KDE on Mac OSX

This is the community page for the KDE on Mac team. It is also a stand-in for the website which is currently very outdated and so has been taken offline.

Installing KDE on Mac OSX

KDE does not currently provide binary downloads for Mac OSX. Instead you need to build KDE for yourself from source. The easiest way to do this is to use one of the Mac build systems which will automatically resolve all the dependencies for you. Unfortunately, this can be a very long process, taking up to 2 or more days. As at 23 June 2011 MacPorts is currently recommended as it is the most up-to-date.

Installing using MacPorts

As at 23 June 2011, MacPorts has KDE 4.6.4 and KDE 3.5.10 available for installation. Note that KDE3 is unsupported by both KDE and MacPorts.

Instructions are provided on TechBase for installing a development environment using MacPorts. If you want a user installation then just skip the final 'Configure your KDE development environment' section.

Installing using Fink

As at 23 June 2011, Fink has KDE 4.4.1 and KDE 3.5.10 available for installation. Note that KDE3 is unsupported by both KDE and Fink.

The Fink packages allow you to install KDE4 as either Qt/X11 or Qt/Mac (native) packages by selecting either packages ending in "-x11" or "-mac", for example "kdebase4-x11" and "kdebase4-mac".

Additionally, the Fink packages allow the running of the Plasma desktop in X11 mode. Just install "kdebase4-workspace-x11" to install it.

The Fink KDE packages will be installed in /sw/opt/kde4/x11 or /sw/opt/kde4/mac respectively. They also are able to start D-Bus for you as long as you run "/sw/bin/" normally, or when you open a terminal, if you have run the path setup script in the Fink installer.

Application Installers

Some KDE applications provide a standalone installer, usually in a Qt only mode and missing some KDE integration features.

Running KDE Applications

The applications should be run from the Finder or via Spotlight. See the MacPorts or Fink sections for where the applications will be installed.

Before running any KDE apps you need to perform a couple of steps once only (replace $USER with your username):

sudo chown -R $USER ~/Library/Preferences/KDE
sudo launchctl load  -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.freedesktop.dbus-system.plist

Sometimes, fails to run the post-install. If things are acting funny, try running these two commands in a terminal:

sudo launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchAgents/org.freedesktop.dbus-session.plist

Getting Help


  • #kde-mac

Mailing list:



TechBase Pages

Many of these TechBase pages are outdated, most of the content is no longer valid and should be moved to community and/or deleted. Please use with care.

Old Website

The old website can still be found in subversion

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