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From GNOME to KDE and Back Again 369

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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From GNOME to KDE and Back Again

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  • KDE (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:56PM (#22824264)
    I installed Kubuntu as well and went back to Mandriva, Kubuntu has a long way to go.
    • Re:KDE (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:13PM (#22825006) Journal
      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mrsteveman1 ( 1010381 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:38PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mirshafie ( 1029876 )
        All this article really manages to do is to explain that different applications are different. Linux users should already know that, but strangely many of them seem not to, so I guess there's a place for an article like this. (For example, the thing about Blowfish, gedit and Kate being different text editors that suit different people.) I'm a KDE user now. It took me a long time to get accustomed to KDE. I tried many different desktops at a quite regular basis but ended up going back to GNOME. The reason t
        • Re:KDE (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mirshafie ( 1029876 ) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @09:00AM (#22828658)
          (I'm sorry for the post above, it was supposed to be divided into paragraphs. I'm posting it again since it's pretty much impossible to read my last post.)

          All this article really manages to do is to explain that different applications are different. Linux users should already know that, but strangely many of them seem not to, so I guess there's a place for an article like this. (For example, the thing about Blowfish, gedit and Kate being different text editors that suit different people.)

          I'm a KDE user now. It took me a long time to get accustomed to KDE. I tried many different desktops at a quite regular basis but ended up going back to GNOME. The reason then was because it is so plain and un-cluttered. This was important because I had primarily used Windows before and everything from the architecture of the OS to the applications were unfamiliar to me. The problem is that as I became more and more accustomed to Linux I also wanted more from it.

          And KDE simply has much more to offer. Take for example the menu you get when you right click on the title bar of a window. Most desktops/WMs give you some very basic options. KDE alone gives you advanced options and the possibility to always apply certain rules for a window. Of course this might scare you off if all you wanted to do was to Close or Minimize the window, but still there can be no argument about how powerful KDE is.

          I don't think KDE is nonsensical in any way (above post). All the KDE applications have a similar structure in the File menu; something I hope other desktops will copy. Everything is well structured, take for example the Configure Shortcuts option that almost every KDE application has. It is the most neatly integrated desktop that I've seen.

          The argument about default looks in distros and desktops is valid, but scary. I don't like KDE's default look or behaviour, but the point is that I can easily change it. This is true for GNOME and other Linux WMs aswell. If people do not want to use this power, then maybe the problem lies with them and not the desktop. You can't expect anybody to give you a perfect default look since we all like different things. The best you can ask for is tolerable defaults and easy configuration, which KDE does have.

          It is true as the article claims that we dislike change (because it means we have to learn new ways to do things that we need to do). I think this will be less of a problem for KDE in the future, since many KDE 4 applications are being ported to other Windows. Perhaps in the future people that are already accustomed to using Konqueror or Amarok under Windows will find the transition to the powerful but cluttered KDE much easier than a transition to GNOME.

          Finally further down in the thread some people express that there is no point in discussing what we like/dislike about this kind of software. Which is weird because computer interfaces will play an increasingly important role in the lives of millions of people for the next few decades. Of course we need to have this discussion.
  • by bagboy ( 630125 ) <neo&arctic,net> on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:57PM (#22824282)
    Choices! I find myself alternating every so often, but really prefer KDE (v4 is looking good).
    • by pato101 ( 851725 )
      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
      • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:25PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Debug0x2a ( 1015001 )
        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.
        • by dlZ ( 798734 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @08:25PM (#22825510) Journal
          I use Gnome on my main desktop, but I really like xfce on pretty much every other machine. It's not very flashy, but I always found it an easy to use desktop. I still do most things with the CLI, and a GUI that doesn't get in the way is nice. Most of the time I just have a ton of ssh sessions going into other machines, and the GUI just makes hopping between them easier (normally about 3-4 shells, and I usually have screen running on the machines I'm ssh'd into.)
      • by WgT2 ( 591074 ) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @05:48AM (#22827984) Journal

        ...I tend to use the CLI for non trivial tasks...

