KDE vs gnome questionairre

By | 2006/10/15

I really don’t want to start any flame wars with this post but I wanted to post an honest question to the Linux Desktop user. This stems from my recently installing KDE (since the release of 3.5.5) and desire to learn more about it. I have been a gnome user (Ubuntu) since 5.04 and haven’t used KDE for years. I see it has definitely developed quite a bit since my last use.
Some of the main things that sparked my curiosity about this topic are considering:

  1. Linus’ public support for KDE over gnome.
  2. Mark Shuttleworth becomes the first Patron of KDE.
  3. gnome being chosen as the default (originally) GDM for the Ubuntu Project.

Mainly I would like to hear from gnome and KDE users out there. Why did you chose one over the other? What are some of the real advantages that one has compared to the other? Just since installing it yesterday I have found some real nice features in KDE lacking in gnome, but also find it lacking features I am accustomed to. Granted it could be my lack of knowledge or familiarity about the GDM.

Again, the last thing I want to do is start any kind of KDE vs gnome flame war. Just honest feedback on what you like about one or the other. Mainly I just want to learn about the differences & better educate myself. Thank you.

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10 thoughts on “KDE vs gnome questionairre

  1. Steve Dibb

    I don’t use either. I prefer XFCE4 over them both, with IceWM being my second choice. Gnome is way too slimmed down for me, and its a royal pita to actually change settings. KDE gives you a ton of options but the taskbar options aren’t that extensive. XFCE4 is a great compromise, and then I just use Gnome tools and Konqueror and Kate and other stuff when I need them. 🙂

  2. matt

    I use kde on gentoo and kubuntu machines, and I have 2 ubuntu (gnome) machines. The kubuntu machine is actually my wife’s, who used gnome for a little bit as well, but found it a little confusing. I think the current version of gnome is just too dumb. For example you can’t move a window so the top bar is above the screen. (Alt-click drag doesn’t work either). Probably the main reason I use kde is for konqueror. It’s much better than the current incarnation of nautilus. Also the fish:// smb:// protocols seem to be much more accessible on kde. I also think that c++ is better than c for programming gui programs. Compare evolution and kontact. I believe Novell has some 20 people working on evolution, kontact has some 4 part time people. C++ (or perhaps QT) just makes people more productive. (Of course I think python is a better choice, but it is available on both platforms). Amarok rocks, kompose is pretty cool too. Kopete seems a little behind gaim, but does the job.

    I’d like to think I’m pragmatic though. I use gimp and inkscape all the time. I mess around with Cinelerra (which has a homegrown gui toolkit), and I’ve been know to program using SWT or WX before. I’m tending to use the speedy konqueror more and more for web browsing, but also use firefox. For programming I use xterm and emacs.

    Maybe I should give XFCE a try…., though it seems that will only eat more memory, since I’m already running kde/gnome apps.

  3. Gary

    I’ve been using KDE since Gnome was in alpha. I suppose that’s the source of much of my preference for KDE: I still remember Gnome as an unstable, pre-release product.

    Even knowing that Gnome has improved significantly over the years (and so has KDE), I doubt I’d ever switch, but that’s mostly just a matter of preference. KDE is just what I’m used to and what I like.

  4. Cat

    I agree with Gary in the idea that everyone seems to favor the system they first fell in love with. I’ve used the gnome for nearly 2 years now. I didn’t initially put it on the computers and servers in the house it was placed there by my husband- but I learned about it and grew to understand it.
    I think preference for either KDE or Gnome is personal. KDE seems to be more stable and personable in some eyes. On the other hand Gnome is coming out with some great new releases and they are really stepping up so that they can be noticed by the critical eye.

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  6. Andy

    I moved from GNOME to KDE originally because Kate is much better for my purposes than Gedit, apart from the lack of a wordcount (which I tracked down a solution to). I tried running Kate in GNOME (FC4), but it was very slow to load. Now that I am here on KDE (Dapper, via FC4 and SUSE 10.1), I find Konqueror (having un-dumbed it) much superior to Nautilus, and Kmail more to my liking than Evolution. The tools are more comprehensive, and the menu layout more logical.
    One of my few niggles is the waste of panel space for big program icons, although this can be fixed by using the Quicklaunch applet to hold everything in a double row of small icons.
    The experience of KDE depends on the default setup. On both FC4 and SUSE 10.1 Kmail looked like a kid’s toy, huge icons and very little space for actual emails – initally I used Thunderbird before working out how to civilise Kmail. The Kubuntu Kontact/Kmail however needed minimal customising.
    I am puzzled as to why people such as Red Hat and Novell lean towards GNOME, when KDE has a layout more like Windows. Doubtless historical.
    I have just found this site, great stuff, I’ll be back.

