I was pleasantly surprised by this Gnome vs. KDE debate. No one became ugly or tried to assert opinion as fact. According to this source
, Alan Cox, a Red Hat executive said that, “KDE gives more configurability. Gnome gives up configuarability in exchange for ease of use.” I'd call this a half truth. A few years ago, I started with Gnome because that was what was on Ubuntu. However, I was new to Linux, very curious, and I yearned for the appearance of KDE. I actually did my objective best to like KDE, but after trying KDE on Opensuse 10.3, PC Linux7 and Kubuntu and most recently, Arch 2.6.33, I will gladly remain loyal to Gnome.
Why I like Gnome over KDE
Beginner friendly yet lacks nothing. Facts, my experiences and opinion.
The start menu is simple and more organized than either KDE or windows.
Since the start menu is organized into applications, places and system, one can find anything. XP is disorganized. With KDE in PCLinux, every click in the applications menu leads to another menu, which leads to another menu...argh! The menus literally span the screen! Once one finds a program, write down the file-path or launch it from the terminal. Otherwise, good luck finding them again. Note: like GNome, the browser, feedreaders and DVD players are easy to find in KDE.
Default Opensuse 10.3 KDE is even more horrid. Click a menu and no additional menu appears. Instead the current menu changes and becomes the next window. Then click the most likely icon and the menu will change again. If you cannot find the program in three clicks of the mouse, start over. Again, write it down or just launch the program from the terminal.
Presumably, when it's said that KDE offers more configurability, that must mean from the terminal.
KDE Pleasma, Arch Linux: While I've had a few annoying issues with Gnome on the current incarnation of Arch, at least it is user friendly. One can control and manipulate the task bar without resorting to Googling for help or going to the KDE Forums, where they will preach mastering a cashew shaped, barely visible thing that does not work.
Last, Although I like to tinker, in my opinion, a desktop should not need configuring because it's merely a desktop!
Totem did suck, but once it's set up, which can be a pain, it's as good as anything else.
Appearance: Out the box, KDE does look better, in my opinion, but my Gnome looks as professional as “Mac 10”, Plasma or “Windows 7,” and all it took was a few mouse clicks.
KDE uses konqueror, which also serves as the default browser. A browser that serves as a file manager causes me to be concerned about Internet security. While my concerns may be unfounded, I just do not like it. Besides, no one makes cool add-ons for Konqueror, at least not a few years ago, when I used it. Finally, one cannot take the skills that one has with firefox and apply them to Konqueror. This is a show stopper for me. I currently bounce between firefox and Opera as my browsers. If Opera was significantly different than Firefox, I would not use it, for my philosophy is one of if software reinvents the wheel and causes me to need to learn new skills without a significant and measurable gain, then said software is superfluous.
Alan Cox, indicated that KDE is more popular in Europe than in the US and Gnome is more popular in the USA. While I cannot speak for Europe, every USA based poll of which I aware consistently shows that Gnome is more popular than KDE.
I guess my questions for Alan Cox or anyone who could and would care to answer is this: How can a system that is so unfriendly be more configurable? Perhaps the configuration advantage that KDE may have over Gnome is to be found via the terminal.
Conclusion: after trying my best to be patient and to find objective reasons to use KDE, I simply cannot find any. If one wants a simple desktop that just works, if one wants to go from windows to Linux, I'd say the smart money is on Gnome. All said heretofore, it's not surprising that Gnome consistently beats KDE in popularity polls; it's not surprising that Gnome is the default desktop for the Ubuntu system. For those who do not go to distrowatch.com, Ubuntu, by a landslide, has been the most popular distro for years.