I think this could lead to subjective opinions, but I'm looking for a general idea on this question.

Is Plasma 5 intended to be lighter than KDE4? Is Qt5 necessarily leading to faster and/or lighter KDE? Is the change related to the possible use on mobile devices and should that mean that a lighter desktop is necessarily the target? I also read at some point that Windows 10 was supposed to be lighter than Windows 7 because it was mobile-oriented: it is not lighter. Is there a similarity with KDE4 - Plasma 5?

When I first started using Linux it was for the purpose of getting back on track a 1 GB RAM laptop, and so I used Xfce and LXDE for that, while keeping away from desktops like Unity and KDE. I was so impressed by the results that for a long time I didn't bother to look at the heavier desktops and stayed with Xfce even on newer machines.

When KDE Plasma 5 appeared I took a look at it and I liked as it looked very good, only to find that a lot of features (like Dolphin add-ons) were mentioned there but not working.

I then tried KDE4 and I was surprised and very much impressed. Finally a really complete desktop and file manager. Compared to that, Plasma 5 now seemed to me an unfinished copy. That will probably change in time (already stable, Plasma 5 is very young, especially in KDE terms), but still, it was even promoted, as I remember, as a faster/lighter desktop than KDE4.

I am talking here about systems that come with these desktops as default, like Kubuntu, Linux Mint KDE and Manjaro KDE.

Anyway, KDE4 (like Linux Mint KDE 17.2) seems to me lighter on my 4 GB RAM computer than Kubuntu or Manjaro running Plasma 5 - and even than Xfce!

But I run into the exactly opposite opinions, like here or here. As far as I can tell Linux Mint 17.2 is not missing Plasma 5 at all!

Is fast also supposed to mean light? On my machine KDE4 is both lighter and faster than Plasma 5.

  • My opinion: I actually quit using KDE because KDE Plasma 5 was so buggy in too many different ways, unlike KDE 4. It sounds like you're experiencing what I experienced and gave up on. – Deltik Nov 4 '15 at 9:27
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    @Deltik - Exactly my point: KDE4 it is an excellent desktop, and probably the most mature and complete, and it's a pity that it is not better promoted. What is promoted is Plasma 5, with the effect that some people give up KDE completely. They think 5 should be the best, as there's no way the older one is better! but it is: the most mature one is the better! - In fact Plasma 5 will probably get better, only I was surprised how good a desktop KDE4 is and how little attention it gets compared to both lighter desktops like Xfce and to new&bloated like Unity and Gnome 3. – user162573 Nov 4 '15 at 10:44
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    @Deltik - Also, Plasma 5 bugginess comes from it being unfinished. The fake possibility of most Dolphin addons is terrible. Some are there by default and don't work. It has a different feel of texture, which some may like, but it is also a bit heavier, which I don't think was to be expected. I only was attracted by Plasma 5 because I ignored and had gross misconceptions on KDE4. - I would recommend Linux Mint with KDE4 (17.2), the first Linux that seems to me as a user really complete. Plasma 5 makes me think of Windows 10 (the heaviness/texture&feel, while Win10 is at least already mature). – user162573 Nov 4 '15 at 10:52

After a while I can answer that Plasma 5 can feel at least as light and stable as kde4.

It is a matter of time, just like KDE4 took time to mature.

One can only hope that Plasma 5 will be supported long enough so as to reach its full potential before some novelty brings back the very same question.

  • Although KDE Plasma 5 has improved performance noticeably since you asked, I still experience frequent segfaults in Plasma Desktop, and various things here and there are still broken (like I have to use alsamixer to adjust volume), which makes it frustrating to use. Considering performance only, I'd subjectively say that KDE Plasma 5 is now about as fast as KDE4. – Deltik Jan 18 '17 at 22:26
  • @Deltik - My question comes from the fact that I had started using KDE4 on a regular basis exactly when people were moving to plasma5 and praising it excessively. I was greatly impressed by KDE4, which with medium specs seemed no less snappy than Xfce. - I can confirm some problems with Plasma 5 even in a stable distro like Mint KDE (window manager crashing), but also the fact that this suggestion of going to latest version has improved things for me in Mint. ~ Not sure if that would improve things or make them worse for you. – user162573 Jan 19 '17 at 9:35

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