How to install KDE Plasma on Ubuntu 17.10

In fact, there is no better or worse time to switch to Linux exactly. But 2018 is just getting started and what better time to start learning something new and exciting than the start of a year? If you’ve recently switched to Linux or are testing it out, you’re probably confused. Linux distributions have come a long way, but I still wouldn’t recommend it to anyone not very tech-savvy. For people who like to get their hands dirty, there’s nothing better than Linux. If you know how you can completely change the look, feel and function of your Linux desktop. Most of this depends on the desktop environment you use. And today we are going to take a look at the KDE Plasma 5.11 desktop environment.

Desktop is something that most people who use Windows or Mac have not heard of. Not because these systems don’t have a desktop environment, but because they just have that desktop environment you see. Windows 7 users did have a few options, and I was quick enough to try them all. Linux systems offer a much greater degree of flexibility, albeit with more than 10 options as far as I’m aware. Consider this like the custom ROMs on your Android smartphone. They each come with their own set of preloaded apps as well. However, this is not the case if you simply install the desktop shell, which is like a launcher, except that it also changes the entire system UI.

look and feel

I don’t know the official stats, but I have a feeling KDE might be a fan favorite. KDE Plasma is indeed one of the best, if not the best, Linux desktop environment you can install on your machine. KDE Plasma will look a bit familiar to Windows users because, well, it does at first glance. It has a single pane at the bottom, like the Windows taskbar, and it does the same things too. Dig deeper and each layer you peel will reveal something fascinating. Windows could never give you that level of control over the interface. KDE will look a little familiar and you can start installing programs and browsing the Internet quickly.

When you move an open window, it automatically becomes semi-transparent. You can view the contents of a folder on the desktop with one click. KDE is full of small tweaks that really make KDE feel like a polished desktop experience.

KDE includes so many features that you will come across something new that you have no idea about. This can frustrate you if you get irritated easily. After learning how things work, KDE offers the most flexible desktop experience. It looks modern and still keeps the traditional desktop experience alive. Don’t like the traditional? Just change it because if you can imagine, KDE Plasma can probably be molded into it.

widgets

How to install KDE Plasma on Ubuntu 17.10

In case you missed desktop widgets on Windows, KDE has you covered too. The desktop environment comes with several pre-installed widgets that you can not only place on the desktop, but also pin to the bottom panel (or any panel you can create). This is something I find especially useful because I often need a calculator so I can put a calculator widget in the bottom pane and have one ready to calculate whenever I want. Pinning the calculator to the bottom panel as you would in Windows is not the same and you will get it as soon as you use it. There are so many widgets that it’s basically widget porn if you’re that kind of person. You can also create panels to pin all these widgets.

How to install KDE Plasma on Ubuntu 17.10

You can even add media controls to your bottom panel or any panel, add a notes widget for quick access, and the list goes on.

KDE connect

How to install KDE Plasma on Ubuntu 17.10

KDE Connect is a service that brings your Android smartphone to the KDE Plasma desktop with Linux and also works the other way around a bit. In addition to syncing notifications, you can send or receive files directly wirelessly. It’s a wireless dream, to put it simply. You’ll need the open source KDE Connect app on your Android phone for this to work, but this isn’t magic, although it may seem like it. Here’s a list of things KDE connect allows you to do, mind you, wirelessly:

  • See Android notifications on your desktop
  • See current battery charge level
  • Send and receive files to/from phone/desktop
  • Use your phone as a touchpad and mouse keyboard
  • Tap your device to find it
  • Control your desktop media player using your phone
  • Sync clipboard between phone and desktop
  • View device information (eg battery)
  • Run commands and launch applications
  • send SMS

If nothing else, KDE connect is reason enough for you to go through the pain of learning everything KDE Plasma offers. But you can really take advantage of KDE connect on Unity or GNOME.

final words

This is not a KDE Plasma guide, unfortunately for you and we’ve barely scratched the surface here. But I’m sure Google will help you find anything you want about KDE and how it works. KDE Plasma is really easy to use and I can’t stress this enough. Maybe because that’s not how you might feel when you try it. Of course, launching apps is easy and quite familiar. Adding widgets or dashboards isn’t that difficult either, actually. Just right-click anywhere and select add widget or add panel.

But doing everything else might not be so easy. This isn’t something developers can help with, to be honest, because KDE Plasma lets you do a lot in the interface. You can make it such a mess that someone else can get overwhelmed by trying to use it. Or you can make it the most elegant desktop anyone has ever seen.

Reddit User unixporn gives us a good example.

Install KDE Plasma 5.11

To install the KDE Plasma desktop environment, simply copy and paste the following commands into a Terminal window one by one. At some point, you may be asked to choose a login manager. KDE uses its own login manager called SDDM, but if you already have gdm3 or lightdm, you don’t necessarily need to change. Everything works, so just select what you like.

How to install KDE Plasma on Ubuntu 17.10

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

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