> What are some things you wished you knew before making the switch?
Not all software that you use will be available for Linux, and DO NOT depend on Wine to run windows programs,
it may work fine but it may also crash and burn.
A good thumb rule I found to predict whether a program might run on Wine is to see how complex the installer is,
if there is no installer whatsoever (a portable program) its quite likely that it will work, but if you first have
to install an installer/launcher/downloader of some sort or something complex like that then I would just forget it
and not even try unless its on the gold/platinum list on Wine website.
Try to find Free and Open Source (FOSS) alternatives to every. single. program. that you use, because proprietary options
are either not going to exist or not going to be offered by your distribution repository and then you are going to have
to hunt them down Windows style and lose one of the benefits of Linux (installing and updating everything from the same source).
There are tons of places online to find linux apps, but
luong-komorebi / Awesome-Linux-Software
is my favorite list and I take every chance to talk good about it since I learned so many new ones from it:
Get a good backup regime in place.
I use Mint which has Timeshift built in; you can add it to Ubuntu; gives you a Windows system restore type capability.
In addition I use two other backup programs: Borgbackup (deduplicating, v efficient) and BackInTime, for full backups (for redundancy;
one to a USB and one to a NAS device).
If you're backed up you can survive any mistake or bad luck. You're not backed up unless your backups are automatic, redundant
and (at least one is) off-site.
Another consideration: if you usually buy your hardware from a particular vendor (such as Dell or HP),
what distributions of Linux do they support ? And can you buy a computer pre-loaded with Linux,
or with no OS at all, instead of with Windows ?
If you buy a machine pre-loaded with Windows, does that mean Microsoft knows the motherboard ID and MAC ID and
who bought the machine ? Consensus seems to be that MS may know the first two but not the third, unless you
actually register Windows to yourself.
I looked at the Dell site: it seems they have a lot of
support for Linux Ubuntu, but it's more oriented toward business or server installations. All of their normal machines
come with Windows (and thus paying for a Windows license, and maybe sending ownership info to Microsoft).
But there is/was a Developer shop of higher-end machines that come with Ubuntu.
Maybe when you order a low-end machine, there is some last-minute ordering option to specify "no OS" or Ubuntu ?
Generally there are good drivers for hardware from all vendors.
Exceptions may be if you push the bleeding edge, such as high-end graphics for gaming.
Usually people don't try to get Linux pre-loaded; just buy the machine with Windows and wipe it and install Linux.
DistroWatch's "Linux/BSD Compatible Hardware"
, from discussion on reddit 2019:
The main issue is that NVIDIA doesn't open-source their drivers, meaning that you have a choice of either using
their binary (proprietary) drivers or the reverse-engineered Nouveau (open-source) drivers. The Nouveau drivers
are unacceptably slow for all but the most trivial of tasks, because it's really difficult to reverse-engineer a GPU.
Now, the binary drivers do work, for a fact, and it's not that difficult to get them running. Most of the difficulties
people face come from the fact that your distro usually comes with a kernel that can run any of the major GPU drivers,
but the kernel needs to be told not to load the wrong drivers, and the binary driver needs to be a version that's
compatible with the kernel you are running. What I do is just build a kernel which specifically will not support
Nouveau in the first place, which solves the issue nicely for me, but most distros will have some sort of setup whereby
installing the right driver package should take care of the rest of it.
[Simply blacklist the nouveau module ? ]
Depends on the distro as to exactly how you go about doing it - on some, there's no need to manually blacklist at all,
but kernel updates can cause some interesting and inconsistent problems. Coupled with that, there's the issue that
blacklisting Nouveau won't achieve anything unless you have the correct binary driver installed.
I run Gentoo, which uses custom kernels as standard, so for me it's far easier to just not build the module in the first place.
I used to have a NVIDIA graphics card and my experience with it is a bit of a mixed bag, gaming performance was fine.
What I disliked most was that often when a major new kernel was released, the kernel module would not compile against it
and I had to either search the NVIDIA dev forums for a patch or wait for NVIDIA to release a new driver,
or just keep using the older kernel. Also I had crazy glitching and choppiness going on with KDE, I tried so
many solutions and none of them solved it.
on a user level NVIDIA prop drivers have always worked for me
I am using the proprietary drivers for years and have no problems with them either.
