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Hi, I'm fairly new to Linux and am wondering which is the best desktop for me. I'm currently running Nforce2/Redhat 9 and KDE, which I mostly like, except for the fact that I can't get sound to work (I think it it some sort of Arts/Alsa/AC97 conflict). However, I'm going to switch to Gentoo soon and so I thought I'd ask this question. My main concerns are: good sound/video support, low overhead, and a simple gui, respectively. I originally thought KDE was what I wanted but the Arts/Alsa conflicts disillusioned this notion. XFCE looks good, but from what I hear there isn't a whole lot of sound support. And though I've never used Gnome, from what I hear it is a bit large and inefficient. Any help is appreciated.
I use KDE, and I'd definately recommend it to someone that's new to Linux. It's pretty stable, and despite what some people say, it's pretty fast. If somebody's telling you that KDE is slow or bloated, they probably haven't used it much. Sound support in KDE is done through the aRts server, which I've never had a problem with. Any sound problems you have with aRts, I think you'll have with other sound servers. I think the problem is with your nForce chip - a lot of people are having problems allowing multiple programs to access the dsp device at the same time. I don't know if anyone has solved this problem; try a forum search.
Gnome is a good second choice, from my experience. I haven't used it that much, but it seems good enough.
I recommend IceWM (make sure you download the often seperate Ice Windows Control Panel for customization fun and games.) If you like the windows desktop and/or windows explorer interfaces, then also get Rox Filer, and run it with IceWM. The combination is *so* much faster that KDE or Gnome.