The KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment is a traditional, modern interface that is similar to Microsoft Windows. It’s currently the 5 iteration of the desktop, and ships on all major Linux operating systems, as well as BSD and other Unix-based OSes.
In the Linux community, many distributions choose to ship KDE Plasma 5 as their primary desktop. That said, some do it better than others. In this list, we’ll show you the best KDE-based distros to use, and how to get your hands on them. So, here are the 5 KDE-based Linux distributions to try out!
1. KDE Neon
KDE Neon isn’t specifically a distribution. The developers would prefer to say that it’s just Ubuntu with various software repositories added to allow users to enjoy the latest KDE technology on a stable Ubuntu Linux base that provides excellent support for drivers, a wide array of software, and a great community to boot.
A lot of good Linux distributions deliver KDE Plasma at this point, and some Linux fans may not see the need for Neon because of this. However, if you crave the absolute latest version and don’t want to wait, Neon is an excellent way to go.
Download – KDE Neon
Want to get your hands on the latest KDE Neon? Head over to neon.kde.org. Once there, click the “Download KDE neon” button. From there, you’ll be able to choose from the User Edition of Neon, a stable spin of Ubuntu with KDE software, the Testing Edition or the Unstable Edition.
Kubuntu Linux is the KDE version of Ubuntu. It comes complete with the Apt package manager, the same release cycle and all of the features you’d come to expect from Ubuntu (ease of use, excellent community support, a vast amount of software available, etc.) The only difference is that Kubuntu uses the KDE suite of applications, rather than the stock Gnome desktop experience.
Kubuntu usually delivers a relatively recent release of KDE Plasma 5. It’s not bleeding edge like on KDE Neon or others, and you won’t get the absolute latest with every update, but it’s a good one to go with if you love the KDE way of doing things. Another reason to go with this distribution is that it’s Ubuntu, and that means you’re going to get an excellent support system, community, software availability, driver support, and so much more.
Download – Kubuntu
To download Kubuntu Linux, you must go to the official Kubuntu website. Once on the site, find “Download,” and you’ll be able to download the LTS release of Kubuntu, or the latest 6-month version.
3. Fedora KDE Spin
The Fedora KDE Spin is Fedora with KDE as the desktop instead of the traditional Gnome. In addition to including the KDE desktop by default, it comes with a curated selection of KDE applications and tools to give users the best Plasma experience possible.
Perhaps the best reason to consider Fedora KDE is that since it’s Fedora Linux, users will get very new software updates before a lot of other Linux-based operating systems, such as kernel updates, software updates, and even the latest KDE Plasma 5.
Download – Fedora KDE Spin
To download the Fedora KDE Spin, you must go to the Fedora spins page at spins.fedoraproject.org. Once on the Spin page, there are a few different versions of Fedora. Look through and click on the KDE spin.
Once you’ve selected the KDE option on the spins page, you’ll be taken to a download page where you can grab the newest version of the Fedora KDE Spin.
4. Arch Linux
With Arch Linux, users are expected to build their operating system, as the distribution doesn’t come with a pre-configured desktop. Instead, they offer up many desktop environments to choose from, including KDE Plasma 5.
While using this operating system may prove to be challenging to new users, it’s ultimately rewarding if you’re a Linux power user, as it’s possible to tailor your PC to meet your exact needs. So, if you love KDE but want to make it look a certain way, do check out Arch!
Download – Arch Linux
To download Arch Linux, go to the official Arch website. Once on the website, look for the “Download” button and click on it with the mouse to move to the download page. On the download page, you’ll see many different ways to download the latest ISO release of Arch Linux.
There’s no doubt that Arch Linux can be challenging to install. That’s why we’ve created a detailed guide that goes over exactly how to install Arch Linux. So, if you’re dying to try KDE on Arch, do check it out!
5. Manjaro KDE Edition
Manjaro Linux comes with many different editions of their operating system. Each edition is pre-configured to provide a specific experience. One of the best editions they have is the Manjaro KDE Edition.
Manjaro KDE Edition at its core is Arch Linux without the difficulty, so it’s an excellent option for those that love the idea of Arch, want the latest KDE Plasma but don’t want to deal with building Arch Linux.
Download – Manjaro KDE Edition
Want to try out Manjaro KDE Edition on your desktop or laptop computer? If so, go to manjaro.org and click the “Try Manjaro” button. After clicking on the “Try Manjaro” button, you’ll be taken to a download page with various releases of Manjaro. Find the one that says “KDE” to download the newest version of Manjaro KDE!
KDE Plasma 5 is an excellent desktop environment, and it’s pretty hard to deliver a terrible experience because of this. Still, if you’re interested in getting into Plasma and going the KDE route, it’s a great idea to go with a Linux operating system that makes it the primary focus, rather than just another available option you can install if you so choose.
Do you have a favorite KDE-based Linux distribution not covered in this list? Tell us about it in the comment section below!