KDE NEON(20.04) vs Ubuntu Mate (20.04)

I have been using Ubuntu Mate for years, and I have been happy with it. Lately, I’ve been playing around with KDE Neon, and I’m starting to like it better, definitely better looking. Both on dual boot Linux/Win10.

I am running KDE from USB drive and Mate from internal HDD. The computer is an old PC, Dell Precision Workstation T3400, 8 gig ram, Core 2 duo E8400@3 Ghz. (Upgrading the computer is not an option unless someone wants to send me a few hundred bucks!)

So…I’d like to hear your experience and opinions which of the two you think is better (speed, ram use, inteface, whatever, etc.) and why?

Google is not the answer; I need personal experiences!


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I have been running KDE for 10 years now. Recently, I tried XFCE, but could not get it to configure as easily as KDE.

I run KDE with Wayland on OpenSuSE Tumbleweed (Their Rolling Release) and I am very happy. I sometimes wonder if I am missing out on another experience, but always go back to OpenSuSE and KDE.

Wayland is new and I like it fine.

I will download them today and install on separate SSD’s and let you know my experience through video, rather than typing. I’ll post my video to YouTube and leave link here. I like doing videos as I can show you in real time as you’re seeing it on screen. I’m not good enough to make money out of it, but have the tech and the know how to make videos. Not bothered about people subscribing or liking my content, just do it mainly as a hobby and to get me away from real life for a while. I’m hoping to get video up by tomorrow afternoon, as tonight is my last night for this week of Night Shifts, got three nights off Whoopie Goldberg do. :grinning:

Clatterfordslim, Thank you for your response.

That sounds like a lot of trouble and honestly all I am looking for are people’s opinions who have tried both. I already know what they look like, and I doubt I’ll be spending time watching a video.

I’ve used MATE about 5 years ago. It was too flat looking and lightweight-y for me. It seemed like it wanted to be as lightweight as XFCE but look as good as something fatter, like GNOME. So, the looks already did not appeal to me.
Then, I had some issues with the icons in a taskbar, which I could not solve back then. It also seemed like that DE lacked a couple of features.

A couple of years ago, I was convinced by my friend to switch to the new KDE Plasma. Since then, I do not look further. I have tried every common DE and this is, in my opinion, the best DE on the Linux market. Period.

It looks amazing. It has tons of features. It has the best native DE apps of all. It’s immensely configurable and that’s comparatively easy to deal with. It has a huge amount of contributor and user support.

To me, it’s clear, that KDE is simply the best. There is no better DE on the Linux market for every day usage.

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It’s not going to be about the looks, you want to know about usage, bloat of how lighter one is to the other. I have used Ubuntu Mate when it was a a beta back in 16.04, fully installed as a beta using it as my daily OS for two years. I know since 16.04, it began to get bloated in 18.04, laggy too. Back in 16.04 it was fast and had just introduced the welcome screen, which I thought was a nice touch and also software boutique, was and still is a really good in-built app. I don’t honestly care for how a operating system looks, it’s how it performs in the real world? You will get to see real tests. KDE Neon, will be tested with screen effects on and off whilst rendering a screen image. I am still going to do the video anyway. I am fed up of seeing videos of how good a operating system looks like. Which is why I want to do something different, to see how it performs on real hardware. With everyday tasks, as well as complex ones.

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Akito, thanks for your opinion. I’ve always liked Mate better than any other DE, and for me, it worked better than the others I tried (20+ different ones, including KDE). Possibly due to simple mindedness, I like how Mate looks and acts. (reminds me of the “good ol’ days”) But there’s no argument, Neon looks a hell of a lot better, and maybe after I get used to it, I will work better as well.

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Thank you for your opinion

My 2¢ into the discussion:

I don’t think, it makes any sense to talk about bloat in desktop environments nowadays, unless you’re using lower spec single board or prehistoric computers.

No mainstream desktop environment has really a noteworthy influence on a computer’s performance, so it all comes down to taste and usability.

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Test is over, and Mate wins! not as pretty as Neon, but way faster, and what can I say…It’s what I’m used to!

Thanks to all who reponded.

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Like what exactly is faster?

You already gave your opinion. You don’t like Mate…No problem!
For me it’s faster; you’ll have to accept that answer, without explanations.
Or not…it doesn’t really matter to me.

As far as I’m concerned, this topic is now closed; I will not seee your response.

No idea what you are going on about. I am not trying to defend KDE, I am just trying to understand what exactly is faster, so I can understand your decision and perhaps finally find the first thing about KDE that is slow. I stated the question out of pure curiousity.

However, it seems like MATE is not “faster”, but it’s just the DE you like more. That’s fine. But if you claim it’s “faster”, I think many people would be interested in the way KDE is slower than MATE, so people can make a better decision on what DE to choose.

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Ubuntu has the option to do a minimal install. I usually do this option and install other stuff afterwards. It seems to install everything and then remove the excess which makes the install time longer.

I’m also very curious to know more.

