For years I’ve been using i3 as my window manager on Linux/FreeBSD systems. Recently I wanted to try something fresh which I could comfortably navigate by mouse as well as keyboard, have all tools integrated, but still have a feeling of tiling window manager.

Enter KDE Plasma

I have used KDE years ago, actually around 15–20 years ago. Since then I haven’t followed KDE development, but recent screenshots in r/unixporn looked good enough to give it a go.

My current setup was:

Ubuntu 20.04 + regolith-desktop (built on top of i3 and GNOME).

New setup:

Ubuntu 20.04 + KDE Plasma (kubuntu-desktop) + kwin-tiling.

KDE Plasma provides decent defaults, so you can get up and running pretty quickly. If you’re on Ubuntu:

  1. Install kubuntu-desktop
  2. Install kwin-tiling
  3. Configure shortcuts
  4. Configure KWin for Window transparency.

Screenshots:

Dolphin + System settings:

KDE_Plasma

Chrome windows arranged with kwin-tiling (with gaps enabled):

KDE_Plasma_Chrome

With Konsole I’ve been able to drop Tilix + tmux completely and get more efficient working environment for terminal needs. You can split terminals, create/rename/move tabs with only keyboard shortcuts and don’t need to worry about long standing tmux issues of copying.

KDE_Plasma_Konsole

VS Code with transparent background set via KWin settings:

KDE_Plasma_VScode

Overall KDE Plasma looks amazing, has great defaults and requires minimal configuration to get comfortable working environment. And KWin API provides you with low level configuration options / scripting for advanced needs.

Visual aesthetics and ergonomics are important for me, thus for any future Linux desktop installations I’ll go with Kubuntu by default.