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From GNOME to KDE and Back Again

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the old-habits-are-hard-to-break dept.


Slashdot's own Roblimo has an interesting introspective on what makes us so prone to liking one window manager over another. More than likely it's just the inherent laziness of most users that precludes change. "I used KDE as my primary desktop from 1996 through 2006, when I installed the GNOME version of Ubuntu and found that I liked it better than the KDE desktop I'd faced every morning for so many years. Last January, I got a new Dell Latitude D630 laptop and decided to install Kubuntu on it, but within a few weeks, I went back to GNOME. Does this mean GNOME is now a better desktop than KDE, or just that I have become so accustomed to GNOME that it's hard for me to give it up?"

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KDE (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824264)

I installed Kubuntu as well and went back to Mandriva, Kubuntu has a long way to go.

Re:KDE (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824856)

Interesting. I came to Kubuntu from over 10 years on Slackware, and am thoroughly impressed. I am still trying to like the Debian way of doing things, but I have to say I do appreciate how most everything just works. Wireless, LVM, multiple displays, CD burning, printing, scanning... I'm impressed. I'm not sure what people are complaining about with Kubuntu, but then again I came late to the party. 7.04 -> 7.10.

Re:KDE (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825006)

I think my biggest problem with KDE is that it's everything I hate about Windows; cluttered, nonsensical and in a way, just plain ugly.

Re:KDE (4, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825192)

KDE3 is cluttered because it's unorganized, not because it has features similar to Windows.

I'm not saying this is you in particular, but people spend far too much time trying to NOT be like Windows instead of just trying to do things well.

Re:KDE (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22825190)

Trying to see how this is offtopic. KDE and Kubuntu is the topic right?

That's the beauty of open source... (5, Insightful)

bagboy (630125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824282)

Choices! I find myself alternating every so often, but really prefer KDE (v4 is looking good).

Re:That's the beauty of open source... (1)

pato101 (851725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824382)

I feel much more comfortable with Gnome. I admit Konqueror is far more powerful than Nautilus but I tend to use the CLI for non trivial tasks, however- Nautilus scripts do the trick for me as well.
I've tried KDE-4 from Ubuntu repos and it is unusable. Probably because Ubuntu repos are broken or something alike. I expect KDE-4 at Hardy be just OK.
Nevertheless, what I've seen is that the KDE-4 philosophy is closer to Gnome's than KDE-3 used to be, and I like that. I like minimal^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H medium-size desktop environment. Perhaps I end up switching to KDE-4 when I install Hardy; who knows...

Re:That's the beauty of open source... (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824574)

I thought that Konqueror service menus [] are the equivalent of Nautilus actions? (I'm just making sure that you know about these, if that is the reason why you moved to Gnome. ;-))

Re:That's the beauty of open source... (3, Interesting)

Debug0x2a (1015001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824802)

Generally I feel more comfortable with gnome, but I find that alot of new converts prefer KDE because it seems to them to be closer to the windows GUI. I personally have been using xfce on Ubuntu 7.10 because I'm not a huge fan of the flashy extras, and I may even just see about going to fluxbox.

Re:That's the beauty of open source... (2, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824456)

Some people prefer one thing over another. This whole article should be marked as flamebait. Roblimo's next accomplishment will be to describe how he has tried Emacs but always goes back to Vi. Rob, do you just like to stir up trouble? Meh.

Re:That's the beauty of open source... (5, Funny)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824578)

OK. Now that I've read that entire article, I want to ammend my statement. The next Roblimo contribution doesn't need to be Vi vs. Emacs: he's already covered Kate vs. Gedit and Thunderbird vs. KMail. He even went so far as to drop into why he prefers Linux over Macs and Windows machines. Talk about trying to get 5 flamewars going at once ....

Re:That's the beauty of open source... (5, Insightful)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824822)

This whole article should be marked as flamebait.
Does that mean we can't talk about this stuff?

Sure, there will be some people who, coming from a different timezone and so freed from the need to be civil, start acting all shouty- that's why we have moderation. But I appreciate this as a record of one man's experience, and as an opportunity to talk about why one interface works for some, and others for others.

I have Ubuntu (my main workstation), Mac OS Tiger (for my photographer girlfriend), and Win XP (for when I have no other option) machines at home.

Each has their good points, and maybe discussing them will somehow show us where we need to be headed next, regardless of our preferences.

I find especially insightful the suggestion that 'we like what we know', though for me, I made the switch from XP to Linux 2+ years ago because 'Familiarity breeds contempt'. There are some things I miss, but I usually - eventually - find that there's a way to do what I want, and that my initial frustration was borne of my lifetime's worth of Windows expertise.

My GF finds her MacBook Pro to be a massively capable machine, but hell hath no fury like a woman who, in the face of an impending deadline, can't figure out how to do something simple, something that would have taken 5 seconds on XP. Her first reaction is always 'what a stupid fucking way to do that'. The next time, she just does it, and is happy to acknowledge that it's not so much a 'stupid fucking way', but a different way to that which she is used.

Re:That's the beauty of open source... (2, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825030)

Well Bob,

I may have a shorter fuse than you since I've been reading KDE vs. Gnome flamewars since Gnome first appeared. At least all the "KDE's not really free (even when GPL'd)" trolls have died down.