I suspect some of what you are reading is laptop-related. Apparently there are energy-saving tricks with NVIDIA laptop
chips to turn off the 3d graphics to save energy. This proprietary switchover may be causing some problems.
NVIDIA desktop chips are rock-solid for a long time. They support multiple monitors, 4k, gaming, sound and work just fine.
There is a problem with dpms support on monitors connected via displayport, but its not a big deal.
10/2019 Someone said: AMD graphics work easily in all distros. Nvidia often requires fixes/tweaking, but once
you've done those a few times, they're not too hard to do. AMD's new products are closing the performance
gap with Nvidia, so maybe soon AMD will be the clear best choice.
If you are planning to bring your family and friends to Linux after you use it
for a while, what distribution would be best for them ? You might be comfortable with the command-line,
but maybe they aren't.
For less-advanced computer users, the choice seems to be Ubuntu or Linux Mint.
From people on reddit 4/2018:
The Ubuntu flavors, especially Ubuntu MATE and right after that Kubuntu, are better than both Mint and mainline Ubuntu IMO.
Mint has easier driver and proprietary software installs and great Windows-like configs for every DE,
plus their themes are better and more toned down, but Ubuntu is fresher, more secure and has more options.
Mint is Ubuntu with a lot of work put towards making it very user-friendly.
On 99% of desktop and laptop computers Linux Mint should "Just Work".
Everything else will require you to install and/or configure additional software to enable DVD playback,
music file playback, and under some distros even basic things like your Wi-Fi.
"Linux Noob" + "Computer Noob" = Linux Mint 100% of the time. Anything else will poison your Linux experience
with the frustration of features and devices not working post-install.
I prefer Mint. I gave my mom Linux Mint and she never had a trouble with them. Even my friend thought I was using Windows
when in reality I use Mint. They are easy to use and user-friendly.
Ubuntu, Mint, or Elementary OS.
I think the biggest factor for people who want to avoid the terminal is to have a 'app store' like the Ubuntu software store
and be really easy to use. Linux Mint has its own app store. You can't install software onto Mint through Ubuntu's app store,
but you will be able to install the same programs via Mint's app store. The app stores really are just graphical front ends
for the apt package manager.
On Ubuntu, use Budgie or Pantheon desktop instead of Unity.
Linux Mint cinnamon desktop environment best resembles the Windows desktop environment. So if you really like this
and don't need to change that, you should pick Mint. Furthermore Mint will offer you some more guidance for beginners.
Better update manager, software manager, ppa manager, and driver manager. They also keep putting new stuff in their
releases making certain things easier for newcomers. Like the current latest version will also integrate
your online accounts better, so that you can navigate your google drive folder in your local file manager for example.
And this is all by default, so you don't have to mess around yourself to make something like that work.
Downside is that with Mint you will be using old software. It is based on Ubuntu, and Ubuntu is again based on Debian.
On top of that Mint only bases its releases on the Long Term Support variant of Ubuntu. So your OS will lag behind
the others quite quickly. This is intentional however, because there will be very little chance your system
will ever encounter a problem you have to solve yourself with the command line.
I love Mint as well, but face it - that looks like Windows XP, which some people have never even seen.
a shot. It's very similar to Windows 10 in feel and overall use and absolutely nails
the standard UI that almost everyone is accustomed to.
From people on reddit 3/2020: among Ubuntu, Mint, and LMDE, Ubuntu will give you the most up-to-date applications and kernel.
Linux Newbie Guide's "Chapter 3: Choosing a Linux Distribution"
RenewablePCs' "Which Linux distros are the best?"
From someone on reddit 6/2017:
"Fedora is bleeding edge. if you want stability, then go with an LTS distro like Ubuntu 16.04 or CentOS 7."
"Ubuntu has two types of releases, "standard" and "LTS". Releases come every 6 months,
in April and October. The Ubuntu version number is in the format YY.MM, i.e. "18.04"
was released in April of 2018. ... 16.04 and 18.04 are "LTS" releases, while
others such as 16.10 are "standard". LTS releases get 5 years of support in terms of
security updates and bug fixes. Standard releases only receive 9 months of updates."
"Mint follows the LTS release of Ubuntu that a new one comes every two years.
Basically means that Mint 20 will come in 2020 and until then you get inbetween
point releases on the 19 base."
From someone on reddit 4/2018:
"For some reason, all the [distro] reviews on YouTube concentrate on which applications and utilities come installed out of the box.
