How to install KDE 4 in OS X

This (brief) tutorial is by no means the ‘only’ way to install KDE 4 in OS X. However, it’s probably the easiest. Keep reading for a step-by-step walkthrough, and a couple of disclaimers.

kde 4 on os x
KDE apps on an OS X desktop


There are a few things I should mention up front. They are:

  1. The gentleman who created these packages warns you: “They may not work. They may not even install. We are not responsible for any problems or system problems this may cause.”
  2. This is an alpha release – even if you get parts of it working, it’s pretty unlikely you’ll get all of it working.
  3. It’s a 1.5GB bittorrent download for the full package. A full installation will take up 12-13GB of space on your drive. That’s not a type-o. With that said, you can customize the installation not to include packages you’ll never use, which will result in less disk space being used. You can also use Monolingual to remove the unneeded architectures (PowerPC if you have an Intel CPU, Intel if you have a PowerPC CPU) if you really know what you’re doing. I’m not linking to Monolingual on purpose, it can completely mess up your OS X installation if you use it incorrectly – consider yourself very warned.
  4. If you find yourself asking “Why even do this?” the only answer I can come up with is “because it’s possible”. For a considerably more functional version of KDE on your Mac, I’d suggest using Parallels or VMWare to install a KDE based Linux distribution.

So after reviewing all of the above reasons not to install KDE 4, if you still want to continue, here’s what to do.

  1. Visit http://ranger.users.finkproject.org/kde/index.php/Home and download the everything package (everything-2007xxxx.dmg.torrent). It took about an hour for me to download on a cable/broadband connection. Don’t forget to seed the file after your download has completed.
  2. Open the .dmg file. Since it’s huge it will take a while to verify – you might want to click the skip button if you’re certain the file is complete.
  3. Locate the kde.mpkg file and double-click it (it will be just kde if you hide extensions).
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  5. The installation Wizard will launch – click Continue to get started.
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  7. Review the information provided and click Continue.
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  9. Review the Software License Agreement (yeah right) and again click Continue.
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  11. When prompted, click Agree.
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  13. Select the drive you wish to install KDE on, and click Continue.
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  15. Now you can de-select packages that you don’t want to install. I skipped KDE Educational, but you may want it. After you’ve decided which packages you want to install, click Install.
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  17. Enter your password when prompted.
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  19. Go grab a cup of coffee. The (almost) full installation that I did took about 22 minutes to complete.
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  21. And when it’s done, click Close.
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  23. Now it’s time to give it a shot – cross your fingers and navigate to Mac HD -> opt -> kde4 -> bin and double-click one of the applications.
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  25. I was able to launch Amarok, but I couldn’t get it to actually play music files.
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  27. Konqueror worked, but would crash when I tried to use it as a web browser (it worked fine as a file manager).
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  29. KWrite worked flawlessly.
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  31. And finally – a screenshot of KOrganizer, KWrite and KMines all running on my OS X desktop.
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  33. Get used to using Force Quit when KDE apps stall. Which I found they frequently did.
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  35. If you find that it’s not stable enough for you, but you’re determined to get KDE 4 running in OS X, you can try building it yourself. I have no idea how long it would take to manually build everything, but it took me over 12 hours to compile just Amarok and its dependencies in OS X (and it didn’t even work when all was said and done).