Enough of the articles spin out of control into Gnone vs. KDE or Ubuntu vs. Kubuntu that we don't need a special article for it.

Re:That's the beauty of open source... (4, Interesting)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825136)

Fair enough. I think both Gnome and KDE have their share of good and bad points, and I can see why different types of user would better suit either one. Though I go for Gnome, I envy the slick default looks of KDE 4, and distrust the new-found motives of Gnome founder Anakin de Icaza.

But the beauty of Linux is that I, and a bunch of like-minded fellows can compile or even write my own version, with none of the perceived compromises.

Re:That's the beauty of open source... (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824560)

I haven't used either in a couple of years now that I've switched to OS X, but at the time I preferred KDE because the applications worked together through DCOP interfaces to provide one cohesive system. Gnome applications, on the other hand, acted as separate entities and had to duplicate a lot of functionality found in other applications I already had on my system. Hopefully this situation has been improved.

Re:That's the beauty of open source... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22825098)

Guhgnome has a *lack* of choices. Everything is hidden, it fires up crap I don't want or need etcetcetc

anonymity to protect from fanatics

Here we go again (3, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824298)

Nothing is "better" than nothing... I like "Lost", you like "Heroes"... None of them is perfect. The same is true with any OS/Tool/Religion, whatever... Keep your taste for yourself, man and let other use what they want.

Re:Here we go again (5, Insightful)

wanderingknight (1103573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824888)

Says the guy who's got a sig that mocks Mac users.

Re:Here we go again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22825064)

lost is shit!

Don't think i matters all that much. (4, Interesting)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824304)

Since both sets of libraries are available, you can easily run programs from both environments.

I have mostly used Gnome, but since I got the EeePC, I've been using KDE, but I've set it up so it both looks and acts like Gnome. I'm pretty sure you can also do the same in the other direction.

The actual desktop environment really doesn't matter so much as do the applications.

Re:Don't think i matters all that much. (2, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824492)

And make no mistake- they're desktop environments. NOT window managers. Sheesh.

Re:Don't think i matters all that much. (4, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825220)

Thank you! I'm glad someone pointed this out. I'm really sick of people thinking that Gnome is a window manager (or KDE for that matter).

A desktop is everything from the libraries to the UI specs to the systems gui tools, etc. Some of the most important features of Gnome, for example:
  • Internationalized text rendering capabilities
  • Application data exchange standards
  • HIG (Human Interface Guideline) specification

Re:Don't think i matters all that much. (5, Informative)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824622)

Historically, KDE has been much more configurable than Gnome. All through the KDE 3.x days my first step on a fresh install was to reconfigure the toolbars to reduce clutter, set up the keyboard shortcuts so that I could reach for the mouse less, so forth - or of course, copying over the .kderc folder from a machine where I'd done this before. Doing this in Gnome is problematic, and often Gnome distros bundle applications that will pay no attention to your customizations. The KDE integration advantage really comes through here.

Right now, Gnome is being so conservative about their interface that you actually can't "do the same in the other direction".

Re:Don't think i matters all that much. (1)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824840)

True for the KDE3 series, but KDE4 seems to be a lot more set in stone (at least the 4.0.x stuff, in its current non-released released state).

Re:Don't think i matters all that much. (3, Informative)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825000)

Right, true for now, but that's due to KDE4 being in early development, whereas the Gnome developers have stripped that kind of thing out over the years based on their design philosophy.

Re:Don't think i matters all that much. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825140)

I have a feeling I'll be using kde 3.5.x for a long time to come. From what I've seen of KDE4 it looks like an entirely new desktop, instead of a new and better release of the KDE I've come to know and love.

Real brain-twister (5, Insightful)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824308)

Does this mean GNOME is now a better desktop than KDE, or just that I have become so accustomed to GNOME that it's hard for me to give it up?


It just means you prefer GNOME to KDE. That's all. Saying something is more superior because you prefer it over everything else (without any other grounds) is something the Slashdot crowd should recognize from a mile away: fanboism.

Personally, I prefer Fluxbox. Does that make Fluxbox superior? No, it just means that as a minimalist user, a more trimmed window manager does the trick for me.

Re:Real brain-twister (4, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824646)

It's a bit like "For years I used to love Quarter Pounders, then I switched to Big Macs and found that I liked them. Recently I started to eat Quarter Pounders again, but switched right back to Big Macs. Does this mean that the Big Mac is better?"

It's crazy what passes for front page news here these days.

Re:Real brain-twister (2, Funny)

karnal (22275) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824962)

Switch out the Quarter Pounder with a Whopper with Cheese and you just might have something on the same track.

Re:Real brain-twister Pound, Stuff, Mac... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825094)

Quarter Pounder, Stuff/Stuffing, Big Mac.... interesting....

Re:Real brain-twister (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824674)

SnoopJeDi: something the Slashdot crowd should recognize from a mile away: fanboism.

