Top 5 Best KDE Plasma Linux Distros of 2020

Alex Alex 29 March 2020
Top 5 Best KDE Plasma Linux Distros of 2020

KDE Plasma has been evolving at a great pace. It has improved significantly in terms of both looks and performance in recent years. Today it is more refined and faster than ever. KDE has undergone a performance overhaul and has become very efficient in terms of resource usage. The UI itself looks downright stunning. While most other desktops environments have remained pretty much the same, KDE Plasma has grown into something that You SHOULD CHECKOUT in 2020. KDE Plasma provides a very polished user experience that is unmatched. 

5. Netrunner

Top 5 Best KDE Plasma Linux Distros of 2020Netrunner 20 is a Debian based Linux distro that features a heavily customized KDE Plasma. Netrunner is a rock-solid OS and it has an absolutely stunning user interface. It ships with Plasma 5.14 but it is very different from the vanilla KDE that we're used to seeing.

Out of the box, the theming, icons and the desktop look on spot.

Top 5 Best KDE Plasma Linux Distros of 2020Redesigned application menu looks gorgeous. It is immersive and feels really responsive. The search is fast and layout is really good for touchscreens, and two in ones.

Netrunner has its own theme which comes in a few variants, but the default one is good. The colors pop but not so much that they are distractive. Netrunner cuts down on animations and windows effects pretty aggressively in favor of responsiveness and a lighter system and this approach does work. The desktop, windows maximize minimize, it all feels very rapid. But KDE Plasma has some crazy good effects. We can, of course, enable these effects here in Netrunner too.

Netrunner is based on Debian Stable so it provides a very dependable operating system for students, developers, schools, offices and pretty much everybody. It provides a very large number of software to its users directly from the Debian stable pool. Debian Stable repositories have an upward of 50,000 packages. These packages are extensively tested for stability and security. So you can install pretty much anything and everything you need in a very convenient, fast and secure way.

The Debian stability coupled with a modern desktop that comes with a twist, make Netrunner one of the best operating systems you can use. Netrunner takes a different approach in many aspects and provides a very refined computing experience. If You're a KDE Plasma fan, this OS is something you might really love.

4. KaOS

Top 5 Best KDE Plasma Linux Distros of 2020KaOS Linux is one of the most distinctive operating systems you'll ever get to use. KaOS is a completely independent Linux distro built from scratch. It is built on strong principles of providing a very lean and efficient computing environment.

KaOS achieves this by prioritizing quality over quantity. It has only one desktop environment that is KDE Plasma, uses only one toolkit that is qt and is available for only one architecture, that is 64-bit.

By strongly limiting the number of versions they need to produce, KaOS developers have created ONE OS to rule them all. KaOS uses a slightly toned-down version of KDE Plasma. It looks like this out of the box.

Top 5 Best KDE Plasma Linux Distros of 2020Why? Dare to be different. That's why. Anyway, It can be un-differented.

KaOS feels so minimal and responsive. It comes with a good number of KDE applications. Out of the box, pretty much everything expected from a home computer is here. Music player, video player, office suite, KDE Connect which pairs your phone to your PC and some additional stuff.

You get LibreOffice re-written in qt here, which is significantly faster than the normal version. In fact, KaOS feels very responsive everywhere. The fact that only qt applications are used here does contribute to this performance boost. As far as installing more software is concerned, we can do so from the Octopi store here.

Quick note, KaOS uses the Pacman package manager, but has completely independent software repositories. These software repositories are not exactly big. In fact, KaOS developers don't even intend to provide you with every software there is. Again, their intent is quality over quantity.

Top 5 Best KDE Plasma Linux Distros of 2020Sofware written in GTK are non-existent in the repositories. Talking from a software availability point of view, KaOS is just good enough for most home users. Not great. Just good enough. You get a decently functional system with high quality and performance. If most of your work is done through a browser. You're set. If this is the case, try KaOS and You'll thank me. KaOS gives you Falkon browser which is good and fast too. Most browsers today are too complicated with too many functions. I liked using a very simple browser for a change. KaOS also has Flatpak support so you can install many popular applications here. Firefox will also be soon available in Flatpak format so you can get it here. Even Steam can be installed with Flatpak. So gaming too is good here.

Overall, I agree KaOS is not for everybody. But it is a great OS for many people. It is fast, has high quality and looks stunning. If you want to build a minimal system like a Chromebook, KaOS is one of the best options at the moment.

3. OpenSUSE

Top 5 Best KDE Plasma Linux Distros of 2020OpenSUSE started focusing heavily on software developers, system admins, and servers. While many Linux distros became more and more usable for the general public, that is students, homes and stuff, OpenSUSE evolved into the ideal OS for us software professionals.

