Shipping with the latest underlying changes from Debian 12 “Bookworm,” the KDE-centric Neptune 8.0 is here almost a year after its previous 7.5 release.
Regarding operating systems, Debian-based distributions offer a rich and varied landscape for users to explore.
From the user-friendly Ubuntu to the robust Debian itself and an extensive list of others like MX Linux, Deepin, Kali Linux, etc., each distribution brings its blend of features, design philosophies, and target audiences.
Neptune is another offshoot of this diversity, focusing solely on desktop users and emphasizing the KDE Plasma environment.
Released almost a year after the previous major 7.5 release, Neptune 8.0 “Juna” is here, so let’s see what’s new.
Neptune 8.0 “Juna” Highlights
Powered by Linux kernel 6.1 LTS, Neptune 8.0 comes fully rebased on the early June release, Debian 12 “Bookworm.” This brings all the benefits of that release, the biggest being the completely refreshed package base.
The distro ships with the KDE Plasma 5.27.5 desktop environment, accompanied by the KDE Frameworks 5.103.0 and the KDE Gear 22.12.3 software collection maintained by the KDE community.
In Neptune 8.0, the developers have implemented their views for the desktop environment and the software used. For example, the standard Kickoff application launcher has been replaced with Excalibur, a simple launcher with two columns and a search bar on top.
There is also an apparent effort in the distribution to use only free software. In this spirit, the default browser that users get is Chromium v115. In addition, with the default Neptune 8.0 installation, users get the following:
- LibreOffice 7.4.7 Office Suite
- GIMP 2.10.34 Image Manipulation Program
- Inkscape 1.2 Vector Graphics Software
- Thuinderbird 102.13 Email App
- VLC 3.0.18 Media Player
- Audacity 3.2.4 Multi-track Audio Editor and Recorder
In contrast to other Linux distributions, which implement their own GUI app to assist users in managing system software, Neptune 8.0 depends exclusively on the built-in Plasma utility, Discover, for this purpose.
In Neptune 8.0, we rely entirely on the software management of Plasma Discover, which is now mature enough for us to provide it with Flatpak support and the Flathub repository.
Finally, you are probably asking, “Why should I choose Neptune 8.0 over Debian 12?” Our honest answer is that we couldn’t find a good reason to give users anything more than drawing from the source by installing Debian 12 with a Plasma desktop environment.
Still, if you’re a distro hopper, Neptune 8.0 is worth a shot. Perhaps the preloaded KDE Plasma experience approach is what you’re looking for.