Monday, December 30, 2013

In search of the Best KDE Linux distro of 2013: A comparison of 19 leading KDE operating systems

KDE is possibly the most versatile desktop environment that I've used. It ships with a host of cross-platform applications designed to run on Linux, BSD, Windows, and even Mac OS X. I don't know of any other desktop environment with that capability. Today almost all major Linux distros have a KDE version and distros like OpenSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Kubuntu, SolydK, PCBSD, etc. have KDE spins as their flagship distros. Also, KDE is quite similar to Windows 7 (at least superficially) and hence, finds easy acceptance among new Linux users migrating from MS Windows.

From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Like 2012, I round up the year with a comparison of the latest KDE distros and check who fared better than the others. For this analysis, I pick up 19 KDE distros, 5 from Ubuntu & it's derivatives, 4 from Debian spins, 3 from Arch spins, 3 from RedHat spins, 3 from Mandriva and 1 from Gentoo. Somehow I could not include Slackware & Slackware based distros (I didn't try them out) and Sabayon, a Gentoo derivative (didn't boot from live USB due to Nvidia driver issue, 32 bit works well but this review is limited to 64-bit distros only), in my review.

Operating System (64 bit) Size of ISO (GB) Base Desktop Linux kernel
Bridge Linux 2013.06 1 Arch KDE 4.10.4 3.12.5
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 2.3 Gentoo KDE 4.11.3 3.10.19
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 1.8 Arch KDE 4.11.1 3.10.10
Debian KDE 7.3.0 0.651 Debian Wheezy KDE 4.8.4 3.2.0
Fedora 20 KDE 0.928 Fedora KDE 4.11.3 3.12.5
Korora 19.1 2.4 Fedora KDE 4.11.1 3.11.2
Kubuntu 13.04 0.9371 Ubuntu Raring KDE 4.10.5 3.8.0
Kubuntu 13.10 1 Ubuntu Saucy KDE 4.11.2 3.11.0
Kwheezy 1.4 4 Debian Wheezy KDE 4.8.4 3.2.0
Mageia 3 1.4 Mandriva KDE 4.10.2 3.8.0
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 2 Arch KDE 4.11.3 3.10.24
Mint 15 KDE 1.4 Ubuntu Raring KDE 4.10.5 3.8.0
Mint 16 KDE 1.4 Ubuntu Saucy KDE 4.11.3 3.11.0
Neptune 3.3 1.9 Debian Wheezy KDE 4.11.2 3.10.12
Netrunner 13.06 1.4 Ubuntu Raring KDE 4.10.5 3.8.0
OpenSUSE 13.1 4.4 OpenSUSE KDE 4.11.2 3.11.6
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 1.6 Mandriva KDE 4.11.3 3.4.70
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 1.6 Mandriva KDE 4.11.3 3.10.19
Solydk 2013.11 1.6 Debian Testing KDE 4.11.3 3.10.3



64-bit Operating Systems included in this review
For this review I used only the 64-bit versions of all the operating systems under consideration. Each Operating system is assessed for 5 criteria, namely:
  • Installation (20% weightage): Installation time required and installation complexity
  • Aesthetics (20% weightage): Including graphical boot splash and differentiation in KDE plasma desktop
  • Hardware Recognition (20% weightage): Includes automatic wifi and touchpad recognition along with setting up bumblebee for hybrid graphics. Touchpad recognition also includes automatic 2 finger scroll & single/double functions.
  • Pre-installed Applications (10% weightage): Checking if office, PDF viewer, browser, email client, download manager, torrent client, IM, Skype, Photo viewer, GIMP, Screenshot app, audio/video player, CD/DVD writer, Live USB creator, Wine, etc. are present or not. An OS may include a lot more additional applications but my testing was limited to the aforementioned packages.
  • Performance (30% weightage): RAM/CPU utilization at steady state under similar conditions on the same machine and time to boot are the two main criteria for performance check.
Laptop used for this review
I used my Asus K55VM with 2.3 Ghz Core i7 processor, 8 GB DDR3 RAM and 2 GB NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphic card for this test. I have 3 partitions: 25 GB, 75 GB and 880 GB with ~10 GB swap on which the operating systems were installed between 15th to 28th December and their performances were recorded, which forms the basis of this evaluation.

Next few sections cover the assessment and finally I sum it up at the end to rank order the KDE distros.

