KDE Neon vs Pop!_OS: Similarities & Differences!

Credits:

KDE Neon

Pop!_OS

In this article let us have a look at 2 very popular distros KDE Neon and Pop!_OS and see where each distro shines so that you can pick one that best suit your needs!

For those of you in a hurry, here is the short version of the answer.

The Short Version Of The Answer

What are the differences between KDE Neon and Pop!_OS? The main differences between KDE Neon and Pop!_OS is KDE Neon is meant for users who love the KDE desktop environment and the stability of Ubuntu while Pop!_OS is meant for users who need a Ubuntu-based gaming distro

The table below highlights the important differences between the 2 distros

KDE Neon Pop!_OS
Organization Name KDE aims to provide the latest KDE plasma and other features on a rock-solid base

Organization Type: Community

Pop!_OS is a distro being developed by a company named system76.

Organization Type: Company

Expertise Level Needed Beginner Beginner
Based On Ubuntu LTS Ubuntu LTS Release
Target Use-cases General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: on use cases which rely on the KDE apps.

Other Use-cases: For use in a workstation

General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: Gaming on Linux

Other Use-cases: General use as a laptop distro

Software Support 8/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 4/5

7/10

Out of the box software: 3/5

Software Repository: 4/5

Hardware Support 7/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 3/5

7/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 3/5

Hardware Resource Needs middleweight Middleweight
Support 8/10

Paid support: available through consultants

Community: 4/5

Documentation: 4/5

5/10

Paid support: Available (free for system76 hardware owners)

Community: 3/5

Documentation: 2/5

Ease of use 8/10: Easy

KDE neon is easy to use out of the box with plenty of customization options available

9/10

Beginner level

Stability 7/10: Stable

Based on Ubuntu LTS hence has a very stable base, uncaught bugs can come through the latest KDE latest features though

8/10: Very stable

Based on Ubuntu LTS release and hence Pop OS is a very stable distro!

Release Cycles Fixed Release

Every 2 years, with KDE updates being added all the time.

Fixed Release

Every 2 years after the release of Ubuntu LTS

The graph below summarizes the table and compares the 2 distros and shows us how they compare with each other on various factors (Higher the points the better that particular feature is in a given distro)

That is just the short version of the answer, let’s go ahead and look at the longer and more informative version and learn more about the similarities and differences between 2 distros.

The Linux Distributions World

The word Distro is short for “Distribution”. Since the Linux source code is open for everyone to see, large communities started evolving to bring together Operating Systems suited towards specific needs/goals.

These “specific needs/goals” include, but not limited to the following.

  • producing documents
  • writing programs and creating software
  • editing pictures, videos, audio and multimedia-production related works
  • store sensitive information by securing the operating system so that no one can hack into it or
  • just browse the internet and consume media.

Say a community of people just wanted to browse the internet with their computers, then there is no point giving them the software to write programs in. Thus since every community’s needs and goals were different these communities started distributing built images of this operating system with all the essential tools installed. These prebuilt images are called distros!

If you wish to know more about the reason behind the presence of so many choices in the Linux World, I suggest reading the article given below.

Reasons Behind The Existence of SO MANY Linux Distros: An Analysis!

The Main Factors of Comparison

The factors mentioned above are just a small list of 100s of factors that differentiate distros. If you are either switching from some other OS to Linux or you are in the process of choosing your next Linux distro and you are confused which one to choose, you need to have a look at these top 5 decision-making factors

  • Factor#1: Good Match with your Particular use-case
  • Factor#2: Support for your favourite software
  • Factor#3: Hardware Support and Proprietary Driver Support
  • Factor#4: Your level of expertise in Linux
  • Factor#5: Hardware Resource Needs

I have written a separate article explaining these factors which you can find in the link below

Top 5 Factors To Choose Between Linux Distros!

Let’s have a look at each of these important factors and see how KDE Neon and Pop!_OS compare against each other.

Factor#1: Good Match with your Particular use-case

By use-case, I mean the type of work you are going to be doing on your computer. Linux distro world originated because of the difference in use cases.

KDE Neon’s goal is wildly different from that of Pop!_OS’s.

Let’s have a brief comparison between KDE Neon and Pop!_OS in terms of goals, target users and best use cases to employ these distros.

