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Old 03-17-2005, 11:53 PM   #1
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Differences between GNOME, KDE & X Window Desktop Environments?


I actually managed to overlook the fact that I need to know the differences between the various desktops offered in Linux. Could someone please throw some light into this or even, maybe, give me a link to a good web page that discusses this?
Old 03-18-2005, 12:15 AM   #2
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I'll give you this newbie's idea of the differences between them. They're just varying degrees of Microsoft GUI likeness. And I don't mean that as necessarily a bad thing. KDE is most Windows like, followed by Gnome which is less so. Then the others are still less like it. I also notice some difference in load time and responsiveness. I personally use Gnome as it provides the GUI functionality that I like from Windows, yet still gives good response and "tweakability".

That's just my thought on the matter. You'll likely find better information (and facts!) from a veteran.
Old 03-18-2005, 01:49 AM   #3
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just go to their websites and look at screen shots. I personally cant stand gnome but others love it. you really just have to try them out. you could try knoppix (kde) then ubuntu live (i think its gnome)
Old 03-18-2005, 02:19 AM   #4
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It's all about personal choice. GNOME and KDE happen to be the two most popular, but also the most system-intensive. Now, there are more window managers such as Blackbox, Fluxbox, Windowmaker etc.

X Windows, on the other hand, is the backbone of your GUI. GNOME/KDE/etc. tell X Windows what to draw, and where.

As tardigrade said, Knoppix is Debian based and runs KDE, and Ubuntu Live is also Debian based but runs GNOME.

There aren't any huge differences... it's just for different people. I can't stand GNOME, and love my KDE. Many users like Fluxbox, which is a lot lighter. and should help you. Also check for X Windows.

[EDIT: Further to the above: GNOME and KDE screenshots. KDE just released 3.4 and they have yet to add screenshots, so thats a KDE 3.3 screenie, and GNOME is at 2.10.]

Last edited by bornhj; 03-18-2005 at 02:28 AM.
Old 03-18-2005, 02:24 AM   #5
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Then we have window managers, fluxbox, window maker, etc... the list is extensive. Window managers are exactly what it says. They draw the window and allow you to move the window around and stuff. Sometimes they have a little extras, virtual desktops, right click menu... but not much. They are usually very light on the resources (cpu, mem, etc).

The 3 desktop are KDE, Gnome, and xfce. They have there own window manager plus a Start Menu, file manager, and lot more things to make it easy for the "point and click people" and are general "windows like". KDE is being the biggest resource hog, followed by gnome, then xfce.

From there it's a matter of personally taste. Use them all and pick one you like, or pick a couple you like and then just change to the one you want to use for that session.

X is a used as a foundation for the windows managers and desktops and by itself is pretty useless.

Good site that has a brief intro of each:
Old 03-18-2005, 07:04 AM   #6
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Gnome and KDE are the two common desktop's that are to be seen. They are complete desktop environments consisting of a large number of tightly integrated yet still separate pieces of software. But that's not the end of the road. One can have Fluxbox, Icewm, Xfce, Afterstep which are quiet light when it comes to memory management. Just go through the following link for getting a better view.

Old 03-18-2005, 12:35 PM   #7
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KDE is much more like windoze. Very bloated.
Gnome is full featured but a bit more minimal approach than KDE. A little less bloated.
X runs your graphical environment regardless of which you use.
Display Managers- kdm, gdm, xdm, etc.... You have choices here as well. These can provide a means of logging into whichever window managers you care to use.

Hint: You can easily install many different window managers and use the display manager log-in to chose the one you wish to use for that session. You're not confined to a single desktop choice in Linux.

Try out a few different ones to see what you like. I use Fluxbox, ROX, and XFCE4 as I prefer faster, lighter, less bloat. I use gdm for my display manager. No gnome or kde on my system at all even though I do use a few of the programs from each.

The greatest thing about Linux is choices and being able to customize the system to be exactly what you want it to be. Explore your options, install the ones that interest you, and have fun.

Last edited by masonm; 03-18-2005 at 12:36 PM.
Old 03-18-2005, 01:15 PM   #8
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Perhaps consider not using Gnome or KDE and also perhaps use Enlightenment (which is meant to be more than just a window manager) instead.

Enlightenment's the closest a computer gets to artistic, if you use the right theme.
Old 03-18-2005, 03:28 PM   #9
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Which distribution are you using? Most of the 'larger' ones (Mandrake, SuSE, Fedora et al) come with a choice of several. Install them and play around - find out for yourself.
Old 04-21-2005, 05:54 PM   #10
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If you use KDE i suggest having at least 512MB of ram and a decent speed cpu. Gnome, xfce and others are not so demanding. I would think this is due to QT vs GTK. My experience has been that QT apps use more resources than GTK apps.

I'm a KDE user so... I'm not biased. =)


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