1. Installation (20%)
1A. Level of complexity (10%)
Most of the Linux operating systems I checked out have relatively easy installation process and 13 out of 19 scored the maximum 5/5. However, the following operating systems scored lower and the reasons are mentioned below:

  • Neptune 3.3 (4/5): Very simple installation process, except didn't ask for timezone and I had to manually adjust the clock
  • Kwheezy 1.4, OpenSUSE 13.1 and Mageia 3 (3/5): Simpler than Debian but still complicated if I compare to Ubuntu, Mint or Fedora; may be confusing to Linux newbies. For example, Mageia installation is simple but the entering other Linux OS in the grub is complex if you're planning to run it in a multi-OS environment. It messed up with the laptop a couple of times.
  • Debian 7.3.0 (2/5): Second most complicated installation process in my rating and requires a lot of time and patience to install.
  • Bridge Linux 2013.06 (1/5): Most complicated and uses a legacy installer which is not at all intuitive.

Operating System (64 bit) Complication of installation process
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 5
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 5
Fedora 20 KDE 5
Korora 19.1 5
Kubuntu 13.04 5
Kubuntu 13.10 5
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 5
Mint 15 KDE 5
Mint 16 KDE 5
Netrunner 13.06 5
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 5
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 5
Solydk 2013.11 5
Neptune 3.3 4
Kwheezy 1.4 3
OpenSUSE 13.1 3
Mageia 3 3
Debian KDE 7.3.0 2
Bridge Linux 2013.06 1

1B. Installation Time (10%)
In general, Ubuntu based distros scored lower than other OS under consideration. Ubuntu and it's derivatives always took a good old half an hour to be ready with all bells and whistles downloaded (at 1 mbps speed connection). Debian was the slowest for me and it took me a good 3 hours to get it installed from live CD. It is, however, surprising that Kwheezy, based on Debian, was one of the quickest to install.

Operating System (64 bit) Installation Time (min) Points (<=10 min = 5, 10 to 20 = 3.5, 30+=2.5)
Kwheezy 1.4 10 5
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 10 5
Mageia 3 10 5
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 15 3.5
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 15 3.5
Fedora 20 KDE 15 3.5
Korora 19.1 15 3.5
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 15 3.5
OpenSUSE 13.1 15 3.5
Solydk 2013.11 15 3.5
Bridge Linux 2013.06 20 3.5
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 20 3.5
Kubuntu 13.04 30 2.5
Kubuntu 13.10 30 2.5
Mint 15 KDE 30 2.5
Mint 16 KDE 30 2.5
Neptune 3.3 30 2.5
Netrunner 13.06 30 2.5
Debian KDE 7.3.0 180 2.5

So, based on installation complexity and time, ROSA came as the best KDE spin followed by a bunch of distros in 2nd position (Calculate, Chakra, Fedora, Korora, Manjaro, PCLinuxOS, SolydK). Not surprising, Bridge Linux and Debian Wheezy came at the bottom.


Operating System (64 bit) Installation
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 20
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 17
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 17
Fedora 20 KDE 17
Korora 19.1 17
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 17
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 17
Solydk 2013.11 17
Kwheezy 1.4 16
Mageia 3 16
Kubuntu 13.04 15
Kubuntu 13.10 15
Mint 15 KDE 15
Mint 16 KDE 15
Netrunner 13.06 15
Neptune 3.3 13
OpenSUSE 13.1 13
Bridge Linux 2013.06 9
Debian KDE 7.3.0 9

2. Aesthetics (20%)
2A. Graphical Boot Splash (10%)
13 out of 19 distros come with 100% graphical boot splash. Chakra, Manjaro, SolydK, Debian and KWheezy come with a mix of text and graphical boot splash and Bridge Linux has a text boot. Hence, my rating in scale of 5.

Operating System (64 bit) Boot Splash
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 5
Fedora 20 KDE 5
Korora 19.1 5
Kubuntu 13.04 5
Kubuntu 13.10 5
Mint 15 KDE 5
Mint 16 KDE 5
Neptune 3.3 5
Netrunner 13.06 5
OpenSUSE 13.1 5
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 5
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 5
Mageia 3 5
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 4
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 3
Solydk 2013.11 3
Debian KDE 7.3.0 2.5
Kwheezy 1.4 2.5
Bridge Linux 2013.06 1

2B. Tweaked Desktop Environment (10%)
Chakra, Netrunner, OpenSUSE and ROSA ship with the most impressive tweaked KDE desktop environment.

