KDE and Gnome?

I am about to set up a new machine, Dell 5420.
I have played with Fedora on a couple of machines for past few months and decided all my Mac computing is moving over, had my fill of Apple (and then some), so I even hope to move business stuff over to F40 soon, once I get some more practice/knowledge with personal laptop.

But I am not sure I like Gnome, I miss my desktop area for quick access to commonly used files, which was VERY well organised unlike most people’s desktop (let’s not debate that please!)
I also installed a few extensions in Gnome (e.g. Dash to Panel) which I much prefer to the Mac Dock style thing, I miss activity notifications like which app is open, system tray stuff, etc!!

I would like to try out KDE and see if I prefer it as I think I may, although I can make Gnome work if not.

When I click the little gear icon during login, it only gives me 3 options, all of which are Gnome (classic and ‘xorg’, whatever that is!)

Is it possible to give myself both Gnome and KDE choices, so I can try each for a while, and then UNinstall the one I dont want? Or do I have to just install the KDE ‘spin’ to try it out?


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Why not use asashi fedora remix for the Mac I remember there is kde and gnome options.

You can install multiple desktops easy and choose what to use on login screen

No idea what that is, I just want Fedora with both DE’s to try out. If that’s not easy, I can just try making two usb installers, although until my files are on it won’t be so easy to test stuff out. (I’d quite like columns in file manager, and desktop icons/files/folders if poss)

Did you mean that you haven’t installed KDE Plasma yet?
Fedora Workstation doesn’t have KDE by default.You have to install it by yourself. (You don’t have to install the KDE spin.)
You can follow this guide
You can keep both KDE and Gnome. However, they will possibly “influence” each other. - When you switch back to Gnome, you will still see the KDE style cursor and icons. You’ll need to change these things in settings by yourself.

I hope you’ll enjoy using KDE :grinning:


Asashi is fedora linux on your macbook

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Thanks, It gives two options, It says I can use:

# dnf install @kde-desktop-environment

But that I can ‘also use’:

# dnf groupinstall "KDE Plasma Workspaces" for the ‘full desktop environment’

Which would you think I should choose to try out KDE? The second one would be my guess, but I hate guessing!


I think you can use the second one.


Without knowing much about your workflow needs, I might recommend looking at Fedora Atomic Desktops. Silverblue for Gnome and and Kinoite for Plasma. You could install Kinoite and spend some time getting Plasma to match your UI/UX preferences. Keeping in mind that if things don’t work out with Plasma, Gnome is just one rebase away and your system is kept clean (versus installing and removing packages in stock Fedora).

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Wow, that sounds pretty cool. So Asahi IS Fedora, but just a different ‘sping’?
I notice it says “Porting Linux to Apple Silicon” - I don’t have anything with Apple Silicon

Thanks, but I have a few questions:

  1. “Kinoite for Plasma” - Are you referring to KDE? I have heard of people say “KDE Plasma”, wasn’t sure if that’s a ‘spin’ of KDE. When you say “Plasma”, do you mean KDE, is it just another name for it?

  2. Why do you suggest an ‘atomic’ version? I don’t understand what that is other than it being a Fedora name for ‘immutable’ (which I didn’t understand either!). Question is, why would you recommend using that instead of just getting Fedora KDE version installer? I assume there’s a reason it may benefit me, so I’d be interested to know more.

  3. “Keeping in mind that if things don’t work out with Plasma, Gnome is just one rebase away” - Sorry, no idea what you mean. What is a rebase?


Yeah, be careful when running Gnome and KDE DEs on the same system.
If you do so, try using different accounts for each DE.

Be warned:

  • Things are easily messed up (ugly graphics, ugly and inconsistent window decorations, unusable applications, etc).
  • Expect also to see too many applications available coming from different DEs doing the same stuff.

To get a real feel (and staying out of troubles), I usually try to get a spare system to install either Fedora Workstation or Fedora KDE spin. Makes life easier :wink:


I’ll do my best to answer these questions:

Question 1: “Kinoite for Plasma” - Are you referring to KDE? Yes, KDE is the name of the community which makes the Plasma (KDE) desktop, KDE Applications, KDE Frameworks, and other things. A habit the internet has gotten into is calling the desktop environment “KDE” even after the KDE Community rebranded the desktop to be called Plasma. This was done, in theory, to avoid confusion between the desktop, applications and the other parts that the KDE Community makes. I’ll expand on the Kinoite thing in next section.

