From Fedora Project Wiki

Fedora Plasma Workstation

This is a proposed Change for Fedora Linux.
This document represents a proposed Change. As part of the Changes process, proposals are publicly announced in order to receive community feedback. This proposal will only be implemented if approved by the Fedora Engineering Steering Committee.


Switch the default desktop experience for Workstation to KDE Plasma. The GNOME desktop is moved to a separate spin / edition, retaining release-blocking status.


Current status

  • Targeted release: Fedora Linux 42
  • Last updated: 2024-04-02
  • Announced
  • Discussion thread
  • FESCo issue: <will be assigned by the Wrangler>
  • Tracker bug: <will be assigned by the Wrangler>
  • Release notes tracker: <will be assigned by the Wrangler>

Detailed Description

With the release of Plasma 6, KDE Plasma has developed into a high quality, well-regarded desktop experience.

Improved end user experience

Plasma has been at the forefront of creating a cohesive desktop platform that empowers the user to have full ownership of their computing experience.

Plasma provides this approachable, highly-flexible, user-extensible experience with predictability across Plasma releases. Unlike other desktop experiences such as GNOME Shell, the APIs leveraged by Plasma applets / widgets have been more stable across “minor” Plasma releases, reducing long-term user frustration and promoting a healthier ecosystem for developers and users alike.

This extensibility additionally applies to the underlying window manager, KWin, with effects and scripts that provide both utility and personalization, such as:

  • Automatically blocking compositing for full screen applications
  • Fun effects such as window glitch and portals

Plasma provides a more traditional user experience that could be viewed as being more approachable to everyday computing users, serving as a smoother "on-ramp" to using Linux-based operating systems. Alongside its wide breadth of personalization capabilities, it provides an out-of-the-box desktop experience that is more predictable than some of its counterparts. As an example, Plasma provides a system tray for applications supporting StatusNotifierItem (e.g. Flameshot, OBS Studio, VPN clients), which is not functionality supported by default in GNOME Shell and requires an extension which may break between releases.

Standardization support

The KDE community has a long heritage of collaborative standards development and supporting capabilities that application developers and users need for a productive experience.

KDE is heavily involved in the development of cross-desktop standards and tools that benefit the larger open source desktop community. From the XDG icon theme specification to D-Bus to StatusNotifierItems and Wayland protocols, KDE has been front and center for evolving the Linux desktop platform in a manner that benefits the wider community.

Many of the specifications and protocols in use today originate or are heavily influenced by KDE, and KDE has continued to be a bastion of innovation in a user-centric and community-centric manner.

Notably, the following recent Wayland protocols have been driven or influenced by KDE:

  • xdg-toplevel-drag (dragging tabs in and out of windows)
  • content-type
  • drm-lease (enable applications to selectively gain privileged display device access)
  • tearing-control (enable faster than display framerate refreshing, ie no “vsync lock”)
  • ext-idle-notify
  • xdg-activation (enable notifications to bring a window to the foreground on user activation)
  • xdg-decoration (server side decorations, derived from KDE’s protocol)

There are several upcoming protocols being driven by KDE as well, such as:

  • alpha-modifier (set alpha values for a surface)
  • ext-blur (enable blur effect underneath a surface)
  • xdg-toplevel-icon (enable applications to set window icons)
  • ext-placement (allow application window positioning)
  • window-id (consistent, uniform method window IDs)
  • xdg-pip (picture in picture overlays)
  • dbus-annotation (link D-Bus objects to surfaces)

This demonstrates that KDE works not to just enable new technologies and features for Plasma Wayland, but they also do it in a way that drives larger community adoption, success, and growth.

Wayland support

KDE Plasma offers the most advanced Wayland desktop experience today, providing support for highly-demanded features, such as:

  • Fractional scaling
  • Color management
  • Variable Refresh Rate for capable displays
  • Support for optionally allowing legacy X11 applications to access desktop resources
  • Screensharing for legacy applications
  • Global shortcut support for legacy applications
  • Support for accessibility, including integration with the Orca screen reader
  • Support for AR/VR displays

Industry support

KDE Plasma has been garnering wider industry support in consumer products over the last couple years. This includes various PINE64 products (PinePhones, PineBooks, etc.), the Steam Deck from Valve, and Tuxedo OS from Tuxedo Computers.

The Steam Deck in particular has brought the Linux desktop in the form of KDE Plasma to more people than ever before, through the desktop mode in SteamOS 3.x releases. As a result, Valve has heavily invested into KDE and its technology stack for mainstream usage. Game developers are also testing on KDE Plasma more often nowadays as part of SteamOS compatibility testing.

Community Support

A number of Fedora downstreams have launched with KDE Plasma as the flagship experience or migrated to it over time. Notably Fedora Asahi Remix uses KDE Plasma as the flagship due to significantly better support and features for ARM based platforms and the hardware that Apple Silicon systems have. Nobara uses KDE Plasma as the flagship due to a high quality Wayland experience that supports gaming and game development well.

Developers of Linux XR applications and services already recommend using KDE Plasma to be able to leverage AR/VR experiences in a modern desktop.

Starting in 2025, KDE Plasma’s release cycle switches to a semi-annual cadence that lines up with Fedora Linux releases, enabling a tight interlock of development and integration between Fedora and KDE.


Benefit to Fedora

  • Fedora Linux advertises and advocates for the most advanced Wayland desktop experience with broad community support and engagement.
  • We ship a desktop experience that supports the wide range of user needs and enables the experiences people expect from a modern desktop (HDR, VRR, VR gaming, HiDPI) and strives to support as many users as possible in a manner that results in positive engagement with the community.
  • We align the default Fedora workstation experience with what the larger PC ecosystem expects for a high quality desktop.


  • Proposal owners: fedora-release: -kde subpackages get renamed to -workstation-kde. -workstation subpackages get renamed to -workstation-gnome.
  • Other developers: Fedora Plasma Workstation is added to the main landing page and promoted as the default desktop experience
  • Release engineering: 12043
  • Policies and guidelines: No, it would not required changes as it is already release-blocking.
  • Trademark approval: N/A (not needed for this Change)
  • Alignment with Community Initiatives: N/A

Upgrade/compatibility impact

Existing Fedora Workstation systems will not be switched to KDE Plasma. This will only affect new installs of Fedora Workstation. Existing Fedora KDE installs will be upgraded to the Plasma Workstation branding.

How To Test

As the fundamental experience is not changing in the existing KDE Plasma variant, users can try out the Fedora KDE spin to see what Fedora Plasma Workstation looks like.

User Experience

The user experience does not change from the existing KDE Plasma variant. Existing Fedora Workstation users won’t see their experience change. New users of Fedora will get KDE Plasma instead of GNOME.



Contingency Plan

Retain the existing default GNOME experience for Fedora Workstation. Move Fedora Plasma Workstation back to spin branding.


Documentation would need to be updated to reference Plasma and point links to KDE rather than GNOME.

Release Notes

Fedora Linux now offers a new default workstation experience as “Fedora Plasma Workstation” using KDE Plasma Desktop. This replaces the previous Fedora KDE Plasma spin. The previous "GNOME Shell"-based desktop experience can now be accessed through its dedicated Edition page.