Plasma 5.18, what has your experience been?

For me, KDE Plasma 5.18 on openSUSE Tumbleweed is Awesome-Sauce. It has been a buffet of further refinements, feature enhancements and little improvements make it a welcome update. It’s nice to not have to worry about losing something in an update. Either a feature or the ability to run it on a trusty old piece of hardware.

Overall, I am quite happy with it. Most important to me, none of the changes in 5.18 are irritating. Sure, that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement but for me, there is no greater statement that can be said about a desktop as the changes are not irritating.


I ran it in Kubuntu backports and had the plasmasession crash a few times, one night it took me over an hour to research and fix, or kinda fixed.

Plasma slowly, but visibly keeps getting better for me. We’ve been there for some time when it comes to functionality and now, little bugs are vanishing one by one.

Plasma has come to the state, where it’s light enough to run on most SBC’s.

That’s a feat Gnome has not managed to pull off yet.

I love running Plasma 5.18 on my Raspberry Pi 4, Rock Pi 4, Pinebook Pro, Pinebook and PinePhone/PineTab. It flies!


I’d like to hear more about your SBC + Plasma adventures. Do tell! You know, if you have the time.

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Probably my biggest problem with Plasma, and it’s not a deal breaker is that when I download a torrent, like an ISO for a distro, I download them onto an external drive. From what I read, when I delete an ISO from an external drive Plasma moves it to the main drive and them deletes it. This takes a couple of minutes to do. From my experience it’s the only desktop environment that does that.


When Manjaro ARM first started out, none of the available devices was powerful enough to run Plasma at the time.
The first device we actually tried Plasma on, was the Odroid C2, back when it was the most powerful device by Hardkernel. It was sluggish and did not perform well, but it was usable and doable.

The KDE Plasma edition became an official edition of Manjaro ARM in 2018 with the original Pinebook (1080) being the prime device it could run on. Since then there has been steady improvements to Plasma in general.

In the last year or two, many powerful devices have emerged, like the Pinebook Pro, Rock Pi 4 and Odroid N2, which have made Plasma really fly.

Lately, in the last half a year or so, we have seen vast improvements in the open source mali drivers for ARM, called Lima and Panfrost.
Lima still has a ways to go and only works reasonable well on Wayland, but Panfrost has really matured and is now at a stage where we can enable Hardware Acceleration in Plasma on Panfrost devices.
This means, Hardware Accelerated Plasma Desktop is now possible on the Pinebook Pro, RockPro64 and Rock Pi 4.
Some devices are not able to use Panfrost yet, even though the GPU architecture matches, simply because the GPU type (mali GXX) is not yet supported in Panfrost. But they will get there.
These devices include the Odroid N2 and the Khadas Vim 3.

The Raspberry Pi 4 uses the VC4/V3D GPU driver, which is also capable of some hardware acceleration, but since Manjaro ARM is a 64-bit only OS, it’s not all there. Raspberry Pi foundation, as some might now, only focus on 32-bit.

In Manjaro ARM, Plasma can run comfortable on Raspberry Pi 4, Pinebook, Pinebook Pro, Pine64-LTS (and +), Rock64, Rockpro64, Rock Pi 4, Odroid C2, Odroid N2, Khadas Vim 1-3.
Some of these devices are Lima based devices and are running Plasma in software acceleration, since Lima does not work well with Xorg.
The PinePhone and PineTab are Lima devices and run Plasma Mobile (which is Wayland) with hardware acceleration.

If you have any questions, please let me know. :slight_smile:


Once that 2D hardware acceleration lands for Manjaro ARM on the Raspberry Pi 4 (such that Youtube works well in fullscreen, native 1080p), then I think a huge number of users will be climbing aboard the Manjaro “party boat” (and setting aside their old Raspbian MicroSD card, for easy fallback, if necessary).

You are talking about Video Acceleration. That’s something entirely different.
But Manjaro ARM does actually have pretty good youtube performance on the RPI4.
Our main RPI guy has it working pretty well with 1080p and almost no frames dropped.

Thanks for that. So this almost frame-dropless Youtube video goodness is included in the current download for Manjaro KDE Plasma 20.02 for the Raspberry Pi 4?

(Rummaging around for spare, fast MicroSD card…)

Should be. :slight_smile: I don’t use the rpi4 much myself.

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This is really helpful! Much appreciated!

You are probably “moving to Trash” instead of deleting it. Keyboard shortcut that I use is Shift+Delete to delete something. Delete on its own moves it to trash.

I generally like Plasma, but there is one irritation I have that keeps me from using it as my daily driver. The applications menu shows two lines for each program - the actual name and a description/comment field. For some reason the default is to show the description first and the application name as a subtext below it. I hate this. I’ve tried deleting the description but then it just shows the application name twice. I’ve dug around on forums and such that talk about hacking/scripting Kickoff, but none have discussed this particular feature.

As far as I can tell, this is still the default behavior in 5.18. I know it may seem a strange hill to die on but that’s the main thing keeping me from using Plasma.

Can you supply a screen shot? This is what I see:

I am running the default Tumbleweed.

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Hi @CubicleNate. This isn’t a shot from my system specifically, but it is what I see by default. I don’t remember seeing the “Name only” option in my General settings but I’ll take a look when I’m back at home. Thanks!

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Right click on the menu and there SHOULD be a “Configure Applications Menu” selection. That is where you can make the adjustment. Also, that kickoff menu, not my favorite. Right-click on the menu and select “Show Alternatives” to change that to something less… maddening.


Awesome. Hope it’s something that simple. I agree - that menu style is maddening indeed.

UPDATE - Yup, I’m blind. I see the option you pointed out. Coming from the days of hand-editing Xfree86 config files, I do have a tendency to make things seem more complicated than they need to be. Haha. Cheers, @CubicleNate.


OK, question. Let’s say we set the RPi4 aside. And let’s consider the other remaining SBC’s officially supported for Manjaro ARM KDE Plasma 20.02. What if I wanted to pick the SBC amongst these, which tried to strike the best balance between the 3 following factors:

  • The board has the most horsepower
  • It uses a storage media for the OS superior (in speed and longevity) to a MicroSD card. Like an eMMC.
  • All the hardware features which the SBC is capable of all work out of the box, including 2D Video Acceleration (allowing nice YoutubePlayback as above).

What SBC do you feel strikes the best balance, O @Strit? Price matters not.

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I would go with something like the Rock Pi 4 or the RockPro64 then.

  • The board use an rk3399, which is very powerful and well supported in mainline Linux.
  • It has options for eMMC and even SSD via M.2 (although this does not work from mainline Linux).
  • It has about the best support on mainline Linux in general. The video acceleration is in staging, but it won’t matter much if you use Firefox, since Firefox does not have video acceleration on Linux in general. Not even on x86.

And since the Pinebook Pro is also based on the above, it would give the added benefit of a screen, keyboard and touchpad out of the box. :wink:

PS: Maybe we should take SBC talk into it’s own topic?