Plasma 5 (KDE) In Testing

A few days ago, fellow Qt/KDE team member Lisandro gave an update on the situation with migration to Plasma 5 in Debian Testing (AKA Stretch).  It’s changed again.  All of Plasma 5 is now in Testing.  The upgrade probably won’t be entirely smooth, which we’ll work on that after the gcc5 transition is done, but it will be much better than the half KDE4 SC half Kf5/Plasma 5 situation we’ve had for the last several days.

The issues with starting kwin should be resolved once users upgrade to Plasma 5.  To use the current kwin with KDE SC 4, you will need to add a symlink from /usr/bin/kwin to /usr/bin/kwin_x11.  That will be included in the next upload after gcc5.

Systemsettings and plasma-nm now work.

In my initial testing, I didn’t see anything major that was broken.  One user reported an issue with sddm starting automatically, but it worked fine for me.  During the upgrade you should get a debconf prompt asking if you want to use kdm or sddm.  Pick sddm.

When I tried to dist-upgrade, apt wanted to remove task-kde-desktop.  I let it remove it and some other packages and then in a second step did apt-get install task-kde-desktop.  That pulled it back in successfully along with adding and removing a reasonably large stack of packages.  Obviously we need to make that work better before Stretch is released, but as long as you don’t restart KDE in between those two steps it should be fine.  Lastely, I used apt-get autoremove to clear out a lot of no longer needed KDE4 things (when it asks if you want to stop the running kdm, say no).

Here are a few notes on terminology and what I understand of the future plans:

What used to be called KDE is now three different things (in part because KDE is now the community of people, not the software):

KDE Frameworks 5 (Kf5): This is a group of several dozen small libraries that as a group, roughly equate to what used to be kdelibs.

Plasma (Workspaces) 5: This is the desktop that we’ve just transitioned to.

Applications: These are a mix of kdelibs and Kf5 based applications.  Currently in Testing there are some of both and this will evolve over time based on upstream development.  As an example, the Kf5 based version of konsole is in Unstable and should transition to Testing shortly.

Finally, thanks to Maximiliano Curia (maxy on IRC) for doing virtually all of the packaging of Kf5, Plasma 5, and applications.  He did the heavy lifting, the rest of us just nibbled around the edges to keep it moving towards testing.


30 Responses to “Plasma 5 (KDE) In Testing”

  1. 1 debianita July 31, 2015 at 17:21

    Thanks in advance to Qt/Kde Debian developers, here Plasma 5 works fine, except for some annoying things:

    No icons on the system tray for some applications: skype, spotify, megasync, shutter ..( debian developers- i think- refuse patch sni-qt because “upstream” sni-qt is “dead”).


  2. 2 shmerl July 31, 2015 at 18:03


    I managed to avoid messing with task-kde-desktop by doing this:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install plasma-desktop sddm
    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
    sudo apt-get autoremove –purge

    The second step removed and pulled in quite a lot of stuff. I also chose sddm during it. One can probably remove kdm after that too.

    Just doing pure dist-upgrade instead didn’t try installing sddm and looked more messy. I didn’t restart KDE yet, will let you know how it went 😉

  3. 4 shmerl July 31, 2015 at 18:12

    Actually kdm got removed automatically with those steps, no need to remove it explicitly. Just say no for exiting it if you run the upgrade from inside KDE.

  4. 5 shmerl July 31, 2015 at 19:09

    It worked. Some things I need to figure out still (GTK integration for Firefox works somewhat not as expected, mouse cursors are messed up, some windows freeze on resizing and so on). But at least it’s working! I’ll collect various issues and will report bugs if needed.

    • 6 skitterman July 31, 2015 at 20:07

      Great. Please check for existing issues and report issues with
      the upstream part of the package there.

      Scott K

      • 7 shmerl August 2, 2015 at 00:32

        For instance it looks like kmix is still stuck, and the older one doesn’t load at startup:

        But at least manually running it places it in the system tray.

      • 8 skitterman August 2, 2015 at 01:13

        Thanks for pointing that one out. I can get that to migrate.

      • 9 shmerl August 2, 2015 at 01:44

        Another things that I noticed – it looks like sddm doesn’t source $HOME/.profile anymore. Is it expected? I used to set some global stuff there and now it’s not being pickedup.

