When comparing KDE Plasma Desktop vs Cinnamon, the Slant community recommends Cinnamon for most people. In the question“What are the best Linux desktop environments?” Cinnamon is ranked 2nd while KDE Plasma Desktop is ranked 3rd. The most important reason people chose Cinnamon is:
Intended for large-screen, non-touch devices that extend traditional concepts with functionality and good looking aesthetic.
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, excellent removable storage integration, and an optional terminal panel 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 Enjoyable to use
Thanks to looking awesome, and being customizable and flexible.
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 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 (evolution of multiple desktops)
You can really separate your work environment from personal environment. Applications can be 'pinned' to a single Activity (spreadsheet for work, game for personal) or shown on all Activities (web browser, for instance).
Pro Great for developers
Provides its own IDE for C++, Qt, HTML and through workspaces allows better organisation of work.
Pro Integration with mobile devices
KDE Connect allows integration of the computer and mobile devices on the same Wi-Fi network.
Pro Low system resources consumption
Not as lightweight as XFCE, but pretty close (like +100MB in real use).
Pro Separate LTS version
KDE has an LTS version for people expecting stability.
Pro Not based on GTK
A lot of users don't really like GTK's style and way of doing things.
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 Touchscreen support
Works good with touch devices and allows customization of gestures for them.
Pro Easy-to-use software center
Apt, snap, and packagekit all show up in the built in software center. Updates show as an icon in the system tray from all sources.
Pro Designed for traditional desktops
Intended for large-screen, non-touch devices that extend traditional concepts with functionality and good looking aesthetic.
Pro Fast, elegant and stable interface
Cinnamon uses a traditional desktop userflow that most computer users are familiar with.
Pro The keyboard shortcut design is very friendly to users with Windows background
Your win+E, win+D etc are still working after migrating to Cinnamon from Windows
Pro Lots of downloadable free themes
Plenty of themes, ready and free to be downloaded and applied with just a couple of clicks in a few seconds, with the file sizes mostly around 0.5 - 1MB.
Pro Very easy to customize
It's very easy to customize using the built in theme and applet tools. It automatically installs themes and desktop/panel applets for you, so you mostly won't have to go search online for them.
Pro Nice themes and extensions
Very easy to make this desktop your own both in terms of looks and functionality.
Pro Very well supported
Has a great community and is very well supported through Linux Mint website.
Pro Stable DE
Pro Actively developed with useful new features in each release
E.g vertical panels are now there.
Pro You can easily get it to look like Windows
You can get it to closely look and behave like Windows with considerable ease. This is a good thing for those switching from Windows, because it gives them a familiar environment, cutting down on the learning curve a bit. Among the popular DE's this is the one that gets you closest with great ease.
Pro Traditional desktop with the recent features
Cinnamon is a modern desktop that has the latest features, but at the same time it sticks to its way as a classic desktop and ignores trends/hypes like client side decorations or popovermenus.
Pro Vertical panel already available
Pro Can run apps meant for any other desktop environment
Cinnamon can run any app meant for any other DE, meaning the user can have apps for XFCE and KDE simultaneously and they will run as smoothly as if they're being run in the corresponding DE.
Pro Cinnamon provides control of icon placement on multiple monitors
Cinnamon provides control of the placement of desktop icons on multiple monitor setups. This feature has been buggy, but in my testing of Linux Mint 19, this feature appeared to be stable. Thus, Cinnamon joins KDE and Windows in enabling this capability. For example, in a setup with 2 or 3 monitors, you can put the desktop icons on the right-hand monitor. With other DEs, the icons always move to the left-hand monitor.
Pro You can easily get it to look like a Mac
Pro Works well with cairo dock on bottom and cinnamenu on top
Pro Lot of configuration options
Both Gnome and Cinnamon got the same looking configuration panel. There are 40 sub-panels in Linux Mint Cinnamon's, whenever there a far less with Ubuntu Gnome 3's.
Windows, notification, smart corners, windows overlay, connexion windows... you can have those in gnome, but that require compiz and other stuff.
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 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 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 Certain releases are frighteningly unstable
Con Too complex
Shows too many options at once often time, making it more complex than simplistic.
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 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 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 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 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 Add-on installation can be tricky.
Adding themes and widgets can be tricky.
Con Not for production
May be extremely buggy and there are unnecesary configurations which takes away time to do actual work.
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 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 No native package manager frontend
KDE discontinued all of its native package manager frontends like: Kynaptic, Muon or Kpackage and fully relies on PackageKit, however PackageKit was mainly made with the RPM(Red Hat Package Manager) in mind and does not support all the features of more advanced package managers like dpkg or emerge/portage.
Con Not Based on GTK
Con High RAM usage
Con Conservative design and UX choices
Tries to be too much like traditional Windows (XP, Vista, 7).
Con Cumbersome main menu
Main menu takes a lot of space and is cumbersome to navigate
Con Needs more choices for useful panel applets
Cinnamon still lacks some useful choices for panel applets. For excellent management of panels and a rich choice of useful panel applets, I rely on Xfce.
Con Sometimes freezes
It can sometimes freeze which is really annoying.
Con Uses GTK
Nowadays, GTK is designed with GNOME, and only GNOME, in mind. Non-GNOME applications which attempt to utilize it suffer as a result.
Despite Cinnamon being on its stable third version it still crashes occasionally, ranging from plugins all the way to drivers.
Con Few themes
Rather than using actual GTK theming, Cinnamon appears to vye for its own strange infrastructure that isn't compatible across any other desktop.
Con Sound Settings not automatic
On Windows, for example, you can unplug a speaker and it will switch back to the laptop-speaker. In Cinnamon, you have to do it manually.
Con Conservative management without more creativity
It is almost the same management like in 20-years old GNOME 2 environment. Although some elements are new.