Chakra Fritz 2013.09 From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Netrunner 13.06 From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
OpenSUSE From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
ROSA Linux From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Neptune desktop looks impressive but aesthetically not as appealing as the above three.

Neptune 3.3 From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
KWheezy 1.4 From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Kwheezy, Manjaro, Neptune, PCLinuxOS, Mint and Mageia too have pretty attractive tweaked KDE desktops. Calculate Linux too has a tweaked desktop but somehow I didn't like the docky at the bottom in KDE.

Calculate Linux 13.11 From Calculate Linux 13.11 http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Rest of the distros ship with mostly stock KDE plasma desktop environment and hence, no special points for the same. KDE itself is a beautiful DE but my criteria was for the hard work some developers put to give users an unique DE.
Bridge Linux 2013.06 From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Debian 7.3.0 From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Kubuntu 13.04 From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Manjaro Linux 0.8.8 From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
SolydK 2013.11 From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
Fedora 20 From Best KDE Distros http://mylinuxexplore.blogspot.in
In overall, Chakra, Netrunner, OpenSUSE and ROSA leads the aesthetics section followed by Kwheezy, Manjaro, Neptune, PCLinuxOS, Mint and Mageia.

Operating System (64 bit) Desktop Environment
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 5
Netrunner 13.06 5
OpenSUSE 13.1 5
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 5
Kwheezy 1.4 4
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 4
Mint 15 KDE 4
Mint 16 KDE 4
Neptune 3.3 4
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 4
Mageia 3 4
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 3
Fedora 20 KDE 2
Korora 19.1 2
Solydk 2013.11 2
Bridge Linux 2013.06 1
Debian KDE 7.3.0 1
Kubuntu 13.04 1
Kubuntu 13.10 1

3. Hardware Recognition (20%)
3A. Wifi Recognition: All the distros recognized Wifi without any issue.

3B. Touch pad Recognition (10%)
I guess barring a couple of distros, rest had touchpad drivers pre-installed. For Debian, I had to manually install kde-config-touchpad package to make it work. Same goes with ROSA and PCLinuxOS, where the touchpad configurations were not provided in the settings manager and I had to download packages or make changes to Synaptic Configuration file to enable both scroll and tap functions. Among the operating systems with touchpad drivers installed, for some single/double tap were not enabled whereas for some other distros, 2 finger scroll was not enabled by default. Hence, you see in the table below a difference in scores.

Operating System (64 bit) Hardware Recognition Comments
Bridge Linux 2013.06 5
Kubuntu 13.04 5
Kubuntu 13.10 5
Mint 15 KDE 5
Mint 16 KDE 5
Neptune 3.3 5
Netrunner 13.06 5
OpenSUSE 13.1 5
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 3.75 Tap function not enabled
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 3.75 Tap function not enabled
Fedora 20 KDE 3.75 Tap function not enabled
Korora 19.1 3.75 Tap function not enabled
Kwheezy 1.4 3.75 Tap function not enabled
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 3.75 Tap function not enabled
Solydk 2013.11 3.75 Tap function not enabled
Mageia 3 3.75 Tap function not enabled
Debian KDE 7.3.0 2.5 Touchpad driver not installed
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 2.5 Touchpad driver not installed
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 1.25 Touchpad driver not installed

3C. Nvidia graphics - setting up Bumblebee (10%)
For ROSA Linux, I couldn't set up bumblebee and hence, a low score. For PCLinuxOS 64 bit, I could install bumblebee and set it up but it would revert to a screen resolution of 1024x768 after every reboot. I had a horrid time with PCLinuxOS 64 bit. However, PCLinuxOS 32-bit with pae kernel worked just fine! Given that it is unfair to compare a 32-bit OS with 64 bit one, I included whatever results I got from PCLinuxOS 64 bit.

Operating System (64 bit) Nvidia support
Bridge Linux 2013.06 5
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 5
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 5
Debian KDE 7.3.0 5
Fedora 20 KDE 5
Korora 19.1 5
Kubuntu 13.04 5
Kubuntu 13.10 5
Kwheezy 1.4 5
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 5
Mint 15 KDE 5
Mint 16 KDE 5
Neptune 3.3 5
Netrunner 13.06 5
OpenSUSE 13.1 5
Solydk 2013.11 5
Mageia 3 2.5
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 0
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 0
For other operating systems, bumblebee just worked fine to reduce laptop heat significantly and hence, full 5/5 marks for the rest of the operating systems.

4. Pre-installed Packages (10%)
I understand a lot of Linux users will object to crediting a distro based on pre-installed packages. Hence, I give comparatively a lower weightage to pre-installed packages and even restrict the evaluation criteria to the following packages primarily:

Operating System (64 bit) Office PDF Viewer Browser Email Client Download Manager Torrent Downloader Instant Messenger Skype Photo viewer GIMP Screenshot Audio Player Video Player CD/DVD writer Live USB Creator Wine
Bridge Linux 2013.06 LibreOffice 3.6 Okular 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE LibreOffice 4.1.2.3 Okular 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 Calligra Office Okular 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0
Debian KDE 7.3.0 LibreOffice 3.5.4.2 Okular 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
Fedora 20 KDE Calligra 2.7.4 Okular 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0
Korora 19.1 LibreOffice 4.1.2.3 Okular 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0
Kubuntu 13.04 LibreOffice 4.0.2.2 Okular 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 0
Kubuntu 13.10 LibreOffice 4.1.2.3 Okular 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 0
Kwheezy 1.4 LibreOffice 3.5.4.2 Okular 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE LibreOffice 4.1.3.2 Okular 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0
Mint 15 KDE LibreOffice 4.0.2.2 Okular 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0
Mint 16 KDE LibreOffice 4.1.3.2 Okular 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0
Neptune 3.3 LibreOffice 4.1.2.3 Okular 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
Netrunner 13.06 LibreOffice 4.0.2.2 Okular 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1
OpenSUSE 13.1 LibreOffice 4.1.2.3 Okular 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 LibreOffice 4.1.3.2 Okular 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 LibreOffice 4.1.3.2 Okular 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 0
Solydk 2013.11 LibreOffice 4.0.3.3 Okular 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1
Mageia 3 LibreOffice 4.0.3.3 Okular 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0
KWheezy, PCLinuxOS and Manjaro ship all the essential packages that I listed here, pre-installed. Korora, SolydK and Netrunner are close second. Mageia and ROSA score low in this section.

Operating System (64 bit) Pre-installed Packages
Kwheezy 1.4 10
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 10
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 10
Korora 19.1 9
Netrunner 13.06 9
Solydk 2013.11 9
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 8
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 8
Fedora 20 KDE 8
Kubuntu 13.10 8
Mint 15 KDE 8
Mint 16 KDE 8
Neptune 3.3 8
OpenSUSE 13.1 8
Bridge Linux 2013.06 7
Debian KDE 7.3.0 7
Kubuntu 13.04 7
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 6
Mageia 3 6

5. Performance (30%)
5A. Boot time (15%)
With auto-login enabled, Kubuntu 13.04 recorded the fastest time from pressing the grub entry to making the KDE desktop visible, at 35 seconds on my Asus K55VM. Mint 16 KDE was a close second at 37 sec followed by Bridge Linux (39 sec). Fedora and Korora recorded the maximum login time here and it takes about 1.5 minutes to boot these distros. On average, KDE distros take about 53 seconds to boot.



Operating System (64 bit) Boot time (sec) Points
Kubuntu 13.04 35 15
Mint 16 KDE 37 15
Bridge Linux 2013.06 39 15
Netrunner 13.06 40 15
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 41 15
Mint 15 KDE 45 15
Mageia 3 46 15
Debian KDE 7.3.0 49 15
Kwheezy 1.4 49 15
Kubuntu 13.10 53 10.5
Neptune 3.3 53 10.5
OpenSUSE 13.1 53 10.5
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 53 10.5
Solydk 2013.11 59 10.5
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 64 7.5
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 65 7.5
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 66 7.5
Fedora 20 KDE 77 7.5
Korora 19.1 79 7.5
The scoring pattern was like this:
  • Less than 50 seconds = 10 points
  • 50 to less than 60 seconds = 7 points
  • Greater than or equal to 60 seconds = 5 points
5B. RAM Usage (15%)
CPU usage was almost similar for all the distros and hence, my differentiation criterion was RAM usage. Not surprising, Debian came across the most efficient distro with 423 MB RAM consumption at steady state with task manager running. Neptune came as a close second, followed by Netrunner. Fedora and Korora came as operating systems with comparatively high RAM consumption. Average RAM consumption of a typical KDE distro was 539 MB.


