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When specs go low, KDE Plasma goes high


Historically KDE’s Plasma desktop had the reputation of being heavy and resources hungry as it’s the most feature-rich desktops. As a Plasma user, I dispute the claim that it’s heavy. Now we have the hardware to prove it. The KDE community has been working hard on making it even more efficient.

You might have heard of Pinebook, a low-cost laptop powered by a Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit Processor. It’s the same processor used in iconic PINE A64 Single Board Computer. I have a couple of those board that I use over Raspberry Pi for more demanding applications. You can run either Android or popular Linux distros on it. I love that board and used it to build a desktop PC for my son to explore Linux and an Android TV for my lab.

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Despite being a cool processor, it runs at 1.2Ghz which is not super fast if you try to run a desktop OS on it. But if you can fine tune an OS, it can offer excellent performance. And that’s precisely what Blue Systems, a media-shy company that invests heavily in Linux, has done.

“Blue Systems has worked together with the manufacturer of the Pinebook to create a showcase test image that runs well on these devices,” said Jonathan Riddell, the founder of Kubuntu project KDE Neon, “The team has created a bootable and installable remixed live image that works on the Pinebook.”

But this is not the first time the KDE community is working on low-powered devices, especially in the embedded space. Qt is already one of the most popular frameworks when it comes to embedded systems that power the world’s fastest hybrid Super Car. Enthusiasts also managed to run Plasma on Nintendo Switch. The work done on Pinebook will further improve the performance and efficiency of the KDE framework.

I will certainly be ordering the Pinebook. There is no way, I will miss such a cute toy. With 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of eMMC storage, and a 14″ TN LCD at 1366×768, Pinebook is a great machine for $99.

Are you going to buy one?