Linux Distributions Reviews

Best KDE Linux Distributions For Your Desktop

best kde linux distributions for your desktop

KDE remains one of the most popular desktop environments available for Linux users. KDE prioritizes aesthetics and modernity with a user-friendly computing experience. It also comes with a host of applications and features that complete the experience. But which distro does KDE best?

I certainly do not know the right answer but what I can do is share some of KDE’s best distros in the market now. Some distros certainly do KDE better than others and if you’ve been burnt before, I bet one of these might change your mind. In no particular order, let’s go.  

Best KDE Linux Distributions For Desktop

Linux Mint with KDE

Linux Mint KDE update

Sadly, Linux Mint has discontinued the KDE flavor. But you can still use Linux Mint KDE ‘Sylvia’ which is the last Linux Mint KDE version. It is still supported.

I also wrote an article on how you can still install KDE on any Linux version. Check out my article.

linux mint 18.2 kde

​Linux Mint is arguably the best Linux desktop and certainly one of the most popular distributions out there and deservedly so with its Cinnamon desktop. But Linux Mint also ships a flavor with KDE, one that my Boss seems to really like quite a lot. Linux Mint KDE brings the beauty of KDE to the stability and quality of Linux Mint. If you happen to have soft spots for Linux Mint and KDE, you should definitely check out this flavor. It is definitely a keeper.  

openSUSE

openSUSE kde

openSUSE is another pretty great distro and ships with a pretty great KDE experience out of the box. openSUSE tweaks the desktop just enough to deliver the experience they want. Things like YaST and the sheer amount of apps provided has made it favorite for many. You get all the usual KDE perks and software along with the host of customizations available. There is a rolling edition and a regular release available.  

KDE Neon

KDE Neon

​Next on our list is KDE Neon. KDE Neon is designed for users who prefer to have the latest KDE features but with the stability and safety of Long Term Support release. Much like KaOS above, you get the latest KDE updates as soon as possible.

KDE Neon is also based on Ubuntu which means you get pretty good support and stability. Right from the beginning, you will appreciate how awesome KDE Neon and developers are solely focused on KDE software. So if it is KDE that you are interested in above all, go for KDE NEon.  

KaOS

kde neon plasma desktop

​One of my favorite KDE distros in recent times has been KaOS. Quite a number of people consider it as one of the finest KDE distros out there. It makes KDE look aesthetically pleasing and comes in a pretty lean desktop environment. This is because it is built from the scratch and the developers have focused entirely on KDE and the Qt toolkit bringing you the latest updates as soon as possible.

The official ISO is also updated frequently with the latest packages to keep things updated. It is only available in x86_64 bit architecture. It certainly is one fine showcase of KDE’s elegance.  

Kubuntu

Kubuntu linux distribution

Kubuntu leverages Ubuntu’s benefits and popularity to reach a lot of users. It has been a great alternative to Ubuntu’s Unity. My first experience with KDE was with Kubuntu and it’s ideal for newcomers. At the time, my hardware hardly coped and my experience was just bearable and that was back in 2012. But with most modern PCs, the experience is quite good. There are the occasional stability issues that pop up but all in all, Kubuntu does a great job in utilizing and bringing the best of KDE to bear. You can get Kubuntu from here.

Netrunner

netrunner linux distribution

​Netrunner is a Debian based distro with a highly customized KDE desktop environment providing a pretty unique look and feel. You can always tweak it the way you want.  

Chakra

chakra linux distribution

​Chakra is an Arch based distro that ships by default with the KDE desktop. It uses a half-rolling model with a stable core while applications are furnished with the latest bleeding edge updates. Much like KaOS, Chakra focuses on KDE and applications that are built with the Qt framework only. Chakra is beautiful and it is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit variants.  

Debian KDE flavor

debian kde linux distribution

​For many Linux users, Debian is the most trusted, stable and supported distros available. The default desktop environment is GNOME but the developers also provide a  KDE flavor atop the reliability of Debian. Debian KDE is fast and easy to use. The only issue is that KDE is kind of treated as a second class citizen on Debian. Regardless, it still remains a solid option for lovers of Debian.  

Fedora KDE Spin

fedora kde spin

​Much like Debian, Fedora also provides a KDE spin of the favorite KDE desktop. Once again, it is mostly going to feel like an afterthought or a second class citizen with some few issues that won’t happen with the GNOME flavor. The experience can be somewhat disappointing.  

Manjaro KDE flavor

manjaro kde flavor

​The developers of Manjaro aim to provide a fast and user-friendly distro based on Arch. Although not the default, Manjaro has a KDE flavor that is highly themed aimed at both new and experienced users alike. It is available as rolling release distro in both 32-bit and 64-bit variants.  

