With each passing year, the Linux desktop ecosystem shifts and morphs from one darling to the next. Although it’s sometimes challenging to tell, from month to month, which desktop will reign as the fan favorite, there are always signs that a particular desktop is going to rise in market share.
Three trends I always examine are evolution, usability, and modernity. I prefer my desktops to have evolved along with the needs of current trends and users, to be easily used, and have a modern design aesthetic. Bonus points are generally awarded for a high range of flexibility.
Currently, the Linux desktop environment is dominated by Cinnamon, Xfce, GNOME, and Ubuntu Unity. Of those four, I believe only one will see a sharp rise in market share in 2017. Which one? Let’s dive in and see which five desktops, I think will climb the rank and file.
KDE Plasma – For the longest time I ignored KDE, thinking it too unstable, too clunky, and too tied to the old-school desktop metaphor. With the advent of Plasma 5 (and distributions like Neon) all bets were off.
With each new iteration of KDE (Figure 1), the desktop improves in every possible area. It’s not only an elegant improvement over the old Start button/taskbar metaphor, it’s become incredibly stable and the responsiveness has improved dramatically. Continue reading