With our release announcement for Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS, we revealed that it would be our last version with the Xfce desktop, and that we would be moving to the KDE Plasma desktop starting with 20.10. Interestingly enough, that news took nearly two weeks to get noticed. When it did, it hit big.
In the release announcement, we talked about the reason for our decision. One of those was resource usage being comparable. On a fresh boot of the 20.04 LTS Live Image with Xfce, Ubuntu Studio was using approximately 620MB of RAM. On a fresh boot of the 20.10 Daily Live Image with KDE Plasma, Ubuntu Studio was using approximately 670MB of RAM. That ~50MB difference is extremely negligible, especially if you are running a machine with higher RAM availability. For reference, Ubuntu Studio is created for more powerful computers, is not meant to run on low-powered or older hardware, and is not meant to give an old computer new life. For that reason, from our perspective, the RAM usage between the two desktops is nearly the same.
Right now, the transition is nearly complete, with a few minor things regarding theme selection still in progress. We are staying with the same theme (Materia, this one being the KDE port), and the same icons (Papirus).
Here are a couple of screenshots to compare:
Among some of the things still needed to be worked-on to get this right include the installer. The Qt version of the Ubuntu Ubiquity installer (the one that installs the operating system, not to be confused with Ubuntu Studio Installer) is currently hard-coded to show Kubuntu branding. Either this will be fixed or we will be moving to a new installer. As said in the release announcement, we will be coordinating with the Kubuntu team on this transition as situations like this were anticipated.
We do hope that this “new” Ubuntu Studio will be an enjoyable experience.