The latest version of Debian (10) stable packages version 5.14.5 of KDE Plasma which is ca. 1.5 years behind the latest release. I'd like to use a newer version which only is a few months behind the latest release because I'd like to use new features and bug-fixes.

I don't want to switch to another distro that uses a newer or the latest version of the KDE grahpical workspace environment (and other KDE software): I really like Debian - mainly its thorough dedication to entirely free software, stability, security and large user-base. In the long run I'd prefer if basically all improvements were to be made to Debian itself instead of other distros. Furthermore, I'm asking about Debian stable because I'd like the OS to be as secure and stable as possible and therefore not use or recommend anybody to use Debian testing by-default (stable should probably remain the default variant to use for most) instead. Lastly, I'd like to not create a "FrankenDebian" as described here.

I think having a very outdated version of KDE Plasma (along with some other major KDE software) is one of the main disadvantages of Debian which is why I consider this an important issue.

It might also be relevant that the bug-fixes would be consistent with the goal of stability of Debian stable - so a more recent version often means better stability (or at least it could mean that).

Here somebody used KDE/Plasma 5.18 in Debian.

What would be needed by Debian to package newer version of KDE Plasma?
More testing via more users more quickly and more thoroughly testing the latest version of KDE Plasma in Debian? More devs reviewing code and routine tests of code? Something else?

If it would be better or easier to implement an option for users of Debian stable to use more recent versions of the KDE graphical workspace environment what would be a way to implement such a thing? For example what would be needed by Debian to add a new option to the installer that allows users to choose having a newer version within Debian stable after choosing KDE to be their desktop environment and to allow upgrading to a newer version?

1 Answer 1


What would be needed by Debian to package newer version of KDE Plasma?

In the context of a given release, this would require a fundamental change to the stable update rules. Packages are only upgraded in stable if the upgrade fixes a bug qualified with a severity at least “important” (“a bug which has a major effect on the usability of a package, without rendering it completely unusable to everyone”), and if the changes in the upgrade are minimal. Upgrading KDE Plasma wholesale doesn’t qualify.

If it would be better or easier to implement an option for users of Debian stable to use more recent versions of the KDE graphical workspace environment what would be a way to implement such a thing?

Technically, it would be possible to upload a newer version of KDE Plasma to the Debian 11 backports; currently that would be 5.25.4 since that’s what’s in testing. Given the number of packages involved, at least if you want to provide the full KDE package set, that would represent a considerable amount of work.

I don’t think there’s any other simple way to provide an updated desktop environment; Flatpak hardly seems appropriate here, nor does running a separate container for the desktop environment...

  • Is there a (another) platform where such a change (an exception to the rule for the desktop environment KDE) could be proposed? Or would things like this be discussed in mailing-lists? Maybe it could be upgraded in a point release if certain criteria is met. And aren't there more options than backports? For instance, what about adding a new, officially-maintained, repository like "non-free" and "contrib" or like the one Preining set up (I added a link to the question)?
    – mYnDstrEAm
    May 6, 2020 at 15:13
  • Another platform, within Debian? Not that I can think of. Things like this would indeed be discussed in the Debian mailing-lists. The point-release criteria are well-defined, see the second link in my answer; KDE Plasma upgrades don’t meet them (except perhaps Plasma point-releases). I don’t think there would be any practical difference between a new “officially-maintained” repository and the existing backports repository; backports are officially-maintained, or at least maintained by official Debian project members. May 6, 2020 at 15:28
  • As far as Norbert’s repo, it’s a shame he didn’t join the KDE team instead (and there might be good reasons he didn’t) to update Plasma in unstable. His repo is only for testing/unstable so it won’t help you... May 6, 2020 at 15:29
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    The criteria don’t need to be changed to allow an updated Plasma in the backports repo, and using the backports repo doesn’t produce a FrankenDebian — backports are designed to be a safe source of packages for stable. If you want the latest Plasma, get it updated in unstable, wait for it to migrate to testing, then backport it — no exceptions needed, no FrankenDebian, and everyone benefits. I’m pretty sure this is also the approach which requires the least amount of work globally. May 8, 2020 at 13:44
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    It’s technically possible, you could add the testing repositories and set things up so that the stable repositories are preferred. However, for the kernel that’s not necessary because testing kernels are regularly made available in stable backports, and as far as KDE is concerned, upgrading to the testing KDE would as you say create too many dependency problems — you’d end up upgrading quite a lot of packages (libraries in particular, notably libc6) to their testing versions. Aug 19, 2022 at 11:53

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