Setup the development environment

The development environment needed depends on the specific area of Plasma Mobile you want to contribute. There are three kinds of development environment:

  1. General Linux-based development environment

  2. Plasma Mobile emulated environment

  3. Mobile device running plasma mobile

For most tasks you will not need an actual mobile device running Plasma Mobile. In specific, the development environment needed for working on each task can be found in the description of each phabricator task.

General Linux-based development environment

When a mobile device is not needed, you may use your Linux distribution for development. In such a case, there are several options offered in order to set up the development environment.


Flatpak is a framework for distributing Linux applications. You may build a Plasma Mobile application that runs on top of the KDE Application Platform runtime, using the KDE Software Development Kit (the matching SDK of the platform runtime). For more information, please check the application development section.


The kdesrc-build command line tool downloads, manages, and builds KDE source code repositories. Following the relative instructions you can safely build and install KDE libraries and applications from source, without messing with the installation of your host system.

Plasma Mobile emulated environment

Get the installation image

At first, you have to download the Plasma Mobile installation image. This image is using the same packages as the Neon based reference rootfs, just compiled for amd64. We will use it to set up our development virtual machine but you may use it to test Plasma Mobile in a non-android intel tablet as well.

Install QEMU

To proceed to installing, QEMU is needed. QEMU is a free and open-source hosted hypervisor that performs hardware virtualization. We will also need Virgil 3D. Virgil is a project that allows the guest operating system to use the capabilities of the host GPU to accelerate 3D rendering. OpenGL support on the guest system -Plasma Mobile virtual machine- is required for executing Calamares, that will enable us to install Plasma Mobile.

Nevertheless, in some distributions QEMU is not packaged with Virgil 3D support. If your distribution provides such a qemu package just install QEMU using you distribution’s application store. If you are using KDE Neon or an Ubuntu derivative, since Virgil 3D is not enabled in the QEMU package of the Ubuntu repository, you can install the qemu-virgil snap package and connect to the kvm interface, executing the following commands:

sudo snap install qemu-virgil
sudo snap connect qemu-virgil:kvm

Create Virtual Machine

Now, we are going to create the Plasma Mobile virtual machine, running:

qemu-virgil.qemu-img create -f raw plamodisk 40G
qemu-virgil -enable-kvm -show-cursor -m 2048 -boot menu=on -cdrom /path/to/neon-pm-devedition-gitunstable-YYYYMMDD-HHMI-amd64.iso -device virtio-vga,virgl=on -display gtk,gl=on -boot order=d -drive file=plamodisk,format=raw

If you have no permission to access the KVM kernel module, you can execute:

sudo chmod 666 /dev/kvm

During booting, we suggest you to increase the window size of the QEMU window. If the resolution of your screen is low, some parts of the windows you open (e.g. Calamares) may be hidden. As a workaround, you can execute the below steps:

  • Select View > Grab Input, or just press Ctrl+Alt+G. Probably mouse pointer will not be displayed anymore in the guest system.

  • Holding Alt key, drag the window to show the invisible part

  • Press Ctrl+Alt+G again to display the mouse pointer

To start the installation process, we execute Konsole, select a user password and open Calamares running:

sudo -E calamares

Follow Calamares instructions to install our system.

  • Select your language

  • Select your time zone

  • Select your keyboard

  • Choose the default partitioning scheme

  • Create the system user

  • Validate your options

Then, installation process will start. When completed, shutdown your virtual machine.

Since installation has been completed, we no longer need the installation image. So, we will start our ready-to-use workstation executing:

qemu-virgil -device virtio-vga,virgl=on -display gtk,gl=on -m 2G -enable-kvm -boot order=d -drive file=plamodisk,format=raw

Plasma Mobile device environment

You may also run Plasma Mobile on an actual mobile device, either by installing postmarketOS or using Halium as hardware adaption layer.


PostmarketOS is a touch-optimized, pre-configured Alpine Linux-based distribution. Currently, postmarketOS has been ported to many devices. Ensure that your device belongs to the relative list and proceed to installation, following the installation instructions provided by postmarketOS team. When asked during installation, just select “plasma-mobile” as the user interface:

Available user interfaces (5):
* none: No graphical environment
* hildon: (X11) Lightweight GTK+2 UI (optimized for single-touch touchscreens)
* luna: (Wayland) webOS UI, ported from the LuneOS project (Not working yet)
* plasma-mobile: (Wayland) Mobile variant of KDE Plasma, optimized for touchscreen
* weston: (Wayland) Reference compositor (demo, not a phone interface)
* xfce4: (X11) Lightweight GTK+2 desktop (stylus recommended)
User interface [weston]: plasma-mobile


Halium provides the minimal android layer that allows a non-Android graphical environment to interact with the underlying Android kernel and access the hardware. Currently Halium has been ported to many devices. The Plasma Mobile team provides a Neon-based rootfs which can be used along with the Halium builds. This image is based on the dev-unstable branch of KDE Neon, and always ships the latest versions of KDE frameworks, kwin and Plasma Mobile.


If you want to install Plasma Mobile on Nexus 5X, please follow the installation guide.

To run Plasma Mobile using Halium as hardware adaption layer: