What makes one DE feel amazing in one distro and annoying in another?

Anyone but me realizing that the same DE can feel completely different despite identical settings on different distros? Right now I’m running Plasma on three distros: Suse Tumbleweed where it feels amazing, Fedora where it just manages to annoy me somehow and Manjaro where it works fine. https://appsync.biz/speed-test/ Scrabble Word Finder

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I don’t know, I’m using Plasma on Manjaro and kubuntu but I am using the breeze dark theme on both and I’ll do just a few other tweaks as well. Feels the same after that.

Have you accounted for each distribution almost certainly running a different combination of KDE package versions, as well as a different versioning in the graphics stack?

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Eh. Lots of distros treat other DEs besides the primary as second class citizens so things can feel different at times.

I did notice though that I like Cinnamon more on Manjaeo than on Mint. Gnome feels different on every distro other than Fedora… That sort of thing. It comes down to polish personally.

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Yeah I’ve noticed that a lot over the years. XFCE works really well in Manjaro and Xubuntu but not really well in a lot of other distros that I have used over the years, but then again Xubuntu main DE is XFCE and they aim to be light on system use compared to Ubuntu so they utilize XFCE really well same with Manjaro. With most other distros you can get it to be that way but usually you have to set it up that way yourself unless they also have a Community Edition, then a lot of the time you can find a package that will do about 80%ish of the setup just from installing it even if you didn’t install the community edition. Then it is mostly just configuring the system to make sure stuff you don’t need isn’t loading or the other way around. Can’t really comment on other DE’s because I usually use XFCE / LXQT / OpenBox.

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KDE on Fedora is frustrating to new users because their “Discover” software center doesn’t seem to work that well with dnf. It might just be because of the sluggishness of DNF in general, but it is what it is.

There are other minor things that bug me, but I’m too married to the RHEL ecosystem to move off.


It isn’t so much that distros treat spins with other DE’s as “second class citizens” as that they typically have the resources to focus on a single primary release while the alternative spins are prepared and managed by a much smaller number of volunteers. If an alternate spin team adheres to the guidelines established by that distribution, it will be allowed to host on that distribution’s servers. If that volunteer team moves on and stops preparing the spin, there’s a good chance it will die.

For example, this is the case with Fedora. Gnome is the primary release that receives the focus of the organization. The other Fedora spins are the work of much smaller volunteer teams.

Worth remembering that a distribution must maintain and package the software it releases. This is tens of thousands of packages for the likes of Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, etc., but only dozens or perhaps a few hundred for derivative distros like Mint. Spins with alternative DE’s do not take on that workload.

“… alternative spins are prepared and managed by a much smaller number of volunteers.”

That’s my point. It’s not that other distros don’t care for other DEs. It’s that they don’t have the resources available to manage them all.

I remember there being a guy working on the KDE spin looking for volunteers to help him out, and no one was willing to pitch in so it almost had to be dropped. It fell behind in revisions and that goes back to my point of some DEs getting treated as “second class citizens.” No one cared to pitch in thus Fedora was left that way while the main team carried onward. I talked to one of my friends about it and we were almost willing to pitch in but time constraints prevented it from happening…

You’re not wrong. KDE on Debian is a nightmare in highDPI situations. KDE on openSUSE, Fedora, and Ubuntu isn’t that bad in my experience. I have to increase the font size on Debian to prevent hieroglyphics from happening on the start menu and sub menus.

End result is I just use Gnome across the board

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It does not really suprise me that Open Suse gives you the best KDE experience.
Because the devs at Open Suse trully know how to implement KDE well.

Best KDE experience i had was with Open Suse aswell.

You could install any DE you like to any core base distribution.
But that does not mean that it allways works well out of the box.

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Choice of Distribution and DE is very subjective and can never be the same with so many diverse use-cases

Once you find that amazing combination that works best for your use case it doesn’t really matter about any others

I’m currently creating a bootable USB stick with Kubuntu (random pick of DE) for my first taste of Linux. May post my thoughts here after I play around with it for a bit.


I have set a partition for Kubuntu and installed it. Didn’t recognise touchpad gestures out of the box so I sorted that out and fixed mouse sensitivity. Initial impression is very good so far!

That’s why, if I was going to commit to a specific distro and DE for sustained used, I’d pick a distro and DE from an organization with adequate resources, not one from a handful of volunteers. These, like Fedora and Ubuntu, make use of resources provided by their sponsors – Red Hat and Canonical – who have paid employees and a supporting infrastructure. Hard, for example, to imagine either distro losing access to its servers because one person scampered off (see Solus and Ikey.)

Debian is an example of a volunteer distro with adequate resources. Although I’d argue its slow test and release pace would be faster with more support.

Side note: KDE releases bug fixes and version at a faster pace than Gnome’s 6-month cycle or XFCE’s glacial cycle. Keeping up with KDE has to be a challenge for volunteer efforts.

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Setting up KDE builds is actually really easy, and most all of this is automated. You have to manually kick it off, but once you’ve done, it’s automatic. While it is work, it’s not much.