between "install kubuntu-desktop" and "add the kubuntu-ppa/backports repo" (which is probably not the one I want).

My question is... what's with all these different packages? Is there any difference between them? Which one should I install?

1 Answer 1


I've checked the packages that apt-get install would install for each of these. These aren't complete lists, but only list the differences from my Unity (ie., without any KDE programs) setup.

plasma-netbook and plasma-desktop differ only by whether they install the netbook or the desktop interface. kde-workspace is identical to plasma-desktop.

kde-plasma-desktop will install a few KDE programs: Dolphin, Konqueror, kde-baseapps, konsole, kwrite, and kde-passwd.

kde-standard installs a bunch of stuff on top of kde-desktop: Akregator, Ark, Dragonplayer, gnupg, Kaddressbook, Kate, KDE wallpapers, Kmail, etc.

kubuntu-desktop installs even more than kde-standard. kubuntu-desktop is the package you would download from the Ubuntu website if you wanted Kubuntu, but if you only want the Plasma interface, not any of the default programs, plasma-desktop might be sufficient.

  • Excellent. I just might install kde-plasma-desktop considering that some of the GNOME programs don't exactly look "in place" in KDE. May 11, 2012 at 2:44
  • Great explanation, but I'm a bit unsure as to where kde-desktop fits in the hierarchy. Also, which additional packages specifically does kubuntu-desktop install (or could you give some examples)?
    – Sparhawk
    Oct 25, 2012 at 10:49
  • 1
    This thread is 18 months old and three releases out of date. Run apt-cache depends to see what packages would be installed by any of the metapackages above.
    – pconley
    Oct 25, 2012 at 19:12
  • There isn't any mentioning of kde-full. What does that package offer in addition. Or is it actually the equivalent of kubuntu-desktop currently?
    – xji
    Dec 16, 2015 at 11:42
  • The easiest way to check what would be installed is to run apt-cache depends or apt-get install (and decline the installation). kde-full is a superset of kde-standard, and kubuntu-full is a superset of kubuntu-desktop, but kubuntu-desktop really is separate from kde-standard - I think kubuntu-desktop includes a bunch of ubuntu-specific packages, and excludes various others.
    – pconley
    Dec 16, 2015 at 18:35

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