Roblimo: It's good to be king :)

Re:Real brain-twister (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824722)

What it does mean:

* Linux continues to flounder around spinning its wheels for 99 percent of the computing world

* Endless and pointless and distracting 'debates' rage on that have absolutely nothing to show for all the effort that has gone into them over the years

* Commercial software makers continue to stand back and just shake their heads in disgust at the juvenile open source community's ability even come up with a standard desktop and desktop API and software installation(if you say 'package manager' I swear I will beat you GPLed ass)

* Even though Vista has turned out to be the biggest OS trainwreck in desktop computer history Linux continues to flatline in marketshare even though anyone can easily grab a free copy and be done with the 'nightmare that is supposedly Vista' today

* A decade after Linux on the desktop has been trying to come up with something the average computer user will use - Ubuntu, the supposed gold standard in consumer friendly distros, made 'baby shit brown' their default colour scheme for their desktop

Linux desktop 1 does A well but not B
Linux desktop 2 does B well but not A

Always has been. Always will be.

Re:Real brain-twister (1)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824868)

I keep fluttering between Blackbox for rapid-response older desktops and Enlightenment for sheer beauty.

Every now and then I wish for better Nautilus integration in either, or even better, something better than Nautilus.

(Yes, feel free to make suggestions).

Re:Real brain-twister (2, Interesting)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825108)

I use Thunar (from XFCE) with E16, E17 is still too unstable for me. Rox filer is also very good, and the Rox desktop environment just... Rocks (but it has very frequent problems with stability, and even more with dependencies, due to poor (or rather: none at all) integration of zeroinstall with debian package management). Neither of the two seems more integrated with E or Fluxbox, at least to me, but that depends on your definition of "integration"... And they're lightweight.

BTW, which version of E are you running? If E16, do you use a run dialog, similar to KDE's Alt+F2? I've found that KDE's run dialog works the best for me, but damn, it is not a separate program, and I won't be running this resource hog on my poor old machine just because of that one thing =/

Re:Real brain-twister Fluxbox, KDE... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825150)

When i need to use VirtualBox and when i watch SOME DVDs, i have to use Fluxbox. i turned on some 3D effects in my profile and it keeps DVDs from appearing in KDE, so i have to use Fluxbox, or log in as another user account in which i did not mess with 3D.

When i use vista in VirtualBox, I sometimes do so in Fluxbox because of the amount of RAM KDE uses. I gave Virtual Box 1.3 GB of shared system RAM and some 380 MB for graphics. My CAD apps run spiffier/faster in Fluxbox than in KDE. But, when demonstrating Linux, I generally run KDE.

Re:Real brain-twister (1)

Moixa (1045566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825228)

thinkfinger works under Gnome, but not KDE

fluxbox is nice... (1)

ohxten (1248800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824310)

While I'd certainly choose GNOME over KDE (it's just more of my style... KDE to me looks like it was designed by a little kid), I prefer fluxbox to them both. It's insanely lightweight and simple.

Re:fluxbox is nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824458)

Fluxbox is pretty bloated. Just try to make sense of the >20K lines of code in a reasonable amount of time.

dwm [] on the other hand, is very lightweight and simple. Not to mention much more usable than Fluxbox.

Re:fluxbox is nice... (2, Interesting)

setchell.dave (1175867) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824848)

damn straight. dwm and wmii are excellent. The ease of key commands calling scripts that interact with the plan9 style backend == "brilliant". You can type E and via very simple scripting will start emacs and take you to it or if it's already running just take you to it. Nonetheless if you want tiling and dual monitors: i'm really loving xmonad. Took a moment to put my noggin around haskell though. Also, I did like running 2 wmii's one on each screen. But to the point. I do like some of the features of the larger window managers. I just very much wish they tiled, if desired, nativly.

Re:fluxbox is nice... (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825008)

Well to be honest, I think pretty much every desktop in the world has key bindings. KDE certainly does, and so does the Mac. Any key can be mapped to a script, application, or whatever. Check out Quicksilver for the Mac if you want to be really impressed - I don't think there's a productivity tool like it for any other platform. Hot keys like what you described are barely the beginning.

I'm looking (4, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824314)

...for gnome.el and kde.el, but not finding them.
Are gnome and kde part of this new-fangled "X" thingy people seem to be on about lately?

Happened to me too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824322)

I find myself switching back and forth sometimes. I went with Gnome for a while, because KDE had that bug where it took like five minutes to start up for everyone but the developers. Then they took all the features out of Gnome, so I tried to switch to KDE, but I'd just gotten too comfortable with Gnome to stay away from it.

It's a little depressing. I used to switch UIs all the time. It feels like I'm getting old.

I switched to Gnome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824332)

Back when KDE became super bloated and never looked back. In 2004? or so Gnome was more like what KDE was like in 2000/2001 which was when I started using KDE because Gnome was just too unruly for a beginner.

(and yes I know they apparently fixed the bloat.)

Re:I switched to Gnome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824642)

(and yes I know they apparently fixed the bloat.)
Unfortunately, they didn't fix the ugliness. KDE has always looked bad, but have you looked at KDE4? Damn, that is ugly. Looks like a very poor attempt at ripping off Vista, which itself is very ugly. Seriously, KDE needs a good theme, but not a single one on kde-look even looks decent. Most Gnome things look bad too, but at least Clearlooks is very attractive and default. Plastik was a good theme, needed some polish, though.

