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Old 04-27-2013, 09:50 PM   #1
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Registered: Apr 2013
Location: Texas
Distribution: Mint 14.1 Cinnamon
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Question How compatible with Gnome is software originally designed for KDE?

I use Windows (or Microsoft products) only when I am absolutely forced to, and I have recently become frustrated and annoyed with Apple's actions since the atrocious "free" downgrade of 10.7 Lion and the disappointing $20 upgrade to ML. Apple devs also seem to be rewriting the *nix commands themselves, removing them or renaming them or whatever, which reminds me of how Microsoft operated from MS-DOS 4.0 onwards. I like all the free software that seems to be available on Linux this days, and also I want to avoid having to constantly scan my system for viruses/trojans/malware, which are now becoming a problem with Macintosh. I am more motivated than ever to use only Linux as much as possible, but I'm a bit perturbed because I can't seem to make up my mind about what distribution and/or version to use.

I have ~3 questions.

Background: I want to use 2 software programs inside the Linux Mint 14.1 Cinnamon distribution, specifically "Kalzium" for KDE and the "science-chemistry" packages for Debian. These programs sometimes work, but often seem to only partially work, or not work at all, but hey, I'm on a new install on a new machine, so I'm hopeful. (I'll keep you posted.) I'm currently using Linux Mint 14.1 Cinnamon 64.

1. How cross-compatible are programs, in general, with other distributions?

2. If the programs I want to use are not compatible, is it worth it to try to run another distribution in a virtual machine with VirtualBox?

3. If I want to try to get the programs to run in native mode, where is a good place to start if I want to learn how to debug myself?
Old 04-27-2013, 10:29 PM   #2
Registered: Jan 2012
Location: ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha
Distribution: Crunchbang 11, LFS 7.3, DSL 4.1.10, Lubuntu 12.10, Debian 7
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1. It depends. Few distros are binary compatible, but there is a good chance that packages for a certain distro will work with other distros that use the same file manager (i.e., deb files, rpm, etc.). But if you stick to the main distros or close variants (Debian, Fedora, Arch), you can get pretty much any package you want on them.
2. It's always worth experimenting around. I use VirtualBox on a daily basis and it is a really handy program.
3. Learn about compiling C code. Frequently, however, the program's authors/maintainers will also have instructions on how to manually compile it yourself.

All good questions, good luck!
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:39 PM   #3
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Applications that were originally created for KDE usually have a GTK version so you can run them in Gnome or any Gnome fork such as Cinnamon, or if you install it, it will automatically install all the libraries needed at least Synaptic will install everything you need for that application to run.

It is never a bad idea to get familiar with Virtualization so you should install a virtual machine anyway wichever distro you want in it or any OS.

Also if there is an application that you know of in another distro chances are it is also available for the distro you have installed (Linux Mint in your case) so look for this application either in Synaptic package manager or in the Linux Mint app store if any.

Good luck to you!
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Old 04-27-2013, 10:39 PM   #4
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You never know how cross-distribution programs are. Like cortman said, if you have the .deb file you can at least try. But stick with .deb files if that is what Mint is using. I think it is because Mint is a Debian derivative.

However, it is way better to use you package manager to pull in and install the programs. Usually it has been tested.

You can run a VM and install for example Debian. But graphical effects won't be great. It is safe and it will work. I can recommend Virtualbox for this purpose.

Running KDE programs in Gnome or vice versa is not a problem. Your package manager will pull in dependencies (and a lot of them...) to take care of compatibility. Zero problems.

Depending on what you intend to do with your computers, but if you are not after the latest music/video/gaming and you can work with packages which are a few months old, consider Debian itself. Installation is a breeze nowadays, and it only lacks copyrighted decoders, firmware and such. You can get those, but if you are a beginner it is not always easy.

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