How To Install KDE GUI In Debian 9 Linux

By default a full installation of Debian 9 Linux will have the graphical user interface (GUI) installed and it will load up after system boot, however if we have installed Debian without the GUI we can always install it later, or otherwise change it to one that is preferred.

This quick guide will cover how to install the KDE Plasma Desktop on Debian 9 Stretch, which will provide a GUI for working with the Linux system. While I don’t suggest using a GUI on a production server, it’s a good option if you’re using Debian as a desktop.

Debian 9 Stretch - KDE Plasma Desktop

Debian 9 Stretch – KDE Plasma Desktop

Install KDE GUI in Debian

While there are many different graphical user interfaces available for Linux, in this example we will be using KDE Plasma Desktop.

First we need to install Aptitude and Tasksel, as shown below. On my Debian 9 system which already had GNOME installed, both were already installed.

[email protected]:~# apt install aptitude tasksel

Next we install the KDE packages themselves with the following command.

[email protected]:~# aptitude install ~t^desktop$ ~t^kde-desktop$

Note that this may take a while to complete, on my installation 671 new packages were required taking up 421MB of space.

If you’ve already got a display manager installed, as I do in this demonstration, you’ll be advised that only one can run at a time.

Debian - One Display Manager

I then selected sddm for the default display manager.

sddm display manager

After a system reboot at the login screen, select Plasma as shown below, and login.

KDE Plasma Session

You’ll then be presented with the KDE Plasma Desktop.


As shown we can easily install the KDE Plasma Desktop packages in Debian 9 Stretch Linux, which will provide us with a graphical user interface that can be used for managing and interacting with the system.

  1. i3 Desktop is a none graphical & tile desktop great for servers.
    easy to learn and fun to use. + conky :p

  2. Just to let people who don’t speak english you should consider to include at the end that if the person want localization of KDE MUST install kde-l10n package.

  3. How can I install 5.12? This seems to only get me 5.8. is it possible without changing repos to test or unstable?

  4. I chose the wrong default display manager in the last step! I accidentally chose gdm3 instead of sddm. Is there a way to go back?

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