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Old 12-07-2009, 07:27 PM   #1
stilllearing
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Gnome or KDE: That is the question


What are the major differences between them and which is better (figuratively speaking). I have read many things online that tell me (the new guy that is not understanding it properly) that they are almost identical, one a little more cosmetically pleasing than the other. This I find difficult to believe. To many man hours have gone into either of them for them to be the same.

I have used the LiveCD for many distributions of Linux (Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Fedora, OpenSUSE to name a few) and have settled on one in particular, Solaris. I have purchased the CD and, when the new replacement HDD gets here, will be installing it and converting everything to it.

My question is…
What are the NON-cosmetic differences that you have found that would help me decide which to use?


Thank you for looking, your advice and experience will be well received.
 
Old 12-07-2009, 07:52 PM   #2
sycamorex
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If you're not a developer (and don't care which libraries they use), your choice will be a matter of taste and preference. Do you like the 'feel' of KDE? Which application do you prefer konqueror or nautilus, amarok vs totem, etc.? Both are highly customisable (I haven't used gnome for a while, but FWIK kde always seemed to be slightly more configurable). With the release of version 4 a lot of kde users got disappointed (due to some problems with stability and the weight of KDE - with each small release the stability problem is slowly disappearing). There's going to be Gnome 3 released next year - we'll see what changes it'll bring. Although I prefer the looks of KDE, Gnome menu has always seemed to be more 'logically' structured ('logically' here means 'logically to me'). Try both, in the majority of distros you can actually install both desktop environments and choose which one you want to start at the login prompt. You'll soon find out which one is better for you.
 
Old 12-07-2009, 08:21 PM   #3
stilllearing
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Wish I could say I had a preference, but until now I really did not “know” there was a difference. When I used the LiveCD versions, I would “click to load” and get to the OS. Little did I realize that the choices I made had a bearing on the programs that were installed. I remember using Kong one time and looking for hours never finding it the next. So what you tell me here is starting from the beginning.

I will be doing some novice JAVA programming and dabbling with PHP and web design if that makes difference. But the biggest thing is formularizing myself with a UNIX environment (thus my Solaris choice). I have been told that doing so will open doors for me at work within the next 2 years. With the economy as it is I need all the clout I can get.

I am by no means new to the computer (old enough to have written programs in MS-DOS and Pascal) but my experiences revolve around Windows based applications. I have added many new books to my shelves but nothing beats experience so I turn to your forum.


Thanks again
 
Old 12-07-2009, 08:43 PM   #4
sycamorex
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If you want to familiarise yourself with the UNIX environment, the deskop environment you're using should probably be the least of your worries. It's just a graphic interface of what is really going on under the hood (=command line).
I wish I could be of more help, but really it's you who should choose one or the other based on your experience. If you come from windows, KDE 'should' look more familiar to you. Bear in mind that there are other options as well. My favourite ones are XFCE and Fluxbox.

Although different desktop environments come with different programs by default, there's very little stopping you from using for example Amarok (part of KDE) with Gnome (you'll just have to install KDE libraries)
If you are going to focus on programming, you should probably ask about IDEs. I'm starting JAVA as well as part of my course and will probably be using Eclipse or NetBeans. For PHP and web development I use emacs (check this thread)
 
Old 12-07-2009, 09:07 PM   #5
stilllearing
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Laughing at this but I have a long way to go (not scared though). You just made the 2 choices I thought I had into 4. There is probably even more.
I must be confused or uneducated in the Linux world, but are these just design layers containing program libraries?
I am not concerned with the appearance of it at all, from what I have read I will learn faster if I do everything from the terminal (I think is what it is called, command line to me)
IDE’s huh, got to read more on that before I can ask anything other than what is it LOL.

Thank you for all your time and information, you have started me in the right direction.
 
Old 12-07-2009, 09:19 PM   #6
MTK358
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My favorite was KDE 3.5.

KDE4 seems way to bloated and more about useless eye-candy that gets in the way instead of functionality, and GNOME seems like it over-simplifies stuff, but that's just my opinion.

I actually like a stand-alone window manager (no desktop environment, i.e. FVWM), but I wouldn't recommend that for newbies.
 
Old 12-08-2009, 10:41 AM   #7
davetgood
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let me just start by saying I am a complete noob with linux, any help would be much appreciated.
I'm looking to move over to linux, I will be setting up an old Vaio for my wife. She uses msn messenger, and Skype primarily.
We don't need anything heavy laden, but something stable, and easy to use. she's used to xp/vista.
What are your suggestions?
 
