[kde-linux] Install KDE themes not as superuser

Kevin Krammer kevin.krammer at gmx.at
Sat Sep 6 12:28:08 UTC 2008

On Saturday 06 September 2008, Gowtham M wrote:
> Hello,
> Recently, the desktop at my workplace was updated to KDE 3.3; it appears
> that themes for KDE 3.2+
> need to be compiled first and are required to be installed in /usr.
> Unfortunately, I do not
> have superuser privileges. Is there any alternative way where I can install
> these themes
> in ~/.kde or somewhere and make them work?

It might be possible that the upgrade procedure did just not include the 
package containing the style plugins and could potentially be easily added to 
the installation.

Compiling also requires at least some KDE developent file such as headers and 
build time dependencies and if they are not installed you might end up with 
installing quite a lot in your home directory (at least transitional until 
you have everything built).

If there is really no way the sysadmin can upgrade the styles as well, you can 
install such plugins into your .kde, more precisely into any directory listed 
by the following command

% kde-config --path module

and using a special "plugins/styles" subdirectory there.

For example if the output is like this

KDE will look for style plugins in
/home/kevin/.kde/lib/kde3/plugins/styles and /usr/lib/kde3/plugins/styles

(actually this list can be expanded using the KDE environment expander 

> Earlier, in KDE 3.1 themes did not contain compilable code and it used to
> work by simply pointing
> the theme manager to the theme file.

There is a difference between themes and styles.
Widget styles as well as window decorations have always been compiled code, 
i.e. plugins, while themes are basically sets of configuration options such 
as colors, name of icon theme, name of widget style, etc.

If a theme references a style and it is available in the system, the theme 
will either just activate it and maybe additionally reconfigure it, so 
changing the theme does not look like requiring anything special.

Kevin Krammer, KDE developer, xdg-utils developer
KDE user support, developer mentoring
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