Pretty (Inter)face


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.


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.

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Plasma Active: The Mobile Interface That Works
  • Kubuntu 18.04

    Kubuntu 18.04, which is built on Ubuntu Bionic Beaver, is the first long-term support release that includes the Plasma 5 desktop. This article looks at the latest Kubuntu and highlights some cool configuration tricks.

  • KDE Plasma

    We take a peek at how to create your own plasmoids for the latest KDE desktop, giving you the power to build the perfect active desktop environment.

  • Plasmoids

    With KDE 4.4, plasmoids can now be written in JavaScript or QtScript, thus opening up a whole new class of applications. Marcel shows how easy it is to build JavaScript plasmoids.

  • KDE 4.10

    KDE SC 4.10 was released six months after KDE 4.9, adding many new features. In the background, work is in full swing for the next generation, KDE Frameworks 5: a KDE based completely on Qt5 and QML.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95