No idea why this is, because it couldn't be easier to open the software center and install whatever you please."
From someone on reddit 4/2018:
"... noob-friendliness actually comes from the Windows-like looks, GNOME for example resembles more of a MacOS feel,
Linux Mint is usually recommended because it resembles Win7, which is more easy to navigate and understand coming
from Windows as a simple and average user (like my dad for example) ... I personally doesn't really care for that.
I am using Manjaro KDE which is quite Windows-like ..."
From someone on reddit 7/2018:
... Ubuntu has a 6-month cycle, so everything gets updated once every 6 months.
Mint uses an LTS base, so everything gets updated once every 2 years ...
> I'm a n00b who was intending to install Mint, but maybe this is
> important enough to make me install Ubuntu instead. And I guess
> derivatives such as Kubuntu would lag, so I'm best off with the
> base Ubuntu ? I don't really care about UI sizzle, so the choice
> of DE isn't very important to me. Does this make sense ? Does Mint
> have other advantages that outweigh the outdated software ?
Kubuntu is 6-month cycle because it's the same base as plain Ubuntu. Same thing with Xubuntu,
Lubuntu, and the rest. It's only a 2-year cycle if it's marked as LTS.
The advantage with LTS stuff is that you don't need to touch it for ages which can be convenient
for some people. An LTS release will also be more stable than a 6-month release.
Mint itself also has a pretty expertly-crafted default user experience which makes it
great for new users or users that want stuff to just work ootb, so that might sway you ...
[from someone else:]
Most people don't recommend non-LTS Ubuntu; it has a reputation of not being very stable.
Also, when you have to upgrade your entire system every 6 months you're quite likely to run into trouble
once in a while, so especially for noobs it can turn frustrating.
Therefore I would recommend to stick to Ubuntu LTS or Mint, and in this case the release cycle
is the same for both. Also, derivatives such as Kubuntu (and even Mint) typically use the
Ubuntu repositories directly, meaning they don't lag even a bit behind.
Another thing that's important to understand is that only feature
updates are delayed until
the next release, but security
updates are of course released immediately.
So the software may be a bit outdated, but in general it shouldn't be unsafe.
[from someone else:]
Due to Ubuntu's design philosophy, all user programs (except for Firefox and Thunderbird)
stay at the [major ?] version-number they were when Ubuntu-LTS first released.
This is to ensure system stability, so updates to newer user programs don't break anything.
[Now that I've installed Linux Mint 19, I find that there are updates available
just about every day. So fixes or upgrades are coming out continuously.
A couple are date-stamped, and took 2-3 months to get from Ubuntu to Mint.]
[In 5/2019, the new point-release of Firefox to fix the add-on signing problem took less than 3 days to get
from Mozilla release to my Mint's Update Manager.]
The number of alternatives can be confusing:
It's FOSS's "Explained: Which Ubuntu Version Should I Use?"
It's FOSS's "How To Install And Remove Software In Ubuntu"
Distrowatch's "Search Distributions"
From someone on reddit 4/2018:
"Fixed" and "Fixed LTS" are fairly similar - the difference is how long they're officially supported
(given security and maintenance updates). Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 are Long-Term Support releases,
which means they're officially supported for five years after release. (LTR and LTS are, as far as I know,
interchangeable terms for the same thing.) 17.04 and 17.10 are Regular releases, and only officially supported
for nine months after release. Most desktop users can stick with the LTSes and upgrade straight from one to the
other - 16.04 to 18.04, for example - without much fuss. Someone who needs slightly more up-to-date software
can stick with regular releases, with more frequent system updates but shorter support cycles. They're both "Fixed"
to distinguish them from "Rolling" release distributions, which don't have numbered releases, because you can
effectively perform a full system update to upgrade everything to the latest version. This makes Rolling releases
great for people who need cutting-edge software and don't mind the risk of having to perform unexpected maintenance.
Most Debian-derived distributions, like Linux Mint, Ubuntu, etc., aren't based on the "Stable" branch of Debian - instead
they draw from the more up-to-date Testing or Unstable branches, where newer software versions are available.
Debian Stable is largely meant for servers, older hardware, and other situations where it's desirable for
software to stay as well-tested and unchanging as possible - it's overkill for most home users, so most of the
Debian derivatives opt for newer software.
