Install Debian with minimal KDE (Simple)

(I’m still working on this post)

I wanted to create the blog to help people install Debian with KDE. I love KDE and want to support the growth and exception on it on debian and any platform. I use it both on my personal laptop and on my personal computer that I have at home. If you find any mistakes or places that I could improve this post please comment.

Ok let’s start off things by downloading debian. You can find the debian Debian installer at Which one you download doesn’t matter as long as you download. Basically if you have a older computer you’ll want to download the i386 and if you have a newer computer and want to take advantage of more then 4GB of memory etc you’ll want the amd64 on For this blog post I downloaded the businesscard amd64 one. The businesscard is the smallest and contains basically only the installer, next is the netinst which contains most of the base system, from there you have the CD, DVD and Blueray. Because we are installing the testing version of Debian I would suggest download a small image cause the test version changes fast.

Select Graphical install and press enter. I chose to do this with the graphical installer since this tutorial was somewhat meant for beginners and I believe there is a couple screens less then in the basic install.

Next Select your language and click Continue.

Select your country and click continue

Select your language and click continue

If you selected a country that does not have a default locale the follwoing screen will pop up. Just select your default locale and press enter.

Select your keyboard and press enter.

Enter a name for your computer and press enter.

Enter your damain name and press enter. If you don’t have a domain name then just leave it blank.

Select your country or a country near you and press enter.

Select a mirror and press enter

If you use a proxy server enter it now. Otherwise just press enter.

Create a password for user root. Note: this is not the password you’ll use to log into your computer.

Enter the full name of the user you want to create on the computer and press enter.

Enter the name of the user you want to create on the computer and press enter.

Enter your password twice and press enter.

If your country has multipe timezones a screen will pop up asking for a time zone.

You’ll probably want to use the first option. If you want to dual boot with windows you’ll want to use manual. I’m not going to go into details how you do that but if you need to do it google it or ask how to do it in the comments and I’ll be glad to create a blog post on that.

Select the hard drive that you want to install debian on and press enter.

Select how you want to partition your hard drive and press enter. If you are a new user I’d suggest the first option.

Click continue to accept the changes on your hard disk and go to the next screen.

If you are Ok with the partition set up, click Yes and click continue. Warning if you have information on the hard drive that you are installing it to clicking continue could delete all your data.

Select yes and press enter.

Remove all checkmarks and press enter. If all you want is to install a default Debian KDE install you could have selected advanced options in the beginning and selected to use KDE as your window manager and you could select to install Debian desktop enviroment. But for this post remove all check marks and click continue.

Select Yes and click Continue.

Congretulations you have now installed the minimal Debian. Click continue to restart your computer.

You’ll come up with a nice black screen looking like this. Type in root, press enter, type in your password, and press enter again.


Next we’ll start installing our system. But first lets make sure are system is up to date

apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade

Let’s first make sure that it’ll purge documentation etc from other peoples languages. It’l come up with a screen just select ok (Press tab then enter).

apt-get install localepurge

Now install the bare minimal kde. It will ask you if you want to continue, just enter ‘y’ on the keyboard and press enter. You should only do this if you are fimiliar with linux and kde. (The reason for installing konsole and phonon-backend-gstreamer is so that the defaults don’t get installed which would be xterm and phonon-backend-vlc)

apt-get install --no-install-recommends xorg kdm kde-workspace konsole phonon-backend-gstreamer

So in order for some errors no to pop up after installing. Install the following
apt-get install --no-install-recommends virtuoso-minimal upower

You could do a even more minimal install by installing kde-window-manager instead of plasma-desktop. The recomended way would be. For more information visit

aptitude --without-recommends install ~t^standard$ ~t^desktop$ ~t^kde-desktop$

Restart your computer to loginto a brand new KDE. Just type reboot and press enter.

As far as I understand and could easly find these are the packages or programs that would have been installed if we had installed kde-desktop instead. This was taken from here and here If you do apt-get install kde-standard now you’ll download 130MB and use an additional 322MB (This is as of July 2, 2012 and is bond to change).


  • akregator
  • ark
  • dragonplayer
  • gwenview
  • juk
  • kaddressbook
  • kate
  • kcalc
  • khelpcenter4
  • kmail
  • kmix
  • knotes
  • kopete
  • korganizer
  • ksnapshot
  • kwalletmanager
  • okular
  • plasma-desktopthemes-artwork
  • polkit-kde-1
  • sweeper
  • konq-plugins
  • plasma-widget-networkmanagement
  • update-notifier-kde
  • kdeplasma-addons
  • konq-plugins
  • plasma-widget-networkmanagement
  • update-notifier-kde
  • kde-plasma-desktop
    • kde-baseapps
      • dolphin
      • kdepasswd
      • kfind
      • konqueror
      • konsole
      • kwrite
      • plasma-widget-folderview

Once you rebooted your computer open Konsole. To open it press Alt+F2, type in konsole and press enter. Once open log into super user by running the following command. After you pressed enter it will ask you to type in your root password. Enter it and press enter again.


So the first thing we will install is sudo. In the future we will not need to change to superuser (su) to run a root command.

apt-get install sudo

Ok now that we installed sudo we also need to add your user to sudo group. Replace username with your user name and run the following.

usermod -G sudo username

Ok, now log out of KDE and back in again in order to be able to start using sudo. You can log out by clicking the blue K in the bottom left corner. Click the red power buttom named Leave, then log out. Next log back in again. This time open up Konsole again. We’ll now start installing some of the basic stuff of the system. xdg-user-dirs creates the Documents, Pictures, etc – folders in home, ntpdate is needed for the internet time to work in kde.

sudo apt-get install xdg-user-dirs ntpdate

Debian Artwork

sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends desktop-base plymouth plymouth-drm

You can find instructions on how to install plymouth here. The default theme for Wheezy is joy.

