Manjaro vs. openSUSE Tumbleweed vs. Kubuntu: A Comprehensive KDE Plasma Comparison

by Pete
Published: Updated: 7 minutes read

The Linux ecosystem boasts a vibrant array of distributions, each catering to different tastes and requirements. Among this diverse landscape, three distributions – Manjaro, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and Kubuntu – stand out for their exceptional features and user experiences.

In this article, we will undertake an in-depth comparison of these distributions, unraveling their individual characteristics, release models, and identifying the ideal user profiles for each.

Manjaro: User-Friendly Arch Linux

Manjaro offers a fresh perspective on Arch Linux, focusing on accessibility and user-friendliness. Its combination of Arch’s power and the convenience of an easy-to-use installer makes it a compelling choice.

Main Features:

  • Arch Base: Manjaro, built upon the formidable Arch Linux foundation, inherits Arch’s rolling release model and grants access to the Arch User Repository (AUR).
  • User-Friendly Installer: Offering an easier approach to Arch installation, Manjaro’s installer ensures accessibility without the steep learning curve.
  • Stable Rolling Release: Manjaro strikes a balance between providing the latest software updates and maintaining system stability.

Who Should Use Manjaro:

  • Intermediate Users: Suitable for those proficient in Linux fundamentals but intimidated by Arch’s installation process.
  • Desktop Enthusiasts: Ideal for those eager to explore the Arch ecosystem without delving deeply into terminal commands and configurations

openSUSE Tumbleweed: The Rolling Release from SUSE

openSUSE Tumbleweed offers a rolling release model with the reliability of the openSUSE ecosystem. It’s for those who want the latest software updates in a stable environment.

Main Features:

  • Rolling Release: Tumbleweed offers an ever-updated system, delivering the latest software packages, all without requiring reinstallations.
  • OpenSUSE Ecosystem: Tumbleweed benefits from the solid openSUSE base and its package management system (Zypper), ensuring a consistent experience.
  • Balanced Stability: While it’s a rolling release, openSUSE Tumbleweed undergoes rigorous testing to maintain system stability.

Who Should Use openSUSE Tumbleweed:

  • Adventurous Users: A perfect choice for those keen on staying at the forefront of software advancements while enjoying a stable system.
  • Development and Testing: Offers consistent updates valuable for developers or testers requiring the latest software.

Kubuntu: Ubuntu with the Power of KDE

Kubuntu combines the Ubuntu ecosystem with the elegance of the KDE Plasma desktop environment. It’s for those who want the Ubuntu experience with a KDE twist.

Main Features:

  • Ubuntu Base: Rooted in Ubuntu’s robust infrastructure, Kubuntu leverages Ubuntu software repositories and Long-Term Support (LTS) releases.
  • KDE Plasma Integration: Kubuntu offers a seamless KDE Plasma experience within the Ubuntu ecosystem, combining the strengths of both worlds.
  • Stability with KDE: A balanced offering for users who seek system stability while cherishing the aesthetics and features of KDE Plasma.

Who Should Use Kubuntu:

  • Stability Seekers: If you value a stable system with the polish of the KDE Plasma desktop, Kubuntu’s combination of Ubuntu’s reliability and KDE’s aesthetics might be ideal.
  • Familiar Ubuntu Users: If you’re accustomed to the Ubuntu environment and want to explore KDE without leaving the Ubuntu ecosystem, Kubuntu welcomes you.


Some key differences to each distribution.

AspectManjaroopenSUSE TumbleweedKubuntu
Base DistributionArch LinuxopenSUSE (Rolling Release)Ubuntu (Regular and LTS Releases)
Package ManagementPacman (Arch’s Package Manager)Zypper (openSUSE Package Management)APT (Debian Package Management System)
Release ModelRolling ReleaseRolling ReleaseRegular Releases (Every 6 months)
LTS SupportNoN/A (Rolling Release model)Yes (LTS Releases Supported for 5 years)
User ExperienceUser-friendly with an Arch baseStable with a rolling release modelFamiliar with an Ubuntu ecosystem
Installation ComplexityModerate (Easier compared to Arch)ModerateUser-friendly with guided installation
Default Desktop EnvironmentXFCE, KDE Plasma, GNOME, etc.KDE Plasma, GNOME, othersKDE Plasma
Community InvolvementStrong community, AUR (Arch User Repository)Active openSUSE communityStrong Ubuntu and KDE communities
Software AvailabilityWide range of software from Arch and AURComprehensive openSUSE repositoriesUbuntu repositories and PPAs
Stability vs. FreshnessFairly stable with rolling updatesBalances stability with fresh updatesStable environment with regular updates
Software ManagementCLI-centric with Pacman and AURZypper package manager and repositoriesAPT package manager and Ubuntu Software Center
Who Should UseIntermediate users, Arch admirersAdventurous users, developers, testersUbuntu fans, stability seekers, newcomers

Making Your Choice

The decision between Manjaro, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and Kubuntu depends on your priorities and inclinations. Whether you value user-friendliness, cutting-edge updates, or a polished KDE experience, each distribution offers a unique pathway into the Linux world.

Ultimately, your Linux journey is a personalized adventure, and these distributions are ready to be your companions along the way. Embrace the diversity and freedom offered by the Linux world and embark on your journey with the distribution that resonates with your needs and preferences.