KDE ports on FreeBSD 12 (amd64)

FreeBSD 12 was released last week. I’m in the process of rebuilding my main workstation to all-flash (which means backups, disentangling ZFS pools, etc. etc.) and in the meantime installed 12-R to an older i3 I had lying around. KDE Applications 18.12 were released last thursday. Those are in ports, but haven’t made it around to the official packages yet. So here are some notes on almost-current KDE on almost-current FreeBSD:

Installing modern KDE: from a freshly installed 12-R system, getting to a KDE Plasma desktop is a matter of installing two metapackages: pkg install xorg kde5 . That will leave you in a state where you need to link .xinitrc to startkde .. rather old-school. For purposes of having a pleasant setup, pkg install falkon quassel sddm as well.

Graphics configuration: with FreeBSD 12, the Intel on-board graphics drivers have synced up with Linux KMS. Since I’m running an Intel box with iGPU, I installed package drm-kmod and drm-fbsd12.0-kmod, and added the kernel module (as instructed by the pkg-message):

sysrc kld_list+="/boot/modules/i915kms.ko"

Configuring KDE packages: Plasma (modern desktops in general) want to have DBus running, so enable it: sysrc dbus_enable=YES. If you want SDDM, enable it too: sysrc sddm_enable=YES. The invocations of sysrc can be combined, it’s smart enough.

And .. that’s it! Updates (for KDE Applications 18.12) are a pkg upgrade away.

There are a couple of tweaks I’ve left out: SDDM will complain about HAL not being started; I need to sort out what that means, effectively, for us. And both Falkon and Akonadi want larger local socket buffers than the default. That requires sysctl.conf changes and I’m not sure they are actually needed on 12-R. So it’s more a matter of “these legacy tweaks might still be necessary, I’m ignoring them to find out if they are actually necessary.”

2 thoughts on “KDE ports on FreeBSD 12 (amd64)

  1. Thank you very much for this article. I have been having trouble with the recent versions of FreeBSD. I would have to type ‘startx’ to get X and KDE to come up. Also the exit graphic didn’t have the ‘reboot’ and ‘shutdown’ option available.

    Your suggestion to install SDDM, Falkon and quassel and adding ‘sddm_enable=”YES” to /etc/rc.conf corrected all of my problems.

    Again, thank you for your help. I appreciate it.

    Gene Lake

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