If you have an NVIDIA driver, you love and want to use KDE, but it stutters more than 50% of the time (when using browsers, some apps, or the desktop in general) - Use Cinnamon DE instead. You are unlikely to miss much from KDE.
Let me start by saying: I love KDE. BUT, I have an NVIDIA card so my KDE experience is most times ‘stuttery’, particularly with web browsers and apps that use WebKit and browser protocols (like Firefox, Discord, Brave, Thunderbird, etc.).
Kwin (KDE’s window manager) is simply not going to work properly with NVIDIA, which is NVIDIA’s fault.
So, what did I do? I switched window managers!
I tried OpenBox, LxQt, Qtile, and even XfWM. They all felt like I was missing out.
In fact, simply turning off compositing for Kwin was a better experience than using any of the above window managers. The only problem was, once I did that some apps didn’t like it.
For instance, GIMP’s GUI would start to break and stutter randomly, especially when I opened a file from a file manager rather than opening GIMP first.
As for web browsers, certain cosmetic features would break, like dragging a link into the Bookmarks Toolbar would result in a massive box under the link while dragging as opposed to dragging only the link.
XnView MP - The UI is larger on KDE for some reason, and fixing it requires CSS and patience. Even after fixing the UI, then comes the integration with KDE - it doesn’t exist!
If you try to “Open in file explorer” or “Open with > Associated program”, you get an error. If you try to cut and paste from XnView MP to a file manager, it will either not paste (as if nothing is copied to the clipboard) or it will instead pretend you are trying to copy and paste, which creates duplicates of your files.
If you are an artist, photographer, or just generally manage a ton of files with XnView MP, you know this is as annoying as Billy Butcher trying to kill Homelander.
Slight update here:
I noticed that even when using Cinnamon DE, XnViewMP still doesn’t integrate with anything QT/KDE. I’ve tried it with both Krita and Kdenlive - doesn’t even open the apps.
There is another XnViewMP package called
This package, as the name implies, attempts to use the built-in system libraries which makes integration a lot better. For me, it’s perfect! I can use “Open in…/Open with…” operations perfectly now!
Consider using this package instead if you use the app.
Back to the overall issue.
Yes, now my apps would be snappy and I would no longer have a stutter, except for when using GIMP (which I use every day). However, I just felt like something was telling me to try one last thing.
So, I downloaded the latest Endeavour OS ISO because I knew that if I was going to try something, it would mean leaving KDE entirely - not switching to a WM - like OpenBox - that requires you to learn how to use it - while still using KDE.
I thought of using Solus’ Budgie desktop and have used it before, but I knew it was missing a lot in comparison to KDE.
And that’s when it hit me. Doesn’t Linux Mint have their own DE?
which led me to others from Linux Scoop as well as some UnixPorn Cinnamon customisations.
I was convinced I had to try it. So, I popped open my Virt-Manager (similar to VirtualBox) and was immediately blown away by how plain it was?
Yeah, I removed everything EnOS-related to level it up from scratch myself. This was very easy by the way and convinced me to switch within an hour of using it.
So what are the pros? - Let’s get into it.
Qt vs GTK
Apps that work better with GTK:
XnView MP (properly-sized UI, fully integrated with DE)
Thunderbird (no stutter)
JDownloader (UI doesn’t look out of place)
Kwin vs Muffin (Cinnamon’s WM)
Apps that work better with Muffin:
GIMP (a little faster to open on first launch after boot, no stutter even without compositing)
ALL Popular Web Browsers (no stutter)
Discord (no stutter)
Zoom (no UI glitches when sharing your screen)
qBittorrent??? (when using the “Minimize qBittorrent to notification area” feature, I always had to click the icon twice to open the app - a year-long bug in KDE so far)
Dolphin vs Nemo
Nemo has between 80-90% of what Dolphin has. Unlike Thunar, PCManFM, etc. which are closer to 60-70%.
For my use case, there are three things I miss from using Dolphin.
Detailed file preview and the Info Pane
“Move to” and “Copy to” history - Nemo allows copying/moving files to bookmarks, /home, and devices. However, it doesn’t save your recent copy/move locations like Dolphin does.
A few toolbar buttons: cut, copy, paste, filter, rename (which automatically brings up a bulk rename dialog), add to places/bookmarks (this is included but implemented in a weird way in the side pane, and you cannot access it by right-clicking)
KDE vs Cinnamon
Obviously, no DE known to man has more features and out-of-the-box customisation than KDE. However, I’d say Cinnamon comes the closest at about 70-75%.
Please notice I said “out-of-the-box”.
Cinnamon’s applets, desklets and extensions, well, extend the functionality of the DE in small to large ways - similar to KDE’s widgets. And just like every DE and WM, you can use Conky, Kvantum, etc. for the extra features you want.
I’ll close with how I started: Got an NVIDIA card and need a highly-customisable DE like KDE? Use Cinnamon instead. You won’t regret it.
PS: Using Antergos’ customised LightDM with the Aether edit looks better than most SDDM configs.
You will need the following packages:
lightdm lightdm-slick-greeter lightdm-webkit-theme-aether lightdm-webkit2-greeter
Also, you may notice my OS says “Arch Linux”. I uninstalled and commented the EnOS repos and it automatically started saying that. Didn’t install it the Arch Way but, this is technically just Arch.
By for now, KDE. See you when NVIDIA support is better or when I get an AMD card.