Question 2 : Why do you suggest an ‘atomic’ version? This question could get quite lengthy, so I will do my best to be brief. The developers in the Fedora community and Red Hat, Inc. started down the path of “can we make Linux more reliable and secure?” One of the by-products of that thinking is the Fedora Atomic Desktop project. This is actually a very recent name. Prior to it the projects all operated under their separate codenames like Fedora Silverblue (uses GNOME desktop) and Fedora Kinoite (uses KDE Plasma desktop). Since Silverblue and Kinoite became so popular before the “Fedora Atomic Desktop” brand was established, they got to keep their old names.

So why atomic and what actually is it? Simply put, Fedora Atomic Desktops are made from the Fedora we all know and love, but the core system with its desktop environment is isolated away into its own bubble to protect it from tampering. Applications don’t get installed into the bubble, but rather sit on top of it in their own little containers. All this is done in the background away from the users’ eyes, but the end result is something very unique. A system which can undo an update (by going back to a previous bubble) and applications which don’t interfere or break each other because they too are containerized.

Question 3 : What is a rebase? Good question, remember what I said back in question two about the core and desktop being inside a bubble. Well rebasing is the command to swap out a bubble with another one. Rebasing can mean version upgrades, like Fedora 39 to Fedora 40, or it can mean swapping desktop environment like moving between Fedora Silverblue to Fedora Kinoite (to go from GNOME to KDE Plasma). It can also mean going back to a previous update in case the new update broke your workflow (very handy). Your data and applications are left alone, only the core system changes.

At home and work, I sysadmin over many Fedora Kinoite PCs. What I like the best is that I’m running Fedora with KDE Plasma (which is a great combination) but the containerization that comes with an atomic desktop severely limits a system’s possible points of failure. There are trade offs, like with everything, but for me the reliability is worth the compromises I had to make.


Asahi is a distinct project with the goal of porting Linux to Macs with Apple Silicon. They chose Fedora as their current flagship distribution, under the name Fedora Asahi Remix.

Apparently, there is lots of work in order to be able to run Linux on Apple Silicon Macs. However, you don’t need to use Asahi for Intel/AMD based macs.


I would also recommend to test a KDE-based Fedora edition/spin (be it atomic or not) as a separate install (maybe even inside a virtual machine), just to get a taste of it. Afterwards you can decide if it is worth the effort of updating your existing systems with KDE Plasma desktop environment.


Excellent, I understand now. I am being warned away from testing both on same system and user account, makes sense now I get the point!
I have made a bootable USB of both KDE and Gnome F40. Would you consider that ok for trying them out?
PS I have just played with KDE from live USB. Damn! It has some GREAT features and gorgeous implementations, windows, settings etc. But its also pretty complex and I just don’t have the time to fully make use of its power right now, I also found a FEW things where I wanted Gnome back (mostly just for familiarity as I have used it for a few months now).
I guess I may just stick with Gnome for proper install, but will play again with KDE for sure, on a spare system if I can revive an old laptop I have somewhere. Thanks again

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Wow, thanks so much for that. I learned a lot here.
Ok, so Atomic basically gives me the ‘roll back’ functionality. That makes sense and I see the attraction. I am running Fedora 40 on a 2011 iMac here, works pretty good for the most part, it’s my temp machine while I found a laptop (about to set it up, hence this thread.

On this imac, I recently upgraded from F39WS to F40WS. It broke Pano clipboard manager, which I rely on heavily. I was advised on here that’s no mean feat to get back to F30, but someone mentioned it would have been possible if I was running an ‘Atomic’ version. I now understand why!

Whilst I am very attracted to that idea, there are two possible problems I foresee:

  1. Learning curve, I have little time to learn much, and Fedora/Gnome has been a massive learning process for past few months, I suspect Atomic will be another learning process I will struggle with, if only for time.

