Getting Started

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Getting Started on TechBase

The KDE community is perhaps best known for its Plasma desktop workspace as well as its rich collection of applications but the community has also produced libraries and tools to make software development more enjoyable or, at the very least, less painful. Whether you're looking to write you first KDE application, make your existing Qt project more awesome, or get involved with one or more of the great KDE projects, this is a great place to get your journey started!

To contribute to KDE, see the Get Involved page on the Community Wiki. If you are looking for build instructions, up-to-date build instructions are available on the Community Wiki, and we also have historic ones.

Setting Up

Getting started can be as simple or as involved as you need it to be. As much as possible, use your distro's packages to simply and speed up development unless you really need to get the latest source code version. And no, you don't need to "compile all of KDE" just to use a single framework. Not convinced? Check out our Setting Up Guide to see how easy it can be.

KDE Frameworks

KDE Frameworks 5 is built on top of the excellent Qt application framework to provide more functionality and power to your next big project. KDE software developers will also find classes that help them better integrate their applications into the Plasma workspace and with other KDE products.


Named after the Japanese art of cutting and folding paper to create beautiful objects, the Kirigami framework offers components to let your piece together a beautiful and responsive application. Expanding the Qt Quick framework, Kirigami empowers developers to create apps that look and behave well on desktop, mobile, and more.


Get your feet wet or dive head first into coding with KDE's collection of Tutorials. From writing your first application using the KDE Frameworks to developing applets for the Plasma workspace, these bite-sized guides will get you up and running in no time.


KDE's world-famous workspace for desktops and mobile, Plasma provides a rich set of building blocks to help developers create rich, beautiful, and productive user experiences on different devices, form-factors, and use cases. KWin is one of the most powerful and most flexible window managers around, providing advanced functionality and control on both X11 and Wayland systems.

It's just the beginning

These are just the large tips of the KDE iceberg. The community has developed many libraries for more specific needs and use cases that developers can also use to simplify their projects.

  • Need an easy and cross-platform way to handle audio and video? Phonon's API will be very familiar to Qt developers and supports multiple backends, including GStreamer, VLC, and anything else you might want to develop.
  • If you need a privacy-respecting way to display maps and even the whole world, Marble provides data models and widgets to make that a walk in the park.
  • If you need libraries for handling email, events, and more, the KDE PIM libraries have withstood not only the test of time but also the test of enterprise customers.

Check out the other KDE Projects that provide libraries and APIs that you can use to boost your own projects. The KDE Community is also welcoming not just new contributors but also new projects that want to be part of one of the biggest free software communities on the planet.

This page was last edited on 7 September 2020, at 15:50. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.