KDE Neon Pop!_OS
Goal To provide the latest KDE plasma and other features on a rock-solid base To be an elegant alternative to Ubuntu, with a focus on ease of use and performance
Target users Desktop users who need the latest KDE features as soon as they are out General users who need a good-looking distro with good support for gaming
Best Use-Cases to Employ the Distro Best Use-case: on use cases which rely on the KDE apps. Other Use-cases: For use in a workstation Best Use-case: Gaming on Linux

Other Use-cases: General use as a laptop distro

Factor#2: Support for your favourite software

If your main work involves some specific software or latest versions of a given software then that becomes a decision-making factor for choosing a Linux Distribution. So before fixing on a given distro, be sure to google if that distro has official support for your main software needs.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

  • Out of the Box support: The software that the distro ships with.
  • Repository Support: The curated software that is available on the official repos
  • Type of release cycle: This decides the trade-off between up-to-date software and stable tested software.
  • Availability of Graphical Software managers
  • Package manager used: This can decide the ease of which you can install and uninstall software

Let’s see how KDE Neon and Pop!_OS fair up against each other in the category of Software support

KDE Neon Pop!_OS
Out of the Box Software 4/5: Has all the essential apps along with KDE specific apps
3/5: Comes with just the basics
Repository Support 4/5: Since this is based on Ubuntu, you get access to all the software in Ubuntu’s repo! 4/5: Enjoys Ubuntu’s big collection of packages
Type of release cycle Fixed

Based on Ubuntu LTS schedule so every 2 years

Fixed Release

Every 2 years after the release of Ubuntu LTS

GUI Software Management Tools Software Center and Synaptic package manager available Available

Pop Shop

Package manager used Apt and Snappy are used APT and snappy

The bar chart below summarizes the table above. As you can see, KDE Neon is better than Pop!_OS in terms of Out of the box software support. Both Pop!_OS and KDE Neon got the same points in terms of Repository support.

Hence, KDE Neon wins the round of Software support!

Refer to the article below if you wish to learn more about package managers.

A Beginners Introduction To Linux Package managers: apt, yum, dpkg & rpm

Factor#3: Hardware Support and Proprietary Driver Support

Not all Linux distros support proprietary drivers officially. Depending on your computer’s hardware, you may or may not have open-source driver support from the manufacturers. This is especially true for hardware such as graphics cards and network cards. Hence it is a good idea to take “driver support” into consideration while choosing your next distro.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

  • Distro’s Policy of use of opensource vs proprietary 3rd party software
  • Official driver support by Major Companies
  • 3rd party driver support from official repos
  • Support for older hardware

The table below shows how these 2 distros compare in terms of Hardware support.

KDE Neon Pop!_OS
Distro’s Policy Proprietary drivers officially supported Proprietary drivers officially supported
Official driver support by Major Companies 4/5: Being based on Ubuntu LTS, KDE Neon get all the love that ubuntu gets from hardware manufacturers! 4/5, since based on Ubuntu LTS, the drivers provided by major companies like NVidia are made available for PopOS users.
3rd party driver support 3rd party repos available 3rd party repos available
Support for older hardware 3/5: Ubuntu has dropped support for 32bit processors, hence KDE neon will not work on older machines


3/5: Ubuntu has dropped support for 32bit processors, hence KDE neon will not work on older machines

The bar chart below summarizes the table above. As you can see, both Pop!_OS and KDE Neon got the same points when it comes to official driver support. Both Pop!_OS and KDE Neon got the same points in terms of support for Older Hardware.

Hence, this round is a tie between Pop!_OS and KDE Neon!!

Refer to the article below if you wish to have a look at some of the top distros in terms of hardware support.

Best Distro For Software And Hardware Support: A Comparison!!

Factor#4: Your level of expertise in Linux

Depending on your level of expertise in Linux, the choice of the distro you need will vary. This is because of the following factors

  • Ease of use: beginner, intermediate, expert
  • Paid customer support: available, not available
  • Online community support: great, good, okay, not good, no support
  • Available Documentation: Great documentation, Good documentation, Okay documentation, no documentation

Let’s see the level of support available for KDE Neon and Pop!_OS and see how they compare against each other

KDE Neon Pop!_OS
Ease of Use beginner beginner
Paid Customer Support There is no official support, but the KDE website provides a list of consultants if you wish to hire some specialists. Available: Pop OS sells hardware with their distro preinstalled and offers lifetime support for users!
Online Community Support 4/5: great, Ubuntu’s community should back you up if you have issues with the Ubuntu base, also KDE has a good vibrant online community if you face any issues with KDE apps 3/5: PopOS has a growing online community
Documentation 4/5 Ubuntu and KDE projects have very good documentation 2/5: Okay documentation, focused on beginners’ tutorials

The bar chart below summarizes the table above. As you can see, KDE Neon is better than Pop!_OS in terms of online community support. KDE Neon is better than Pop!_OS in terms of Documentation.

