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KDE Tops Desktop Poll

KDEAccording to the results of our FOSS Force Desktop Poll, our readers prefer KDE over any other desktop environment by a wide margin. In fact, all other desktops were practically left at the gate.

The poll accompanied Ken Starks’ article Those Krazy Kids & KDE, which talked about the preference his Reglue kids express for the KDE desktop. Because Starks’ article focused on KDE, GNOME 3 and Cinnamon, we focused our poll on those same three desktops. However, we included an “Other” category, under which another desktop could be entered. The poll asked the question, “Which desktop environment do you prefer?”

As I mentioned, the results weren’t even close. 70% of you said you prefer KDE, with no other desktop cracking the 10% mark. I find this somewhat fascinating, given the fact that until a few years ago KDE was stuck in a second place rut and GNOME was firmly entrenched in the catbird seat.

If nothing else, the results of this poll illustrates how far GNOME has fallen. GNOME 3 came in with only 8% of the vote, followed by Cinnamon, which started life as a fork of the GNOME shell, with a 6% showing. Taken as a whole, “Other” beat them both, with 16% of the vote.

[yop_poll id=”32″]

Looking at the breakdown of the “Other” answers, it becomes obvious that several other desktops might have bested both GNOME 3 and Cinnamon if they’d been included on the ballot. The popular lightweight desktop Xfce led the pack in the “Other” category, garnering a 5% total. The Ubuntu desktop, Unity, came in next with 3% of the votes. LXDE and Mate each made a 2% showing, followed by GNOME 2 with almost 1%. Enlightenment, Openbox and Razor-qt each received two votes for a fraction of a percent.

All of the other write-in desktops received 1 vote each. Making this list were Fluxbox, Awesome, herbstluftwm, twm and Blackbox.


  1. Ferdinand Thommes Ferdinand Thommes February 13, 2014

    How many votes were casted in this poll? I think, knowing the number of participants allows to put this astounding result into the right perspective. I am a fan and user since KDE2, so I am happy about any advance that KDE makes in linuxland. KDE is traditionaly stronger in Europe, Gnome in the US. So maybe you could split the results up a bit by also giving some numbers on where the participants came from.

  2. Markus Markus February 13, 2014

    After using 7 years Linux on my desktop and installing it to tens of other pc:s i’m more sure that KDE is much more unstable DE than GNOME/MATE and Xfce. I will recommend nobody to install it to newbies of Linux.

    KDE is slow, hoggs much more mem than MATE. Just compare e.g Linux Mint 13 MATE, very stable and fast distribution to e.g openSUSE 12.4/13.1 KDE. Mint MATE is incredible stable and fast while openSUSE really makes me depress. So far i haven’t had really great KDE example. Mint KDE is quite good but not near so stable than MATE-version.

    What about Cinnamon? More stable and fast than KDE but still has some flaws and annoying things. It’s not ready to be number one DE. And what’s sad you can’t much customize it compared to Gnome/MATE.

    What about Unity? Well, it’s a sad story indeed. The main reason why i left Ubuntu and choose Mint MATE as my default OS.

  3. Ferdinand Thommes Ferdinand Thommes February 13, 2014

    If you want a good example of KDE, look at siduction. And of course it uses more RAM than smaller DEs, but it can do a lot more. Mate is based on a dead horse (Gnome 2) so for sure not the way to go for me 🙂

  4. Fred Fred February 13, 2014

    I’m seriously doubting the results of this poll, too. I had been a KDE user back in its 3.x days but left when version 4 came out. I switched to GNOME until I saw a preview of what GNOME 3 was like and wanted no part of it. For the last almost 4 years now, Xfce has been how I roll on the Linux desktop. In fact, I like it so well that I’ve never really had any desire to return to KDE.

  5. Christine Hall Christine Hall Post author | February 13, 2014

    &Ferninand There was a total of 529 votes cast in this poll. Votes were limited to one per person, enforced both by a cookie and by IP address. It would be possible to cheat, but not easy. 372 votes went to KDE, 43 votes went to GNOME 3, 31 vote for Cinnamon and 83 votes for “other.” It’s not possible to break the votes down by geography without doing a look-up of each and every IP address that voted. However, over 90% of our traffic comes from the U.S.