Summary of some thoughts from the
The Complete Privacy & Security Podcast
guys as newbies trying out a couple of Linux alternatives in early 2018:
Try to buy a new machine before you absolutely have to get rid of the old machine,
and then try out multiple different versions of Linux on the new machine until
you find what you like. Then move all your stuff from old machine to new machine.
very polished, best if you want lots of stuff provided for you, but has product tie-in deal with Amazon,
they're starting up an Ubuntu app store with login required, and they have some telemetry (easy to turn off).
- Pop!_OS: oriented toward minimal,
things stripped out to give more security.
solid, a little more bare-bones, still compatible with lots of stuff (Ubuntu is based on Debian).
really more of a hyper-visor for running several VM's, maybe most secure,
steeper learning curve, difficult to try out by booting from USB,
an unusual type of Linux.
Their inclination is to choose Debian, partly because a lot of top security guys use it (although I suspect
those guys are compiling it from source themselves).
[Interview with a Linux guy:]
Ubuntu and Linux Mint have lots of GUI that shields the user from having to use the command-line.
So they're the easiest transition for a Windows or Mac user.
Distributions such as Alpine or Arch will be very command-line-intensive, and installing software
will require gathering lots of libraries and such.
Distributions that are "rolling release" are updating often to stay on the bleeding edge, and things
break often. A novice user is better off with a "stable release" distribution.
Recommended for a novice user: Fedora or OpenSuse.
SELinux is a secure executive, and Fedora is based on it. But tweaking the security settings takes
work, and a lot of people end up disabling it to get various applications to run. But Fedora will
have fewer of the less-used applications, or user will have to build them from source. Fedora is used
a lot in enterprises.
Ubuntu is the best-known distribution, has a company backing it, usually is what comes pre-loaded on a Dell laptop or such,
lots of packages available. And has a "FireJail" product that lets you run an application in a sandbox.
And security-profiles called "AppArmor".
Any Debian-based distribution can use FireJail and AppArmor.
For a casual user, getting the security settings right in Macintosh is easier than getting them right in Ubuntu (where they're
done via command-line). Macintosh is a bigger target of hackers, but in Linux it's easier to get a false sense of security ("I'm running
Linux so I must be safe").
The various Ubuntu distributions mostly differ by UI.
From /u/tdammers on reddit 10/2019:
Reasons why people might use a Debian-derivative rather than Debian proper:
- Getting newer packages (Debian pins everything to whatever version the original release had,
and only provides non-bugfix / non-security upgrades as part of an entire new release).
- Getting non-free packages that aren't available from Debian (Ubuntu is more lenient in this regard, for example).
- Getting domain-specific packages that aren't maintained in Debian (e.g., recording software
provided by, say, KX Studio).
- Default configurations that are more suited to their needs (e.g., a kernel tweaked for particular use cases,
a desktop environment you like better, etc.).
- Running on hardware that Debian doesn't support out of the box (or doesn't support anymore), e.g. old PowerPC.
- Replacing core parts of the OS more conveniently (e.g. the init system, as in Devuan).
From Rick Rouse's "3 reasons to install Linux on your 'Internet-Only' PC"
"Choosing Linux Mint with the Cinnamon Desktop will give you a very Microsoft-Windows-like user interface and user experience."
[You can install Cinnamon on Ubuntu, although I think it's not officially supported.]
Gary Newell's "5 Reasons to Use Linux Mint and Not Ubuntu"
Easy Linux tips project's "Linux Mint: how to select the right flavour for you"
From /u/Physics-is-Phun on reddit 4/2018:
I think difficulty breaks down like this (and anyone who thinks differently, please tell me why I should think differently, too):
Tier I: (beginner at computing) no Linux experience, very little system administration experience
(not a lot of setting up your own user accounts, messing around in program files/"startup" service,
etc and modifying what your computer does), does not know what a command prompt is: I'd recommend Ubuntu, Mint, Puppy, etc.