        Then how can you stand it when Gnome's GUI doesn't incorporate standard commandline (CLI) shortcuts, such as ^u, when you want to clear to the beginning of the text dialog?!? or ^k when you want to clear to the end of the text dialog?

        The ^u functionality is present everywhere I've tried it (so far) in KDE and I just cannot understand why Gnome, owing its heritage to the CLI, does not incorporate that functionality.

        It is the sum of little things like this that equate to a completely dissatisfying experience when using Gnome; it just takes the fun out of using *Nix, which absolutely owes its heritage to the CLI.


        • Open a session of Bash, type some text, then ^u (Ctrl+u). What happens to the text?
        • In the same shell, type 10 characters of text, then ^b five times, then ^k. What happens to the text?
        • Now, open Nautilus, create a new folder and, in the dialog to name it, try the two text manipulation steps above. What happens? (spoiler: nothing, the text is not manipulated)
        • Open Konqueror, and try the same. What happens? (spoiler: it behaves like the commandline)
        Here's where I first notices this huge deficiency:
        • Lock your Gnome session, such that you need to provide your password. Mistype your password... you could clear that mistyped password with ^u... if you were on the CLI... or in KDE.

        It wasn't until I learned the major shortcuts on the CLI AND just how pervasive they are, such as at the password prompt when logging in, that I really saw how friendly to users, at least those with knowledge of these things, KDE absolute is and Gnome is not.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Fred_A ( 10934 )
          Those are the standard Emacs shortcuts and are often supported by text manipulation programs or text editing fields. I seem to remember that there is a toggle somewhere to enable them in Gnome. Presumably in the preferences somewhere or possibly in that large XML file that holds the "advanced preferences stupid users shouldn't mess with" (editable with that tool the name of which I have forgotten).
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by kakalaky ( 902350 )
            For those that actually want to know: Use gconf-editor and change the /desktop/gnome/interface/gtk_key_theme key to Emacs.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Daengbo ( 523424 )
      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.
      • 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 ....
      • by Naughty Bob ( 1004174 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:54PM (#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: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Daengbo ( 523424 )
          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.
          • by Naughty Bob ( 1004174 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:31PM (#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.
  • Here we go again (Score:2, Insightful)

    by El Lobo ( 994537 )
    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.
  • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:59PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      And make no mistake- they're desktop environments. NOT window managers. Sheesh.
    • by Dasher42 ( 514179 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:31PM (#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".
      • 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).
  • Real brain-twister (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SnoopJeDi ( 859765 ) <> on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:00PM (#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.
    • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:35PM (#22824646) Homepage Journal
      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.
    • 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: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by harry666t ( 1062422 )
        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
      • 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
      • A rather relevant example I can think of:

        At my uni, the radio station runs a "DJ-Tron" which is just a randomized playlist of a fraction of our music that plays whenever a DJ isn't in the booth. When a DJ is in the booth, he logs onto the computer, flips DJ-Tron off on the control panel, and starts spinning and talking and ear-screwing the listeners to their heart's content.

        The computer is an old i386 with very unimpressive hardware, probably snatched from some lab when OIT switched over to Dell desktops r
  • I'm looking (Score:5, Funny)

    by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:00PM (#22824314) Homepage Journal
    ...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?
  • what i have (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:04PM (#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: []
  • Icons on top... (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by mikael ( 484 )
    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?
  • 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 g
    • Re:No, he's right. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gambolt ( 1146363 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:11PM (#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.
    • by spyfrog ( 552673 )

      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.
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )
      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.
    • Aren't A, B, and D the same?
  • by infonography ( 566403 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:13PM (#22824440) Homepage
    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by David7 ( 946912 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:14PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mrbluze ( 1034940 )

      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 roa

    • We end up using the system/interface/whatever that allows us to get the most done with the least effort.

      Most people call that efficiency, not laziness. I suppose, to some people, they are one and the same. But I guess I figured laziness was something more along the lines of what allows use to get the least done. At least, thats the laziness code I've always followed.
  • by k-zed ( 92087 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:15PM (#22824460) Homepage Journal
    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. :(
    • 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. :(
      If it makes you feel any better, you don't have the dilemma of trying to decide whether to mod a fanboy into the ground or light him up like a Christmas tree via posting a reply. Ironically, this pushes that very problem up stream to current mods. Right as they started doing 10 mod points, no less (when did that happen anyway?).

