A superficial comparision between Neon and Kubuntu

I have Kubuntu (23.10) as my daily driver distro, but recently I installed a dual boot with KDE Neon (user edition) for sake of comparison and for experiencing the most recent Plasma/Frameworks improvements. I’ve used both them for more than a week and although the general experience is basically the same (as it could be expected, since they are both Ubuntu-based distros + KDE), I felt that even though both systems remain on 5.27, Neon apparently offers a more polished Plasma experience. Neon have seemed a more responsive system and some visual effects I never could enable on Kubuntu have worked by default on that. With Kubuntu sometimes I see sudden “freezes” and the system takes until a minute to return back to normal. That never has happened with Neon for me. I know that this is a very superficial comparison, but I would like to hear some opinions about it and what could be the explanations for such behaviors.

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Also see Overview: Kubuntu, its parent and some of its siblings for a superficial comparison table (between various versions of Kubuntu, KDE neon and others). :wink:

I tend to agree with you. Kubuntu is a bit more turnkey out of the box, where Neon does require a few more steps to configure. I consider Neon a bit more “pure” than Kubuntu.

Neon seems to be marginally more responsive than Kubuntu in some ways, with a lower overhead. It is the most efficient Linux “distro” I have ever used. What I like most about my experience with Neon as my daily driver over the past couple of years is how much faster it keeps getting, while being more and more capable. I have remarked on other forums how my now 5 year old machine feels new and today is remarkably faster than it was even 2 years ago. Some of this goes to Ubuntu and its push for better performance, but most goes to KDE for its polish to Plasma and tools.

I find both Kubuntu and Neon to be remarkably stable on my machines. I have had very few issues not of my own making, and none of them significant. The main reason I use Neon over Kubuntu is the rolling release nature of Neon and the fact that its based on a more stable backend than the interim releases from Kubuntu. I hate having to constantly “upgrade” the entire distro every 6 months to stay current.

Yes, the KDE-side rolling release element of Neon it’s something really interesting to me, since this is the component that most affects me. I have a relatively modest machine and the system runs very smoothly.

KDE Neon is based on Ubuntu LTS. So, while you get recent KDE, the other software may be ½ to 2½ years out of date, except for security fixes and some other bug fixes. This becomes important for new hardware that needs a recent Linux kernel to work, but is a possible nuisance for other software.

In the short term, this year, these differences will be accentuated:

  • It looks like KDE Neon will get Plasma 6 way before Kubuntu.
  • In 2022 it was quite late in the year, IIRC, that KDE Neon went from Ubuntu 20.04 to 22.04.

If your distro’s software is out of date, there are solutions. For example:

  • One can install a hardware package to KDE Neon to get recent Linux kernels.
  • On Kubuntu there will be a way to get Plasma 6.
  • LibreOffice runs well from an appimage.
  • Compiling from source can be quite easy.

For me using an Ubuntu LTS is often too old; even non-LTS Kubuntu isn’t updated fast enough sometimes. However, when Plasma went from 4 to 5, I would have been far better off with Kubuntu 14.04 LTS; Plasma 5 was unstable on the old hardware I had at the time (probably thanks to Nvidia). I’ll want to wait sometime before getting Plasma 6.

From watching the installation in a video, I notice KDE neon does not offer to install “third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi and additional media formats” like Kubuntu and other Ubuntu derivatives do. What’s the correct way to get these missing packages?

I’m also not sure about NVIDIA drivers, Kubuntu autoinstalls it for you which is nice but I assume on Neon you need to use the terminal which is especially confusing for the proprietary driver.

I quick search told me ubuntu-drivers can be used. Or install software-properties-qt and use that to install nvidia drivers.

Please correct me if I am wrong.