Installing KDE On Linux Mint Cinnamon Base

Mike Turcotte-McCusker
Oct 19, 2021
Linux, Linux Mint

If you’re like me and really enjoy using the KDE Plasma desktop environment, especially as it’s become very lightweight over the last year or two compared to the past where it was known as very heavy on resources, you are probably disappointed that Linux Mint does not offer a KDE version of its popular Ubuntu-based distribution. However, installing KDE is very easily accomplished, and doesn’t take very long.

For this, I started by installing Linux Mint 20.02 “Uma” Cinnamon edition, which is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. However, as a mini-side tutorial, I also want to make note that my installation did not go without any hiccups. I use a GTX 1660 Super for my GPU, and the Nouveau open-source driver for NVIDIA hardware has given me issues on more than one occasion, such as discussed in my article about OpenSUSE Leap. To fix this, I followed the same process as in that article to get the machine to boot graphically, and then I installed the proprietary driver from the Driver Manager in Linux Mint. After that, I faced no further driver issues regarding my GPU.

Once the system was fully installed and functioning properly, I updated my system to ensure everything was at the latest versions before doing any changes. This can be done via the Update Manager graphical tool, or by using the following command-line entries:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

Finally, we can start the process of installing KDE. As previously mentioned, Linux Mint 20.02 is based on Ubuntu 20.04, so we can use packages from the Kubuntu repositories to install KDE into our Linux Mint system. First, we need to add the Kubuntu backports repository:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports

Press ENTER when prompted.

Then, enter the following commands:

  1. sudo apt update
  2. sudo apt install kde-plasma-desktop

During the installation process you are asked which display manager you wish to use going forward, LightDM or SDDM. LightDM is what came with Cinnamon, SDDM is what is packaged with KDE, however, either one will work. I prefer LightDM personally, but you are free to choose your preference. The simple explanation about what a display manager is, would be the login screen you reach upon starting your system, that begins your session.

If your installation completed without issue, reboot your PC, then select Plasma at the login screen to boot into your new KDE Linux Mint.

It should be noted that if you run into issues after doing this, going to the Linux Mint support centers such as forums or IRC channel is not advised, as you are running a setup not officially supported by the Linux Mint team; instead the Ubuntu forums / Kubuntu forums or IRC channels would likely become a better support unit for you, when it comes to KDE related issues. The official KDE support page also has numerous areas you can get support for KDE specific issues.

Now you

Would you use KDE with Linux Mint, or would you prefer to use Kubuntu, KDE Neon, or other Ubuntu based distributions with KDE? Let us know!

Installing KDE On Linux Mint Cinnamon Base
Article Name
Installing KDE On Linux Mint Cinnamon Base
Installing KDE on a Linux Mint Cinnamon system.

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. ineuw said on March 7, 2022 at 5:22 am

    Thanks for providing a clear and simple installation guide. It works as intended on Linux Mint Cinnamon 20.3

  2. Egil Repstad said on October 24, 2021 at 4:27 pm
  3. Gunnar said on October 21, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    I like both Cinnamon and Plasma. Unfortunately, in Plasma I get bugs almost any time I use it. Over months I grabbed several Plasma distros and found bugs even on the first launch. I don’t really like default icons, the Breeze theme and the Settings apo, but Plasma is very promising anyway. IMHO Cinnamon definitely looks better, is more stable and has the best Settings app in the Linux world, it is my environment of choice. Nemo, its file explorer is a powerful tool, nearly as good as Dolphin, and in some areas even better. Plasma has more developers, though. In short, both flavors are enjoyable.

  4. Shmuel said on October 21, 2021 at 10:54 am

    I have used KDE on distros ranging from MX Linux 19 to Arch. In my experience, the old versions of KDE, such as those on MX Linux 19 and Kubuntu 20.04 LTS, run better and are less buggy than what is on Kubuntu 21.04 and Arch.

    I would not install KDE on Mint because it is not supported and is bound to develop issues as time goes on.

  5. Mo said on October 21, 2021 at 4:20 am

    Kubuntu user here, and love KDE Plasma. Such a great desktop environment. And very light on resources too.

  6. VioletMoon said on October 20, 2021 at 8:03 pm

    It’s fine if folks want to install a non-supported interface; Linux is relatively good when it comes to customization. But . . . for me, it’s a lot like installing Windows 11 on a non-supported device. At some point, there will be a major problem, and on production machines most offices can’t afford that kind of down time.

    If someone wants a KDE environment, pick a KDE distro: Manjaro, Fedora, SUSE–?

  7. Asdruval said on October 20, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    No one is better than xfce 4

  8. Anonymous said on October 19, 2021 at 11:00 pm

    I find KDE to be ugly. Cinnamon much better.

    1. Bateman said on October 20, 2021 at 6:56 am

      Yeah, and Ford Sierra is probably also the most beautiful car ever made? Linux Mint is tailor-made for you, enjoy.

      1. Anonymous said on October 22, 2021 at 1:28 am

        Even Xfce 4 looks better than childish looking KDE.

