Installing the KDE file picker on Arch Linux

While trying to install the KDE file picker on Arch Linux, you'll most likely encounter the following situation unless you're already using KDE softwares: You'll install kdialog expecting it to be enough to open the KDE file dialog, but instead, you'll see this:

The Qt file picker
What is that?

That's the default Qt file picker. To get the KDE one, the minimum list of packages (in addition to kdialog) you need to install are those:

  • plasma-integration
  • breeze or breeze-icons (It can work without but: you won't have icons. Alternatively, you can use another Qt theme)

With those installed, we get the expected KDE picker. It works nicely outside of a few things, namely thumbnails (the one thing we are here for!) and previews

For those to work, you need to install the kio-extras package and a few other packages in order get full support for various formats. On most systems you probably already have a few of the packages needed for the common formats (notably libpng) but you can install the following packages for other formats:

  • kimageformats (bunch of stuff, check the optional dependencies)
  • qt5-imageformats (for TIFF, MNG, TGA and WBMP)
  • ffmpegthumbs (for video thumbnails, you might need to toggle it on and off in Dolphin because it's a bit wonky on Arch)
  • kdegraphics-thumbnailers (for PDF, Blender models, RAW files)

After installing those, make sure their previews are enabled in Dolphin's settings (the config file is in ~/.config/dolphinrc) and with all of that, you should have a working KDE file picker!

For full compatibility, you need to start programs with XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP set to KDE (which might unfortunately cause side effects in certain cases) or for programs that supports it, GTK_USE_PORTAL set to 1 with xdg-desktop-portal and xdg-desktop-portal-kde installed should be enough. For Electron apps, make sure its version is higher than 14 as it needs this PR

Make sure xdg-desktop-portal-kde is running otherwise it won't work

You might need to restart the xdg-desktop-portal service after running xdg-desktop-portal-kde using systemctl restart --user xdg-desktop-portal

Congrats, with all that you literally installed more than 100 packages for a file picker. But it works and it's pretty so who's the winner really? 🥲

Page last modified Oct 05, 2022