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How to install KDE 4.1 beta 1 from experimental

The first beta of KDE 4.1 was released a couple of days ago, and of course, we did upload packages to experimental.
It is finally time of encouraging users to try KDE 4. So here are some instructions of how installing KDE 4 and how going back to KDE 3.5 if you feel like KDE 4.1 is not yet for you :)

If you do not want to risk your system, you can use this instructions to install KDE 4.1 in a virtual system such as qemu or VirtualBox.

Some previous notes:

  • Please, pretty please, report the KDE related bugs in the KDE bugzilla at: Report it in the Debian BTS only gives us extra work that we do not have resources to handle.
  • Report in the Debian BTS the packaging problems you find. If you are not sure, ask in the users mailing list:
    Archives at

Update to KDE 4

1 Add experimental sources to /etc/apt/sources.list

deb experimental main

2 Run:

aptitude update

3 Install minimal functional KDE 4 system.
This requires some polishing and if you are using non official repositories for KDE related stuff, your system might break badly. Then run:

aptitude install -t experimental kde4-minimal

It will need remove some packages like: kwin, kicker or ksmserver, that is fine.

4 Restart your system.

Assuming you are using kdm, after restar, you will get kde4's kdm. Log in and voila! KDE 4.

5 Installing the remaining packages.

You still will have KDE 3 stuff in your system and plenty of KDE 4 to install. I would recommend upgrade module to module, for example, for upgrading kdeutils:

aptitude install -t experimental kdeutils

So you can see clearly what is being updated, what programs dissapear and what is new. And if you do not want to test all the KDE modules, you do not need to install it all.

Available KDE 4 modules are:
kdeadmin kdeartwork kdeedu kdegames kdegraphics kdemultimedia kdenetwork kdepim kdetoys kdeutils kdepim and extragear-plasma

6 You can see all the KDE 3.5 packages that are still in your system from a Konsole with:

dpkg -l | grep 4:3.5

Translations are in the package kde-l10n-XX where XX is your language code.

Once you have installed all the KDE 4 packages you want, I would suggest you comment out the experimental source line by adding a # in the beginning.

How to go back to KDE 3

1 Remove experimental from your sources.list

2 Remove all the base packages:

aptitude remove kdelibs5 kdelibs5-data kdepimlibs5 kdepimlibs-data
kdebase-data kdebase-bin kdebase-runtime kdebase-runtime-bin-kde4
kdebase-runtime-data kdebase-runtime-data-common kdebase-workspace
kdebase-workspace-bin kdebase-workspace-data kdebase-workspace-libs4+5

3 Install the minimal KDE 3:

aptitude install kdelibs kdebase kdm

4 Restart your system and the good old kdm should be on your screen again.

5 Now you can continue installing all the KDE 3 packages you like using.
You always can use aptitude install the meta package KDE, but since that installs a lot of packages I would recommend install the metapackages you really want.

The list:
kdeaccessibility kdeaddons kdeadmin kdeartwork kdeedu kdegames kdegraphics kdemultimedia kdenetwork kdepim kdetoys kdeutils kdewebdev

5 You can see the remaining KDE 4 bits on your system with

dpkg -l | grep 4:4.0.80

What KDE will be available in Lenny?

We do not know yet, we would like to ship KDE 4.1 but it is still early to know for sure.


  • tosky said, on 2008-05-29 20:02:04+02:00:

    Schroot seems useful too (but I did not test it):

  • Lenny said, on 2008-05-29 23:54:20+02:00:

    Oh!!! What a Beautiful name!!!

  • Lisandro Damián Nicanor Pérez Meyer said, on 2008-05-30 15:46:15+02:00:

    ¡Hello Ana! I have a little question. If I do an aptitude update && aptitude full-upgrade ¿the packages in experimental will be upgraded? ¿Or I have to use a special switch for that?

    I am now writing from KDE 4, thank you!!!

  • hare said, on 2008-05-30 20:14:02+02:00:

    @Lisandro They won't be upgraded unless you add the «-t experimental» switch

  • Yan Morin said, on 2008-06-02 02:29:55+02:00:

    kdeutils don't install on debian lenny (2008-06-01) with apt-get install -t experimental kdeutils.

    I've got a ark: Depends: libarchive1 (>= 2.4.17) but 2.4.11-1 is installed.

  • Ana said, on 2008-06-02 21:30:33+02:00:


    You need to update libarchive1 as well.

  • Laurent Bonnaud said, on 2008-06-05 09:19:21+02:00:

    Do you accept bug reports about KDE 4.1 in the Debian BTS now ?

    KDE4.1 is still buggy as hell and it would be nice to track bugs in the BTS before making a decision about its inclusion into lenny.

  • AlexeiSergeev said, on 2008-06-23 13:14:35+02:00:

    I have this problem while trying to install aptitude install -t experimental kde4-minimal

    I was on 4.0.80 and try to upgrade to 4.0.82 Also it seems like my kde4.1beta1 package installation broken now.

  • Marco Rodrigues said, on 2008-06-23 13:45:55+02:00:

    If you want Debian packages, just install Debian and not Ubuntu. You don't have experimental repository in Ubuntu.

  • AlexeiSergeev said, on 2008-06-23 13:52:08+02:00:

    Oh! How could I fix things now? Remove repo from list, update and do what?

  • Ana said, on 2008-06-23 13:56:10+02:00:

    @AlexeiSergeev: Please, ask for help in the Debian KDE users mailing list: Anyway, this packages are targeted for being installed in Debian Sid and not in ubuntu...

  • AlexeiSergeev said, on 2008-06-23 19:53:03+02:00:

    Ok, I've fixed it without mailing list. And my kubuntu was completle broken after messing up with debian repo) xserver wasn't there, many dependences were broken. Only thing I get to work is kde-nightly packages from neon) But it is ok) NEVER USE DEBIAN REPOS ON UBUNTU!)

  • Tycale said, on 2008-08-02 23:40:24+02:00:

    Thanks :)

  • Ana’s blog » Blog Archive » Debian packages for KDE 4.1, KOffice alpha9 and more said, on 2009-05-13 12:39:03+02:00:

    [...] and, of course, there are Debian packages since the release day. The instructions I blogged about how to install the beta1 (and downgrade) still mostly apply, although the version of the KDE 4 RC1 is 4.0.98. The Debian KDE Team website [...]

  • Ana’s blog » Blog Archive » Update on KDE 4.1 packages for Debian said, on 2009-05-25 18:42:09+02:00:

    [...] instructions I blogged about how to install KDE 4.1 beta 1 still apply, the only changes are: extragears-plasma package is now called kdeplasmoids and the [...]

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