  9. Intrepid Instigator said on October 19, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    Is Aaron Seigo still lording over KDE development?
    When this Jag-off–self important dictator–(Seigo) welded the cashew spiting out M&M candies onto the desktop, I left KDE and never looked back.
    Perhaps if KDE is now under more sane leadership and has been made lighter and more usefull, then it’s time to check out KDE again…

  10. duke said on October 19, 2021 at 4:34 pm

    KDE ? Run Neon and be done with it

  11. Anonymous said on October 19, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Rockin’ with KDE Plasma on openSUSE Tumbleweed and lovin’ it. Mint WAS great because of the hardware and codex support out of the box, but insisting on Cinnamon, well, not cool

  12. Plasmatics said on October 19, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    Any distro that doesn’t come with the latest KDE Plasma by default is to be avoided. Plasma development is very fast and fixes/tweaks massive amounts of things every week, things that will never ever be backported. None of the developers use Kubuntu or other ancient things, and they have themselves stated that “stable” Plasma is a downright lie these days. Stable Plasma is old and superbuggy Plasma, period. Choose KDE Fedora or OpenSUSE TW. KDE Neon has an old ubuntu base so that will not be ideal, it will go bellyup sooner or later guaranteed, KaOS is for all things KDE which may not be everybodys cup of tea. Manjaro.. don’t get me started..their reputation is better than they deserve, at least when it comes to KDE. So yeah, don’t listen to me, be stubborn and do what you want and install your own choice of distro with its own implemention of Plasma, then get frustrated when it goes bonkers. Post lots of angry messages everywhere, maybe even make a youtube video about how S**T KDE Plasma is and you don’t know why people want to use this unstable garbage..aaaand then try Fedora or OpenSUSE and feel dumb.
    Oh I forgot: this article, with KDE on top of Mint, is a very bad idea. Fun for testing but that’s it.

    1. Yet Another Jason said on October 22, 2021 at 6:33 pm

      I’ve been running KDE Neon for two years, taken Plasma from 5.17 to 5.23, and have not encountered the slightest stability problem from the OS itself – not ever. Problems are likely to happen because of sketchy hardware drivers (Nvidia and Linux do not coexist well) or sketchy third-party software, which is true of any distro.

      My problem with KDE is that they don’t just give me bug fixes and major new features. No, they fudge around with the colour of a button or the size of the margins around a popup or they change a checkbox to a radio button, apparently for no better reason than “because felt like it”. There’s no reason to do things like this in a mature desktop environment. Why not hold off until Plasma 6? Leave what works and focus on bugs.

      But again, as to stability, Neon for me has been at least as stable as my old Linux Mint Xfce installation a few years ago. The problem I described about “fudging around” will be true in any rolling or semi-rolling distro using KDE. Only something stagnant like Kubuntu would save people from that.

  13. spook said on October 19, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    I left Mint when they dropped the KDE distro and moved to Debian. I find Debian more stable after updates over Mint and therefore a better fit for me.

  14. Paul(us) said on October 19, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    Back in 2017-2018 when was already discussing KDE 5 and because of those articles I was already considering installing KDE.
    Right now I think I will choose for Mint and KDE because the last few years I am thinking less is more.
    So no bloated o.s. for me any more right now and Mint in the future.

    By the way really great that it seems that is picking up Linux articles again.
    Hopefully it stays this way.

    This because how many android articles a person can read.
    Maybe not less Android but much more linux and unix please!

  15. Dumbledalf said on October 19, 2021 at 8:17 am

    I’m surprised Mint doesn’t support a KDE version of the distro by default. Before Gnome 3, I really loved Gnome 2.9 and KDE seemed unappealing to me, now the tables have turned and I don’t really like Gnome, Cinnamon or Mate and KDE seems really appealing.

    1. ryuk said on October 19, 2021 at 12:06 pm

      Here’s the explanation…

      “In continuation with what’s been done in the past, Linux Mint 18.3 will feature a KDE edition, but it will be the last release to do so.

      I would like to thank Kubuntu for the amazing work they have done. The quality of Plasma 5 in Xenial made backports a necessity. The rapid pace of development upstream from the KDE project made this very challenging, yet they managed to provide a stable flow of updates for us and we were able to ship good KDE editions thanks to that. I don’t think this would have been possible without them.

      KDE is a fantastic environment but it’s also a different world, one which evolves away from us and away from everything we focus on. Their apps, their ecosystem and the QT toolkit which is central there have very little in common with what we’re working on.

      We’re not just shipping releases and distributing upstream software. We’re a product distribution and we see ourselves as a complete desktop operating system. We like to integrate solutions, develop what’s missing, adapt what’s not fitting perfectly, and we do a great deal of that not only around our own Cinnamon desktop environment but also thanks to cross-DE frameworks we put in place to support similar environments, such as MATE and Xfce.

      When we work on tools like Xed, Blueberry, Mintlocale, the Slick Greeter, we’re developing features which benefit these 3 desktops, but unfortunately not KDE.

      Users of the KDE edition represent a portion of our user base. I know from their feedback that they really enjoy it. They will be able to install KDE on top of Linux Mint 19 of course and I’m sure the Kubuntu PPA will continue to be available. They will be able to port Mint software to Kubuntu itself also, or they might want to trade a bit of stability away and move to to a bleeding edge distribution such as Arch to follow upstream KDE more closely.

      Our own mission isn’t to diversify as much as possible in an effort to attract a bigger chunk of the Linux market, and it’s with a bit of sadness that we’re letting this edition go. We focus on things we do well and we love doing to get better and better at doing them. KDE is amazing but it’s not what we want to focus on.

      With Linux Mint 18.3, we’ll release one more KDE edition. I wanted this announcement to come before the release. It will hurt its popularity of course, but I wanted to give users time, either to react right now or to take their time, upgrade and adapt to this later on. I’m sure this edition will be missed and I hope its users understand our decision.”

      1. Dumbledalf said on October 19, 2021 at 2:16 pm

        Hmm, I understand now, thanks. I would have probably known that if I used Linux, but I am not.

        Up until now I did not know that different DEs have different release cycles, especially for KDE.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.