When comparing KDE Plasma Desktop vs MATE, the Slant community recommends KDE Plasma Desktop for most people. In the question“What are the best Linux desktop environments?” KDE Plasma Desktop is ranked 3rd while MATE is ranked 5th. The most important reason people chose KDE Plasma Desktop is:
There are many customization options and possibilities to tweak the desktop, including widgets.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Highly customizable
There are many customization options and possibilities to tweak the desktop, including widgets.
Pro Looks beautiful
The design of the three built-in desktop themes; Air, Breeze, and Oxygen, are very beautiful to some.
Pro Adheres to standards
Standards adherence allows for interoperability and shared technology for X Window System desktops, with similar Wayland support being worked on. Applications not written with Plasma in mind work very well in Plasma as a result. The development team has also been instrumental in standard creation and adoption such as NETWM, X11 clipboard, icon themes, mimetype handling, application menu standardization, system tray protocols and notifications and more.
Pro Has a file manager that provides a good balance between power and simplicity
The included file manager provides several icon, list and detail views to choose from along with features such as tabs, bookmarks, tagging, previews and metadata, network file access, bluetooth file transfers to/from devices and excellent removable storage integration while remaining fast and easy to use.
Pro KDE is an evolution on the classic desktop model
KDE is a great evolution on the classic Win95/XFCE approach. It's moving in innovative directions while respecting the classic metaphors.
Pro Keyboard friendly
Nearly all actions can be driven with keyboard commands. Window management, including effects such as desktop overviews, can be triggered with a keyboard control (or mouse gesture) and some even support filtering results (such as windows shown) by typing. The KRunner tool (default keybinding: Alt+F2 or Alt+Space) provides searching local files, online sources, unit conversions, math and more all from a keyboard driven interface.
Pro Many coherent applications
What make plasma so nice is the galaxy of apps, sharing same look and feel, configuration and behaviour. This helps with making for a uniform looking desktop.
Pro Comes with a suite of powerful applications
Plasma Desktop generally comes packaged with a full set of applications to get users started, including a file manager (Dolphin), advanced file manager and browser (Konqueror), image and document viewers (Gwenview, Okular), the Calligra office suite, CD and DVD authoring (K3b), and dozens more. The desktop can be installed and used without these applications, but they add significant value for many people.
Pro Enjoyable to use
Thanks to looking awesome, and being customizable and flexible.
Pro Multi-device "Convergence"
Plasma Desktop provides seamless "zero config" integration of your Android device with your laptop and desktop machines via KDE Connect. Phone calls, SMS messages, cross-device copy and paste, media remote control, cursor control and more are supported.
The technology that Plasma Desktop is built on, simply called "Plasma", also provides interfaces for phones, tablets, netbooks, and media centers in addition to the desktop. These additional interfaces use the same underlying frameworks and therefore work well together and have a unified feel to them. They also support a common set of applications across them which adapt to the input methods and screen sizes.
Pro Fast and efficient
Looks great! Dolphin file manager is without a doubt the best fully functional and easy to use and multitask with.
Pro Integrated advanced search
Plasma Desktop comes with an integration search system that makes it easy to find local files, emails, contacts, events and more. The file manager supports tagging and rating files as well as full-content searching and the KRunner command window and the Milou desktop widget makes searching for files, emails, applications and other content by name, subject, category, tag, fulltext, etc. very simple. It does this with essentially no noticeable interference with day-to-day usage of the computer, thanks to the scheduling built into the backend system (Baloo).
Pro Very customizable
One of the best aspects of KDE is that it gives you Lego-like tools called widgets. You can combine the widgets in the way that better fits you and get a Mac OS desktop layout, a Gnome 3 desktop layout, a mobile device desktop layout or a completely new desktop layout that works for you.
Pro Activities what multiple desktops needed
You can really separate work ambient from personal ambient.
Pro Great for developers
Provides its own IDE for C++, Qt, HTML and through workspaces allows better organisation of work.
Pro Not based on GTK
A lot of users don't really like GTK's style and way of doing things.
Pro Separate LTS version
KDE has an LTS version for people expecting stability.
Pro Low system resources consumption
Not as lightweight as XFCE, but pretty close (like +100MB in real use).
Pro Integration with mobile devices
KDE Connect allows integration of the computer and mobile devices on the same Wi-Fi network.
Pro Touchscreen support
Works good with touch devices and allows customization of gestures for them.
Has a lot of good features preinstalled (Android integration with KDEConnect, etc.), and comes with lots of improvements and new features with new releases.
Pro Works great on old machines
Because it's older codebase is based on Gnome 2 which was the champion for desktop environments for a long time, it's very stable and has plenty of features which work perfectly for old machines.
Pro Very stable
Code base is very stable and virtually bug-free.
Pro Traditional desktop experience
The goal of MATE is to maintain the look and feel of Gnome 2, while maintaining compatibility with Gnome 3. To that end, it has also forked and renamed many of Gnome's core applications. It benefits from the years of work and polish that have gone into Gnome project, and has already been adopted as one of the default environments for Linux Mint.
Pro Decently customizable
Can customize a lot of its aspects, and using a window manager like Compiz.
Pro Distraction-free environment
Pro Multiple panels work great across multiple displays
This is very simple, but it is something much appreciate: the panel's window list is per display. So if you move a window over your second display, it gets transferred to the window list on the second display's panel. Multiple display support works very intuitively, right out of the box, with minimal tweaking.
Pro Has menu icons
MATE has icons in every popupmenu which makes navigating through them very fast.
