Kubuntu vs Fedora KDE plasma desktop

One of the best aspects of using a Linux system is that there are many popular desktop environments to choose from. If you do not like the style or behavior of yours, it is simple enough to install a different one. When it comes to the KDE Plasma desktop environment, there are a few different ways to experience it.

Ubuntu Linux comes with KDE Plasma preinstalled on their Kubuntu distro, and Fedora Linux has a KDE “spin” that can be downloaded and also comes with KDE Plasma preinstalled. If both sport the same desktop environment, some users may be wondering what the real differences are between the two systems.

KDE Plasma comes not only as a graphical user interface, but also includes a slew of applications (over 200; some installed by default and some not) that integrate into the desktop environment and give the user a more unified experience that flows together. If you are ready to try out KDE Plasma, you have a few choices. First of all, you can install it the same way you would any other desktop environment – right from your system’s package manager. But you can also choose from the Kubuntu or KDE Fedora spin distributions.

So, which one should you choose? We will go over all the details in this article and help you make an informed decision.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • Kubuntu vs Fedora KDE differences
Kubuntu vs Fedora KDE plasma desktop
Kubuntu vs Fedora KDE plasma desktop
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Kubuntu, Fedora KDE
Software KDE Plasma
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Ubuntu vs Fedora

Since both Kubuntu and KDE Fedora have the same desktop environment, and access to the same variety of KDE applications, the real difference between these two systems will boil down to what is underneath the desktop environment – Ubuntu and Fedora. Both systems come with their own package managers, installers, release cycles, software repositories, and corporate backing.

One of the main differences between the two systems is that Fedora is a rolling release. This means that your KDE software will be a little more bleeding edge of Fedora than on Ubuntu. But we will go over that in detail in the next sections. To see more about how Ubuntu and Fedora differ, check out our article on Fedora vs Ubuntu.

Kubuntu vs Fedora KDE – Latest Updates

Fedora KDE Linux distro
Fedora KDE Linux distro

As mentioned above, the main difference – at least, in the context of KDE Plasma – between Kubuntu and Fedora KDE will be the version of software that you get to work with. Your KDE software will always be slightly ahead in version number of Fedora KDE since that Linux distro is a rolling release.

We have completely updated our Kbuntu and Fedora KDE systems to see just how different their KDE Plasma versions are. Here is what we found.

  • Kubuntu 22.04 – KDE Plasma 5.24.6
  • Fedora KDE Linux 36 – KDE Plasma 5.25.5

As you can see from our test results, Fedora KDE has a newer version of Plasma, despite both systems being totally up to date. But if this was the most important factor for you, you could test out KDE’s own distribution, KDE Neon, which will have newer KDE software than both Fedora and Ubuntu.

There is a lot more to a Linux system than just the desktop environment. So what about kernel version?

  • Kubuntu 22.04 – kernel 5.15.0-53
  • Fedora KDE Linux 36 – kernel kernel 6.0.8-200

The kernel version of Fedora KDE is on a whole different version number, so it stays a good length ahead of Kubuntu. It is our opinion that this should be a much bigger factor when considering which operating system to use, rather than going off of the slight difference in KDE Plasma versions.

So, it can summarized that latest Fedora KDE spin is closer to the bleeding edge than the latest Kubuntu LTS release – not only with KDE Plasma, but in other areas also. This is not necessarily a bad thing for Kubuntu, as updates are intentionally held back a little longer to ensure maximum stability for its users.

Kubuntu vs Fedora KDE – Included Software

Kubuntu Linux distro
Kubuntu Linux distro

We have fresh installations of both Kubuntu and Fedora KDE. Let’s determine which one comes with more KDE software installed by default.

First, we ran the df -h command on both systems. Here are the results:

  • Kubuntu – 11 GB
  • Fedora KDE 4.4 GB

Then, we ran apt list --installed | wc -l and dnf list --installed | wc -l to see the total number of installed packages. The results:

  • Kubuntu – 1851
  • Fedora KDE – 1890

The shocking thing here is that Fedora is able to pack on more software and still remain lighter (MUCH lighter, actually) than Ubuntu. Another point to Fedora KDE.

We did a little more digging and found that Fedora KDE likes to include a lot of KDE-specific software when compared to Kubuntu. One such example is the Dragon Video Player, which Fedora KDE includes by default. Contrast this to Kubuntu, which includes VLC by default instead. Since Fedora KDE includes a lot of interdependent software, this could account for some of the disparity between the installation sizes of both operating systems.

The conclusion we can draw from this test is that Fedora KDE is a better choice for users that want more a KDE experience. Kubuntu includes more neutral software or Ubuntu-specific choices and does not retain as much of that KDE feel.

Conclusion: Which One Is Better?

Without a doubt, Fedora KDE is a better choice for diehard KDE fans, simply because it comes with more KDE applications and will introduce you to the latest KDE features sooner than Kubuntu will. Then again, all of the same applications can be easily installed on Kubuntu, if you find one that is missing. Underneath the applications and version numbers, you are left with a simple comparison of Ubuntu vs Fedora. You will never get a simple answer to this one, as it varies depending on who you ask. Your best bet is to download both and see which one suits you better.