Is Plasma really better than Gnome?

I have two partitions on my laptop I’d been running Fedora Gnome on one of them for a while and tbh I really like it. Having heard certain individuals gushing about how good Plasma is I saw an opportunity to do a direct comparison. (or would if I hadn’t broken grub in the mean time. That’s out of scope here). Lets just say now my laptop boots into Fedora KDE spin.

So my initial thoughts about Plasma.

  1. There is only one workspace out of the box. How would a new user even notice that this feature needs setting up? 1 point to Gnome which give us as many workspaces as needed out of the box.

  2. When looking at workspace 1 and having opened an app say Firefox. If I move to a second workspace and click on the pinned app icon it opens a new instance of that app, rather than taking me to the one opened in workspace 1. 1 point to gnome which just takes you to the already open app.

  3. Plasma has a comprehensive shortcut system for sure but to switch between previous and next desk top you have to have to make your own shortcuts. This isn’t too difficult but would a user know that these are found under kwin? Really, would they know that? Plus 1 to gnome for making it easy out of the box with shortcuts which are easily guessable.

So here are just three points where gnome wins.

I have used kde plasma for years before, with Distros such as Mepis, Kubuntu and Manjaro. Each has been older than the current version and will have had different defaults. I agree that once set up plasma will eventually beat gnome in functionality, but it takes a lot more work than installing a few extensions. This work also requires knowledge that not every one has (as do extensions).

Please feel free to disagree, I may be missing something. I’m hoping not to have started another flame war, its impossible to mention plasma and gnome in the same breath without conflict but I did. So Mods please feel free to lock or delete this thread, I sort of expect it.

I’m off to watch some KDE customisation videos as its been a while.

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That’s a very good point @astronautsupplier, I actually like Plasma and Gnome and Mate actually. I just don’t thing one is better than the others. I should have added this to my comment.

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It is for me. I never found gnome to be intuitive in any sense. It’s a resource hog. The extensions would constantly crash. The more you try to customize it through extensions, the less stable the DE becomes. From what I’ve seen there have been some improvements starting in 40, but that is too little too late for me. The gnome development team have a definite vision of how their DE should be, and that vision doesn’t work for me. That mindset is reminiscent of what you’ll find at Apple and Microsoft. It’s gnome’s way or the highway. I’m sticking with Plasma until something better comes along.

KDE offers more options, but like all computer machine things…as options increase complexity increases.

Does that make one “better” than the other? Of course.

At an individual level. KDE is better for me. Gnome might be better for a newbie. That’s ok. It really is just fine. Gnome might also be better for a long term user, and that too is fine, i suppose, if they’re weird….

No I’m totally kidding. I know there are people in both camps, and we have to stop bickering. KDE and Gnome are both great options. We have to band together and face the real enemy….



It’s better for me. There is no all-around best for everyone

I’ve been flicking between kde and gnome all week, when I’m in gnome I am wondering if KDE would be better, when I am in KDE I wish I were in gnome. Its like a mythical parent trying to choose between two children, I love them both but have a favourite. KDE is pretty great but Gnome is my favourite but not because its better. My conclusion is that neither are better, just different. I had to do this testing myself rather than listening to other people opinions. I hope you all understand, it was driving my crazy with fms (fear of missing something).


Both are great in my opinion. I tried KDE various times because it should fill my love for customisation. But in the end I realised Gnome fits very well. I don’t use my computer for work so my needs are not that big as someone spending hours on it.
So my reasoning was always driving me to KDE but my feelings made me stay on Gnome :sweat_smile:
There was also always some stuff not working properly on Neon and Kubuntu whereas it’s really uneventful on Pop and Zorin. But that’s certainly linked to my needs, skills and hardware :man_shrugging:t2:


Good day everyone. I find this topic interesting as I use both KDE Plasma and Gnome desktop environments. I use Plasma on my Pinebook Pro laptop and Gnome/Pop Shell on my System 76 laptop. In my opinion, neither DE is better than the other. Each one has its pluses and minuses. The one I’ll mention is DE customization. I do not find it an easy thing to do in Gnome. They want Gnome to stay out of the way and allow the use to get stuff done. With Plasma, there is a lot of customization you can do, but with so much there, it can be overwhelming. I did get up and running with Gnome quicker then I did with Plasma. I agree with everyone here that it is a personal preference. That is why there are so many different DE’s and window managers out there. There is something for everyone.

/Mike Biel - MickTheLinuxGeek


There’s going to be an Overview feature coming. Still wonky, but it’s coming. I have it t on Neon Unstable.

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I think Steam is a good example of this, they picked Plasma for a reason and personally I think that reason is that it is a DE that has the most potential. I don’t use it personally because I think for me it lacks a certain polish that I keep coming back to gnome for but I cannot deny that there has been a ton of work being done on plasma that makes it hard to ignore. I think that plasma can become the best DE but I do not think that is the case right now. It does seem though that recently that may be changing.

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when it comes to Plasma vs GNOME there are clear distinctions that set them apart from each other and it is certainly a different experience depending on the user.

I agree with @gemmakaru about some things GNOME does better out of the box but GNOME is also very limited in customizations and requiring you to use 3rd party extensions to do pretty much everything. Also due to how GNOME works, the extensions break every new release and has some GNOME devs recommending people to not use extensions at all. A lot of mixed messaging there.

Plasma’s biggest benefit is the powerful features where you can make Plasma work however you want it to. If you like the Windows paradigm, the Unity paradigm, the GNOME paradigm, or even a customized style . . . all of these can be done in Plasma. I agree that Plasma needs work to improve the out of the box experience but the reason I like Plasma is more about the powerful workflow I can have. There is also a lot of cool things that Plasma can do that GNOME cant such as transparent windows simply by using keyboard shortcuts or extensive window control with Window Rules or better built-in tiling.

Ultimately the answer for which is better is solely on the user, do you want out of the box experience that doesn’t allow you to do much customization? then the answer is GNOME. if the user wants power and flexibility then the answer is Plasma.

at least that’s how I look at it.


I love that we have the ability to choose the desktop, often with the same distro. Choices are great. We can each make a different choice and and be happy