Operating System (64 bit) RAM usage (MB) Points
Debian KDE 7.3.0 423 10
Neptune 3.3 439 10
Netrunner 13.06 475 10
Mint 15 KDE 483 10
Solydk 2013.11 484 10
Bridge Linux 2013.06 490 10
Mint 16 KDE 496 10
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 496 10
Kwheezy 1.4 511 8
Kubuntu 13.04 523 8
Mageia 3 530 8
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 537 8
Kubuntu 13.10 547 8
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 550 6
OpenSUSE 13.1 593 6
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 620 4
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 655 4
Fedora 20 KDE 691 4
Korora 19.1 697 4
The scoring pattern was like this:

  • Less than 500 MB = 10 points
  • 500 to less than 550 MB = 8 points
  • 550 to less than 600 MB = 6 points
  • 600+ MB = 4 points

Overall, in performance, Bridge Linux, Debian, Mint and Netrunner leads the performance section. Fedora, Korora and Manjaro are at the bottom in terms of performance.

Operating System (64 bit) Performance
Bridge Linux 2013.06 30
Debian KDE 7.3.0 30
Mint 15 KDE 30
Mint 16 KDE 30
Netrunner 13.06 30
Kubuntu 13.04 27
Kwheezy 1.4 27
Mageia 3 27
Neptune 3.3 25.5
Solydk 2013.11 25.5
Chakra Fritz 2013.09 24
Kubuntu 13.10 22.5
PCLinuxOS 2013.12 22.5
Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 19.5
OpenSUSE 13.1 19.5
ROSA Fresh KDE R2 16.5
Fedora 20 KDE 13.5
Korora 19.1 13.5
Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 13.5

Final words
All section combined, Netrunner emerged as the best all purpose KDE distro which is easy to install, looks attractive and offers great performance. Mint 15 & 16 are close 2nd followed by Chakra as the 4th most attractive KDE distro. Though Debian is the most efficient distro but complexity of installation, lack of touchpad support, lack of graphical boot splash, bland aesthetics, etc. pushed it to the 2nd last position. In the last position is ROSA Linux - though it is beautiful but it is limited by the performance it offers and hardware support. The graph below shows rank order with distribution of scores.

The table below shows the rank order.

Rank Operating System (64 bit) Total
1 Netrunner 13.06 94
2 Mint 15 KDE 91
2 Mint 16 KDE 91
4 Chakra Fritz 2013.09 84.5
4 Neptune 3.3 84.5
6 Kwheezy 1.4 83.5
7 Kubuntu 13.04 81
8 OpenSUSE 13.1 80.5
9 Mageia 3 79.5
10 Solydk 2013.11 79
11 Calculate Linux 13.11 KDE 78
12 Kubuntu 13.10 77.5
13 Manjaro 0.8.8 KDE 72
14 Korora 19.1 71
15 Bridge Linux 2013.06 70
15 Fedora 20 KDE 70
15 PCLinuxOS 2013.12 70
18 Debian KDE 7.3.0 68
19 ROSA Fresh KDE R2 67.5

I know this list is debatable and appreciate critical assessment. I tried to be as objective as possible in the assessment, except for may be the aesthetics section which is purely based on my preferences. Though Netrunner came across as the best KDE distro in my assessment but it is a bit surprising that it has pretty low rank in Distrowatch ranking (49 in the last week of Dec 2013) compared to Linux Mint (1 in Distrowatch ranking) though they come from the same stable. I am not sure why but it deserves for sure a better ranking and more acceptance among the KDE lovers. Anyway, next up is a comparison of GNOME and GNOME derivatives (Unity, Mate, Cinnamon, etc.) and I hope to complete it by Sunday. Keep watching my blog and pour in your comments and suggestions to improve this comparison.

40 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. XFCE planning by Jan end and won't write on LXDE now. Will wait for LXDE-QT :)

      Delete
  2. Nice review, thank you.
    Fedora/Korora would have been well placed if not for the boot time (72 seconds on my machine), but the ram usage is under 400 mb for me (530 mb when i installed catalyst driver).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Fedora & Korora's significantly higher boot time actually pulled them down. However, the difference is small and both of them are great distros.

      Delete
  3. Wow, what an extensive analisis, great blog, waiting for the lxde and xfce reviews, it will help me to decide which distro is for me.
    I would use kde but my machine is low-spec so I am tied up with lxde but when I get a new machine this entry will help me a lot.
    Happy new year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy new year and thanks for liking my article. I am planning a writeup on XFCE January end but no plans for LXDE as it is moving to LXDE-QT by early 2014. Possibly 2013 was the last release of lxde distros.

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    2. what is the spec about your machine?

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    3. Guven in my article, Asus K55VM with 2.3 ghz core i7 3rd gen processor, 8 gb DDR3 RAM, hybrid graphics with 2 gb nvidia 630M geforce graphic card.

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  4. Netrunner would probably more popular if they didn't release versions two months after the Ubuntu version it is based off of. I love the distribution and use it as my main OS after your great review but find it disheartening to be waiting for the next release based off 13.10 and see alpha testing already for next Ubuntu. situations like theirs make me understand why people like LTS and rolling releases

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Completely agree with you. Possibly Blue Systems want to avoid cannibalistic effect on Mint KDE. Otherwise a brilliant distro, no doubt.

      Delete
    2. Very possible. Mint KDE 16 came out late December thought, which is when Netrunner should have come out, apparently they had some complications this time though. I don't know why Blue Systems is having such a long turn around time for these since they were the ones to release Kubuntu in the first place. It is not like they have to wait for a release and take code they are unfamiliar with to make a release, like the rest of Linux Mint makers have to do.

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    3. Better latter but more stable then next day but just change name from Kubuntu to Netrunner.
      This is a problem of Mint, they try to do fast...

      Delete
    4. Agreed. I use Netrunner as my default linux OS, I am just saying some people may find its slow release to be too much of a hardship. But the new version is out now! Looking forward to a great review of it soon.

      Delete
  5. Nice review. Personally I haven't looked at Netrunner, but tried some of the distributions listed on a laptop, and have similar results:
    PCLinuxOS 2013.12 -> Didn't recognized my touchpad during live/install, and didn't bother to plug a mouse.
    Kubuntu 13.10 -> found it slower and a little more memory consuming than Fedora 20.
    Fedora 20 -> nice performance @ release, may get better/worse with the semi-rolling updates.
    OpenSuSE 13.1 -> in my case was the surprise, consuming around 420-440 MB on my 6GB 64-bit machine. And since they provide repos for KDE 4.12, and even KDE Frameworks 5, plus one of the best control panels (some may disagree here), I decided on this one. Right now running release packages + KDE 4.12 for the extra speed/memory optimizations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I personally use Opensuse and find it very reliable. KDE 4.12 is available for netrunner as well through kubuntu backports.

      Delete
  6. Also the memory difference may be related to Akonadi and Nepomuk services that may be enabled or disabled depending on distribution. If both get enabled memory may go very high, and maybe hit the 600MB.
    Example in OpenSUSE Akonadi is off by default, but any application that use it like Amarok will turn it on (and also the database server), giving a good hit to memory usage.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Excellent review, as always. Thanks!

    I tested Netrunner RC2 and found that while it's a good distro to use out-of-the-box, the decisions they made with aestheics are very bad. Everything is so big...the icon pack is big and boring....it made my desktop like a toy.
    IMHO, no one can beat OpenSUSE in elegance and good-looking KDE desktop (just one tumb down for font rendering).
    I'm using now Mint 16 KDE with some minor tweaks (KDM instead of MDM, Caledonia theme+color, KDE 4.12, Infinality fontconfig + bohoomil font pack from Arch...) and I got a very beautiful and fast kde distro.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      Thanks for liking my article. Actually the icon size can be chaned in netrunner as well and you can customize. I personally use Opensuse as I find it very reliable and good for production purpose.

      Delete
  8. On the whole i agree with you ,I think my top three would be 1.Manjaro 2.Netrunner 3.Chakra.
    Last year Chakra was my favorite but i think Manjaro has come on leaps and bounds in 2013 Netrunner is also
    very good i am just trying the latest version which is a little buggy but we shall see
    Just as a thought does anyone know were i can get a driver for a Epson xp-305 printer which works with Manjaro (arch).......
    Excellent review keep it up

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for liking my article. I agree, Manjaro's rise in last one year is nothing less than impressive. It is like Linux Mint of the Arch. I particularly like their XFCE spin which works damn good even on low spec systems.

