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I was curious, so I installed kde alongside gnome (which I use primarily, for the matter).
I am running arch linux, and I installed kde using yaourt, by the following command:

yaourt -Syua # update databases
yaourt -S kde --force # install kde itself

I installed everything yaourt suggested for kde, and I didn't get any errors.
So, I rebooted the computer, selected kde plasma in the gdm environment select menu. I entered the password and gdm accepted it.

However, when gdm starts kde, I see a wallpaper with a white transparent rectangle with a picture of a hard disk on the left. The mouse is visible and I can move it, but that's it. Nothing happens after that.

Is this normal or do I have to re-install kde ?

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This is not normal, it is clearly a KDE configuration problem. Unfortunately, most linux distributions doesn't works a lot configuring its KDE, practically that are only compiling that and uploading into their package archive without any deeper test. It is not in their main scope. :-(

Although in most cases you can easy handle such problems. KDE is only a collection of a lot of X programs, mainly the kwin window manager and the tray application, and yet a lot of them. They all are using the Qt toolkit which is a very powerful and interesting technology. Fortunately, we have also a trivial script which starts all of the needed tools to a KDE session from a command line. This is named as startkde. It is wasn't started by your gdm (probably it wasn't configured properly), you can do this by hand.

Open a character console with the same user as your X user (alt/ctrl/f1), and enter a DISPLAY=:0 startkde & command. This startkde initiates the normal KDE boot sequence from command line.

If it further doesn't work, I am waiting your comments. If it works and now you want to automatize that, I am waiting your next question.


If there are problems, there is a simpler way if you start only kwin instead of startkde. It will open only the window manager, not a whole session, but it will maybe work.


Alternatively, you could try another distribution with real KDE support (I suggest OpenSUSE or Mint).

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KDE works great for me. Using Arch for years. Im not familiar with yaourt anymore. In case try re-installing with pacman directly. $sudo pacman -Syyu kde and read in the wiki on kde. If your using gdm it should just work. Might have a minor tweak somewhere. Also read up on .xinitrc it should work fine. Perhaps after adjusting .xinitrc and using $startx from login terminal you'll have better luck. KDE and Arch are a great combo

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