It is far more efficient than its earlier iterations, challenging the stigma KDE has gotten for being so ‘heavy’.
I have run it with only a little more than XFCE in resources, and well below Gnome at times.
I would definitely not consider it for older systems as it could be demanding in other ways like graphical, but for anyone on modern hardware you will have no issues.
Plasma feels the most snappy compared to the other desktops I have tried recently.
They did a good job in making the animations feel fluid and natural, and the UI is very clean and modern looking.
In its default configuration the average user coming from windows will be able to get right to work with no issue at all.
You certainly do not have to stick to default, one of the things KDE has always done well is customization.
There is just a staggering amount of options for people, it can almost be intimidating for some.
Thankfully one of the more noticeably improvements I see with 5 over the last versions I’ve tried, is that they really cleaned up their settings process.
It is well organized, well documented and very powerful.
If you can think about it, there is probably a setting for it.
People have managed to mimic all sorts of desktop configurations, even as far as some of the more complicated features like the universal menus from MacOS.
I wouldn’t be giving KDE Plasma its full dues if I did not mention the applications the accompany it.
A full featured desktop environment was one of the biggest driving points of KDE since the start and it has a huge number of supporting applications to flesh that out.
Far too many than I care to list!.From utilities and accessories like its brilliant file manager Dolphin, to games and even full on creative and production applications like KDenlive and Krita.
Though many don’t get installed by default in your average distros, you can rest assured that any of the QT based KDE applications are going to work flawlessly in Plasma if you choose to use them.
It would be wrong of me to not explain some of the issues I have had with it, though.
As clearly, with all the praise, it isn’t my choice DE.
It is really close though, I have considered it.
As expected with something as featureful as Plasma, I have run into some bugs.
A crash or two here and there, Plasma does recover rather well from them though.
The biggest annoyance I found was when playing something full screen, like a game, the clock freezes and I lose track of time thinking it is much earlier than it really is.
Quite frustrating if you are on a schedule!.I am told that the reason for this is because the compositor turns off in order to not hinder the performance of your full screen application.
A noble effort to improve people’s experiences!.I just hope they will address it someday.
KDE Plasma has come a long way, and it seems to be be getting better all the time.
Many people can agree that they got a good thing going there, definitely one to keep an eye on.
If it interests you, they even have their own Ubuntu based distro called KDE Neon that will give you the latest and greatest experience.
MATEMATE started as a continuation to please those who liked the Gnome 2 way of doing things, which didn’t quite grab my attention at first, since I was not a big fan of that style to begin with.
But if you think it is old, you should think twice.
MATE didn’t limit themselves to just being a Gnome fork, they quickly expanded the project into something wholly its own and has grown to be a pretty versatile desktop with modern features like hi dpi support.
Customization is what I think is one of MATE’s strong points.
While at default you do get that old tried and true Gnome 2 feel, complete with double panels and all, but you don’t have to stick to that.
It is so customizable that you can easily replicate any workflow you may have used in the past, from the traditional windows taskbar with start menu, to the feel of MacOS.
You can even make it function like Ubuntu’s old Unity desktop, it is probably the best modern take on it today.
Another great thing MATE brings to the table is its software package.
They have a complete set of utilities and accessories to compliment the desktop.
A good example is their file manager Caja, which is forked from Nautilus, keeping a good amount of the look and function while keeping It modern.
You’ll see a trend here, Pluma is a fork of gedit, Eye of MATE is a fork of eye of gnome.
They are the tried and true Gnome apps split off before they got dumbed down in Gnome 3.
Many of them are good enough that they have found their way into replacing some of the aged apps in XFCE for some distributions.
Mate is not without its own flaws, though.
It takes a bit of work to make Mate pretty, but that is an issue with something like XFCE as well.
You may have to tinker with it a bit to figure it all out as well.
UbuntuMATE tries to make this process easier, from what I am told.
I also had allot of trouble with it and getting a decent compositor working in a way that I am happy with, that is also an issue I know they are working on addressing.
Sound familiar to my praises of KDE, right?.You can see what I value in a desktop, strong customization and good applications.
Overall this would easily be something I could call home, if not for already being comfortable in XFCE.
BudgieThe flagship desktop to the Solus project, Budgie has picked up enough momentum to even get their own Ubuntu flavor.
This is a relatively new one to the scene, and I was super impressed by it as it has a similar feel to how I have set up my XFCE environment for years.
It is simple but gorgeous on the surface, rather easy to pick up and understand from the get go.
One of its defining features with the Raven menu, similar to MacOS’s notification sidebar but with allot more functionality, making it a powerful tool.
You get your notifications, as well as many useful and interchangeable widgets, such one I used allot to change my audio outputs on the fly with a click of a button.
It goes beyond that as well, as much of your configuration is done here as well.
Budgie isn’t without its faults though.
At the moment it does depend heavily on Gnome in the backend, which can make it a little clunky and fat.
It also pulls some of its default applications from Gnome, like Files.
And where it fell short of being a choice of desktop with me was with its lacking support of multi-monitor setups, which is almost a given with most power users these days.
Thankfully though, it looks like they are planning to address all those issues with the next release of Budgie 11.
It has been slow in development, with Solus having some bumps changing project leads, but they are still working on it and hopefully will make headway here in 2019.
I will toss in honorable mentions here.
Cinnamon — I have little experience with this one, but for my time with it I was impressed.
It is pleasing on the eyes (especially if you like green), and follows the windows workflow closely, which makes it an ideal choice for someone moving over from that platform.
Pantheon — Another I have only dabbled with, this one having a more “MacOS” feel, making it good for people preferring that workflow, but to imply it is a clone doesn’t do it enough justice.
Though it is not as customizable as some other choices, it is very clean and intuitive.
Where it excels the most is in the integration they try to promote with it.
They encourage their application developers to follow a guideline that helps make everything mesh together nicely and look uniform.
WindowMaker — Yeah not technically a DE, I know!.But I had to include it, it is one of my old favorites.
Inspired by the NextSTEP OS, if you do not mind your desktop looking like it has fallen straight out of the 90’s, it is a pretty clean and simple workspace that anyone could pick up and master with relative ease.
It is a nice blast form the past that still seems to be around today.
There are loads more desktop environments out there, certainly I cannot cover them all.
Many I have yet to experience, such as the tiling windows managers that I have heard good things about, but yet to try out seriously as I am an old prude who has been using floating windows for too long.
There are some are old oddies still hanging on like Enlightenment, while some new comers to the scene are picking up steam quickly, like Deepin.
No matter what your taste there is something out there you will find to your liking, these are just my experiences, so go try some for yourself!.