      Delete
  9. Please try out our wonderfull KaOS, a fully independent distro, which use pacman and is developed with a pure focus on the KDE SC.
    And please let the stability take an influence into your ranking ;)

    Or is something more important for a User than stability?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, I'll try it. All the distros mentioned here are rock stable and hence, stability is not a differentiating factor.

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    2. U really run them all for a while and try each important Application?

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    3. Yes, every week I use a new distro for all my daily activities like browsing, preparing office docs, watching movies, etc. The above distros were the ones which I actually liked during my use in 2013.

      Delete
  10. http://kaosx.us/ didn't make it to the list. arch kde base on chakra but with rolling release philosopy not half rolling release.

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    Replies
    1. Kaos and I tried a couple of friends and were also disappointed, but is very nice and seems to be stable, is buggy in dual time synchronization equipment and some applications freeze. They have improved translations. It can be a great distro within a time to correct mistakes, but for now would not install.

      Instead Netrunner meets two objectives: stability and ease of use.

      We used the same distributions compared in the article during 2013 and agree on most scores.

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  11. Nice work with the comparison!!

    Well I haven't tried Netrunner but will soon do. But I have tried ROSA and it ain't that bad to end up at the last place, practically. Not many people use touch-pads after all. Plus ROSA has the alternative 'nv' driver inbuilt so it works fine on NVIDIA systems and there is no need to install proprietary drivers separately.

    I have tried several distros but I like ROSA because of its aesthetic appeal and how it 'Just works' on my system, which has nvidia graphics.

    Apart from ROSA, i also like Mint 13 and puppy linux.

    Best,
    Nitin

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    Replies
    1. Hi Nitin:

      Basically all the KDE spins I picked up for review are excellent in their own right and are all good. Hence, the difference between them can be considered marginal - as evident from the max-min score as well. So, a couple of things working for a distro and not working for the other can make a great difference in the ranking. I hope I made my point.

      Regards,
      Arindam

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  12. "Anyway, next up is a comparison of GNOME and GNOME derivatives (Unity, Mate, Cinnamon, etc.)"
    Nice KDE review. Any idea when the above Gnome review will come out? Thanks

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    1. Hi, actually last couple of weeks were a bit hectic professionally and personally. Also, this week I am using Mageia 4 for all purposes to write a review on it. Hence, the delay :).

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    2. Thanks for that. I appreciate all the work you put in and I am also interested in the forthcoming Mageia review.

      Delete
  13. After reading this great article, I decided to try Netrunner. Oddly, it fais to install grub in the end of the installation.. tried couple of times, with Unetbootin and Mint image writer. Mint KDE running right now, no complaints about this one. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alex:

      Mint KDE came 2nd in my list and is really as good as any other KDE spin I've used. Mint always works. Yes, I agree, not all distros work with everyone - individual ranking and preference of distros may vary. And perhaps this is the beauty of Linux - there is a distro for every user!

      Regards,
      Arindam

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  14. Great, great article! Very good! Congratulations!

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  15. Great article! Thanks! But I tested many distributions and Netrunner was very disappointing. I still think the best is not to use derivative distros, not worth it, unless you're a beginner.

    Mint? Ubuntu or Debian based? No, no, thanks! I prefer to use Ubuntu LTS or Debian.stable ;)
    I really see no advantage in adopting a modified product if I am free to get the original product and modify it in a specially optimized way for my personal use.

    I like Debian, Slackware and Redhat clone (in my servers or desktops). For my users desktop, I recommend Ubuntu LTS or OpenSuse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps the best thing about Linux is that there is a distro for almost every user. Some prefer derived distros that are easy to use and have almost everything configured (like Linux Mint, Zorin, Makulu, Manjaro, etc.). Some users prefer to use the parent distros (like Ubuntu, Debian, Arch, OpenSUSE, Fedora, etc.). I understand and agree with you fully. Experienced users who can customize their desktop are better off using the parent distros. But, Linux novices may require kitchen-sink approach and hence, the growing popularity of derived distros as Linux user base is expanding.

      Regards,
      Arindam

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