Re:I switched to Gnome (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825218)

OTOH I find Plastik ugly. I'm not a Mac fanboy of any sort, but they (Apple) have managed to do one thing just damn right - the UI *look* (and feel, to some degree). Too bad there are *no* good Mac-like themes (Baghira for KDE used to be cool and so on but it felt bloated and it hadn't had a release for long months... Or maybe it's years now?).

My favorite setup is milk-like theme for a window manager, Milk for GTK apps and QtCurve with whitey (Milk-like) colors for KDE apps. Although it's much faster, it's nowhere like Baghira, forget Mac OS X :<

what i have (3, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824348)

i keep kde for other users mostly (family & friends) i like to use dwm, fvwm2 and openbox, i switch between the three light weight window managers almost on a daily basis, i do have a custom built ~/.fvwm/.fvwm2rc that makes fvwm minimal and functional by trimming the cruft off of it, for those fvwm2 fans you might like it: []

GNOME and screen real estate (0, Flamebait)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824358)

The worst part about GNOME is the huge 64x64 icons, wasted whitespace on all of the toolbars and control panels, and what appears to be 16pt default font. They also get the ok/cancel buttons backwards. The "desktop" might be okay if you're a 60 year old blind man. Otherwise it's seriously frustrating to use.

Re:GNOME and screen real estate (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824498)

They also get the ok/cancel buttons backwards

They're not backwards, they're just the way they're supposed to be. Apple uses the same button order, and has usability studies to back up that decision.

Re:GNOME and screen real estate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824556)

You can actually change the size of the icons fairly easily -- just open up the right click menu, and then 'stretch' the icon. A similar thing can be done for the toolbars (right click and click on properties). I have my toolbars at the minimum thickness (24 pixels), and I think my desktop icons are all the minimum 24x24 as well. Incidentally the larger size of all the icons and toolbars in KDE is one of the reasons why I haven't given it more than a passing glance. In KDE changing things from the default isn't as intuitive for me.

The real advantage to GNOME over ftwm is that it is easy to set a hot key to get a *true* full screen on a window (without that annoying colored bar at the top).

And some flamebate (just for fun!):
At least GNOME doesn't name everything 'K'-something like we were from the Klan.

Icons on top... (1, Flamebait)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824390)

I've used both Gnome and KDE for over five years, but what I don't understand about Gnome is why the move to have icons at both the top and bottom of the screen. Is this to emulate the Mac look?

Re:Icons on top... (4, Interesting)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824430)

No, it's to give you two areas where you effectively only have to worry about accuracy in the X axis. Having it only at the bottom only gives you one. Twice as much space, for practically no cost.

Re:Icons on top... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825232)

Why not surround the entire screen with tool bars then?

choice is good (1)

Sadsfae (242195) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824404)

I find that I alternate windowmanagers/desktop environments occasionally.

GNOME --> KDE --> Fluxbox --> XFCE .. I am currently using GNOME 2.2x which works quite well for my uses.

It's fun to switch it up.

No, he's right. (2, Interesting)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824414)

Gnome is better.

However, it was not always as such. Back when KDE received all the development attention from the major distros, it was better. Now that GNOME is the de facto default in most cases, it's better. Basically, depending on whichever gets more attention, one will be more modern than the other.

The other issue is that Gnome has really solid User Interface Guidelines. KDE's basic HIG is just "see how many buttons you can add to that menu".

Say desktops are like lawn gnomes. In this case, gnome is a gnome. KDE is a tree stump. You must whittle it down in order to make it resemble something attractive or functional. If you love to whittle, you'll love KDE. If you want something that works well out of the box and is inherently easy on the eyes and hands, use GNOME.

So, those who are still using KDE are possibly:
A) Northern European (this is true for some reason)
B) Have been using linux since the 90's and don't feel like changing ANYTHING
C) Using Linspire or Xandros or PC-BSD or some other "easy" distro
D) Like the letter "K"

Or so I figure.

Re:No, he's right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824652)


A) I'm not from Northern Europe
B) Have been introduced to Linux since 2002 (or somewhere close to that)
C) Using Gentoo (switched from Slack)
D) Never pay attention to the letter K :-)

lol :-)

Re:No, he's right. (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824786)

1) I am from Northern Europe (according to the UN definition)
2) Used Linux since 2002
3) Using Debian (switched from Gentoo (switched from Slack))
4) Type K way more than the average person.

Re:No, he's right. (1)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824810)

I should revise that statement. Gnome really sucked in 2002, as well. Perhaps I was exaggerating, perhaps 2004ish is a better mark for when Gnome surpassed KDE in usability.

It isn't a legacy thing. KDE was undeniably superior until the last 4-5 years.

Re:No, he's right. (1)

oever (233119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824884)

Tree stumps are much nicer than garden gnomes!
Especially for sitting.

Re:No, he's right. (4, Insightful)

gambolt (1146363) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824990)

Is there a KDE user out there who doesn't change every single panel and menu around first thing? My impression has always been that the KDE devs don't care much about defaults because 1) That should be left to the distros and 2) The user is going to change it all around anyway. Criticizing the default UI for KDE is dumb. You're not supposed to use it.

