When comparing KDE vs IceWM, the Slant community recommends IceWM for most people. In the question“What are the best window managers for Linux?” IceWM is ranked 13th while KDE is ranked 25th. The most important reason people chose IceWM is:
IceWM is small and extremely fast.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Highly customisable
There are many customization options and possibilities to tweak the desktop, including widgets.
Pro Open source
Pro Looks beautiful
The design of the three built-in desktop themes; Air, Breeze, and Oxygen, are very beautiful to some.
Pro Has a file manager that provides a good balance between power and simplicity
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 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 KDE is an evolution on the classic desktop model
KDE 4 is a great evolution on the classic Win95/Gnome/XFCE approach. It's moving in innovative directions while respecting the classic metaphors.
Pro Active development
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 Integrated components
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 Bunch of coherent applications
What make plasma so nice is the galaxy of apps, sharing same look and feel, configuration and behaviour.
Pro The search with the Windows Key is as awesome
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 The session manager works perfectly
This is a much better session manager compared to solutions from other Linux desktop environments.
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 Very good performance
IceWM is small and extremely fast.
Pro Excellent documentation
Since 1.4.2 and later docs are extensive and up-to-date.
Pro Beautiful themes available
There are plenty of pre-built beautiful themes available.
Pro Very configurable
A great many options to configure it. Though this is not required.
Pro Keyboard operatable
Many keyboard shortcuts exist. More can be added.
Pro Multi-monitor fully supported
Supports both XRandR and Xinerama for multiple monitors.
Pro Comes with battery and resource indicator
Pro Very Lightweight, configurable, can use as little as 4 mb of memory for window manager and tray with 4 desktops and menus with icons
Con Perceived clunkyness and slowness
Compared to other options, KDE is still perceived slow. Especially, the desktop takes a few seconds to login.
Mouse pointer can feel sluggish, or laggy, on older systems
Con KDE is awesome but it is overcomplicated for newbies for sure
Way too many options for newbies to digest before the learning curve is over.
Con HiDPI support is spotty
The log in screen as well as some other components of the OS do not scale properly under HIDPI. Everything in the log in screen will be displayed too small, as well as some areas of the OS.
Con Poorly named app menu with too many apps starting with "K"
This is better in KDE Neon with minimalist apps, which indeed in itself points out the problem.
Con Interfaces are inconsistent and ugly in 4.x
While parts of KDE in 4.x can be very good looking, a common opinion is that the style is too hobbled together with inconsistent icons and styles clashing with each other.
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 Very bad for design
Not recommended if you like beautiful windows.