Install KDE Plasma 5 on Arch Linux

K Desktop Environment (KDE) Plasma 5 is a free, user-friendly and modernized desktop environment, with a clean user interface based on QT5 GUI Toolkit with compositing window manager (compositor) based on OpenGL & OpenGL ES, which significantly improve performance with smoother and stunning graphics.

KDE includes over a hundred base applications which help the user to operate and control the desktop more flexible and effortless, the base applications mostly based on QT Application Framework.

Check the system for updates

Check the system for updates and install available updates.
pacman -Syu

Install KDE Plasma 5

Install the X Window server for the graphical environment display.
pacman -S xorg xorg-xinit
Install the KDE Frameworks 5 for libraries and software frameworks.
pacman -S kf5 kf5-aids
Install the K Desktop environment 5 Plasma including the base applications.
pacman -S plasma kdebase kdegraphics-ksnapshot gwenview
Remove the Plasma Media Center if exist.
pacman -R plasma-mediacenter
Install the ttf-freefont it includes Freefont Serif, Sans, and Mono Truetype fonts, without these fonts, KDE will display black screen with only a mouse cursor*.
pacman -S ttf-freefont
Install the Display Manager (Login Manager) for starting X (KDE 5 Plasma) sessions at the end of the boot process, choose display manager such as sddm.
pacman -S sddm sddm-kcm
systemctl enable sddm
Configure Simple Desktop Display Manager (sddm) to use breeze themes (optional), edit the configuration using a text editor such as nano.
nano /etc/sddm.conf
Then add or append following configuration to sddm.conf
# Current theme name 
# Cursor theme 

Install Essentials Packages

Install the GTK (GIMP Toolkit) 2 and 3, and the GNOME Desktop themes and icon for GTK (GIMP Toolkit) application themes support.
pacman -S gtk-engines gtk2 gtk3 gnome-themes-standard gnome-icon-theme
Install the NTP (Network Time Protocol) for online date and time synchronization*
pacman -S ntp
systemctl enable ntpd
Install the NetworkManager and DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) daemon to enable the network (including WLAN)
pacman -S networkmanager net-tools
systemctl enable NetworkManager dhcpcd
Install the essentials packages to enable audio support on KDE Plasma 5*
pacman -S alsa-utils pulseaudio pulseaudio-alsa libcanberra-pulse libcanberra-gstreamer jack2-dbus
Install sudo to allows non-root users to run administrative applications with the root privileges such as superuser
pacman -S sudo

Create a new user

Create a new user accounts for authentication and login.
useradd -c "Full Name" -d /home/username/ -m username
Create or change user accounts password
passwd username
To allows the new user to access root privileges from sudo, add the new user to sudo configuration (sudoers)
nano /etc/sudoers
Add the username under root at user privilege specification's section
## User privilege specification 
root ALL=(ALL) ALL 
username ALL=(ALL) ALL
After the above steps completed, reboot the system, then the display manager will show graphical login manager to the K Desktop Environment 5 Plasma sessions.
sudo reboot

Tips and hints

Optimize the Compositor

Go to K > Compositor
Rendering backend: OpenGL 3.1
OpenGL interface: EGL
Tearing prevention ("vsync"): Full screen repaints or Re-use screen content
Click Apply and Reboot if necessary If the desktop display shows artifact or glitch, try to reboot or re-check the setting

Date and Time automatic synchronization

If you've already installed NTP and enable it then the date and time already synchronized automatically otherwise try below steps Go to K > Date & Time > Time Zone
  1. Select your time zone
  2. Click Apply
If above steps doesn't work or you receive an error, try below steps Go to K > Date & Time > Formats
Region: United Kingdom
Time: United Kingdom - UK English (EN_GB)
Go to K > Date & Time > Date & Time
Set date and time automatically (*)
Click Apply and Reboot if necessary

Kdesu or K Authorization using current user instead of root

Create or edit the file using a text editor such as nano:
nano ~/.kde4/share/config/kdesurc

Install Thunar Archive Manager

sudo pacman -S ark p7zip zip unzip unrar wxgtk

Improve Font Rendering on KDE5

It is recommended to enable no-bitmaps to improve the font rendering:
sudo ln -s /etc/fonts/conf.avail/70-no-bitmaps.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d
Go to K > Fonts > Use Antialiasing > Enabled > Configure
Sub-pixel rendering type: RGB
Hinting style: Medium
Click Apply and Reboot if neccesarry If above steps doesn't affect to font rendering, try to install the necessary font

Improve GNOME Application Style

Go to K > System Settings >  Application Style > Gnome Application Style (GTK)
Select a GTK2 Theme: Adwaita
Select a GTK3 Theme: Adwaita
Click Apply and Reboot if neccessary



dmesg - view the kernel log messages
journalctl -xe - view the systemctl log journal
ALT+CTRL F1 - To add or switch to tty1 sessions
ALT+CTRL F2 - To add or switch to tty2 sessions

Shadow.service failed to verify integrity of password and group files (KDM)

Make a backup of /etc/passwd, /etc/group, and /etc/shadow then edit the files using a text editor such as nano:
sudo nano /etc/passwd /etc/group /etc/shadow
Then delete kdm line e.g. (kdm:x:991:991:kdm) (kdm:!:16501::::::) Verify the integrity of password files using pwck and attempt to remove if there one or more bad password entries:
sudo pwck
If asked for confirmation, type "y" to accept to remove bad password entries Verify the integrity of group files using grpck and attempt to remove if there one or more bad group entries:
sudo grpck
If asked for confirmation, type "y" to accept to remove bad group entries Then reboot the computer, if there are issue occurred after run above command try to restore the files to solve the issue Recommended: Remove the backup file if there are no issue occurred.

Could not write on NTFS Filesystem

At default Arch Linux doesn't have support to read or write for NTFS Filesystem to add support for NTFS Filesystem install the ntfs-3g  packages:
sudo pacman -S ntfs-3g

See also

  1. KDE - New Plasma brings a cleaner interface
  2. KDE Plasma 5 section - Arch Wiki
  3. Arch Linux - Package Library
  4. Sudo - ArchWiki
  5. [Solved] shadow.service fails - Arch Linux Forums
  6. Image captured from KDE5 Plasma splash screen