This is the polar opposite of the Gnome policy of assuming the user is too stupid to know how they work best.

Re:No, he's right. (1)

spyfrog (552673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825026)


Gnome is a bad ripoff MacOS interface. Some people simply don't like the MacOS interface.
And since Gnome is a BAD ripoff, I don't see why anyone can like it.

I would say that Gnome still is behind KDE. The only thing I ever configure in KDE is that I enable double clicking to start programs in folders (to make it behave like in Windows). Then I put the taskbar on top of the desktop but that is something I do in Windows to.

Of course, I am northern European so perhaps I don't count.

Re:No, he's right. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825198)

KDE's basic HIG is just "see how many buttons you can add to that menu".

And Gnome's seems to be "see how many buttons you can remove from that menu." But you know what, those buttons were there for a reason, and were useful. Some of us don't like having our hands tied. One size fits all seldom does.

it's like Extentions of your own body (3, Insightful)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824440)

I remember a article here about how the brain tricks the body into thinking a tool is part of the body. []

I think it's just a more advance form of that. This won't go over well with the Linux Proselytizers, with regards to Linux/Windows. Makes ya feel for those stuck in bad OSes.

Laziness (5, Insightful)

David7 (946912) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824450)

Most decisions of this sort are driven by laziness. We end up using the system/interface/whatever that allows us to get the most done with the least effort. Sometimes the multitude of options available in the default KDE setup allows a person to get to an application faster. Sometimes the uncluttered default GNOME setup gives you the feel of a more lightweight window manager without sacrificing most of the creature comforts. In either case, laziness is the underlying driver for our decision-making. It's the underlying driver for most software decisions.

In fact, it's one of the reasons software was invented: So I can sit on my ass all day getting paid to turn my day-dreams into reality.

Re:Laziness (2, Interesting)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825072)

Most decisions of this sort are driven by laziness.

Actually, I don't think it's laziness in this case. Getting the most done with least effort is efficiency. Designing a GUI (window manager) is like designing roads. Safe roads are uncluttered, give warnings in advance, have a predictable path, separate traffic (tasks) in a meaningful way and tolerate human error. Safe roads are easy to design cars for. Safe roads mean you won't panic if your wife or teenage kid decide to take the car for a spin one day without you being there giving instructions. Good roads also lead to places you want to go to.

A good window manager is all of the above. Especially the last point. I like, for example, how Nautilus can make network connections appear somewhat like the rest of the file system and lead you there without much guesswork. But I wish it was more fault tolerant and didn't keep asking me to log again in every time it times out. KDE has proven to be very flexible and powerful but when a novice uses my KDE desktop I find I have to come back and reposition things and fix what they broke. A bit too flexible, I guess.

It's not totally 'taste', there is room for science in this and human interface study is valid.

It's that time, again (4, Funny)

k-zed (92087) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824460)

Damn it. There are times when you just look at the article title and you know that a long, delicious, juicy flamewar is coming up...

And I just lost my mod points, too. :(

KDE and Gnome (1)

tristian_was_here (865394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824500)

I think the main thing between KDE and Gnome is that they both appeal to different users.

I believe GNOME appeals to the "simple" user more and KDE to the bleeding edge more of a "programmer user". Correct me if I'm wrong

Re:KDE and Gnome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824626)

I'm a programmer, and I prefer GNOME, though I wish it was more customizable. I haven't been able to figure out how to disable 'Recent Items', for example

Re:KDE and Gnome (3, Insightful)

Sadsfae (242195) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824658)

I believe GNOME appeals to the "simple" user more and KDE to the bleeding edge more of a "programmer user". Correct me if I'm wrong
I find the exact opposite. Where I work 99% of our developers use GNOME (with default settings/background etc) with a few that basically run screen or ratpoison.

Re:KDE and Gnome (3, Interesting)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824704)

I'm a programmer user and use GNOME. Most of my programming is CLI and emacs or micro emacs. GNOME's simplicity appeals to me because it does what I need without configuring it too much. A friend of mine, who is also a programmer, likes KDE because of the configurable nature. To each his one...

Re:KDE and Gnome (1)

tbyte_s_user_on_slas (969373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824916)

You are wrong, I'm a programmer and I think exactly the oposite of what You said :)

question about GNOME ... (2, Interesting)

shimage (954282) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824518)

So ... I preferred KDE back when I figured I'd give GNOME a second chance ... about 5 years ago? Something like that. I couldn't figure out how to make GNOME behave like KDE. I'm stupid like that.

I had this recollection of GNOME being about choice? Like how they said you could use any one of something like 8 window managers? That appealed to me, but the last time I tried it, they seemed to think that if you didn't think their HIG made sense, you ought to be "power-user" enough to figure out how to override their settings without documentation. Like I said, I'm stupid, so I couldn't figure it out.

So then, on to my question. I am assuming here that they've gotten this stuff figured out. So what do I do to enable focus-follows mouse, and to make the cursor disappear when I start typing (yes, I do realize that my second request is not available under KDE, and I fake it with unclutter)? There are some other things that I'd probably want to configure, but they don't come readily to mind (it's been 5 years).