Tier II: (intermediate) some experience messing about with the operating system, wanting to learn more about just
how computing as a concept works, pretty comfortable in the command line (especially writing simple scripts to optimize their own experience),
etc: I'd recommend things like Fedora/CentOS, Debian, etc
Tier III: (advanced) "GUI? We don't need no stinkin' GUI!" lots of experience messing about in the operating system,
knows how to read documentation and mostly can solve problems independent of directly asking other users
(except for pretty weird and specific problems), comfortable enough to practically live in the terminal: Arch, Gentoo, Slackware, etc
Tier IV: (God mode/ludicrous) are essentially a kernel developer, or could be a volunteer as one; writes code for a living,
tons of experience troubleshooting their own troubles and possibly writing their own fixes, etc:
Linux From Scratch (you're basically just given the kernel and you put the rest together yourself - it's as close
to the Arch kind of philosophy as you can get, except even Arch gives you some basic tools so you can get the
install working more easily, from what I understand).
Honorable mention: there's specific distros that are designed around particular special interests.
SteamOS, for example, is built around Steam. Qubes, Whonix, and Tails are built around privacy/security/anonymity.
Kali is built around penetration testing (use this one in a way you're not supposed to, and you could be breaking the law,
though I guess that could be said about any OS, but this one has tools designed to break cyberdefenses).
From /u/OzarkShepherd on reddit 4/2018:
The Debian developers are serious about open-source, which means that all manufacturer drivers that aren't open-source
are disabled by default. ... All proprietary or non-free drivers have to be manually enabled in the sources list, and then manually installed.
Debian stable branch also may use older software, depending on how recent the stable was released. So the kernel that is in the
stable release might or might not work with newer hardware like the Ryzen cpu. With newer hardware you would benefit from a
newer kernel released after the hardware came out. Ubuntu is bigger in popularity even though it is based on Debian because
it comes with more drivers (or firmware in Linux) so more hardware will work from the start as long as you check the
mp3/proprietary firmware box during installation. So unless you don't mind spending more time chasing down hardware
problems then Ubuntu will be faster and easier to set up.
If you are concerned about bloat in Ubuntu, and the Gnome and Kubuntu versions do come out with a lot of bloat
to be more user-friendly to more people, you could try Xubuntu, KDE Neon, Lubuntu or of course you can dive right into Arch.
For gaming, the Linux version of Steam is developed with Ubuntu in mind. So anything Ubuntu, or based on Ubuntu like SteamOS or Linux Mint,
will be easier to get games to work on. For example Civ VI works immediately after installation on Ubuntu,
but takes some work on getting the right dependencies on Arch. It can be done in most cases on Debian or Arch, but it takes more work.
From /u/mdaffin on reddit 4/2018:
I always recommend people start on Ubuntu (or one of its flavours) - it is by far the most-popular and best-supported
distro out there and generally, you will be able to find someone that has already had and resolved any problem
you will face with it. It also supports most of the main desktop environments so you can quickly install a switch
between them to find the one you like the most. [Someone else says: have only one DE installed at any one time;
don't install multiple.]
From someone on reddit 6/2018:
You can put dozens of DE's in the same OS install but it's stupid to do so because you end up with duplicated software
cluttering up your menus. One DE might use Thunar as the FILE MANAGER and another Nemo, another SpaceFM,
or Caja or PCManFM, Konqueroe, Nautilis, Dolphin or Krusader etc ... they all do the same thing and you need only 1.
An idea of what Mint adds/changes relative to the Ubuntu it is based on:
Abhishek Prakash's "5 Reasons Why Linux Mint is Better Than Ubuntu"
From /u/AiwendilH on reddit 10/2018:
> There are heavy desktop environments like Gnome and KDE.
> And there are lightweight alternatives like XFCE, LXDE and LXQT.
> So what are the extra features offered by Gnome/KDE/Cinnamon apart
> from eye candies and accelerated 3D animation effects using the GPU,
> that make users choose them?
Heavy-/lightweight categorization is not so easy, for example in memory usage
Plasma and xfce only differ in about 50 MB ... less of difference than xfce and lxde.
There aren't many "tests" beyond memory consumption, hardly anything on power consumption
or CPU usage. So first off, best ignore voices trying to categorize DEs that
simply ... it's more guesswork than anything substantial.
Then DEs have to be separated into their "shell" and their framework. What you
ask about is probably the shell, how a DE looks to a user, what tools are
available, how it acts, how it can be controlled.
The framework part is not something you as user really can have an influence on.
You have no choice in the matter what DE frameworks an application uses,
that's a decision application developers do. Framework libraries contain stuff
usually not visible for users but important for applications like gnome's dconf
system or KDE's kconfig as framework for saving application config data.
