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

  • If you plan on using KDE heavily in 2024, I strongly recommend kde-standard. This is because kde-plasma-desktop is missing a bunch of stuff like icons and widgets (eg quicklaunch) Commented Feb 14 at 23:04

7 Answers 7


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

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

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

  • 1
    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? Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 20:38

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

  • 3
    +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.
    – user37165
    Commented Feb 5, 2016 at 15:31

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


Just try the following command in a terminal

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

Then just select KDE on the login manager.


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.



  • did you get plasma 5.4 (not 5.3) from ubuntu 14.04 ?
    – samsamara
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 2:45
  • I think I didn't mentioned in my answer =)
    – Ravan
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 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. askubuntu.com/questions/691331/…
    – samsamara
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 2:52
  • I will @KillBill :)
    – Ravan
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 2:54
  • @KillBill please run sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop and let me know the result =)
    – Ravan
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 3:09

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


I think the most complete answer is here. According to what you want to install (only the GUI or GUI+some packages).

Citing the content of the answer:

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.

Choose the package you want and then run sudo apt-get install package-name

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