Arch with KDE

​There are a couple of Arch based distros on our list. But for advanced users and Arch lovers, the best way probably is to build your own custom distro from scratch with KDE atop. This way you get to control the bloat and applications you install. You can also have the latest applications or choose to have the only stable software. With Arch, you are definitely in control. Get started with Arch from here.  

Conclusion

​There are so many awesome KDE distros out there. Kubuntu and KDE Neon for those who prefer the stability of Ubuntu, then there is Linux Mint with KDE, then the Arch-based distros like Manjaro and Chakra, and then there is good are openSUSE and KaOS that are built from scratch. So which distro does KDE best? Did I leave out your favorite? You tell us in the comments section below and share why you believe it is so perfect for you.



9 comments

Nesretep July 2, 2019 at 7:44 pm

There is no way this got updated in June 2019. Linux Mint doesn’t do a KDE spin anymore and hasn’t for a while now.

Reply
sandy July 3, 2019 at 4:57 am

Hi Nesretep,

I have updated the article. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

Reply
Inzhagi September 16, 2019 at 8:22 am

Debian KDE?
Seriously?

KDE on Debian Buster is bland. I expected better from Debian for being “stable & upstream distro”.

Falkon crashes on start and sometimes freezes my whole desktop!
Konsole crashes when trying to install colorshemes off the Add-On
KDE Partition Manager crashes when trying to put Root Password.
Muon Package Manager crashes when trying to configure Sources List, same goes with Discover.
Plymouth KDM fails to use the bootsplash I’ve chosen.
Those are just some of the annoying issues I found for a supposedly “stable” distro.
Debian is good for Gnome people but not KDE People, it takes ages for them to fix issues. There are many issues that have been submitted by users but they just don’t care that much.
Also, Fedora is ugly for KDE.

The big question is why is Manjaro so low?
I’ve tried most of the distros listed above and Manjaro has been the best KDE version out there. It never crashed on me. It’s only con is that it’s a rolling release.

Reply
Glyn December 11, 2019 at 2:14 am

Often issues are hardware related because I have Debian KDE running full time on a Dell OptiPlex and LG Gram with none of the issues described above. On the other hand (I’m a Linux admin) pretty much every Manjaro install requested from me has fallen over with an update at some point the latest being today. Even the mighty Sabayon crashed with an SDDM/LightDM issue with an update today that I’ve not got round to yet. Chakra is usually one of the safer bets but on the understanding that less is often better in the case of an initial install the Plasma version of Q4OS takes some beating.

Reply
Mike February 12, 2020 at 5:27 am

If you want KDE on Debian stable (Buster), try Neptune. You won’t get the latest version of KDE, but it will be a later version than Debian stable has.

Reply
Melina Schmitt May 15, 2020 at 10:27 pm

If Debian/KDE makes the list, then Slackware and PCLinuxOS should definitely be on it, too 🙂 they’re systemd-free, if that’s important to anybody around here 🙂 PCLinuxOS has a pretty good Configuration Center, that’s worth checking out. It does have a few odd quirks and not all the software one is used to get when using Debian or derivatives, but it’s worth checking out.

Slackware is very vanilla and focussed on purity. The first setup can be challenging, but once you’ve found your way, it’s very reliable and predictable – but be sure you rtfm. New versions come out when they’re done, security updates have to be installed manually or planned as cron-job, package management is very basic, with dependency tracking only with extra tools – the philosophy behind this approach is clear – the user controls the system, but can choose to let the system take over tedious jobs like backups, or update checks. He just has to instruct the system what it should do, other than very good, but old fashioned documentation there is little hand holding here.

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Guilherme Taverneiro March 30, 2020 at 7:37 pm

Using Debian Stable with KDE installed on a Dell Inspiron 15/5000 and I have not experienced any issues at all. It is surprisingly light and quite fast. No unexpected behavior and it works as we expect from Debian. I tried many distros and I tell you this: with KDE Debian Stable I’m finally able to do my work on a linux desktop. No surprises, no issues, no bugs at all.

Reply
Richard June 15, 2020 at 12:04 am

Yes, I vote for KDE/Debian Buster too. It’s very stable, and I have had no crashes on a Lenova Y-70-50. Kubuntu 19.04 would frequently thrash out to the hard-disk leaving my computer completely unresponsive. Mandrake would just randomly lock-up/crash. If you like messing around with your OS and getting things to work then use Kubuntu/Mandrake. If you need a computer to actually work on they use Debian.

Reply
Prince Raj June 21, 2020 at 11:22 pm

Is there any way to in install KDE on centos 8? I didn’t find any solution. I am facing some errors.

Reply

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