A desktop environment is software that offers a graphical user interface and several native desktop applications. The desktop environments enable applications running on that environment to perform advanced operations such as drag and drop tasks. There are different desktop environments that are available for Linux distributions. The supported desktop environments for RHEL 9, AlmaLinux 9, and CentOS 9 include; GNOME, KDE, Xfce, LXQt, MATE, and Cinnamon desktop environments.

  • GNOME is the default desktop environment for RHEL-based systems based on GTK+ 2 graphical toolkit.
  • KDE is the alternative desktop environment based on Qt 3 graphical toolkit.
  • Xfce is a fork of GNOME that can be used instead of GNOME due to it being lightweight and customizable.

KDE Desktop Environment

KDE is the most customizable graphical desktop environment with productive applications such as word processors, spreadsheets, and web browsers. It is also referred to as Plasma or KDE Plasma. It has a modern look while interacting with applications and to add to that, it is an incredibly lightweight desktop environment and flexible. Its customizable settings allow you to change the main theme of the applications, color schemes, and fonts. You can also add widgets and extensions to the Desktop. Sone native applications that come with the KDE desktop environment include;

  • Okular – Document Viewer.
  • Dolphin – File Manager.
  • Konsole – Terminal.
  • Ark – Archiving tool.
  • KWrite – Text editor.

Features of KDE Desktop Environment

  • Extremely lightweight.
  • Highly customizable desktop environment.
  • Built-in tools and native applications.
  • Plasma Launcher that lets you quickly launch applications.
  • KRunner is a built-in launcher that lets you launch a program from the mini command line.
  • KDE Connect allows you to connect to an Android phone and access your computer remotely.

This guide takes you through the steps of installing the KDE desktop environment on CentOS 9|AlmaLinux 9|RHEL 9.

Install KDE Plasma on CentOS 9|AlmaLinux 9|RHEL 9

Install the EPEL repository using the following command. This enables installing external packages on your system.

sudo dnf -y install https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-9.noarch.rpm

Update your system packages with the following command.

sudo dnf update -y

Enable code-ready builder on AlmaLinux|CentOS|RHEL respectively with the following commands.

## CentOS  Stream 9 & AlmaLinux 9 ##
sudo dnf config-manager --set-enabled crb

## RHEL 9 ##
subscription-manager repos --enable codeready-builder-for-rhel-9-$(arch)-rpms

Install KDE Plasma Desktop Environment with the following command.

sudo dnf -y groupinstall "KDE Plasma Workspaces" "base-x"

Then reboot your system.

reboot

After restart, On the Login page, select KDE Plasma on the gear icon as shown below.

Configure KDE Plasma on CentOS 9|AlmaLinux 9|RHEL 9

The login page appears as shown below When the screen is locked.

Once opened the desktop environment is shown below.

The application launcher is as shown below. From here, you can search for installed applications and open them.

The Konsole opens as shown below.

The file manager Dolphin opens as shown below. The main folders in the Home directory include Downloads, Documents, and Desktop.

Installing Themes on KDE Desktop Environment

You can change the theme from the settings page. I chose the dark theme.

You can also do more settings by clicking on More Appearance settings. From here you can edit window icons and fonts.

Then you can also download more themes by clicking on Global Themes. Then select one to your liking and click Install.

Installing Addons on KDE Desktop Environment

You can install Addons from Discovery. These include Application addons that allow you to add more extensions that work with different applications.

Also, Plasma Addons allow you to edit more extensions for the desktop environment.

Conclusion

KDE Plasma desktop environment is highly customizable with lots of features to change and try. These options might be confusing for a newbie but it’s worth a try. We have gone through the process of installing the KDE Plasma desktop environment on CentOS 9|AlmaLinux 9|RHEL 9.

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