  7. Doug

    KDE seems faster and more efficient (snappier?) than GNOME, also it does look better in my opinion, and is more integrated with it’s applications.

  8. jason

    My first taste of linux was using a kde release (knoppix) and i found it so clunky it almost soured me on linux for good. then i found gnome. i find that it is slicker and more responsive, cleaner then kde. i know it tends to be more techy friendly but that doesnt mean you can’t find the gui tools to get what you want done done! also it should be noted that by and large, you CAN run kde app’s in a gnome environment (and i thnk the same goes for gnome app’s in kde)

    in the end it is user preferance and the such that decides what is best….

  9. terryjonesxp

    I use Ubuntu,Kubuntu,and Edubuntu,Fedora and Gentoo .I will not pick a distro if it does not give me the option of installing both Gnome and KDE. Gnome is good for browsering the web and settting up a base syaten. KDE is good with it kde educatioal packeage so don’t feel like you have started a holy war. I find the hold KDE vs Gnome war to be silly. I do it to get the best applications linux hss to offier and to prevent dependency hell. At some point you will need the QT libraries(KDE) or the Gnome tool kit to get an application to work. So I tell people new to linux to install both that way you get the best of both worlds. A unfied desktop is the way to.
    Please Google the portland project.

  10. Randall

    Know I’m talking to myself given how old this post is, but I think GNOME is pretty well-designed but Linus has a point. Warning, philosophy coming:

    – GNOME explains stuff in terms of its value to the user, so “GIMP” is “GIMP Image Editor”
    – It does seem useful to not have to hunt for the most commonly used options. Also seems good that GNOME has lumped together related settings even when they apply to different programs behind the scenes (e.g., GTK themes, fonts, and window manager settings in the Appearance control panel).
    – GNOME’s menu structure is pretty comprehensive and logical — all the different kinds of stuff you can do (access local and remote folders, run applications, configure things) are packed under one structure, and in a fairly n00b-friendly way.
    – Ubuntu seems to have decided on defaulting to the most clean and functional apps instead of their own inventions — e.g., shipping with Firefox and OpenOffice instead of Konqueror. Less of a “not invented here” vibe, perhaps because GNOME has more trouble churning out their own apps.
    – Defaults seem sane for people coming from Windows and Mac.

    Languages don’t really matter. Qt and Gtk each have some really strong points in their favor, as do C and C++. (GNOME is on a “freer” toolkit base in some sense seeing as how Gtk began as a free-software project.) If it were possible to write apps in a toolkit-agnostic way tomorrow, that would rock.

    That said, GNOME folks do seem pretty weird about *removing* configuration options and *fully hiding* important behind-the-scenes stuff from the UI. Retreating from Sawfish to Metacity in terms of window managers is pretty odd — drops a lot of configurability. Ditto for so totally hiding what happens behind the scenes when you “switch on desktop effects.”

    KDE also seems to be a little more ambitious in terms of what it includes, how much functionality those things pack in, and the UNIXyness of those features — compare Nautilus and Konqueror (I actually prefer Thunar, XFCE’s file manager, to Nautilus) or Rhythmbox (meh) and amaroK.

    Maybe the right model in terms of settings is what they’ve stumbled on for Compiz: there’s a “GL Desktop” control panel (bad name) that just gives folks the most commonly needed settings, and an “Advanced” panel that gives folks *everything*. Right model in terms of ambition may be to cater a bit more to “power users” (big big quotes) who like to run apps that haven’t quite been heavily QA’d and HIG-approved, so that ambitious features and projects can get off the ground. Something like a “release” and “remix” or “experimental” build, where the release follows the GNOME philosophy and experimental (not necessarily even released by or with the approval of GNOME the project) is KDE-like in what it includes and defaults to.

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