Nice looking GTK apps

sudo apt-get intall --no-install-recommends gtk2-engines-oxygen gtk3-engines-oxygen gtk-chtheme

To set up gtk run the following


I’m not sure why wheezy doesn’t have kde-config-gtk-style to configure GTK in KDE.

Optional, install some plasma addons. Below you can see what all is contained by the package kdeplasma-addons. I personally don’t use any of the them so I don’t install any of them.

kdeplasma-addons (contains the following)

sudo apt-get install kdeplasma-addons

If you want a nice collection of wallpapers install kdeartwork
sudo apt-get install kdeartwork

If you want a traditional desktop where you have icons on the desktop based on what is in a certain folder by default /home/user/Desktop install plasma-widget-folderview. You also need this to put folder view widgets on the desktop
sudo apt-get install plasma-widget-folderview

Notification Programs

sudo aptg-et install kmix update-notifier-kde plasma-widget-networkmanagement
sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends update-manager-gnome

Base Programs

sudo apt-get install dolphin kwrite kcalc okular ark rar unrar knotes ksnapshot khelpcenter4

packages included by  kdeadmin

  • kde-config-cron
  • ksystemlog
  • kuser
  • system-config-printer-kde

sudo apt-get install kdeadmin kwalletmanager kdf partitionmanager kdepasswd kfind sweeper synaptic gdebi-kde


sudo apt-get install printer-driver-all cups-pdf system-config-printer-kde


If you have a laptop install the following
acpi-support – scripts for handling many ACPI events
kde-config-touchpad – touchpad configuration tool (synaptiks)
sudo apt-get install acpi-support kde-config-touchpad


amarok – easy to use media player based on the KDE Platform
banshee – Media Management and Playback application
dragonplayer – simple video player
vlc – multimedia player and streamer
xbmc – XBMC Media Center
gwenview – image viewer
digiKam – digital photo management application for KDE
sudo apt-get install amarok banshee dragonplayer vlc xbmc gwenview digikam


sudo apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree gstreamer0.10-plugins-good gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly

Other Codecs (I have not checked if these are needed but are listeded at (I have updated the list since most of them have changed names). I now found out that these where all installed on my computer already so I’ll probably remove them from here.
sudo apt-get install libavcodec53 libavdevice53 libavfilter2 libavformat53 libavutil51 libpostproc52 libswscale2

These codecs are only available from If you have 32bit installed replace w64codecs with w32codecs. You can install these by editing your apt sources.
sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
Add the following line.
deb wheezy main non-free
Now update your package database.
sudo apt-get update
Next install the key for deb-multimedia
sudo apt-get install deb-multimedia-keyring
Update again
sudo apt-get update
Finally you are ready to install these codecs.
sudo apt-get install w64codecs libdvdcss2


iceweasel is debian’s version of Firefox
sudo apt-get install rekonq iceweasel chromium

If you want dropbox
sudo apt-get install nautilus-dropbox


icedove is debian’s version of Thunderbird
sudo apt-get install kmail icedove

Instant Messaging

sudo apt-get install kopete

CD & DVD Burning and authoring

k3b – Sophisticated CD/DVD burning application
k9copy – KDE tool to backup DVDs
soundkonverter – audio converter frontend for KDE
sudo apt-get install k3b k9copy soundkonverter


gnucash – personal and small-business financial-accounting software
kmymoney – personal finance manager for KDE
sudo apt-get install gnucash kmymoney

Office programs

sudo apt-get install libreoffice libreoffice-kde



Filed under Debian KDE Desktop, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Install Debian with minimal KDE (Simple)

  1. jorge

    Great post!
    I will try this way in my old notebook.
    See you.

  2. Infestør

    what does
    “aptitude –without-recommends install ~t^standard$ ~t^desktop$ ~t^kde-desktop$” command do? should i do this if i want the minimal KDE installation or will it install everything from KDE?

    • that command was taken from it says there (This is what DebianInstaller would have installed in a new system, but you might want/need to uninstall the current display manager)
      if it is a new install there probably is no display manager installed.
      It will install the standard stuff of kde. For more details look at the following
      I think the --no-recomends means it won’t install the stuff marked (rec)
      If you want only the minimal I would recommend running the following command
      apt-get install --no-install-recommends xorg kdm kde-workspace konsole phonon-backend-gstreamer virtuoso-minimal upower

  3. namhuy

    K Desktop Environment (KDE) is a free desktop environment and development platform built with Trolltech’s Qt toolkit. It runs on most Unix and Unix-like systems, such as Linux, BSD and Solaris.

    # apt-get install aptitude tasksel
    # aptitude –without-recommends install ~t^standard$ ~t^desktop$ ~t^kde-desktop$

    Or install KDE from the default repositorie
    # apt-get install kde-standard

    • Nice blog post you have there. Doesn’t aptitude –without-recommends install ~t^standard$ ~t^desktop$ ~t^kde-desktop$ install a bit more then simply installing the required packages for a minimal install? This blog post was made more in the beginning when I started using linux. This blog post is anywasy out dated and I don’t plan on updating it. I have been using Arch Linux for almost a year now. I currently run it on my home computer, laptop and work computer.

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