There are indeed some optional effects that can take time when switching screens or windows, but I’m sure you’re not referring to these, so, I guess, it can only be system startup time, time to load a program when invoked from the menu or the command line or actual execution speed of programs. To me, it seems impossible that it might be the last.

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Crumbs! I’m not reading threads like this anymore…

I was “inspired” and decided to check out KDE Plasma alongside Gnome on Ubuntu 21.04, on my Thinkpad E495 (with ZFS encrypted “/”)… BIG MISTAKE!

I hated every minute of it… ghastly… the default experience in KDE Plasma from Canonical (not sure how / if it’s different from Kubuntu) still feels like it came out of Redmond Seattle’s “User Experience Labs”… So I tweaked and fiddled a bit, but I kinda hate that big ugly bottom panel, I hated it being at the bottom, I hate it being so huge… I hated everything about it it… Took me ages (5 minutes is a long time) to figure out how to put it at the top, where it should be!

Hey - all you KDE users and lovers, this is just my opinion: and I know there’s like a THOUSAND ways to customise it - and - it does seem to have lots more ways “default” to customise it (e.g. you don’t have to install any “tweaks” - the tweaking tools come with KDE out of the box), but it didn’t agree with me, and I will never go there again…

So - being lazy, I’d “google-fu’d” install KDE on Ubuntu (above), and found an article by “our” own Abishek ( How to Install KDE Desktop Environment on Ubuntu ) - basically :
sudo apt install kde-standard
and reboot…

So I just did the reverse of that :
sudo apt remove kde-standard
and logged out, seemed okay…

Still a few things hanging around giving me the irits (irritations) - so I removed a few other things, I purged sddm because I ONLY wanted to use gdm (gdm3)…

Rebooted… NO GUI? Text TTY console only???

So I ssh’d in, tried re-installing gnome again… rebooted… nothing…

sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm3
and chose gdm3 as my display manager
rebooted… and even though I’d purged sddm it was stilll listed! But got it back in the end (picking gdm3)…

Anyway it’s all back in place now, phew… but it took me half an hour to get it all back… won’t be trying that again in a hurry… I may be tempted to try out the KDE Neon distro but not on this laptop… But the out of the box KDE disagreed me, and it still had things that reminded me of why I hated it in the 1990’s, it reminded me of MS Windows… I realise I probably didn’t give it enough of a test drive, but I also realised I was STUPID to be playing around with that laptop, because the ZFS encrypted “/” partition makes it a PITA to reboot, and probably a huge PITA to rebuild from scratch…

I guess I’m more of an Elliott than a Tyler

(note he’s only running Gnome 'cause he’s using Kali - Kali on RPi is still using XFCE)

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Whenever I watch Mr. Robot I am reminded of the good ol’ times.

What everyone needs to remember when watching it and listening to the Linux jargon:
The first season came out in 2013.

So, back then, GNOME had a bit of a different light shone onto it, than now.

And, as far as I recall, Android was indeed as easily rootable in the way Wellick did with that one dude’s phone.

So funny how people are different: I tried everything: panel on top, right, left, but I always come back to bottom, seems the most convenient place to me.

However: I have it set to auto-hide, as I hardly use it anyway.

KDE leaves you so many possibilities to style it.

This was definitely the poshest version, I ever had (with the transparent docked symbols in the middle):


and yet, I went back to cleaned-up look with just the clock and the hidden panel:


one of the things that tempted me to try KDE, were your desktop screenshots, @Mina :smiley:

I like to have an always on status bar at the top of my main monitor, so I can see stuff like time and my wifi / ethernet etc… and an auto-hiding dock at the bottom… I used to use plank for the dock, but now I just use gnome’s dash2dock extension…

I’ve got a reasonably okay laptop lying around doing nothing, I might give KDE another go with KDE Neon distro…

Also - as I’m constantly jumping between OS X and Linux, I like to keep them looking “similar” with things in the same places… So I’ll be striving to make things I use, to be in similar locations / navigations, in KDE, as it is in gnome and macos…

I like the look of widgets and clocks and stuff people do with conky or other similar things, but, I usually have my desktop too full of application windows to look at stuff under them…


Yes it’s the programs that it does not need any more or ones chosen not to be included like Gparted. I’m in the middle of making video at the moment. These two rely heavily on Snaps as a choice and both have Systemd which is like nearly all Linux OSES have, that can slow boot times down.
Finding out which one is better in different scenario’s than the other is the real test. Depending on hardware, my main computers are modern ones, though will have to try comparisons on older hardware too, as Ubuntu Mate or nearly any Linux OS can run on old or new, depending on hardware. I still wonder as to why KDE has two splash screens? One is main boot, the other is the welcome splash. Luckily the welcome splash can be switched off. The real test would be not to use modern hardware, as in SSD or up to date CPU’s, so will test on normal hard drives with a thirteen year old build I have here. It has 32GB of low performance Ram. The motherboard is a ASUS Windows eight ready gaming board. DDR3 ram of course, but works great as a media PC. The CPU is for photography and video. So yes give me a while at least a week to get a video sorted, as real life gets in the way.