  2. This containerization stuff is no doubt great for security/privacy, but I suspect it could cause me headaches. I have learned about the sandboxing features of flatpaks, which again attracted me, but I then had big problems with Thunderbird and Brave (my two most used apps). Thunderbird couldnt ‘see’ my system’s default apps, so couldn’t open files from emails easily. In Brave I use BItwarden extension, and it would never lock the vault as per my settings (30 mins after system lock), because (I deduced) it didn’t know what the system locked! (Again due to containerization of flatpaks). I had to uninstall both, without losing MASSIVE amounts of data (email mainly, 20 yrs worth) and reinstall via RPM instead. I fear I may have simliar headaches with Atomic’s increased security/containerization. Is that a reasonable fear?

PS - I have just tried playing with KDE from a live USB. Some GREAT stuff in there, and if I hadn’t spent the past few months on Gnome, I probably would have chosen it. But now it feels alien enough that I may just have to settle for Gnome (just for now while I have so little spare time). Shame, I LOVE having my desktop back! and I love many other things, but it is very complex and I think I’d need a week just to play with all the settings/options. I am sure one day soon I will want those to play with, and will hopefully have the time!

Thanks again for such a generous and useful post

Thanks, yes I am amazed at how well this 2011 imac runs with Fedora 40. It’s not totally bug free, but I suspect that’s due to old tech and only 8GB ram and slow processor, more than Fedora compatibility. It’s tied me over while I get the new laptop set up, so it served a purpose! I will never own Apple Silicon,they lost me many years ago, but can only now afford the time and money to leave the walled garden, and boy does it feel good :slight_smile:

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Yeah, the Linux world can be tough when having to make decisions :wink:

Gnome is great for its simplicity and strictness, but also annoying because of it…
…and KDE is overwhelming.
Both have their pros and conses. And I don’t mind about their philosophies as I can easily adjust.

For me, I started to miss things in Gnome (or they were removed), things got a bit unresponsive, and it’s a bit too heavy on my old laptops’ resources (especially for being minimalistic).
KDE has everything I need out of the box and I am learning new things you can do with it. It is so nice on my laptops’ resources.

But frankly, I do love both :slight_smile:

Just answering to the last post of yours, adding a few cents without overwhelming:

you can always install KDE Plasma apps on Fedora Workstation, they are all in the same repo. The screenshot tool does not work, but you can still use its very useful editing capabilities also on GNOME. On KDE (“Plasma”, I also hate that name) there is an extension for the Dolphin file manager to open an image just with the screenshot editor as it is so good.

Not that much. You install the system and forget it, basically.

All graphical apps you install on top of that are Flatpaks. You could also use a toolbox, but especially if it is a small tool you might just install it to the system.

You can slowly experiment towards that goal by switching your apps to Flatpaks. Just install the flatpak, if you need to copy configuration over that is also possible.

If most of your apps, apart from your core desktop, are all running as Flatpaks, then switching to Atomic is no difference.

Using Flatpaks generally improves the stability of the underlying system, as the package manager has less work to do.

Btw, Flatpak also uses libostree, just as Atomic Desktops.

The thunderbird app detection problem is known.

I dont know but in thunderbird, if you go to settings, scroll down and click on a button called

You can install any RPM package on Fedora Atomic too. You need to place repos (.repo file) in /etc/yum.repos.d/. I automated the installation of Brave browser on Atomic here.

Well on Atomic it is even more encouraged to use Flatpak, but not really with a reason. Atomic has more reliable package management, so actually on regular Fedora you should avoid many many RPM packages as they might mess up your system.

Atomics main selling point is the rock solid package management. You can pin a version and it will always be kept available. You can rollback, rebase between variants and more.

You can install as many packages as you want on Atomic, updates will just get pretty slow but you dont notice them as they are in the background.

Apart from the package management, Fedora Atomic feels the same. The packages are the same, there are no additional security mechanisms or anything. The desktops are really slim, instead many apps are preinstalled as Flatpaks, on Silverblue (GNOME Atomic / Workstation Atomic) even the Text editor.

Keep in mind to create a new user when using a different Desktop temporarily, then everything is fine. Apps have their system config in /etc but everything they do in your user session is in ~/.config so they may clash, cursors, icons etc.

Cough Fedora Plasma Workstation

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