Plasma Mobile Developer Guide

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. Moreover, although you may contribute to Plasma Mobile using any kind of linux-based development environment , we strongly suggest to use the Plasma Mobile pre compiled image, since such an environment will make the development much easier and facilitate the testing of your work on a machine that emulates a mobile device.

Plasma Mobile emulated environment

Get the Plasma Mobile 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.

Compile QEMU

To proceed to installing, QEMU should be installed. QEMU is a free and open-source hosted hypervisor that performs hardware virtualization. Nevertheless, in many distributions QEMU is not packaged with Virgil 3d support. If your distribution provides such a qemu package you may omit and proceed to just installing QEMU using you distribution’s application store.

Install Virglrenderer

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. We can compile Virgil executing the following commands:

git clone git://
cd virglrenderer
sudo make install

Install build dependencies

Depending on your distribution, dependency package names may vary. In KDE Neon, you may install the packages required to compile QEMU executing:

sudo apt install libgtk-3-dev libspice-server-dev libspice-protocol-dev libusbredirparser-dev build-essential libepoxy-dev libdrm-dev libgbm-dev libx11-dev libpulse-dev libsdl2-dev

Install QEMU

To let our system have access to /usr/local/lib we run:


To compile QEMU with the set of options that fit our needs and then install it we execute:

git clone git://
mkdir -p qemu/build
cd qemu/build
../configure --target-list=x86_64-softmmu --enable-gtk --with-gtkabi=3.0 --enable-kvm --enable-spice --enable-usb-redir --enable-virglrenderer --enable-opengl
sudo make install

Create Virtual Machine

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

qemu-img create -f raw plamodisk 40G
/usr/local/bin/qemu-system-x86_64 -boot menu=on -cdrom /path/to/neon-pm-devedition-gitunstable-YYYYMMDD-HHMI-amd64.iso -vga virtio -display gtk,gl=on -m 2G -enable-kvm -boot order=d -drive file=plamodisk,format=raw

Then, 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:

/usr/local/bin/qemu-system-x86_64 -vga virtio -display gtk,gl=on -m 2G -enable-kvm -boot order=d -drive file=plamodisk,format=raw

Mobile device running plasma mobile

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

Using postmarketOS

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

Using Halium

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.

To run Plasma Mobile using Halium as hardware adaption layer: