Getting Started

These pages are currently being completely re-written to reflect the new KDE infrastructure and may not be in a consistent state. Information and commands on some page may no longer be valid and should be used with care.



This section of KDE TechBase is designed to help get you started in participating in the technical side of the KDE community. It will explain to you how KDE Software is structured and built.

There are many other ways you can Contribute to KDE both technical and non-technical without having to build your own copy of KDE Software.

There are several possible ways to build and install KDE software and the method you choose depends on what you want to do with the software once it is built.

You may want to:

  • Develop a standalone application using the KDE Platform
  • Develop one of the KDE Applications
  • Develop the KDE Workspace or the KDE Platform
  • Test the latest KDE Software or an earlier stable version

In particular, for application development you may only need to build some parts of the KDE SC while relying on the KDE Development Platform stable packages from your distribution.

The table below provides some guidance in making this decision, but before you start building please read the rest of the pages for more detailed information on Getting Started.

Usage Method
Everyday use of the KDE Workspace or Applications Packaged Stable Release
Developing an application outside of the KDE development infrastructure using the stable KDE Development Platform. Packaged Stable Release
Developing an application outside of the KDE development infrastructure using features from the unstable KDE Development Platform. Snapshot Build
Developing an application in the KDE SC using the stable KDE Development Platform. Stable Source Build
Developing an application in the KDE SC using features in the unstable KDE Development Platform. Unstable Source Build
Developing the unstable KDE Development Platform. Unstable Source Build

Method Description
Stable Release Packages Install a stable release of KDE Software from packages using your distributions standard software installer. For developers also install the development packages as required.
Unstable Packages Some distributions provide packaged unstable snapshots of KDE Software.
Snapshot Build Build a snapshot of the source code as at a given time or release from a tarball download. These may be stable or unstable releases or nightly snapshots
Stable Source Build Build a version of the source code for an official release directly from the source repository.
Unstable Source Build Build the current unstable development code directly from the source repository.

Getting Help

If you are looking for help in using the KDE Workspace or KDE Applications then please visit the KDE UserBase.

If you have any questions or problems with building or developing KDE Software please feel free to ask for help. However, be patient while waiting for a response, and try to work through the problem yourself, we aren't going to do it all for you. Working your way through and understanding why something doesn't work is a good way to learn how to do things the right way.

Installing KDE Software for daily use

If you just want to use stable KDE software for your everyday computing needs, then you do not need to build KDE Software for yourself. You should instead use the software installer provided by your Linux distribution or for your platform. The best place to learn how to do this is through your distributions normal support channels, although you may find some useful information on the following pages:

This is also a good choice if you wish to develop a KDE Application outside of the main KDE Software Compilation, as it is quicker to set up and a more stable API to target. In this case you will need to ensure you install the required development packages for the KDE Development Platform.

Building and Running KDE Software From Source

There are a series of steps you need to understand and follow to successfully build KDE Software from source. The following sections will take you through the process:

Development Model

TODO: General introduction to the dev model, release cycles, etc.

Development Tools

There are a number of Development Tools that are either required or helpful when building KDE Software. For these you will usually want to use the stable packages provided by your distribution.

You may want to use a graphical IDE for your development work:

Contributing To KDE

Once you have a copy of KDE built you can then start contributing back to KDE. The pages below will help you find out how you can help make KDE even better.

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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.