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They are both desktop environments, but are designed using different GUI toolkits. They have both have numerous features that they share, but equally have a lot more features that are different. You are best of looking at GNOME's and KDE's home pages for the info you need. Such a thread on this forum is bound to start a flame war . Another way to find out which is good for you is to try both and select the one that you like.
I'm tempted to say the differences (for a common user) are mostly cosmetic..
..and I found KDE to be easier to configure to fit my personal taste, thus I use KDE Some people probably see it the other way around. Basically, the way to go is to try out both and use that which you like better.
The best advice is to try them both. If you are running a distro with good package management ( I recommend debian for apt-get) then installing them both is not tough. With gdm and kdm graphical logins there is typically an option to select which window manager you prefer to use.
My personal preference is fluxbox, but thats just me.
Originally posted by PinRojas Why is so important a Windows Manager?
Window manager is a layer between X (which talks to your graphica card, mouse, keyboard etc and does basic graphic operations) and the apps. Window manager allows you to place windows on screen, resize them, run new apps and many similar tasks.
What is fluxbox?
Another window manager. Smaller and simplier than KDE or GNOME, but faster. Website: http://fluxbox.org/
How Can I tell to debian what Desktop Env. use?
Are you logging in in text or graphical mode? If in graphical, there should be a menu where you can choose the window manager. Where it si exactly on the screen depends on the login program and its configuration.
How can I get these Desktops on Spanish Language?
You need to install Spanish locales. If I remember correctly, for KDE it's kde-18n-es package.
KDE has more eye candy, I believe. In particular, the refracting translucent window decorations of Crystal-GL for KDE have no equivalent in GNOME, even with Xorg. Also, KDE has translucent menus with drop shadows WITHOUT the stupendous sucking sound of Xorg's transparency support devouring all of your system resources (leaving hardly anything to actually DO something).
KDE has more eye candy in menu icons also.
And yet, KDE is also capable of a cleaner desktop environment. By default KDE has just one panel and its autohide feature actually works. By default, GNOME has two panels and neither of them can truly autohide without manually editing an obscure .conf setting. Even then, the bottom panel can't autohide--it always has at least one pixel line visible.
But GNOME is good too if you don't care about those things.
Conversely, GNOME apps are good if you want to have commonality with a Windows desktop. KDE apps are *nix only, while the popular GtK apps are cross-platform. Which of these is an advantage depends on your attitude:
1. "I want Linux to look non-threatening and boring." GNOME with GtK apps is good, because you can use the same boring looking apps which look the same in both Windows and Linux. This makes the transition less scary.
2. "I want Linux to look exciting and edgy." KDE with KDE apps is good, because of all the silly eye candy and the fact that you can't do that stuff in Windows. This makes the transition look less pointless. Why would anyone switch from Windows, when Linux just does the same boring stuff?
Distribution: Debian 4.0, Ubuntu 6.10, Ubuntu Server 6.06
I've always loved the look of Gnome or other non-Windowsy environments. I still keep coming back to KDE, just because I'm more familiar with it. Whatever it is I want to do, it's right there. The comfort factor is great.
I still love Gnome, but I find it too frustrating. Honestly, I just need to get used to it, but I still find myself going back to what I know and can use more efficiently. Don't worry, I'll make the change one day. Maybe.
I use Gnome because I actually program (or try to) in gtk (tool kit that Gnome is written with). Any application written in gtk can be freely ported to Windows or any other operating system, while in qt (toolkit that KDE is written with) can't (not for free, you've to buy a license). Somebody corrects me if I am wrong please
I doubt this has any impact in the end user who runs Linux as desktop though, but it surely makes difference for developers. That would also explain why so many gtk applications were ported to Windows (also free) as Gimp and Gaim. I fail to remember a qt application running in Windows though.
At the end, it's good to use a Desktop environment that you can customize the most. This is not an issue with any Window/Desktop environment in Linux, they all can be hacked, while in Windows, well, you can't customize as much.
Here is a screenshot of my Gnome Environment, running in a FreeBSD box. It's nothing bad ass, but gives an idea that Gnome can be customized a little bit:
In debian, the easiest way is to install kdm and then if you want, customize it to automatically log you in using KDE's Control Center.
You install kdm with:
apt-get install kdm
As with any other apt-get install, you need root access to install it. The install script will notice that you're currently using "gdm", and will ask you if you want "kdm" to be your default login manager instead. Say yes, and then at some point reboot your machine. (gdm will stay running as your login manager until you reboot.)
There is a free version of qt (GPLed) for Windows that was released recently by Trolltech so KDE apps can be ported to Windows and are not available just on *nix. Some commercial apps on Windows are written in qt e.g. some Adobe products so theoretically can be ported to *nix but obviously most commercial companies are not willing to do this.