Ubuntu Desktop typically comes with GNOME as its default desktop environment, but users who prefer KDE Plasma can easily install it. KDE Plasma offers a different aesthetic and a range of customizable features that might better suit some users' needs. Installing KDE on Ubuntu provides a visually appealing and flexible interface while maintaining the robust Ubuntu operating system.

To install KDE Plasma on Ubuntu, you can use the terminal and the apt package manager. This process involves updating the package list and installing the necessary KDE packages, such as the kde-plasma-desktop meta-package for essential components or the kubuntu-desktop meta-package for a more comprehensive experience.

Switching from GNOME to KDE Plasma or integrating both environments on a single system is straightforward. Users can switch between desktop environments at login, allowing them to customize their experience to suit personal or professional preferences, leveraging the strengths of both GNOME and KDE Plasma.

Steps to install KDE Plasma on Ubuntu and Debian:

  1. Launch the terminal.
  2. Update the apt package list.
    $ sudo apt update
    [sudo] password for user: 
    Hit:1 http://ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports kinetic-security InRelease
    Hit:2 http://us.ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports kinetic InRelease
    Hit:3 http://us.ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports kinetic-updates InRelease
    Hit:4 http://us.ports.ubuntu.com/ubuntu-ports kinetic-backports InRelease
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree... Done
    Reading state information... Done
    All packages are up to date.
  3. Upgrade installed packages using apt (optional).
    $ sudo apt dist-upgrade --assume-yes
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree... Done
    Reading state information... Done
    Calculating upgrade... Done
    0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
  4. Install the kde-plasma-desktop meta-package via apt.
    $ sudo apt install --assume-yes kde-plasma-desktop
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree... Done
    Reading state information... Done
    The following additional packages will be installed:
      aha appmenu-gtk-module-common appmenu-gtk3-module apt-config-icons-large
      apt-config-icons-large-hidpi baloo-kf5 bluedevil breeze breeze-cursor-theme
      breeze-gtk-theme breeze-icon-theme bup bup-doc catdoc cryfs debconf-kde-data
      debconf-kde-helper desktop-base docbook-xsl dolphin drkonqi encfs
      ffmpegthumbs fonts-hack fonts-noto-core fonts-noto-hinted fonts-noto-ui-core
      fonts-noto-unhinted fonts-quicksand frameworkintegration gamin git git-man
      haveged hwdata javascript-common kaccounts-providers kactivities-bin
    ##### snipped
    0 upgraded, 585 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
    Need to get 352 MB of archives.
    After this operation, 1,211 MB of additional disk space will be used.
    ##### snipped

    This will install a basic KDE Plasma packages and experience on your Ubuntu system. To install a more complete KDE Plasma experience, you can install kubuntu-desktop meta package instead.

  5. Select sddm as the display manager when prompted.

    Select Ok using the [TAB] key and press [ENTER] to continue on the Package configuration menu if you're first presented with the following screen. You'll get this screen if you're using a low resolution monitor and/or not running terminal in full screen.

    SDDM is the default display manager for Kubuntu/KDE.

  6. Wait for the installation to finish.
  7. Reboot your system.
    $ sudo reboot
  8. Select Plasma when logging in.

    Select Ubuntu or Ubuntu on Wayland (Wayland) if you want to log in to GNOME desktop environment.

This guide is tested on Ubuntu:

Version Code Name
22.04 LTS Jammy Jellyfish
23.10 Mantic Minotaur
24.04 LTS Noble Numbat
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