Do I need to run the KDE Desktop Environment to use Digikam?

Hi all, I’m going to be switching from Mac OS to Linux soon and am trying to get a grip on how to best prepare my picture workflow for this brave new environment. I’m planning to use Ubuntu, as I know how much I can get lost in the woods trying to get Linux to work for me, but am wondering whether I should opt for using Kubuntu if I want to play around with Digikam? I read that the software uses KDE but can’t find a clear answer on whether it needs a KDE Desktop to play nice. Thanks for the recommendations!

You’re going to get a huge variety of answers to this question; distro choice is highly personal, however I think the difference between most distros are rather small.

You’ll probably want to elaborate on your current workflow, what applications you use, and what applications on linux you plan on using.

There are a number of ways to get digiKam, and all of them have their positives and negatives. The digiKam projects provides an official AppImage, which is a binary you just download and run outside of your package manager. All the dependencies are included in the binary, so you can run it in ubuntu proper without pulling in all the KDE dependencies. There are problems (I think) with some of the KIO plugins for directly posting to services like facebook, google photos, etc. However the AppImage will always be in the newest version, so that is nice.

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As long as some KDE libraries are installed in the background (and the Ubuntu installer will pull those in automatically for you) digikam will run perfectly fine under any desktop environment such as Gnome, XFCE, LXDE and others.


short answer: no


Not as far as I know… But you will get some KDE things with it (general config directory for instance). The various desktop managers in Linux (Gnome, KDE, etc…) normally all adhere to the OpenDesktop standard, so on the whole things go fairly well (I use KDE and run Gnome apps…).

No, on Ubuntu you can use Gnome or whatever — the Digikam installation package will fetch the KDE libraries it needs even if you aren’t using the KDE desktop.

That last post is correct but nobody has mentioned the extent of dependencies.

This in a basic Ubuntu 18.10 (VM)

Might be less, might be more, depending on what is already installed.
I am biased, been using KDE since I started with knoppix/kanotix 15 years ago. These days nothing wrong with kubuntu or NEON.

How true. But you can usually save some MB on apt based systems with sudo apt-get install digikam --no-install-recommends.

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There is an appimage A bit of a monster 380 MB

In that ubuntu 18.10 it does need an extra library libopenal (only one MB or so) to run

looks like this:

You don’t have use KDE however I switched myself to KDE Plasma desktop environment because:

  • digiKam just looks native in KDE (window style, icons, etc.)
  • Dolphin (KDE file manager) is awesome
  • open with a custom bash script from digikam works better in KDE. (e.g. I had issues with MATE)
  • I like Cinnamon DE but digiKam kept getting stuck in fullscreen mode in there

I think there might be some issues with digiKam in Ubuntu (GNOME). I have seen an email conversation about some menus or icons not being shown properly under GNOME. It has been awhile ago though and might be fixed already.