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I have been using Unix based systems since 1987 mainly for school at that time and later for work. I have used FreeBSD, AIX, HP/UX and Linux in a server situation. I maintain a Linux Webserver for my retail company and it houses several other websites as well.
However, I just installed Linux on my personal workstation over the weekend. It is replacing Windows XP. Not because I was fed up with that OS but because I have 3 PC's in the home and have decided to branch out. Also as my retail business grows, it will most likely be using a Linux based Network with a server and 5-10 workstations growing over time to keep costs down. I have installed Redhat 8.0 and am thinking of upgrading to Redhat 9.0 just so I don't have to recompile a lot of software to upgrade it to the levels I want. I also have Mandrake 9.0 and 2/3rds of a Mandrake 9.1 installation (first disc seems to be bad).
Anyway, my question is this. Is there any benefit to having multiple Window Managers installed? Since my previous Unix experience is based on a command-line interface, I am curious why they have Gnome, KDE, Windowmaker and a bunch of other Window Managers in a distribution. Do they interrelate? Do I have to install Gnome if I am going to be using KDE all the time or vice versa? Now that I have a Linux workstation, I want to make sure I can optimize it completely. Do some applications require certain things to be installed? For instance I am using Ximian's Evolution for email right now. And it says it requires Gnome but I am using it under KDE. Is this only because Gnome is installed on the machine as well?
Over the next few months, I am going to be creating a "Standardized" install for my company's network. All the machines will have the same distribution and version, window manager, office software (open office) and so forth. Just seems like it will be easier for me to maintain in the long run. So this information would come in handy.
If you want to run gnome apps on KDE, you'll need the gtk libs installed, if you want to run KDE apps on gnome, you'll need QT.
In other words, you don't need gnome if you want to use kde and vice versa, but you do need the libs.
Yeah, just make sure the GKT and QT libraries are installed, and you dont need GNOME AND KDE installed.
That said, I like to keep a light Window Manager around in case one of the big boys craps out on you (which happens a lot). This way, you can still easily get around to fix your poblem, in case you need X to fix it.
Also, GNOME is a Desktop Environment, and can use most Window Managers in conjunction with it. The default Window Manager for GNOME is Metacity, and that can be replaced with any one you like (I like WindowMaker). Every one has different advantes. So if you can still run "gnome", but you can have the window borders/themes, etc be drawn by any WM you want.
I dont think KDE can do this though, maybe someone can confirm.