      Happy hunting! First one to get forcibly rejected from Slashdot gets a bottle opener key chain! Double points for a k-line, and Quad for a z-line.
  • 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 overrid

    • by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:50PM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      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)?

      I'm using KDE 3.5.8 and my mouse cursor disappears when I type, in fact it disappears when I click on a text area, it's in KTextEdit class though, so many programs won't do this, only KDE programs (and some of those for various reasons(mainly ignorance about KTextEdit or not bothering to change, but possibly others) use QTextEdit) will, but it's default for them. Also the cursor has to be within the TextEdit anyway, but it wouldn't get in the way otherwise anyway so presumably that's what you meant.

  • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:20PM (#22824520) Journal
    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...
    • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fyoder ( 857358 )
        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.
    • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        No they are not. I have used several distros and I have to say that Kubuntu is one of the worse setup of kde I have every used and that includes Redhat 5 with kde RPM's from mandrack.
    • by Hatta ( 162192 )
      Quite true, KDE on debian is much nicer than kubuntu.
  • False dichotomy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cultural Sublimation ( 884893 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:21PM (#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.

  • Wow... just, wow.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Moridineas ( 213502 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:23PM (#22824546) Journal
    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.
  • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:25PM (#22824562) Journal
    , 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...
  • 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
    • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:10PM (#22824980) Homepage

      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.

      • by Curien ( 267780 )
        You're mostly wrong. You're technically right, but only because grandparent mentioned one directory too far up the tree. There is a directory that stores user data and configuration info, it's just not My Documents.

        "c:\documents and settings\username" is what you want (commonly called the "profile"). Of course, you can change the location where profiles are stored -- I just gave the default. "My Documents" is a subdirectory under the profile directory, and the user's HKCU registry hive is even stored inside
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Todd Knarr ( 15451 )

          Except for the applications that don't store their stuff there, they store it in the "All Users" profile instead. Which they shouldn't, but the number of applications that have problems under Vista is testimony to the number that ignore the rules.

      • Correct, however, the real equivalent is

        C:\Documents and Settings\username

        I think in Vista it's:


        but I have no intention of using vista, so I'm not sure.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Swift Kick ( 240510 )
        i>"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."

        Not entirely true. In most modern distributions, applications get installed system-wide with very little input from the user, other than querying you for your root password. You only have applications installed in your home directory if you compile them yourself, which was not mentioned in the article.

        "Program configuration is often c
    • by Lonewolf666 ( 259450 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:25PM (#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 ;-)
  • 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.
  • Option C (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cytlid ( 95255 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:46PM (#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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Too Much KLutter (Score:3, Insightful)

    by christurkel ( 520220 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:27PM (#22825102) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Erm... You CAN pick and choose what you want, if your distro lets you. Blame your distro otherwise, I've done it myself, but that was on Gentoo, all the mainstream distros pack a whole load of shit with KDE for no reason other than looking impressive.

      (I'm not saying that you should use Gentoo, I'm just saying I hate the way mainstream distros treat KDE)
  • Easy ;) (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arodland ( 127775 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @08:13PM (#22825426)
    KDE is technically superior, better-designed, and more usable -- but you run Ubuntu, and GNOME gets all of the system-integration love. Kubuntu folks try to keep up but they don't have enough people to make it possible. So, some of the (pretty damn nice) whiz-bang features aren't there, not because KDE can't do them, but because the integration army has chosen to support someone else.
  • KDE user (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AaronW ( 33736 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @09:09PM (#22825830) Homepage
    I started with KDE back in 1999 since we were using Sun workstations and CDE was unusable. I managed to compile KDE 1.2 and added a Solaris sound driver to ARTS and have been using it ever since. I have tried Gnome on a number of occasions, but I always go back to KDE since it always feels like my hands are tied behind my back with Gnome. Yes, KDE is cluttered (much better in 4.0), but I often use a lot of that "clutter". There are a lot more menu options, but I've frequently found them useful.