One thing I do like about GNOME is that they have a built-in emacs key-binding option, which I can't figure out how to get in KDE ... I've tried changing the shortcuts, but this usually just ends up breaking them. Remember, I'm stupid, so the only way I can get shit like this to work is if there's a built-in option.

On the other hand, I run Gentoo (I'm stupid), and I hate compiling stuff I rarely use, so I pretty much need to stick with the DE that has the applications I want to use, and ... well, I need a lot more KDE stuff than GNOME stuff, so I'm not actually willing to switch to GNOME anyway.

Re:question about GNOME ... (4, Funny)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824788)

One thing I do like about GNOME is that they have a built-in emacs key-binding option, which I can't figure out how to get in KDE
yeah, well KDE has a built-in vi key-binding option, so there.


That's probably not helping, is it.

It is a problem of Kubuntu. (5, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824520)

In the article, the author describes several uses he had when using Kubuntu. I have had similar issues, but all is reduced to the fact that Kubuntu is a hack "KDE-patched" version of Ubuntu. When you use Kubuntu after using Ubuntu you can "feel" that it seems as they just threw the kde libraries and desktop into the Ubuntu distro. There are a lot of integrity issues. Particularly I have also had the wireless network issue, while it is working flawlessly in Ubuntu, Kubuntu is a complete mess.

But that does not mean that KDE is better or worst than Gnome, if you use a KDE-oriented desktop (such as SUSE or Mandriva) which have KDE preconfigured out of the box, the experience will be different...

Re:It is a problem of Kubuntu. (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824732)

Hmm, maybe I should give linux another try. After looking at screenshots it seemed KDE appealed to me more, so I installed kubuntu, which was horribly sluggish on my core 2 duo with 2 gigs of ram. I'll setup a partition of just ubuntu and give it another go.

Re:It is a problem of Kubuntu. (2, Interesting)

fyoder (857358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824816)

I installed kubuntu and found it to be a complete mess, totally unusuable. Then I installed ubuntu, then the kde desktop. The splash screen when it starts says 'kubuntu', but it sure as hell isn't the mess I got when I started by installing kubuntu. I think what I've got should be called ubuntuk, ubuntu + kde, or gubuntuk since it has both gnome and kde. I should figure out how to replace the splash screen with a custom one.

Re:It is a problem of Kubuntu. (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824806)

I see KDE fans love to use this excuse but it still is nothing but a excuse, KDE itself is mostly the same across distros, with mild differences in hardware support, I ended up liking Kubuntu the other day and I am planning to move when hardy gets released.

Re:It is a problem of Kubuntu. (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824894)

Quite true, KDE on debian is much nicer than kubuntu.

False dichotomy (5, Insightful)

Cultural Sublimation (884893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824526)

I think you are making a false dichotomy here, and that at least a third option should be considered: Kubuntu might not be the best KDE desktop around. Bear in mind that Ubuntu was initially Gnome-only, and that to this day that's the desktop that gets most of Canonical's resources. Kubuntu doesn't get nowhere near the same level of attention, and that shows. Kubuntu mostly lacks polishing, ie, the "little things" that end up making a substantial impact on the user's experience. Moreover, there have been in the past a number of serious, potential data-loss bugs in Kubuntu that festered for *months* because there was just not the manpower to fix them. That is substantial evidence that Kubuntu is a second-class citizen for Canonical.

While I find KDE overall a superior desktop to Gnome, I have to agree that Ubuntu is generally a better desktop experience than Kubuntu. However, I just wish people would stop equating Gnome==Ubuntu and KDE==Kubuntu, and therefore Gnome > KDE.

Re:False dichotomy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824746)

Fuck you, you lazy bum! It's open source software! Go fix it yourself!

Wow... just, wow.. (4, Interesting)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824546)

I find very few statements from the "Windows and Mac: Not to my taste at all" section that I can agree with at all. I mean, obviously the taste part is fine, after all a lot of operating system/application choice is merely personal taste. (vi/emacs anyone?), however the overall section seems ... inane?

I will say that it's interesting how even with longtime users like Roblimo, the "linux experience" is really becoming the ubuntu/gnome experience and the kubuntu/kde experience. From this review, it sounds like the base operating system could be FreeBSD, solaris, whatever, and Roblimo wouldn't have a clue. I think this is probably a very good thing, but also speaks to the changing skillsets of linux users.

A few statements:

even humble things like the closest application I could come on a Mac to my beloved Bluefish editor cost money, even though they were no better than -- and in many cases not as good as -- the free software to which I had grown accustomed. ... There are ways to fiddle some Linux apps into working on Mac OS, much as Wine can make some Windows apps run in Linux, but this is a lot of trouble.
Ok, here's what I had to do to install bluefish (which I've never heard of / used before).

open a Terminal window (I use csh) and type "sudo port install bluefish"

That was it. I'm sure fink has a package as well. While X apps are slightly different under osx, I don't think comparing the experience or process to Wine is at all correct.