Old 12-08-2009, 10:49 AM   #8
EricTRA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davetgood View Post
let me just start by saying I am a complete noob with linux, any help would be much appreciated.
I'm looking to move over to linux, I will be setting up an old Vaio for my wife. She uses msn messenger, and Skype primarily.
We don't need anything heavy laden, but something stable, and easy to use. she's used to xp/vista.
What are your suggestions?
Hello and welcome to LinuxQuestions,

First of all, please don't hijack other threads. Instead start your own, you'll get a lot more attention to your problem/question. Like most users will say, it all comes down to preferences. The main thing is to get acquainted with Linux and make your choice along the way. A very popular distro for beginners that works (mostly) out of the box is Ubuntu.

Have a look at Distrowatch. As said take a couple of distros from there and try them out. The one you like the most, keep hanging in there with that one and any problem, just post it here.

Kind regards,

Eric
 
Old 12-08-2009, 10:50 AM   #9
zordrak
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Content removed. Wasn't paying attention and didn't notice the thread-hijack.

Last edited by zordrak; 12-08-2009 at 10:52 AM. Reason: Self-delete.
 
Old 12-08-2009, 11:00 AM   #10
zordrak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTK358 View Post
KDE4 seems way to bloated and more about useless eye-candy that gets in the way instead of functionality
I have often found that this is the opinion of people who haven't used KDE4 in anger. Before actually starting to use it, I too thought KDE4 seemed like bloatware, but I have been using it in anger as my main work desktop for some time now and my opinion has thoroughly changed.

While KDE4 has has introduced a lot of eye-candy, it's eye-candy that can be turned off relatively easily but when left on it helps to ease-in Mac and Windows users who can't live without the pretty.

The rest of KDE4 is very very good. KDE3.5 felt like a hundred different components all fighting against each other whereas in KDE4 they feel like one component; or at least several components that are seamlessly integrated.

There are many more wondrous tales I can tell of using KDE4. I will pick just one: when I played with compiz{,-fusion} in KDE3.5 it always felt like a distraction and nothing else, but having assigned "Desktop Grid" and "Present Windows" to mouse-position shortcuts in KDE4, my productivity has shot up. I finally feel like I can get the benefit of working on 9 desktops and organising my windows around them rather than window management being a painful chore.

I will shut up now.

Last edited by zordrak; 12-08-2009 at 11:01 AM.
 
Old 12-08-2009, 11:18 AM   #11
MTK358
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I still agree that KDE somehow still attracts me more than GNOME.

And maybe it is possible to turn off those annoying animated menus and such.

But I still wonder, WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO ROTATE THEIR WIDGETS?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zordrak
While KDE4 has has introduced a lot of eye-candy, it's eye-candy that can be turned off relatively easily but when left on it helps to ease-in Mac and Windows users who can't live without the pretty.
Maybe. When I first got Linux I thought that the "Wobbly Windows" thing was neat, now when I tried it instead just always kept getting in the way of positioning windows the way I want.

In this installation of Fedora 12, I installed both KDE and GNOME. I also set runlevel to 3 because I often screw up X playing around with it. I wonder how to make startx run KDE4 instead of GNOME?

Last edited by MTK358; 12-08-2009 at 11:25 AM.
 
Old 12-08-2009, 11:20 AM   #12
forrestt
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If you are new to Linux, this isn't an issue as it wouldn't be the way you work, but for me (20+ years of Unix work) it is a show stopper. The main "Gnome" window manager metacity has a broken implementation of focus-follows-mouse. It is broken in that if you click in a window behind the one in front it comes to the top. This causes cut-n-paste to not work the way it was designed (i.e. have the ability to have the source window on top and highlight and dump various parts of the content into the mostly hidden window repeatedly). In metacity this can be fixed only with a recompile (not something I like or want to do). In KDE you have this option. This is really due to a difference in philosophy between both developer groups (kde vs metacity, not kde vs gnome). The KDE group wants everything to be customizable. The Metacity group wants to programmatically choose what to do when and hard code that for everyone.

All that being said, I have never seen KDE on Solaris. The last version I used heavily (10) came with a Gnome window manager, and I don't recall the cut-n-paste issue with it. That was a year and a half ago though.

HTH

Forrest

Last edited by forrestt; 12-08-2009 at 11:29 AM.
 
Old 12-08-2009, 11:31 AM   #13
zordrak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTK358 View Post
In this installation of Fedora 12, I installed both KDE and GNOME. I also set runlevel to 3 because I often screw up X playing around with it. I wonder how to make startx run KDE4 instead of GNOME?
If Fedora still works how I remember it working Way Back When, then you probably want something like `switchdesk kde`.
 
Old 12-08-2009, 11:35 AM   #14
malekmustaq
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stilllearing,

Candies are for children; choices for the grown ups; but ...
"logic" is always the light for an old man.