Hence, KDE Neon wins the round of User support!

Factor#5: Hardware Resource Needs

This is an important factor if you are planning to employ Linux on a computer with limited hardware resources. This may be an old machine or a new one with less than stellar specs.

The factors you need to be considering include the following

  • Category: Lightweight or Middleweight or Heavyweight
  • RAM Requirements to have a snappy system &
  • Minimum processor requirements

Let’s see how KDE Neon and Pop!_OS fair up against each other in terms of Hardware resource needs

KDE Neon Pop!_OS
Category Middleweight Middleweight
Minimum RAM requirements 4GB 2GB

4GB Recommended

Minimum Processor Requirements 2GHz dual-core processor dual-core 64bit recommended (no minimum requirements given out officially)

Refer to the article below if you wish to have a look at a step by step guide for choosing a Linux distro for your computer’s specifications.

A Complete Guide For Choosing A Distro For Your Computer’s Specs..!!

The Results!

Let us know go ahead and see the results of our comparison! Have a look at the Bar chart below.

As you can see KDE Neon wins in Software support, and User support.

Pop!_OS wins in Ease of use, and Stability.

There is a tie between the 2 distros in Hardware support, and Hardware Resource needs.

I suggest you pick the distro that best suits you based on this graph. For example, if Software
support is more important to you, then pick the distro that has better support for your favourite Software!

Summary

To summarise the article here is the comparison table from the beginning of the blog again.

KDE Neon Pop!_OS
Organization Name KDE aims to provide the latest KDE plasma and other features on a rock-solid base

Organization Type: Community

Pop!_OS is a distro being developed by a company named system76.

Organization Type: Company

Expertise Level Needed Beginner Beginner
Based On Ubuntu LTS Ubuntu LTS Release
Target Use-cases General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: on use cases which rely on the KDE apps.

Other Use-cases: For use in a workstation

General-purpose Distro.

Best Use-case: Gaming on Linux

Other Use-cases: General use as a laptop distro

Software Support 8/10

Out of the box software: 4/5

Software Repository: 4/5

7/10

Out of the box software: 3/5

Software Repository: 4/5

Hardware Support 7/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 3/5

7/10

Official driver support: 4/5

Support for older hardware: 3/5

Hardware Resource Needs middleweight Middleweight
Support 8/10

Paid support: available through consultants

Community: 4/5

Documentation: 4/5

5/10

Paid support: Available (free for system76 hardware owners)

Community: 3/5

Documentation: 2/5

Ease of use 8/10: Easy

KDE neon is easy to use out of the box with plenty of customization options available

9/10

Beginner level

Stability 7/10: Stable

Based on Ubuntu LTS hence has a very stable base, uncaught bugs can come through the latest KDE latest features though

8/10: Very stable

Based on Ubuntu LTS release and hence Pop OS is a very stable distro!

Release Cycles Fixed Release

Every 2 years, with KDE updates being added all the time.

Fixed Release

Every 2 years after the release of Ubuntu LTS

Hope you have got enough data to choose between these 2 amazing distros!

And with that, I will conclude this article!

I hope you guys enjoyed this article and learned something useful.

If you liked the post, feel free to share this post with your friends and colleagues!

Related Articles

Here are some of my other articles that might interest you!

What Is The Best Linux Distro? Analysis & Comparison..!!

A Step By Step Plan To Learn Linux..!

Best Linux Distro For Workstation: Analysis and Comparison!!

A Complete Guide For Choosing A Distro For Your Computer’s Specs..!!

Best Distro For Software And Hardware Support: An Analysis.!!

Distro-Hopping, What, Why & How Explained!

Reasons Behind The Existence of SO MANY Linux Distros: An Analysis!

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