And here's the funny thing: Windows feels a lot more Linuxlike to me than Mac OS. In many ways it seems as if it's a slightly clumsy knockoff of KDE.
Yeah, you think WINDOWS is ripping off KDE? I'm not going to argue that windows is the king of originality, but I think it came about the other way around...

Ditto the way you store and find individual files, for which Windows uses the same "folders and subfolders" metaphor as both KDE and GNOME, and Windows gives me a Linux-style horizontal list of open programs across the bottom of my screen, which Mac OS does not.
Confused again. Mac doesn't use folders and subfolders? That's news to me. Horizontal list of open programs--that's called the dock. Ok, so it includes launcher buttons as well, but virtually the same thing.

Backing up my data in Windows is lots harder than backing up a /home or /username directory in Linux, because Windows seems to scatter data all over the place.
This is true, though for the past what...7-8 years (since 2k/xp) all of your files+personal registory should live under c:\documents and settings\username -- effectively the same as a /home directory. When you have roaming profiles on a windows network, your user directory gets copied back and forth.

Windows is supposed to be less virus-prone than it was a few years ago, but the only way to keep malware off of Windows (that I know of) is to not connect it to the Internet
This was MAYBE true once upon a time. I primarily use my OSX laptop now, but I've never gotten a virus on my PC (don't run software usually) and have never had a malware/adware infection either. Of course I've used firefox/mozilla for years. At my office I've certainly seen my share of adware/etc infections, almost always from people clicking things in email or webpages (and no infections in quite awhile) they shouldn't--which I would hope roblimo doesn't do!!

and one from the next section...

Except for one thing: as far as he knows, he doesn't connect to the Internet or use email software. He connects to AOL, which to him is the Internet. Including email.
AOL is indeed the Internet. When you connect to AOL, you're on the internet, and you can ping, use firefox, etc to your heart's content.

Talk about funny names... (2, Insightful)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824562)

, Mac OS seemed alien and unintuitive. And the software had funny names,

Haha, that made me laugh. Funny names, as opposed to Hardy Heron, Gutsy Gipsy, amaroK, Pidgin... and those are just on the top of my head. What is the problem with iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, GarageBad?? you can pretty much guess what are they about just with the name? ask anyone in the street "if there was a program called amaroK, what do you think it will do?" haha... they would surely tell you it was some sequel from Turok or whatever.

BTW, I do not use Macs, proud Win/Lin user since I have memory...

The laziness that precludes change (1)

bliz1985 (923307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824592)

I'm pretty such this is the same laziness that makes many people (including myself) go from windows to linux and back to windows. Reluctance to leave one's comfort zone to relearn something new.

Interesting quotes from the article (2, Interesting)

Swift Kick (240510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824594)

While reading the article, I noticed a few funny things:

"And here's the funny thing: Windows feels a lot more Linuxlike to me than Mac OS. In many ways it seems as if it's a slightly clumsy knockoff of KDE. But it also has a lot more in common with GNOME than Mac OS does."

He should really have said that KDE is a great knock-off of Windows, and that Gnome has a lot in common with it. After all, they both 'borrowed' heavily from Windows, not the other way around.

"Backing up my data in Windows is lots harder than backing up a /home or /username directory in Linux, because Windows seems to scatter data all over the place. Why this is I do not know, but no doubt someone at Microsoft could tell me why this inconvenience is a good thing, not a bad one, just as I'm sure they could tell me why all kinds of annoying pop-up balloons that interfere with my work (instead of letting me concentrate on what I'm doing) make my life easier instead of harder.

Get over it, Roblimo. Windows does have a /home/ equivalent, namely the My Documents folder. Almost every single application will by default use that directory as the default location for any files you use, so if you do want to back up your data, just backup that directory. Even your precious Sony Vegas works like that.

Anyway, not a bad article, but then again, there was nothing remarkable about it. I wonder if I could get a paying gig writing fluff like Roblimo, but I guess I need to publish a couple fluff books first...


Re:Interesting quotes from the article (5, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824980)

Get over it, Roblimo. Windows does have a /home/ equivalent, namely the My Documents folder. Almost every single application will by default use that directory as the default location for any files you use, so if you do want to back up your data, just backup that directory.

Except that the /home/username directory in Unix stores a lot more than just data. It's also where configuration information, and even the applications themselves, go. In Windows if you back up only your My Documents folder, you get less than half the information you need. Program configuration is often critical, and when in files lives in at least 4 places, none of which are under My Documents. And then there's registry information, which isn't even in the filesystem. And then there's the chunks of the application that don't go into it's Program Files folder or wherever else you installed it, but go into Windows system folders. No, applications aren't supposed to do that. No, that doesn't stop them even in this day and age. Why do you think so many applications get heartburn under Vista (which is pickier about such misbehavior)?

Basically, on a Unix system if I save a copy of my home directory tree I'm pretty much guaranteed to have gotten not only all my data but all the configuration information and other things I need to restore not just my data but my application environment. On Windows, if I save a copy of My Documents I'll lose the majority of my application environment.

