Pretty (Inter)face

Misconceptions

You might be thinking that all these goodies are cool and all, but at what cost? Surely Plasma will slow down your average machine to a crawl. Turns out that is not the case at all. In fact, some not-very-scientific research I carried out showed Plasma to be lighter in many areas than even Xfce, a desktop environment whose main claim to fame is that it is light.

Using three Live Manjaro flavors, KDE (with Plasma desktop), Gnome, and Xfce, I ran some tests and concocted Table 1.

If the numbers in the first column seem a bit high, it is because I was running the desktops off of a Live distribution, so, apart from the graphical environment, the RAM was also loaded with a lot of in-memory systems. Notwithstanding, Plasma is the lightest of the three by quite a measure.

Bootup, which was timed from the GRUB screen to a fully loaded desktop, does show Plasma to be slower, but starting up external applications shows Plasma to be faster – in the case of running LibreOffice, much faster. This exercise shows that you can expect Plasma to take longer to load, but, once loaded, it will run lighter and snappier than many other desktops.

The fact is that some manufacturers of under-powered and inexpensive netbooks [5] have started using Plasma by default on their devices.

Conclusion

If you have not tried Plasma or remember the bad old days when it was clunky and buggy, you should really give it a chance. Not only is it configurable to absurd extremes and packs more features than you would ever need, but it is also lighter and snappier than most other desktops out there.

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