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1) Desktops are definitely a personal preference sort of thing...some say gnome is lighter, but if you configure KDE right it can be decent. I use it right now because I can't get anything else to work at the moment.
2) Not sure on the Nautilus thing, I believe you can...ask around, and your Mandy manual might be able to help you with that.
3) I use KMail, but it takes a little fidgeting with...works great though, very customizable, handles HTML well enough (just make sure you have view-long headers checked!) It's not the best, I'm trying to set up a prog. called Pine, but hey, we're still learning!
4) Most apps, esp. Gnome and KDE, are interchangeable with each other. IceWM and Sawfish, for example, have good gnome support. Trial and error...try a buttload of different things, and pick what works best for you. Real Player makes RP basic for Unix...should be included on your disks, if not go
1) Agreed, neither is *better* than the other. That being said I'm using E + Gnome on my personal machine, runs everything I want and more.
2) If you set kde as the default WM, nautilus should be already defaulted to handle this.
3) Try Evolution. It's very similar to MS Outlook. As for the gentleman setting up "pine." Be wary, pine is a console based e-mail tool used in the days way way way before X-Windows was stable enough to use. It does <B>NOT</B> handle HTML mail.
4) If you have the appropriate libraries installed for ANY application, it will run. They don't distinguish your WM and refuse to run, that's solely a M$ practice.
to play audio cd's on xmms you should be able to just run "xmms /dev/hdc" or which ever is your cd drive. Alternatively enter it in the play location bar. if it doesn't work, get a cdread plugin from the net somewhere, i'm pretty sure xmms comes with one, but you might prefer a different one.
E is enlightenment, very common abreviation....
oh and kde sucks
and you don't mount audio cd's it's not possible, and serves no purpose.
as for nautilus, you can easily reomve that ugly lump from gnome, just insist and it'll dissapear, and you'll have a much more basic manager replace it (called gmc) it's a damn site nicer.
kmail IS nasty. i'd recommend using sylpheed IF you do want a generic Outlook clone, as it uses standard unix mailboxes, unlike kmail, which i hate. personally i'd say to use a really nice quick terminal client like pine. wit' nowt fartin' about with.