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Installing KDE software on Mac OSX

KDE does not currently provide binary downloads for Mac OSX. Instead you need to build KDE software 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 December 2012 MacPorts is currently recommended as it is the most up-to-date.

Installing using MacPorts

As of April 2014, MacPorts has KDE SC 4.12.4, and KDE 3.5.10. 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.

Additional information to KDE software in Macports

Installing using Fink

As of August 2014, the latest available and supported version is KDE SC 4.4.1.

The Fink packages allow you to install KDE SC 4 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 software 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.

Installing using Homebrew

As of Dec 19th 2012, Homebrew recipes has been updated with KDE SC 4.9.4 and 4.9.95 packages url and sha1

I have not throughly tested since 4.8.0 but I had Amarok window to open and some bugs we're left.

If you want to help out. please fork and open PR against my repo. I will test some more soon.

Note that when a new KDE SC release comes out, most recipes can be updated automatically using my script

Calligra has a standalone homebrew tap which brings least kdelibs dependencies when installing calligra, here are the instructions to use it.

Installing KDevelop and Kate using Homebrew

You can tap this repository into your homebrew. It adds KDevelop and Kate packages (and all their dependencies). At of Oct 10th, 2013 the repository has only those two applications. More planned.

Please carefully follow installation instructions.

Installing KDE Frameworks 5 using Homebrew

You can tap this repository into your homebrew. It adds KDE Frameworks 5 packages (and all their dependencies) and some applications that already make use of them (e.g. Kate and Kwrite). As of March 28th, 2014 the repository still is experimental as the developer tries to get them into a working state. Hints and patches are welcome.

Please carefully follow installation instructions.

Application Installers

Some KDE applications provide a standalone installer, usually in a Qt only mode and missing some KDE software 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 applications you need to perform a couple of steps once only:

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.

Continuous Integration

In the Frameworks section of this wiki you find more information about Continuous Integration on Mac and other systems.

Old Website

Outdated information (from June 2009) is available on archives of the website at

Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.