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KDE and Gnome are both Desktop Environments. Nothing to do with the kernel.
Kde is geared more towards all the kde apps playing well together; a tightly integrated desktop. It has more "eye-candy" than Gnome, and some would say, more bloat. It is generally considered an easier desktop for a Windows-user to learn, because of its similarities.
Gnome is less Windows-like, but is just as configurable as KDE (if not moreso). Its applications are not as tightly integrated, but that is not really a problem.
As to which is better, the answer is both. Or neither. It depends on what you want to do with your desktop, and which feels more comfortable to you. I always recommend that new users try both, and make their own decision.
BTW: Don't forget about the more lightweight Window Managers, like XFCE, Blackbox, and others.
GNOME and KDE have nothing to do with the Linux Kernel. They are merely applications running on the system. The differneces between KDE and GNOME basically come down to the "look and feel" of the desktop. Also KDE seems to be a little easier to customize as far as looks and applications.
GNOME has more a "Windows" look to it. It has a "Computer" icon on the desktop that acts just like the "My Computer" icon in Windows. KDE does not have this feature, but I'm sure there is a way to get it.
When picking a GUI it really just boils down to your preferences. I prefer XFCE (Sort of has that old IBM OS/2 / MAC OSX look to it). XFCE is very modular and is quite customizable. It is also smaller(as in size) and runs faster because of this. The small size comes as a cost however. XFCE does not have the ability(at least default anyways) to have icons on the desktop. I prefer this, but most do not. XFCE also does not have the "traditional start panel/menu", unlike GNOME and KDE which do. XFCE has the user configure many panels/menus that can be organized however they see fit. However, you can configure KDE and GNOME to have the "XFCE look" by making your own panels/menus to your liking and removing the desktop icons .
I hope this has answered your questions.
If you're coming over from a MS Windows environment, this can be a little difficult to grasp, but KDE/Gnome are more or less graphical "wrappers" around the core Linux OS. Each one has it's own good/bad points, but the great thing I've found is that you can pick one of them and still run programs that may be written primarily for the other. For instance, I prefer Gnome as my Desktop environment, but I do alot of Web Development using Quanta, which is an app that's usually packaged with a KDE distribution.
Hope this helps a little. The 2nd post is right - go take a look at the site for each one, and decide which one might be more appropriate for your situation. Another nice thing is that if you have the space, you can load each one, play with each, and then make your decision...
Choosing between GNOME and KDE is like choosing between different variants of coffee, you need to try them out first before settling on a favorite. GNOME applications can run on KDE and vice versa, but they may look out of place because they use different gui toolkits to construct their applications, but themes exist to make them look alike.