Ubuntu Studio is a popular official flavour of Ubuntu tailored for creative content creators involved in audio production, video, graphics, photography, and book publishing. It offers a lot of multimedia content creation applications out of the box with the best possible experience.
After the recent 20.04 LTS release, the Ubuntu Studio team highlighted something very important in their official announcement. And, probably not everyone noticed the key information i.e Ubuntu Studio’s future.
Why is Ubuntu Studio ditching XFCE?
As per their clarification, Ubuntu Studio isn’t focused on any particular look/feel but aims to provide the best user experience possible. And, KDE proves to be a better option.
Plasma has proven to have better tools for graphics artists and photographers, as can be seen in Gwenview, Krita, and even the file manager Dolphin. Additionally, it has Wacom tablet support better than any other desktop environment.
It has become so good that the majority of the Ubuntu Studio team is now using Kubuntu with Ubuntu Studio added-on via Ubuntu Studio Installer as their daily driver. With so many of us using Plasma, the timing just seems right to focus on a transition to Plasma with our next release.
Of course every desktop environment has been tailored for something different. And, here, they think that KDE Plasma will be the most suitable desktop environment replacing XFCE to provide a better user experience to all the users.
While I’m not sure how the users will react to this as every user has a different set of preferences. If the existing users won’t have a problem with KDE, it isn’t going to be a big deal.
It is worth noting that Ubuntu Studio also mentioned why KDE is potentially a superior choice for them:
The Plasma desktop environment has, without Akonadi, become just as light in resource usage as Xfce, perhaps even lighter. Other audio-focused Linux distributions, such as Fedora Jam and KXStudio, have historically used the KDE Plasma desktop environment and done well with the audio.
Also, they’ve highlighted an article by Jason Evangelho at Forbes where some benchmarks reveal that KDE is almost as light as Xfce. Even though that’s a good sign – we still have to wait for the users to test-drive the KDE-powered Ubuntu Studio. Only then we’ll be able to observe whether Ubuntu Studio’s decision to ditch XFCE desktop environment was the right thing to do.
What will change for Ubuntu Studio users after this change?
The overall workflow may get affected (or improve) moving forward with KDE on Ubuntu Studio 20.10 and later.
However, the upgrade process (from 20.04 to 20.10) will result in broken systems. So, a fresh install of Ubuntu Studio 20.10 or later versions will be the only way to go.
They’ve also mentioned that they will be constantly evaluating for any duplication with the pre-installed apps. So, I believe more details will follow in the coming days.
Ubuntu Studio is second distribution that has changed its main desktop environment in recent times. Earlier, Lubuntu switched to LXQt from LXDE.
What do you think about this change? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.