No matter what DE shell you have installed ... the framework libraries of
other DEs will still work. Meaning ... if you use gnome but also krita you
will need some KDE framework libraries as those are how krita saves its config,
loads images, displays some gui elements ...
So as user your only choice is selecting an appropriate Desktop shell for your
workflow. And here are huge differences between the DEs and why some people
select one of the other. Things like:
- Default applications and their depth. Gnome for example has a Gnome Boxes
application that allows very simple setup of virtual machines ... as far as
I know no other DE has any similar application. KDE has a full-fledged
system-monitoring tool with client/server architecture for watching remote
machines in ksysguard. Lots of such examples where the default apps differ
vastly between the DEs. Of course you could use applications from one DE in
another ... but a lot people prefer tightly-integrated solutions and not
different config settings for the most basic programs for example.
- Services provided by the DEs ... things like file indexing services,
clipboard manager, password manager, window management tools ... again large
difference between the DEs there what is available and what it can do.
Kwin's window rule system is pretty much unmatched by any other DE while
gnome's gvfs allows using of gnome-specific virtual filesystems for pretty
much any applications, even non-gnome applications.
- Workflow. Do you prefer an activity-oriented workflow like gnome has,
a traditional workflow like xfce or lxqt ... or rather Plasma that has
elements of everything but requires you to set up everything as you want it.
- Appearance ... sorry not much I can say there as I never cared
but lots of people seem to have strong preferences for specific appearances
and themes so for sure a reason why people choose a specific DE.
- Configuration scope. Large differences of the configuration frontends
DEs offer for non-DE stuff. Not every DE has a configuration frontend for
systemd, joysticks, power management, locales ... and not every user wants
their DE to control stuff unrelated to it.
From someone on reddit 11/2018:
[For "lightweight":] Focus on the Desktop Environment, not the distro.
I would suggest a distro with LXDE (like Lubuntu 18.04) or LXQt (like Lubuntu 18.10).
From people on reddit 7/2020:
> GNOME vs KDE ?
Aditya Tiwari's "11 Best Linux Desktop Environments And Their Comparison | 2018 Edition"
RenewablePCs' "Desktop Environments for Linux"
Both DEs are technically accomplished and sufficiently reliable and performant (outside of some corner cases).
GNOME's philosophical guideline is minimalism: the DE should do nothing to get between the user and their work.
KDE believes that in so far as practical the user should have control of every element of the DE.
The apps are minimalist and free of clutter. It's primarily keyboard-driven (only reason I don't
use other DE's). The extensions are a massive plus, (why use Cinnamon or Budgie when you have dash to panel?)
Lacks customization capabilities although the customization is there through a workaround.
Heavy RAM usage (I don't care that much about it but it's there), certain versions are not
consistent and install different packages (Arch is relatively minimal, Debian installs
random extras like xterm from xfce. Why does it install these extra programs? It messes up the app menu).
GNOME isn't perfect but in my experience every other DE is a mess. KDE is a mess it's confusing,
lack intuition, and can be broken if you misadjust the wrong settings. I added a binary clock
to the panel and could never remove it. Then I accidentally made some mistakes and couldn't
interact with the guy any more. I lost interest.
KDE has lots of customization ootb, but that's all you're gonna get, you can't really extend it.
I'm much more a GNOME guy mainly because it is (ootb) more keyboard-driven and simplistic (in good way).
I tried many times using Plasma, at least for a matter of trying new things, but I always
came back to GNOME. (Actually, now I'm using Cinnamon). I'm not a Plasma hater at all,
but for my taste it feels so bloated in many aspects ...
Every time I try to use Plasma I feel like I'm meant to use the desktop.
While with GNOME I don't have to think about GNOME and can just do what I want.
Plasma tends to tout features like features are inherently good. But who cares if there's
split panes in a file manager when I have a file manager and half-tiling in my window manager?
Way faster and doesn't waste space in a toolbar.
I personally dislike KDE because I find it buggy and over-complicated with the settings
and configuration. I realize this is what many people like about it but I enjoy GNOME because
it works well enough without configuring too much so I can just get work done.
Plasma is great and i love its feature-set. But it constantly feels rough around the edges.
There's always some small graphical glitches, things aren't where they should be,
Settings dialogs don't work or things like that. Controls outside the window borders are also a thing.
GNOME never fails me. I personally think Adwaita is one of the best themes there is,
customization is somewhat there, but most of all, it's consistent and just works.