While openSUSE is available with all the desktop environments, the KDE Plasma version is particularly very refined. It comes with very little customization, still looks good. OpenSUSE has 2 versions. Leap, which is the stable regular version and Tumbleweed, which is the rolling release. Tumbleweed is like Arch Linux, it keeps getting updates regularly and is always new. I personally like Leap. Leap is supported for 3 years and gets point updates every year or so. With Leap, there is very less pressure to update and do housekeeping with the system. This is particularly important for us developers as we are working on the same, tried and tested version till we finish a project. But again, nothing is outdated.

OpenSUSE has very enhanced security, Since, it is one of the top distros deployed on servers, it enforces very high standards as far as system security goes.

Another great thing about openSUSE is Yast2 or just Yast. Yast is the central control system for openSUSE. You control everything from here. When I say everything, I mean everything.

OpenSUSE uses the rpm package manager. The repositories contain a good number of software. OpenSUSE is highly involved in the development of new technologies regarding software development and deployment. As a result, OpenSUSE is in high synergy with new trends that happen in this field and the tech is easily implementable on OpenSUSE.

OpenSUSE KDE is really good to use. If you're a software student or a professional, I recommend you check out the Leap version. It is very stable, tested, and is an experience. If you're not in the software field, fret not my friend, the next one is for you.

2.  Kubuntu

Top 5 Best KDE Plasma Linux Distros of 2020Kubuntu has always been the go-to distro for anybody who loves KDE and rightly so. Kubuntu combines the solid Ubuntu base with KDE Plasma. While Kubuntu does not always provide the latest KDE desktop, it is new enough and the focus here is on providing a system which is highly usable.

Kubuntu comes with the complete KDE ecosystem of apps. All the day to day tools are built for KDE. So the users who choose Kubuntu specifically for KDE are satisfied. But choosing to stay with just qt applications is not always a good thing as you're limiting yourself to a very small pool of software. Kubuntu provides some apps like Firefox, which is straight better than Falkon browser in many ways. You can also download and install software from Ubuntu repositories, PPA's and other .deb files irrespective of what technology they are built on. GTK or Qt.

Kubuntu is developed parallel to Ubuntu. It has the same core and follows the same principles. Kubuntu is a very stable operating system. It is highly optimized for performance and usability. It has an amazing software availability. That makes Kubuntu adequate for everybody.

The driver support here is really good. It gets Ubuntu's driver install tool which is really helpful for installing NVIDIA proprietary drivers. And KDE Plasma desktop works better if proprietary drivers are installed for NVIDIA GPUs.

Kubuntu is good for gaming too. Since Steam officially supports Ubuntu, all the games are tested and optimized for this system. And with great support for NVIDIA graphics cards, You're getting the best possible gaming experience on Kubuntu.

Kubuntu is a great operating system for 2020. It' new and dependable.

1. Manjaro KDE

Top 5 Best KDE Plasma Linux Distros of 2020Manjaro KDE is an absolutely premium experience. Directly out of the box, we get a stunning UI that is just so elegant.

Manjaro 19 is the latest version we have, and with this version, they have given us a new theme with improved color scheme, and the new wallpaper that looks perfect here. Of all the KDE Plasma distros I've used, I resonate with this one very much. I absolutely love the dark and clean UI here. Almost every distro I try, there is some customization from my part that goes in. But with Manjaro KDE, this thing looks just perfect.

Manjaro is a rolling release Linux distro, with high focus on system stability. It uses Arch Linux software releases as testing grounds and releases updates to its users only after confirmed stability. Manjaro is suitable for students, home usage and Linux and tech enthusiasts in particular because you get access to the newest of everything out there. It's a cutting edge distro with enhanced stability. Manjaro has very huge software repositories and everything is kept fresh there. You also get access to the Arch User Repository, which is the biggest collection of Linux software.

Manjaro provides a system that is and feels newer than most operating systems out there. It provides the cutting edge tech to you. It allows you to experience the newest packages long before they hit most other Linux distros. It keeps you a step ahead. Installing Manjaro KDE is also very simple. It has a beginner-friendly installer that makes the whole process easy for everybody. You'll have a new system up and running in 15-20 minutes.

KDE Plasma in 2020, makes more sense than ever. It has a tried and tested layout that is highly productive. While GNOME is a great desktop, I've always been critical about the fact that its application menu has the potential to be distracting and less productive. Plasma, Cinnamon, Xfce and Windows 7, they all have a similar layout that promotes distraction-free productivity. On top of that, Plasma looks modern and just so good to look at. It has also become very efficient. And KDE intelligently adjusts its effects and stuff based on hardware to deliver a smooth system. All these things make KDE Plasma one of the best desktop environments you should be using.

Comments (3)

  1. I haven't been using KDE since version 3.5. I think its time to check it out once again.

  2. I read somewhere in the manjaro forums that at this point kde has been worked on so much that its now faster than xfce. Is this true?

    1. Kde using a bit more cpu then xfce. But with plasma version 5.17 the ram usage is almost in the range of xfce so the kde plasma team have done some Good work. För computer with less cup poker xfce is a good option to go.

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