        Also, is Muon now the default update manager? I usually use apt-get anyway, but I liked Apper’s applet in the system tray which showed a neat list of pending updates. Is Apper deprecated now? I don’t mind Muon, but it doesn’t show any list from the system tray notification, which kind of makes it not as good.

      • 10 skitterman August 2, 2015 at 01:54

        I’m not sure about sddm. I’d file a Debian bug about that.

        Apper is still recommended by task-kde-desktop. Muon is in the archive. I don’t know what we’ll end up using.

      • 11 shmerl August 2, 2015 at 02:29

        For the reference, I also filed this bug in sddm:

        Let’s see what they’ll answer.

      • 12 shmerl August 2, 2015 at 03:01

        Another pretty annoying issue – Kmail is missing a menu. I checked, some recommended removing “MenuBar=Disabled” from kmail2rc:
        but it didn’t help. In Plasma 4 I used to have appmenu-qt and my menu was on the very top. Now I’ve heard it’s broken in Plasma 5 anyway, so I removed appmenu-qt, and most applications behave OK. But Kmail refuses to show any menu.

      • 13 skitterman August 2, 2015 at 11:11

        That’s odd. On my test system (recently upgraded from stable and never used appmenu-qt) it shows up fine. You might try stopping kmail, moving (not removing) your kmail2rc file away, and then restart kmail to let it generate a fresh config. If it works then, you might diff the two files and see if there’s anything that might be relevant.

      • 14 shmerl August 2, 2015 at 13:00

        Hm, it was pretty weird. I moved out kmail2rc, and logged out / logged in. Started Kmail, and it still showed no menu (but the file was recreated). I exited it and copied the backed up kmail2rc file back… And now the menu is present. Quite puzzling.

  5. 15 aL August 1, 2015 at 03:26

    I wish this kind of transition would never hit testing… at least the packages that triggers it, like possible task-kde-desktop… or a manual holding of these packages to sid would work too…

    I wish I could run a reasonable up to date debian like testing without having to deal with this kind of issues…

    This aside, thanks for the good work… I know its a lot of work involved and eventually all the rough corners are polished.

    My grip is about debian. This is happening all the time with transitions. There should be a more automatic way to prevent this… like packages having to migrate to a third suite called ‘usable’ after X days in testing without rc-bugs or something… this would be about making the non-breaking packages process more automatic.. and depend less on good hand-work

    Or maybe another mechanism that would help with this that i cant think of…

    I need reasonably up to date systems. In some i can afford breakage but in others i can’t

    Just to make clear, this comment isnt a whine… its half part a thank you for your work and half part speaking out loud about what i think is a common problem that could and should be automatically addressed somehow

    thanks for bringing kde5 to us!

  6. 16 Andy Cater August 1, 2015 at 13:22

    Clean install using Debian Stretch Alpha 1 installation netinst and _just_ installing KDE has worked fine for me to get a usable desktop.

  7. 17 Psy-Q August 2, 2015 at 02:47

    system-settings seems to be broken again (or still), just a word of warning. dist-upgraded on testing and ended up with an unusable system-settings and some KDE settings rolled back to their defaults.

    • 18 skitterman August 2, 2015 at 10:29

      Could you add some more detail about what went wrong to the bug? It seems to be working for most people now. Check to make sure you still have task-kde-desktop installed after the upgrade.

      • 19 Psy-Q August 3, 2015 at 01:51

        It was a local problem 🙂 Some old shortcuts were still pointing to the KDE4 settings. Now I’ve replaced them and everything seems fine. Thanks!

    • 20 shmerl August 2, 2015 at 13:06

      About sddm and .profile. It appears that sddm doesn’t source it and as well doesn’t source /etc/profile (while kdm did). It breaks a number of things even in Debain itself.

      For instance, /etc/profile adds /usr/games to PATH, which enables some games like minetest. Without /etc/profile being sourced, they fail to start with provided launchers. Where exactly should I file a bug about it? sddm developers answered that they think profiles are relevant only to shells and should not be sourced by display manager. But they didn’t answer about what should be sourced in general case.

      • 21 Scott Kitterman August 2, 2015 at 13:10

        File a bug against sddm in Debian and we’ll try to sort it. I think severity Important seems right.

        Scott K

  8. 23 Daniel August 3, 2015 at 05:00

    For me, manually upgrading (it was held back for a normal dist-upgrade):

    apt-get install kde-standard

    helped with a pretty smooth transistion. The only thing I needed to do manually so far was setting my preferences back in Systemsettings, which btw looks pretty complete.

