KDE Plasma is a free, powerfully flexible and open source widget-based Desktop Environment primarily created for Linux systems by the KDE project. Originally, KDE was an acronym for Kool Desktop Environment until it was changed to be the “K Desktop Environment“. That notwithstanding, KDE Plasma hasn’t stopped being kool. In fact, it is among the coolest Linux desktop environments on the planet.
You might have been looking up a list of desktop environments to switch to. Or perhaps, you want to decide which DE best matches your taste. You’re reading the right blog because below are 10 solid reasons why your choice should be KDE Plasma.
1. Free, Open Source, and Privacy-Conscious
KDE Plasma is 100% free and open source with its source code available to any serious contributor here. The development team is also serious about users having the freedom to use their system the way that they want without compromising their privacy and/or security. In their vision for the future the team writes:
In a world where our privacy is increasingly threatened, we wanted to emphasize its importance. Freedom without the right to privacy is no freedom at all.
So, if you want a Desktop Environment that respects your freedom, right to privacy, and is also true to the open source philosophy, then KDE Plasma is a good choice.
Plasma is one of the most beautiful DEs in the Linux ecosystem. Period. While beauty will always be in the eyes of the beholder, most users will agree with me that Plasma boasts a beautiful, modern look and feel thanks to its choice of color shades, dropdown shadows on its application and widget windows, eye-candy icons, and pleasant animations, among other aesthetic features.
KDE Plasma ships already looking beautiful but you are still at liberty to customize it into the DE that you want. You can change its widgets, fonts, icons, window decorations, pointers, borders, buttons, etc. all from a single place – System Settings.
KDE Plasma‘s accessibility option also allows you to control the operation of certain actions such as single or double-clicks to open files and folders, connectivity options, and what’s even cooler is that you can boost its functionality using extensions.
KDE Plasma is popular for its speed and bug-free UX. This is because it requires way fewer resources than not just its previous version but also other Linux desktop environments and despite all its animations, it continues to maintain a uniformly responsive UI/UX.
5. Ease of Use
KDE Plasma being both beautiful and simple ensures that it is easy to use and boasts a generally straightforward workflow. Launch applications from the app overview menu or with Krunner, toggle between open app windows, etc.
6. Widgets & Multiple Desktops
Plasma ships with several widgets for displaying almost any information about your system and its processes including a calculator, clock, messaging, news feeds, etc. Some widgets even have multiple display or style types such as the calculator and clock widgets which have a variety of appearance choices users can choose from without needing to download extra stuff.
Plasma‘s widgets work closely with its ability to work with multiple desktops which boast modern animation styles such as wobbly windows, gliding, jello, and 3D. All widgets and desktop options can be easily configured and customized to the user’s taste and their performance is smooth.
Plasma reportedly has the most thoughtfully integrated features than any other Linux or BSD desktop environment. Take Android, for example. Plasma integrates seamlessly with Android – a feature that allows you to connect your Android device to your Linux system without requiring extra tools.
It even has a variant for smartphones in the form of Plasma Mobile in case you want the Plasma experience in your pocket.
Plasma‘s default terminal app is a feature-rich terminal emulator that goes by the name of Konsole. The features it offers include the ability to work with multiple profiles, multiple tabs, creating bookmarks, silence and activity monitoring, themes, running various command sessions simultaneously, etc.
9. Default Applications
KDE Plasma comes with several applications that are sure to meet your usage needs. The most notable ones are Dolphin file manager, Konversation IRC chat client, KTorrent torrent client, Krunner app launcher, Falkon web browser, Spectacle screen capture tool, and Gwenview image viewer (and simple photo editor).
Mind you, there are other applications by the KDE project that are among the best in the community such as Kdenlive video editor and Krita digital painting app to mention a few.
10. Power consumption
KDE Plasma doesn’t use as much memory and battery as you would expect given its animations and fluidity. It features excellent RAM and battery management that work automatically to keep your system cool and your battery healthy.
As the saying goes, the evidence is in the pudding. So head over to the KDE download page to see all the features listed above and way more for yourself.
Do you have any experience with KDE Plasma? Perhaps you’ve got some reasons to add to the list – let us know about your experience in the comments section below.
8 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Use KDE as Linux Desktop Environment”
I have an eight year old Dell box with 3.30ghz x2 core cpu with 6gb of RAM and the main reason i like KDE is because its customisable. Coming from a Windows background i customised KDE with a Windows 7 aero taskbar and a UI of Windows10. I find the original KDE boring with so many grey slabs everywhere. I like the eye-candy.
Well, one of the good things about KDE is support for various theming and customisation settings that allow users to personalise their PC to their taste. Enjoy it!
First of all, very good article as usual, Martins; thank you.
Perhaps you can shed some light on this–
I have been following / reading about KDE for several years, but never made any serious attempt to check it out. Just when I decided to make the move, the distribution which I had been using for many years, Mint, decided to drop KDE as an option; so it was back to square one for me. Since I have now dropped Mint (let’s just say it’s not the same distro any more, and then leave it at that). Can you recommend a really good, KDE-based distribution?
AND–what is the difference(s) between KDE Plasma and KDE Neon?
Thanks again for all your hard work, and your extremely good, expository writing style.
Hi @jawnhenry it’s been a while since we spoke but I’m surprised I’m actually seeing this now. Before answer, though, I would like to know if you’ve found a distro yet. And if you now know the differences between Plasma and Neon
I’ve been using kde for more than 10 years.
3 reason I’ve been keep in it:
– Goes well with HDMI audio and video (despite many others distros, including Mint).
– Once you lock the task bar and desktop, many things become smoth.
– Privacy and security + GUFW/UFW makes me love it.
3 things that I will improve:
– Twice I’ve been facing unknown memory leaks. Once you identify them (like going with Mint desktop and trying to come back).
– Desktop style. Developers are not the same as common users, a default settings for Java and environment variables would be great.
– Install synaptic as default package manager.
I do not agree with these statements. I tried many distros and stopped at Mint Cinnamon
1. Probably about 99% of DEs are like this
2. A Linux DE shouldn’t be judged by it’s default look. The majority of Linux DEs have some form of customization
3. All of those shown (Except widgets because most DEs call them by a different name) are very common in DEs.
4. KDE is incredibly CPU intensive, even if it has become more “optimized.” I had to overclock a computer I put KDE Neon that had 3.5 ghz, a RTX 580x, and 8 gigs ram to 4.1 ghz just to minimize all the lag when opening and closing windows.
5. KDE is not easy to use or intuitive at all. There are tons of buttons everywhere and they are all just thrown in a random, disorganized menu. The workflow is garbage.
6. Most DEs, as previously stated, have some form of “widget.” Although KDE is pretty unique because you can drop them on the desktop. But I’ve never met any lunatic who would want to do that.
7. The integration is far better on GNOME than KDE, even KDE Connect, ironically.
8. Konsole is very resource intensive and has a lot of dependencies for a terminal emulator. Plus, you can run it on any Desktop Enviorment and get all of it’s fancy blur and transparency effects if your DE has decent compositing.
9. Default applications are pretty ok (Except for the ones that have been neglected for several years and don’t even follow KDE’s design framework) but you can put them on any DE.
10. Memory isn’t an accurate portrayal of performance. A lot of DEs cache stuff in the RAM, which actually INCREASES performance. KDE, as stated before, is very resource intensive and will bring a lot of hardware configurations to their knees.
I’m calling BS on this one. If you had to overclock your CPU to run ANY desktop environment, the desktop is not your problem.