Pro MATE is a serviceable choice
MATE is a solid serviceable choice for a DE. It is reliable and easy to customize. However, it lacks the panel management and rich choices of panel applets found in Xfce, and it lacks the icon placement in multiple monitors found in Cinnamon, KDE, or Windows.
Pro Has window borders
Other than GNOME, MATE has not introduced OSX-alike Client Side decorations
Pro Pays its developpers
Thanks to the Patreon page, money is collected to pay for the developpers maintaining and adding new features to MATE
Con Stability problems
Under certain conditions, most of KDE's components can be highly sensitive to race conditions, which leads to KDE applications frequently crashing, and, on rare occasion, kdeinit itself locking up.
Con No easy way to backup & restore all settings
Most crashes cause loss of settings - panels vanish, all favorites and launchers missing, icons lost, wallpaper back to default, theme changes, activities present but not active, etc.
The configuration is held in a multitude of places, the changes are applied automatically even after a crash, all without a tool or clear way to recover.
Con Difficult to turn off some transparency
Some of the transparency settings for Plasma can only be removed by changing away from the standard theme altogether. A bit disappointing as so many other things are configurable to the deepest detail and transparency in the wrong place can make reading menu entries for example difficult at times.
Con HiDPI support is spotty
The log in screen as well as some other components of the OS do not scale properly under HIDPI. Some things in the log in screen will be displayed too small, such as the mouse pointer. It can also be difficult to get full scaling to work properly in the DE itself with things such as icons, text and window borders.
Con Certain releases are frighteningly unstable while offering a myriad of desktop effects of questionable value
Con Held back by dedication to emulating Windows
One of KDE's pros is that it works similarly to 90's-era desktop environments such as Windows. However this holds it back from being able to present something that works intuitively for people who aren't familiar with how computers back in the 90's worked.
Con Swollen look out of the box
In default theme elements are extremely large, which makes screen feel smaller than it really is. Some of the things are not easy to fix - even compact main menu still has awful huge paddings and header font size in calendar is ugly.
Con Perceived clunkyness and slowness
Emphasis on perceived. It's a myth from the days when SSDs, gigabytes of ram and cpus above 1GHz and more than one core were a fantasy. On anything semi modern (i5 2500k, 8 gb memory and 256 gb ssd is total overkill and that's a 5 year old system) it's as fast as anything.
Con Too complex
Shows too many options at once often time, making it more complex than simplistic.
Con Not for production
May be extremely buggy and there are unnecesary configurations which takes away time to do actual work.
Con Kirigami is buggy
The newer QML based interface is too much tied to the breeze style. So if you use another style(like Qt's default Fusion) you will have a mixed desktop interface of fusion and breeze. It also fails at certain points to set the correct color in a widget so if you use a dark theme you will often face dark text on dark background issues.
Con Compiz integration destroyed
The KDE developers seem to pride themselves on destroying previously working features with each release. Plasma 5 is terrible because Activities and Virtual Desktops are completely separate now. VD's in Plasma 5 can't even have separate wallpapers let alone widgets. Activities don't integrate with Compiz and KDE well at all (no cube, different keyboard commands). Using Activities and Virtual Desktops together gets confusing real fast. Combined with the fact the developers have no interest in fixing this at all KDE users are just running away to new desktops that are borrowing old perfectly good KDE code.
Con Add-on installation can be tricky.
Adding themes and widgets can be tricky.
Con Breeze theme is ugly
Breeze theme gives some wow effect at first with all it's transparencies etc. But when you get used, you start to notice lackluster icons and oversimplified look of ui elements - there is just nothing to look at and it looks lazy
Con Shell-style ≠ widget-style
The Plasma-shell is unable the use the current Qt style for its interface thus making it hard to get a consistent user interface.
Con Difficult to use on virtual machines on version 5
KWin compositing is restricted to xrender on virtual machines which makes the default booting process difficult as 3D graphics needs to be turned off from the VM itself.
Con Issues with printing
Qt5 apps are unable to access all advanced printing options, which is a huge drawback because you will have to install GTK apps to get full printing functions.
Con Not resource efficient
There are many bloatware along the basic installation, thus uses lot of system resources for eye candidness.
Con No official forum
Instead of having an official forum, users are redirected to their distributions support forums.
You might get help at the Ubuntu MATE or Linux Mint forums but they are still mainly for distribution specific issues.
Con Not really user friendly
Some apps have really rough edges, for example:
- Caja: by open an SVG-file and get a Dialog with 4 Buttons(Run in Terminal, Display, Cancel & Run) at least two of them make no sense. You can also right click on them to choose the application, however you default application for that filetype is not on this list.
- Panel: Empty panel applets are about 1px wide so you really cant resize or move them to organize your panel.
Con Requires XML for wallpaper slideshow.
As described on Gnome 3, Mate being a fork of even older GNOME technologies requires for (some unfathomable reason) to create a curated XML file for a desktop slideshow, instead of the more logical and modern systems used by other DEs, which consists of simply pointing at a folder and the DE figures the rest out.
Con Not very likely to have new features
Since it's basically a fork of Gnome 2, and it's created to satisfy Gnome 'purists' it's very unlikely for it to add new features more in line with modern DEs.
Con Unfriendly and hostile developers
Con MATE lacks customized desktop icon placement on multiple monitors
MATE does not permit placement of desktop icons on the monitor of choice in a multiple monitor setup. For example, with 2 or 3 monitors, with MATE you cannot place the desktop icons on the right-hand monitor -- they always move to the left-hand monitor. By contrast, you have control of desktop icon placement on multiple monitors with Cinnamon, KDE, and Windows.
Con Issues with changing users permissions and access
Con Dated look and feel