Windows and scattered data (4, Informative)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825088)

There are a few reasons for the impression that Windows seems to scatter data all over the place:

1) Sloppy programming by application developers - not all applications use "My Documents". Not directly Microsoft's fault, but here Linux profits from its origins as Unix-like system:
In the Unix world, it is taken for granted that the user may only write to /home/, and applications respect that. Windows still suffers a bit from its history as unsecured system, where everybody was administrator and could write all over the place. Some applications took advantage of that, and this behavior is not completely weeded out yet.

2) Data redirection:
A questionable methods on Microsoft's part to fix problems with 1) in Vista.
See [] for an overview. In short, Vista will silently redirect attempts to write to "forbidden" places to a place in the user's profile. This prevents the application from corrupting the system, but has of course side effects. For instance, take a group of users who used the same application in older Windows versions and were used to sharing data through a common directory (for instance a subdirectory of the installation directory). Now user A cannot see the data of user B anymore, and I doubt an average user will understand what has happened here ;-)

doesn't everyone move it to top anyway? (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824600)

while KDE keeps its controls on the bottom of the screen in a more Windows-like fashion.
Huh? KDE finally removed an option?! On all my 4x3 aspect monitors, I have it at the top, and on my 16x9s I move it to the left.

Old news, nothing to see here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824614)

When will these trivial battles cease....

KDE vs Gnome

Emacs vs Vi(m)

Vanilla vs Chocolate


Preferences.. (1)

knghtrider (685985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824630)

For me, it's XFCE. My system is beefy enough (dual core, 2GB Ram, nvidia 8-series video w/256MB) to run GNOME or KDE..I just prefer XFCE. I've got libraries installed and do run programs from both GNOME and KDE, but the Window Manager of choice is XFCE.

Open Source is all about Freedom of Choice, and freedom from Monopoly.

GNOME ftw! (1)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824680)

I started using Linux last year, and my favorite desktop enviroment has ALWAYS been GNOME. I tried KDE once, but I didn't like it one bit...

DE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824686)

What's with these DEs? Seem like a waste of time to me.

Option C (3, Interesting)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824752)

I'll keep my fluxbox, thanks. Then again, I run Slackware as well. Long ago when I was obsessed with UT2004, I wanted a minimal and fast window manager. I loaded fluxbox and never went back. Every time I try KDE or Gnome on the same hardware, it seems too slow.

So yea, the lazy part was correct.

really ? (1)

mapleneckblues (1145545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824794)

What do you crazy linux people do to your windows computers? I generally do not run a virus scanner at all or anything of the sort. Just a Vista (used to be XP) machine connected through a low end retail gateway. Guess what? I haven't had a virus since... I want to say like 2001. What sordid holes are you sticking your windows computer into? Are you loading it up with totally sweet pirated software and CRACKZ and HACKZ and such? Why don't you just use open source software on your XP PC? My XP system runs firefox, thunderbird,, and netbeans for development. And it doesn't complain a bit about using 3rd party applications as system defaults. And if you REALLY think your PC is a timebomb or something, just get clamav or Free AVG. You need to run bluefish? Why not just write your web pages in Firefox? Bah, ridiculous. Why juggle around linux distros when you can have the best of both worlds?

Bah, real geeks use TWM! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824804)

Bah, real geeks use TWM!

chumps... ;)

One App: Klipper (1)

ByTor-2112 (313205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824830)

I would have switched to something more lightweight like Xfce, but no other clipboard manager will do what klipper does. Namely, forcibly sync both clipboards. My laptop doesn't have a 3rd mouse button and that is how I work around it.

GNOME and KDE are Desktop Environments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22824898)

GNOME and KDE are not window managers. Metacity and KWin and fluxbox are window managers.

First impressions (1)

alfredo (18243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22824922)

My first impressions of KDE were not good. It was Windows 95 ugly, and it crashed too often. Since then they have really improved, but I gravitate back to Gnome. I still have access to the KDE apps, but like the Gnome look and feel.

OSX has really undercut Linux in this home. I can run my favorite Linux apps in OSX. Still I miss Linux and the fun I have with it. I'm looking for a laptop for linux. Someday the money will be there when the deal comes my way.

I haven't forgotten you Tux. I will return some day soon.

best one for not the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22825038)

not well know ..but for me the best windows manager .. []

Too Much KLutter (2, Insightful)

christurkel (520220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825102)

I used to love KDE in the 1.x days. My first experience with Linux. But these days there is just too much clutter; so many K-apps just piled on. If KDE was more modular; i.e;, I can pick and choose what I want to install I'd be happy but I can't, so I go with Gnome which is modular and I can start with a minimal Gnome and work my way up.

Why hate KDE? (0, Flamebait)

spyfrog (552673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22825156)

I remember one of the last times that Slashdot had a discussion about KDE and Gnome. That time it become painfully obvious that many Gnome followers has some of strange hatred of KDE and that they wish it dead and buried. KDE followers more seamed to be content to be able to choose whatever desktop environment they liked, thus not choosing Gnome.

So, while Gnome followers would like to have KDE buried, KDE followers don't seam to really care if Gnome lives, as long as they don't have to use it.

It would be funny to know why Gnome followers has a such more extreme view of DE choice - is it because they are the majority? Why can't you leave us that like KDE alone? Why continue to show your opinions down your throat?
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