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This is the community page for KDE Connect. Feel free to edit it! It should contain useful and up-to-date resources for both users and developers.

What is KDE Connect?

KDE Connect is a project that enables all your devices to communicate with each other. Here are a few things KDE Connect can do:

  • Receive your phone notifications on your desktop computer and reply to messages
  • Control music playing on your desktop from your phone
  • Use your phone as a remote control for your desktop
  • Run predefined commands on your PC from connected devices. See the list of example commands for more details.
  • Check your phones battery level from the desktop
  • Ring your phone to help finding it
  • Share files and links between devices
  • Browse your phone from the desktop
  • Control the desktop's volume from the phone


To achieve this, KDE Connect:

  • implements a secure communication protocol over the network, and allows any developer to create plugins on top of it.
  • Has a component that you install on your desktop.
  • Has a KDE Connect client app you run on your phone.


This video from 2013 demonstrates some other cool features: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkCFngNmsh0

More info at Albert Vaka's or Nico's blog.

Installation and Usage

Please see the KDE Connect Userbase page for detailed information on the different ways KDE Connect can be installed and used.

Building KDE Connect

If you want to build KDE Connect yourself, you'll first need to grab the code from git.

git clone https://invent.kde.org/kde/kdeconnect-kde.git

Note: if you plan to contribute code to KDE Connect, please follow the steps in KDEConnect#Setting_up_KDE_Connect_Repository_for_Development

Linux Desktop

KDE Connect uses cmake as a build system, which will tell you if you are missing any dependencies. On some distros you will need to install some development packages. Sometimes you will need to get the dependencies by yourself because the development branch of KDE Connect often uses new libraries not included in distro repositories, in which case you can build those yourself or use kdesrc-build. Helpfully, some package managers have a command which will automatically fetch the dependencies for you:

For Ubuntu

you can go in to /etc/apt/source.list and enable the source repositories to install all build-dependencies.

# apt update
# apt-get build-dep kdeconnect

For openSUSE

you can use

# zypper si -d kdeconnect-kde

Be sure to uninstall the package-provided version of kdeconnect before continuing, otherwise, you will end up in a confusing situation where some plugins are being provided by the system-installed version and others are coming from your new build.

Installing using prefix.sh

For development, it is recommended to install to your home directory using prefix.sh. This gives a faster development cycle and avoids clobbering your system-installed version with a potentially unstable WIP version.

These steps are roughly the same for any KDE project:

To configure use

cd kdeconnect-kde
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=~/kde-prefix ..

To build use

make -j8 install

To run the daemon, do

source build/prefix.sh
killall kdeconnectd; ~/kde-prefix/lib64/libexec/kdeconnectd

Other executables, such as the SMS app or the settings app, are on the path provided by prefix.sh, and can be found in ~/kde-prefix/bin

Installing to the System

If you want to use the new version of KDE Connect daily, you can install it to the system. This is not recommended for day-to-day development since it requires sudo access.

To configure use

cd kdeconnect-kde
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr ..

To build use

make
sudo make install

Note that this will override the KDE Connect provided by your distro

If you intend to develop KDE Connect or experience a crash and are asked to give a backtrace, build KDE Connect with debugging symbols:

cmake -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=/usr -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug ..

If you install KDE Connect in a custom location, you'll need to run kdeconnectd manually, since DBus doesn't know about it.

For instructions on how to integrate the build with KDevelop, check out this blog post.

Android

You can find the code on Invent. It's easiest to use Android Studio to build the app and install it to your phone, although it can be done on the command line using gradle.

Running KDE Connect in the emulator is possible, but needs an advanced networking setup. See the guide posted for the Android_Emulator

Windows

KDE Connect works quite well on Windows, with many features ported. See here for build instructions

MacOS

KDE Connect works fairly well on macOS. But there is no official release for it yet. See here for build instructions.

You can get the Nightly Build from the Binary Factory

Mobile-Friendly QML App

The kdeconnect-app component of the desktop version is suitable for mobile Linux environments, too.

Desktop SMS Messaging App

KDE Connect has an SMS messaging app which lets you type and view SMS messages from your computer. It supports basic features and works correctly most of the time. If you are interested in trying or developing it, you can build it from source. It is automatically built as part of the rest of KDE Connect and is output as 'kdeconnect-sms'.

Development

KDE Connect is a perfect project to start contributing to KDE. You'll need a basic understanding of programming concepts, the rest can be learned by doing. Experience with Android or Qt is beneficial, but not needed.

We have a group to discuss development. You can access it from Telegram, IRC (#kdeconnect) or matrix.org (#freenode_#kdeconnect:matrix.org). Feel free to ask any development-related questions there. We also have a mailing list.

All patches are submitted on Gitlab. The Android repository is here and the C++ Desktop repository is here. Be sure to select the most relevant template. You don't need to assign any reviewers, the developers are subscribed to notifications. Should this be your first patch, it's good to know that it might take some time before your patch is reviewed (we all work on KDE Connect in our free time), and you'll probably have to make some changes a couple of times. That's not because you're new, that's what happens for all reviews (even for long-time contributors).

There are a couple of tasks marked as Junior Jobs on our workboard. Those have some extra information on how to approach them that help you get started.

Setting up KDE Connect Repository for Development

KDE Connect is actually composed of two repositories; one for the Android implementation and one for the C++ (Desktop) implementation. You can have a local clone of both on your computer and the steps to set them up are the same. For these directions, I will use the C++ repository, but if you want the Android repository, just replace every instance of 'kdeconnect-kde' with 'kdeconnect-android'

  1. Fork the repository
    • With your web browser, open the Web GUI to KDE Connect's GitLab: https://invent.kde.org/kde/kdeconnect-kde
    • If you are not already, sign in with your KDE identity by clicking the "Sign In" button in the top left
    • Click the "Fork" button, near the top right
    • Wait for the forking to complete
  2. Clone your fork
    • Open your new fork in the GitLab web GUI
    • Click the "Clone" button in the top right
    • Select the method of cloning
      • I recommend SSH. This will require you add an SSH public key to your KDE GitLab account.
      • An HTTPS clone will require you to log in with your KDE Identity credentials to push changes.
    • In the folder you want to clone, do 'git clone <cloning path from above>'

You are all set up! See the optional steps for ways to make life easier.

Set up second remote (Optional)

Having a second remote allows you to have your local 'master' branch track the upstream kdeconnect-kde master branch, so you can easily get all the latest changes.

These steps assume you are using command-line git. If you are using a GUI tool, the steps will be different, but the ideas will be the same.

  1. On the command line, change to your local repository clone
  2. Execute:
# Note that we use HTTPS cloning here so that you don't need a verified account to pull changes!
git remote add upstream https://invent.kde.org/kde/kdeconnect-kde.git
git fetch upstream
git checkout -b upstream-master --track upstream/master
  1. Now whenever there are new changes upstream, simply pull the upstream-master branch, then merge or rebase your local branches onto those changes!

Development tips

Restarting the daemon

Whenever you do a change to KDE Connect you need to restart the daemon for the change to take effect.

killall kdeconnectd
build/bin/kdeconnectd

DBus inspection

The daemon communicates with various UI components (Plasmoid, CLI, Indicator etc.) over DBus. QDbusViewer allows inspecting the DBus interface provided by the daemon which can be incredibly useful for debugging.

Running KDE Connect on an emulator

How to setup running KDE Connect on an emulator is described here Android_Emulator


This page was last edited on 1 March 2020, at 13:31. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.