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Distribution: Ubuntu 11.4,DD-WRT micro plus ssh,lfs-6.6,Fedora 15,Fedora 16
as far as i know, as far as look and feel goes there isn't much difference between kde and gnome anymore (there were a few more differences in earlier versions but they seem to have evolved closer togeather) but behind the scenes there is quite a bit of difference, kde for instance uses konqueror as its file browser whereas gnome uses nautilus (or something like that), also kde and gnome both come with their own set of shared libraries that they rely on and have their own sets of utilities, although I personally use a lightweight window manager like WindowMaker which has icons to lauch and menus, but takes less memory space and processor time
gnome is suposed to be more user frindly (and by that i dont mean it crashes every 5 seconds), it goes by some shorta "code" that tells developers how to write interfaces to make it easy for prople to use teh program and such, if ya want to get what ya want, then jsut go get a window manager, a file magers, mplayer for video (i think its the best iv seen for linux), and whatever other stuff u might need (WM and FM are the 2 most important ones sience those will be used to do everyhting realy)
I'm still a bit of a newbie mysefl, but I'm getting much better as the days go by. Anyway, I started with KDE, I preferred this to Gnome, but for no particular reason. I have just recently installed xfce4, and I'm starting to love that. It's much lighter on my machine, and I usually run my programs from the command line anyway. I think KDE is pretty dang slow in RedHat 9, and I've tried most of the tricks in this forum to deal with it, and no drastic improvement.
Quick question, I always assumed that the windows managers worked on top of the desktop environments. It appears that I am wrong. The voiting on best apps mentioned how xfce is a bit of both. Would I see even more improvement if I just ran something like Fluxbox? I've noticed that apps like oofice fly in xfce, meanwhile it takes a long time to load in KDE.
Note: This is a completely biased post, with no base in reality or fact...just expresses the opinion of its author
I hate the idea of a windowing environment being directly tied into any applications being run on top of it, so I've tested and removed many applications that are specific to KDE and Gnome. I've found these applications to be very slow to start up on anything but the environment in which they were intended to run, and sometimes even produce errors or entirely fail to launch if you aren't running that environment.
I look at this as being parallel to Microsoft apps running properly only if you use Explorer as your shell. I don't believe a 3rd-party application developed for an operating system should be dependent upon a certain windowing environment within that operating system unless it's explicitly stated as such....many KDE/Gnome applications don't inform you that they need to launch half a dozen other applications before they'll run properly.
Personally I think KDE and Gnome are both bulky and ugly, and I try my best to avoid anything associated with either.
Running simply a window manager, such as any of the boxes or windowmaker or icewm, you're not forced to run a multitude of applications you may not want or need...you may run into issues such as what I mentioned above, but overall they run much faster and use very little resources.
My Fluxbox is using a grand total of 3.4mb RAM and almost zero CPU cycles. Everything else is only what I specifically need for the tasks I'm working on at the moment.