Need help deciding which DE to use on my laptop


I’m new to OpenSUSE. I’ve decided to try Tumbleweed (Looking for a rolling release distro) after years of running Ubuntu. I own a Dell Latitude E7440. Here are the specs.

CPU: i5-4310U
250GB PCIe SSD Boot drive

Personally I’m partial to MATE as a DE. It seems to run really well and I’ve always loved Gnome 2 but for some reason it seems buggy on OpenSUSE. It usually was a bit buggy on Ubuntu up until 18.10 (It runs rock solid on 18.10) but not as buggy as it seems to be on OpenSUSE. Maybe it’s user error but MATE on OpenSUSE Tumbleweed has some bugs. For example running “sudo caja” doesn’t open Caja as a superuser, it returns some error about graphics or something.

Anyways. Gnome 3 stutters on this laptop quite a lot and KDE Plasma 5 seems to run nicely until the system (or KDE desktop itself) decides to completely lock up.

What other choices are there for DE? Which ones do you suggest?

You should maybe start a thread with a question about MATE and caja or any other problems in the Install/Boot/Login category of the Forums.

There are MATE users here.

You should open a bug with KDE, I had that problem too. I no longer have that laptop.

XFCE is usually my 2nd choice after KDE.

Aside from the Desktops, if you are partial to specific applications, it can help if an alternative Desktop choice comes from the same family of components so that you don’t end up installing entire subsystems just to support an app or two.

XFCE is a common option for those who are partial to the Gnome Desktops but want something less resource-hungry and most of its apps are built using Gtik (Gnome widgets).

If you leaned more towards KDE/Plasma, then LXQt is a less resource-hungry DE that utilizes a lot of the same components as KDE/Plasma, particularly the Qt framework.

For each of the above, the “Big” Desktop runs best with at least 4GB RAM, and more if you have it.
For the “lighter” alternatives, they usually run fine on 2GB RAM.

I’d consider Mate somewhere between Gnome and XFCE in the amount of resources required.
Some people like Cinnamon, note that its maintainers prefer not to create a pattern to install like other Desktops, it’s installed by package.
If you had tons of graphics resources, Enlightenment makes maximum use of the capability of your graphics card’s support for visual effects.

If you consider yourself a heavy user of applications relative to amount of RAM and CPU in your machine, you may want to use only a Windows Manager.
Although some of these WMs represent themselves as Desktops, IMO that’s stretching the definition of a Desktop a bit but for many it can provide all you need in a Desktop.
IceWM is installed by default in all openSUSE, but you can choose to run other Windows Managers instead… IIRC openSUSE provides packages for close to a dozen different WM, an incomplete list of WMs include

Openbox, Fluxbox, fvwm2, awesome, muffin, bspwm, complz, e16, i3, marco

As a new User, you may want to skim the slide deck I created when I present on openSUSE… It includes some slides and screenshots on Desktops as well as some things like first steps after a new install


Your notebook has a CPU with reasonable performance, plenty of memory and a reasonable disk. Thus KDE Plasma 5 should be appropriate.

Aside from some minor annoyances Plasma is rock stable. Sudo problem got already fixed during the weekend: Presumably problems experienced on your model with Plasma and Gnome can be tracked down and fixed too.

I doubt the original poster is interested or moved on after almost a year from their original and only post (21-Nov-2018, 22:17)…

LXQt is an interesting choice to suggest. From my own perspective, while I often have used XFCE as it’s a good balance between higher end desktops like KDE and doing something really low in resources but harder to setup, say with openbox and tint2, and I do primarily develop with Qt. I had never ran LXQt on openSUSE before, though, and years ago I had a rather negative experience with it on Ubuntu. But maybe I would want to take a look at it again.