Difference between KDE Plasma Workspace and Plasma 5

I have always used KDE with OpenSuse. After upgrading to 42. I see there are “KDE Plasma Workspace” and a “Plasma 5” window managers from which i can choose. What is the difference between them ? After upgrading am I using “KDE Plasma Workspace” or “Plasma 5” as my window manager ?

afaik none they are the same,
plasma 5 is the name of the desktop environment as there is no more kde,there’s the desktop, the kf5 libraries and the kde apps, the default window manager on plasma 5 is kwin5

Yes, there is absolutely no difference.

“KDE Plasma Workspace” is how it (the KDE4 desktop session) was called in previous versions.
We only have/support Plasma5 now, but there’s still a “KDE Plasma Workspace” entry at the login screen (which also starts Plasma5) for compatibility reasons.
Users may have chosen “KDE Plasma Workspace” explicitly in the past, they wouldn’t be able to login if it wasn’t there any more.
Also it was necessary to make upgrades work at all (since they will have set “KDE Plasma Workspace” as system default).

We probably will remove it at some point in the future though.

Thanks for the explanation. As I understand it Plasma5 is still KDE. So what distinguishes Plasma5 from the previous KDE ?

the KDE devs decided to split up KDE SC into smaller more manageable parts
KDE Frameworks 5, KDE Plasma 5 and KDE Applications so that each subproject can develop at its own pace and not be tied to the other 2,
KDE Plasma 5 is one of those projects and it basically is the desktop environment, the other 2 projects KDE Frameworks 5 and KDE Applications develop the kde5 libraries and kde5 applications that we use under Plasma 5 or other DE’s like lxqt or even Gnome.
Plasma 5 releases does not depend on the applications that kde develops and vice versa the kde applications do not depend on the desktop.

Not really.
Plasma5 is developed by KDE, it is not KDE. :wink:
KDE is the community that creates software, not the software itself.

And Plasma is the name of KDE’s desktop since version 4.0 (released in January 2008).

In addition to what I_A wrote, see here for this announcement published in 2009:

Also interesting may be this explanation what the KDE Software Compilation is:
and the official KDE manifesto

So what distinguishes Plasma5 from the previous KDE ?

You mean from the previous KDE desktop? (Plasma1)

Plasma5 is the next major version of the desktop, first released in 2014).

Well, mainly it is a port to Qt5 (Plasma1, often called “KDE4”, is based on Qt4).
Some parts have been rewritten during the port, and many things/workflows have been redesigned/overthought.