Sycamorex is right: Gnome is better for the ease and logic. As a beginner in linux you should go for KISS ("Keep It Simple S--..") in order to avoid unwanted conFusion while beginning to learn the basic, then you may progress to KDE when you are K-ready K-to Kread Knonsensical Kmenu Knames. On the other hand, zordrak is true: KDE has more offers and in fact has quite matured under KDE 4. Yet, after having developed a sense of "power" in the terminal, you will soon look for gnome again. And because Gnome is very very very slow in their work you will end up into Xfce, another windowing manager built above Gnome and KDE libraries. Xfce is simple: so simple that it lacked most configuration applets but it provides a good Help for you to DIY (Do It Yourself) and it is very easy to do. My main is Xfce.

But the choice is of course a matter of taste. The power of a linux user is in his terminal: not in his mouse. windowing managers can vary but the kernel is the same.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

BTW: Nothing is objectively critical here: I use all, KDE, Gnome and Xfce. Please do not take my honesty against me. Nothing personal.

Last edited by malekmustaq; 12-08-2009 at 11:37 AM.
 
Old 12-08-2009, 12:57 PM   #15
David the H.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stilllearing View Post
Laughing at this but I have a long way to go (not scared though). You just made the 2 choices I thought I had into 4. There is probably even more.
I must be confused or uneducated in the Linux world, but are these just design layers containing program libraries?
In the Windows world, you have a single graphic interface, the Explorer "shell". This includes not only the Explorer file browser, but the whole window-drawing subsystem, the desktop, the taskbar, the start menu, the dialogs you get when you open files and such, and more. Since it's all designed by one company, it's all built on a single "widget set", and integrated with a single look and feel.

Since Linux is not a monolithic project, but a conglomeration of systems and programs created by multiple people and projects, you get more in the way of choices (but at the cost of less integration). As you know by now, you can select from multiple interfaces, from very simple no-frills window managers all the way up to the fully integrated environments of KDE and Gnome. These two big ones are the closest parallels to the Windows shell, in that they create complete integrated interfaces with a desktop, taskbar, window manager, menuing system, icon collection and theme manager, and more. Each also has a large number of independent programs that are designed specifically to integrate with that DE.

(Incidentally, "shell" in *nix generally refers to the command-line interface. Gnome and KDE are properly called Desktop Environments.)

The main design differences between KDE and Gnome come from the different widget sets and the base libraries that they are built on top of, as well as the underlying philosophy of the developers and their respective collection of additional programs. The underlying library set that KDE uses is called QT (KDE4 being based on the new QT4 libraries), and Gnome uses GTK2.

This means that, while the basic functionality is pretty much the same, there are many subtle differences in both look and feel and in a multitude of minor features, functions, and configuration options between the two DEs. As mentioned before, KDE seems to tend more towards allowing maximum configurability, while Gnome focuses more on a creating a simple to use, integrated, but still configurable desktop.

Most individual programs, even when not specifically designed for Gnome or KDE, are also based on either the QT or GTK2 widget sets, although there are a few others, such as wxwidgets, the old gtk1, and even the venerable xlib toolbox. When you're familiar with them, you can fairly quickly recognize which toolkit any given program uses.

Since the differences are in a large number of small things, in the look and feel, the widget designs and in minor features here and there, it's almost impossible to explain how they differ in anything but general terms. The only way to really know what each DE is like is to use it for a while. You can install both at the same time, even running both simultaneously under different log-in sessions if you want. Of course the same goes for all the other window managers as well. And as mentioned previously, programs built for one desktop can easily run under the others, as long as the underlying libraries are installed, although of course you lose any built-in integration features they may have.

Quote:
I am not concerned with the appearance of it at all, from what I have read I will learn faster if I do everything from the terminal (I think is what it is called, command line to me)
IDE’s huh, got to read more on that before I can ask anything other than what is it LOL.
Terminal, console, shell, command-line, cli; these terms are mostly interchangeable, although of course there are differences in specific meaning between them. The windows cli is much more powerful than the stock Windows equivalent, but even so for most modern desktop systems it compliments the GUI, rather than replaces it (things are different in the server world).

But even here you have choices. The "shell" is actually the interface program that you use in the console to communicate with the underlying system, and the standard Linux shell is called Bash. It's possible to use others instead, such as ksh and tsch, each one having it's own syntax and unique features, but you should probably stay with Bash for the time being.

I found this bash tutorial to be particularly useful when I was just starting out: http://www.linuxcommand.org/index.php

Last edited by David the H.; 12-08-2009 at 01:04 PM. Reason: typos
 
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