I can use Extensions for the few things I'm missing (Tray icons). It's sometimes a bit
boring and certainly less "flashy" than KDE, but it's solid as a rock.
I really like a lot of GNOME. Their Activities Overview full-screen dashboard is really
nice and I love how it works with their dynamic virtual desktops system. Their System Settings
app is very approachable and comprehensible, and I like their "single point of entry" idea.
Their documentation is top-notch. Overall the environment is very attractive.
Ultimately I use Plasma because I want more from my machine than GNOME can provide out of the box.
I want desktop icons and I want a dock. I want quarter-tiling and fractional scaling.
I want the search to index all my files in arbitrary locations rather than just a few,
and the ability to use the global search to launch web shortcuts and execute arbitrary commands.
I want all my apps to use the same visual theming rather than visually reflecting the
implementation details of which programming language and UI toolkit they were written in. And so on.
Adding extensions for those things always made my GNOME shell session crashy and laggy
and generally unstable and this was frustrating. So I use Plasma because it lets me have
all of those things without having to trade off system stability and spend a day tweaking
stuff to download and configure them.
I actually think GNOME has the better, more intuitive way of customizing things.
Having a single "standard" desktop experience with the ability to add extensions on top
of it was probably the best idea the GNOME team has ever had. It has amazing UX design
and, in my eyes, is the most beautiful desktop environment by a long shot. The documentation
provided by GNOME to its users is unparalleled in how easily accessible and understandable it is.
It's a great choice.
But alas, I prefer Plasma. On my poor little Intel integrated graphics processor,
GNOME consistently and very visibly lags/stutters in places where Plasma pretty much never does.
Using Wayland helps, but it's definitely more of a treatment than a cure. I said that
GNOME was the most beautiful desktop and that's true ... until you open up something that
isn't made specifically for GNOME. Plasma has excellent integration with applications of
all kinds, and even when it doesn't it still manages to look good. I can have a KDE app,
a Qt app, a GTK app, a GNOME app, an Electron app, a video game, a Wine program,
a Java Swing app, a poorly-tested snap application and so on all opened side by side
and they all look great next to each other.
In both Windows and Linux distros with MATE / Cinnamon / KDE I make shortcuts on the desktop
or on taskbar to the most-often-used programs to find and open them quickly.
Not only that I like to make Symlink shortcuts on the desktop to other folders and files
that I need often to put something in or to edit.
I didn't know how to do this with Gnome 3 or if it's even possible since desktop icons are not allowed.
There was another problem with some action missing from the power menu, sleep, hibernate,
whatever, I don't remember, I had to Google it and found out that I should've known to press
some keyboard letter to see it.
I hate this kind of things, I don't like hidden things.
For me KDE Plasma is just like Windows, but even better in some areas.
I like that I have desktop icons or whatever I want to put on the desktop.
I like that I have multiple start menu choices.
I like Dolphin very much, this is definitely the best file manager ever.
I like KDE Connect.
I like the Desktop integration for browsers.
I like that KDE is very fast and snappy.
I like that KDE is very customizable.
What I don't like about KDE is that the DE updates take forever.
On Kubuntu 20.04 is still not possible to update KDE to latest version.
And I don't like that there's no firewall and no privacy controls to control access to webcam, mic, location.
But Plasma is improving very fast, I'm sure these will come sooner than later.
The advantage of GNOME is slicker look, less bloat and very hard to find a defect.
KDE is bug-riddled; I could find a new defect every minute. But it gives way more
functionality without hacks (the extensions to GNOME, pardon me, degrade the slick experience a lot).
Also it doesn't look bad with non-KDE apps while KDE apps look horrible in GNOME.
I actually very much love the kdewallet in the end as I can redirect password even
to command line not just ssh and many apps make use of it. Everything is locked until
user logs in which is great. Some "k" apps are fascinating including Krita, Kata,
DigiKam but also search (I can't care less it takes 3 GB of RAM - I am getting content
search results in milliseconds). The search doesn't cover settings properly, here GNOME
shines with unparalled search of even your setting values. But I prefer file search.
I strongly require jump lists in taskbar; for that reason I even switched to K office.
Right click on taskbar or desktop in GNOME gives very little. KDE has graphics glitches
that is the main issue as other defects are rather minor.
In the end I am still with KDE as I hope a historical big fix season will come soon.