  9. 24 paul September 6, 2015 at 14:12

    So at the end of July some packages reached testing, breaking systemsettings and plasma-nm in the process.
    Move the unstable and untested plasma 5 + kf5 combination to testing. Based on the current state both of these should have stayed in experimental.
    Great job.
    I mean if the plan was to make this transition a lot worse than kde3->kde4 then congratulations. You’ve done it.

    KDE in testing is unusable right now. Pulling in the latest version from sid didn’t help.

    Got rid of the plasma 5/kf5 and downgraded the kde packages to stable.

    • 25 skitterman September 6, 2015 at 16:12

      If you want stable, run stable.

      If you want things better in Testing/Unstable, help out. Specific bugs, many of which have been filed and fixed in the interim, are helpful. General whining like this is not. Also, I think you don’t remember early KDE4 versions very well if you make that comparison.

  10. 26 General Kim Jong-il September 15, 2015 at 11:02

    Any updates on the current state of Plasma 5?

    I’m running KDE in stretch, and continue to hold back 300+ package updates while the kde/gcc transition is underway. For all the comments about having a usable testing environment, my advice is this: resist the urge to dist-upgrade unless you know what’s going on. In this way you can keep a very stable testing system that is “reasonably” up to date (as in, a few months behind, not a few years behind).

    At any rate, it’s been a bit over a month now (almost 2), and while I know that I shouldn’t dist-upgrade due to the gcc library transition, I wonder if KDE5 is in a stable enough position to warrant a manually install? If so, what’s the best way to go about it? Install kde-full?

    • 27 skitterman September 15, 2015 at 15:04

      I think it’s reasonably usable. I don’t know of anyone having super serious problems at the moment except for a bad sddm/plymouth interaction that’s fixed in unstable. I just upgraded a stretch system yesterday by doing multiple apt-get update apt-get autoremove cycles until things were as upgraded as I could get it and then doing a apt-get dist-upgrade to get over the gcc hurdle. Some more autoremove/upgrade until everything was up to date and a reboot resulted in a working system.

      • 28 General Kim Jong-il September 18, 2015 at 14:40

        Installing kde-full has been an “impossible situation” the last couple of days. I get an error saying it depends on a dozen kde packages that won’t be installed, problems can’t be corrected, and broken packages will be retained. Looks like you were briefly involved in a similar bug#797309 that unexpectedly remedied itself.

        If try installing some random package, such as chromium, I get dozens of installs, removes, and upgrades that appear to replace kde4 with kde5 (not sure why upgrading chromium would initiate a DE upgrade); however, there are a few removes that don’t seem right (blender and dolphin were the main two that jumped out at me), and I don’t see all the packages I think I need in the install or upgrade groups. Dist-upgrade, likewise, doesn’t look right.

        For the time being, I’m going to sit on it with the anticipation that there are probably missing packages that will be replaced at some point over the next couple of weeks, at which point I’ll try again.

  11. 29 Nick May 7, 2016 at 13:46

    For me KDE Plasma 5.4 under Debian Testing is completly unusable. Must always install tons of old KDE 4 packages, and very buggy Plasma 5.4 packages. It looks a bit like the Debian Developers didn’t really like KDE, but this ugly unusable usability accident named GNOME 3 gets always fast updates. And on the other side, Plasma 5.6.2 is rock-solid under Arch, Manjaro, but Debian will never see this release and will remain on old packages for a long time. I like Debian, but without the far superior Plasma 5 desktop versus the others, i must away from Debian.

    Old software != Good stable and reliable software!
    New software != Bad unstable or directly vulnerable!

    Many stable software in Debian is very buggy and far away from being reliable. So there is no reason to run old software, when it brings no positive effects and mostly problems.

    Btw: Debian had many vulnerabilities over the last years, but bleeding-edge distributions only very few.

    • 30 skitterman May 9, 2016 at 13:19

      Debian Testing now has Plasma 5.6, so I think you’re comparison is out of date. The Debian Qt-KDE team is very under staffed at the moment. Many normal contributors (myself included) haven’t had a chance to do much work on it. Debian is a volunteer run project, so if no one volunteers to work on KDE software, it doesn’t get updated. There is no central work assignment process for Debian developers.

      I’m not sure why you think 5.6 will never get to testing. Also, I have it working reasonably well, both 5.4 and 5.6, so your experience is not the same as everyone’s.

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