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Introduction to Linux - A Hands on Guide
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One is not better than the other, they are just meant for different people, for different purposes.
KDE (Used for about 1.5 years, Mandrake 9.1, 9.2, 10.1). Nice, very configurable. It's so easy to add a keyboard shortcut. Konqueror is beautiful. It's easy to procrastinate on this Desktop Environment so much they are many many many features to explore.
Gnome (Used for about 1.5 years Ubuntu 5.10, 6.06). Nice, very simple. It's a good environment when you just want to work and don't care how flexible your environment is, it just has to work. However, it's not as flexible as KDE.
Xfce (Experimented with it). Cute environment. I'm looking for excuses to try it out and learn more about it. Fast loading!
Enlightenment (Experimented with it). Meh, it seems to have features that I wouldn't exactly use everyday. It has eye candy that's funny to play it.
Fluxbox (Used for about a month, through damnsmalllinux). I don't exactly like editing my environment through text files. It works, that's all I care for.
I've tried KDE and Gnome for the same amount of time. I'd put KDE on my machine were I play and listen to music, because I like how flexible it is. However, on my working machine (or on a linux installation meant for someone else) I'd put Gnome.
In both environments, if I want to do something, I find a way to do it.
You wanna know which one you prefer? Try them all out. I mean by try, try it for real. Take it for a spin, for a year or two...
Whoops! I posted Gnome, because that's the one I use all the time. Once I read "preferred", I realised I should have put down Enlightenment. It's looks quite pretty, and ... well... I've not actually had a good play with it in years, but it was quite nice back in the 90's...
Just reading over Mimi's post, and I would agree - the only way to be truly (un-biased) judgemental, is to have experience with 'em all.
dude....you missed out some important ones, like Fvwm, Windowmaker etc.
Yep, fvwm's mine - extremely stable, configurable, powerful. I have a root window image and a running transparent gkrellm and my windows have a one-pixel gold border around them (gray if not focused, blue if sticky) and nothing else is visible at all. (The look and the core feel is inspired by evilwm.) But I have a massive config file and a zillion functions and bindings - so fvwm stays completely out of my way, but does anything I want it to. Hidden power. I haven't essentially changed this *config* for two years which is longer than I've ever used any other window manager at all. So it doesn't cost much time any more, either.
But I have seen fvwm configs that look more eye-candy-ish and GUI-ish than Gnome or KDE, so you can go the opposite extreme with the same window manager - in fact, one of my earlier configs, while more pekwm-like, was much more visually elaborate than my current evilwm-based one.
So, yeah, I'm an fvwm nut, but I agree with mimithebrain: "One is not better than the other, they are just meant for different people, for different purposes."
xfce4, more and more. it feels like close to the perfect balance between lightness and features. flux is nice, but i've even gone to xfce4 on my laptop. it's easily just as fast. it seems weird when i think about it, but in the couple of years i've been using linux, i've never really used kde for more than a day at a time (few hours, really, until i decided i couldn't stand it), and gnome only a little more. it's like they're just too much to deal with and seem to get in the way more than help.
Will have to say XFCE is my main. I actually prefer fluxbox but since most of the people other than myself that use my system are winblows junkies, XFCE is lightweight and windows user friendly enough that they can use it withought too much difficulty.