Linux: Gnome vs. KDE

As a new Linux desktop user I have lots of new things to learn about. One of the first things that comes up is "Should I use Gnome or the KDE desktop environment?" With Linux, in the end it doesn't make a lot of difference. Because programs for KDE can work in Gnome and vice-versa.
Gnome is slightly more "free" than KDE is because it uses the GTK+ toolkit instead of the Qt toolkit. In fact, Gnome was created as a port of KDE precisely because Qt was owned by Trolltech and wasn't open source. They have since opened up their licensing so it's not as much of an issue.
Previously KDE was nicer looking but Gnome appears to have caught up, there aren't that many noticeable differences between them anymore. But I like Gnome and here are my reasons why:
  • I prefer Gnomes 'manifesto' to KDE's. Free, Usable (usability), Accessible (people with disabilities), International, Developer Friendly seems to be the right order of things.
  • Gnome seems to use Python a lot, and I like Python.
  • Gnome likes clean interfaces. I didn't like the File Chooser Dialog at first, until I saw that it really has a lot of power. If you start typing a little typeahead dialog pops up, which is far nicer than what window's does. The Path is shown in those buttons (cvs/gtk+/docs/tools), and you can click on the path to go up or back down. On the left is your favorite bookmarks where you can quickly go to frequent folders. It's actually a very clean and fast dialog and there are hot keys for most things.

  • filechooser
  • Transparencies, yes it has that too.
  • Gnome doesn't try to follow Windows too much. The "start" menu is on top, and OK button should be the rightmost.
  • Configurable. I'm used to windows style explorer for browsing files. You can set it so that it works that way all the time (instead of "spatial browsing" - i.e. ). Also, I'm worried about carpal tunnel syndrome and the like so I prefer single clicking if possible, and it works like a charm (unlike Windows where single clicking causes more problems than it solves).
When I installed Mandrake linux (now Mandriva) I choose the KDE desktop. I think I liked it because the mascot is so much cooler.


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