Clear Linux Rolling Out KDE Plasma Desktop Support, Plus Some Benchmarks Against GNOME Shell

Written by Michael Larabel in Operating Systems on 28 August 2018 at 08:00 PM EDT. Page 1 of 3. 21 Comments.

The performance-optimized Clear Linux distribution out of Intel's Open-Source Technology Center started out with Xfce as its lone desktop option and then added and moved over to the GNOME Shell as the default desktop. While GNOME Shell remains the default desktop choice for this rolling-release Linux distribution, KDE components have begun appearing in recent days.

Clear Linux on KDE Plasma as of build 24700.

On Clear Linux it's now just a swupd bundle-add desktop-kde command away from getting a Plasma 5 desktop on this high-performance Linux stack. Also new are the desktop-kde-apps and desktop-kde-libs bundles, though they are included as part of the desktop-kde bundle. Over the weekend the KDE Plasma desktop became functional on Clear Linux.

As of writing, Clear Linux is packaging KDE Plasma 5.13.4 and KDE Frameworks 5.49.0 -- the latest stable components with Clear generally being quite good about always riding the newest software packages. (The Plasma 5.14 update is coming up in October.)

Clear Linux on GNOME Shell.

I tried out the KDE Plasma 5 desktop session on a Clear Linux box and indeed the desktop-kde bundle (package) is working and the session can be activated via the GDM log-in manager. The experience is quite stock and there isn't any Clear branding on the KDE desktop at this point, but all core functionality appeared to be working. There's a decent amount of KDE core applications included but obviously not including everything under the K* umbrella (like KScreenshot). There is a log-in option for KDE Plasma on Wayland but that didn't appear to be fully working correctly, only the X.Org-based session. They still are in the process of adding more KDE applications to their bundles.

Clear Linux Desktops - KDE Plasma vs. GNOME Shell

With having KDE on Clear Linux, I decided to run a few graphics benchmarks to see how the OpenGL performance of some games/applications compared when run under the stock KDE Plasma 5.13.4 to GNOME Shell 3.28. Tests were done on an Intel Core i7 8086K box and testing out the integrated UHD Graphics 630 and as well a run when using a discrete Radeon RX 580 graphics card. The rolling-release distribution at this stage has Linux 4.18.5, X.Org Server 1.20.1, and Mesa 18.3-dev.

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