  6. John John February 13, 2014

    I’m kinda suspicious about the poll results as well. I’m wondering if there’s a KDE forum somewhere linking to the poll. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that) but it does kind of skew the votes.

  7. Christine Hall Christine Hall Post author | February 13, 2014

    @John You’re 100% correct. That’s why we always try to stress that these polls are highly unscientific. In this case, the poll appeared in an article that was very positive about KDE, and several KDE sites linked to the article. Therefore, a very large percentage of the people who saw the poll would be KDE users. Also, the fact that we only listed KDE, GNOME 3 and Cinnamon and made all other desktops “other” write-in candidates doubtlessly hurt them as well.

  8. Some Person Some Person February 13, 2014

    I am a user of KDE. IMHO it is the best DE. It has the most features.
    I’m using it for about 2 years. Previously I was using GNOME 2. I have never had issues with instability.

    This days I hear that Gnome 3 is crap and Gnome 2 was great. For me they’re both not satisfying.

    I remember that I was waiting for 2 years for undelete button in Nautilus, or a way to minimize window without animation which I disliked. And there were many little annoying things, for example clicking in the corner of the screen with maximized window wasn’t closing it, the same thing with menu button – clicking in the corner of the screen wasn’t opening it.

    Second thing – You don’t have to have 3D effects/opengs animations enabled. You can use 2D.

    Third – applications. Even in Gnome times I was using them. Okular – alot better than Evince. Gwenview – best image viewer I’ve used. Krusader, Dolphin – best file browsers.

    Somebody mentioned slowness. I never have expierienced it with KDE and I was using it on Intel Atom machine. It was running faster that Cinnamon on my friend’s i7 processor.

    If You were using KDE more that 2 years ago – try it now.

  9. Shaman Shaman February 13, 2014


    KDE 4.1.12 is a very good, very stable DE. I use it every day… the dark days of 4.0.x are long gone and the system is stable. The only black mark on KDE for me has been Kmail, but that has come ahead in leaps and bounds in the last few releases.

  10. Scott Scott February 13, 2014

    The poll was obviously overloaded with pro-KDE votes. That makes it a worthless exercise, unfortunately. However, KDE is so configurable that it can closely emulate nearly any other desktop environment. Features can be turned on and off to increase speed or lower memory requirements, or to enhance the user experience if memory is abundant and processor speed allows. But as with all desktop environments, preferences are highly personal. How many features the environment has matters little if a user prefers another environment or dislikes KDE for any reason. I like it. I also liked KDE 3, but hated early KDE 4 releases so much that I used xfce for several years instead.

  11. Ness8469 Ness8469 February 14, 2014


  12. Guest Guest February 14, 2014

    More people have switched because GNOME 3 is utter garbage.

  13. joncr joncr February 14, 2014

    Random polls like this are useless at best, and simple propaganda at best. No market for desktop Linux exists. DE developers and designers are not competing for sales. They make what they make for their own reasons. Some of those reasons might be a desire to please their users, but any success at that can’t be measured in any accurate manner.

    The vitality of FOSS and Linux rests on the ability of different designers, developers, and users to take different paths regardless of popular opinion. That luxury exists precisely because incomes and livelihoods do not depend on revenue from DE sales.

  14. dd dd February 17, 2014

    kde is the only desktop!!! is very stable fast and it takes with all the features on -64 bit system- 700 mb of ram (without about 450 mb!)in times when standard is 4 gb and the prices are very low. except this one there is nothing here. xfce needs a lot of work and parts from other environments because many features are missing and cinnamon is not finished. all the others are one of the reason for 1% of the market for a free and good system in times when windows is really bad. to speak about mate a frankenstein system like the best of the best is funny. in europe kde is anyway the first choice. and in fact nobody can convince a windows user to take linux because XFCE, MATE Blackbox, GNOME, IceWM, LXDE, Openbox, etc are so wonderfull. forget this! so the results here are normal because kde is the only real choice. all the people i know using linux is with kde. i have installed 5 systems: 3 of them with kde and 2 with cinnamon.

  15. Matthias Matthias February 18, 2014

    KaOS GNU/Linux, a pure KDE SC Distro, is quicker than each GTK 2 or 3 Distribution, if you belief it or not 😀

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