April 16, 2018

Top 5 Monthly KDE Plasma Distributions For April 2018

The Top 5 Dedicated KDE Plasma Distributions 


  ** Updated April 2018 **

About (AKA "What the Heck Is This? Why Another List?"):

Here we present K*Digest's "Top 5" Linux distributions that showcase KDE Plasma 5 for the current month. Based on DistroWatch stats*, these releases represent those who only offer KDE Plasma as a desktop option. This is so the user can experience a Linux distro that is not just a "yea we have a KDE spin or flavor", but rather a distribution who's core and only focus is on KDE Plasma.

As a result, you will not find the likes of Fedora, openSuse, or Arch here. Although you can install KDE Plasma on most any version of Linux you like, this list aims to be unique, as it will only ever show those who are dedicated to KDE Plasma, and have a unique development team and community around it. The reasonings for this are simple and 3-fold:
  1. This is a KDE-Centric publication, so keeping things as "pure" as possible is a primary goal
  2. The list will evolve over time, and following changes month to month or year to year will be interesting to follow
  3. By default, a person viewing DistroWatch will see listings in order of overall rank, nearly all of which will have KDE Plasma as an option to install 
Without further ado, here's this months current Top 5, along with their respective DistroWatch overall rank, description summary, any change in rank from the last month, and the project's homepage:

Monthly Notes: 

* Of note this month is the fact that while KDE Neon maintained the top spot, it had in fact dropped 11 points in the overall rank versus April. This means that while no other Plasma-based distributions moved up the list, the search for plasma base distributions overall on DistroWatch must have, in fact, dropped

* I'm surprised the Nitrux Linux had not made the list, as it was recently formally released this past month (review to come!), and has a really unique take on KDE Plasma. It is, in fact, ranked a somewhat disappointing 82nd. I expect this to go up as the project gains some traction

* Bluestar Linux makes its move and jumps ahead of Kubuntu into our number two spot. Will it be able to hold it when Kubuntu 18.04 is released later this month? Stay tuned to find out

* Likewise, NetrunnerOS jumped over KaOS Linux - but just barely - thereby making it's way into the number four spot on our list. Of note, however, is that like the others it also dropped in overall rank

* In fact, that is the overall take away from this month's list is that as I indicated earlier, searches for plasma-based distributions on DistroWatch appear to be down across-the-board and without exception. Hopefully we will see this trend turn around in the coming months

The April List

1.  KDE Neon | Homepage | overall rank: 23 | change: -11

Photo courtesy of DistroWatch.com

"More than ever people expect a stable desktop with cutting-edge features, all in a package which is easy to use and ready to make their own.

KDE neon is the intersection of these needs using a stable Ubuntu long-term release as its core, packaging the hottest software fresh from the KDE Community ovens. Compute knowing you have a solid foundation and enjoy the features you experience in the world's most customisable desktop.

You should use KDE neon if you want the latest and greatest from the KDE community but the safety and stability of a Long Term Support release. When you don't want to worry about strange core mechanics and just get things done with the latest features. When you want your computer as your tool, something that belongs to you, that you can trust and that delivers day after day, week after week, year after year. Here it is: now get stuff done."

2. Bluestar Linux | Homepage | overall rank: 45 | change: -25


Photo courtesy of BlueStar Linux

"Bluestar is a GNU/Linux operating system, built to provide the following features:

  • Up-to-date 64-bit Kernel version - 4.14.x
  • Archlinux32-based 32-bit release - 4.14.x
  • Fast (optimized for performance)
  • Wide Variety of Applications - Always Current Versions
  • Full Development / Desktop / Multimedia Environment
  • Arch Linux Based Distribution"


3.  Kubuntu | Homepage | overall rank: 48 | change: -29


Kubuntu 18.04 Beta / RC
"Kubuntu is an operating system built by a worldwide community of developers, testers, supporters and translators.

Kubuntu is a free, complete, and open-source alternative to Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X which contains everything you need to work, play, or share. [...]

Kubuntu unites Ubuntu with KDE and the fabulous Plasma desktop, bringing you a full set of applications. The installation includes productivity, office, email, graphics, photography, and music applications ready to use at startup.

Firefox, Kmail, LibreOffice, Gwenview are just a few installed and ready to use, with thousands more, available in just a click, from the Discover software centre.

Built using the Qt toolkit, Kubuntu is fast, slick and beautiful. Kubuntu is mobile-ready, enabling easy integration between your PC desktop and phone or tablet. Simply use the Google Play store to install KDE Connect on your Android device and you can integrate your device with your desktop."

4. Netrunner | Homepage | overall rank: 52 | change: -28


Photo courtesy of DistroWatch.com
"Netrunner is a Debian-based distribution featuring a highly customised KDE desktop with extra applications, multimedia codecs, Flash and Java plugins, and a unique look and feel. The modifications are designed to enhance the user-friendliness of the desktop environment while still preserving the freedom to tweak. A separate "Rolling" edition, based on Manjaro Linux, was launched in 2014, was discontinued and was re-launched in 2017."


5. KaOS | Homepage | overall rank: 54 | change: -31


Photo courtesy of DistroWatch.com

"KaOS is a desktop Linux distribution that features the latest version of the KDE desktop environment, the Calligra office suite, and other popular software applications that use the Qt toolkit. It was inspired by Arch Linux, but the developers build their own packages which are available from in-house repositories. KaOS employs a rolling-release development model and is built exclusively for 64-bit computer systems."


Honorable Mentions:

Q4OS | Homepage | Overall Rank: 41

Q4OS KDE 3 Trinity Desktop Screenshot
Q4OS image courtesy of DistroWatch.com

Q4OS makes our list as an honorable mention this week. While not eligible to make our Top 5 due to being based on a KDE 3 fork, aka the Trinity Desktop, none-the-less if it did qualify it would be our number two entrant into our list this month! Actually pretty impressive - Go KDE 3! Proof that either: 1) many people do not like change, or 2) The really liked Krusader!

And there you have this month's Top 5. Check back next month for an updated Top 5 and see if your distro makes the cut, slips a few spots, or holds it's own in our rankings!

See previous months here.

* For information on what DistroWatch is and how it ranks it's listings, check out their FAQ page


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