    Some things in Gnome I absolutely detest, like their file dialogs. The KDE file dialogs are a lot more friendly and powerful, and I've found that the integration seems better. They're also consistent across applications and not limited to just local files, but http, ftp, fish, etc.

    When it comes to things like burning CDs or DVDs, I have yet to find anything that comes close to k3b, or for music, Amarok.

    I still use Thunderbird for email due to some issues Kmail has with IMAP, but I'll switch in an instant once those are fixed. For the web, I have found that Firefox has slowly adopted a number of features I've been using for a long time in Konqueror. Both Firefox and Thunderbird have some nasty issues still when your home directory is mounted via NFS. I.e. if I have Firefox open on one computer, I cannot open it a second time on another computer in the lab without killing it on the first.

    I've fallen in love with some of the features in Konsole, like searching the history, which it's had almost forever.

    I've also found DCOP to be extremely useful since I can script things or even control applications remotely. I.e. I needed to change some parameters on a remotely running ktorrent and was easily able to do that via dcop without having any access to the desktop.

    For file browsing I have also found Konqueror to be quite powerful, since I can use it rather seamlessly whether I'm browsing files locally, via FTP, fish, on my camera, etc. And if I click on different files, the part for displaying or editing that file is integrated. If I click on a PDF file, kpdf displays it. If I click on a text file, kate is integrated.

    Also, each time I tried dealing with the configuration of Gnome to tweak things I was always disappointed in the lack of options.

    KDE has also been fairly consistent with the menus.

    And lastly, I've found that the embedding of different applications to be quite powerful. For example, I am writing this in Akregator, but all it has to do is add a tab with a KHTML part.

    I may try Gnome again one of these days, but each time I do I'm left wanting for a lot of the features and options I take advantage of in KDE.

    It's like Gnome goes for simplicity and in the process discards functionality and caters to the most common needs, whereas KDE is much more of a swiss army knife of tools that can be combined together and tweaked to the hearts content.

    I might add that I've used the straight KDE distribution (for Solaris) and SuSE distributions.

    I won't say KDE is the prettiest environment out there, but I rather have functional over pretty, and some of the other themes for it are rather nice.
  • by sudog ( 101964 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @09:43PM (#22826030) Homepage
    I never understood why anyone would want to build their desktop around something as nasty and bloated as a GUI that does nothing but Get In Your Way. I for example like to use PWM version 1. It's the extreme in light-weight window managers while still having enough functionality to force tabbed windows, have lots of desktops, and other than that? No menus, no clutter.

    Most people I bet don't know that compiz is configurable enough that you don't need a window manager running on top of it. It can act basically as its own window manager. It can accept all the keys and all the functionality of a window manager and you don't even really need a window *decorator* except perhaps to do things like resize your windows.

    All KDE and Gnome apps can run essentially standalone, so all you need is good ol' ultra-lightweight xterm.

    I bet I can type "mplayer" faster than you can find it in your menus.

    Well.. I guess I do understand why some people want menus. But the option to eliminate KDE and Gnome almost altogether for those of us who remember how to spell kontact? Nirvana..
  • by The_Dougster ( 308194 ) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @12:37AM (#22826910) Homepage

    First off, I have run a Gentoo system for around five years, and before that Debian, so I guess I look at it from a different perspective than a lot of Linux users. For some reason I like how Gentoo's Gnome Desktop emerges. It seems fairly nice, reasonably well configured, and certainly has an unmistakable linuxy kind of "look and feel" to it. It emulates other environments in some respects, but has some fairly unique characteristics of its own style. Furthermore, you can typically select a canned theme that appeals to you, pick a background, and just use it.

    On the other hand, I generally build the QT and KDE libs once I have the Gnome Desktop running, and then selectively install KDE apps like the KDB debugger, which I like, QCad, etc. Gnome seems to be to be based on a whole bunch of odd little libraries, while KDE depends on a few very large ones. So typically adding KDE apps themselves are fairly quick compiles once the libs are all installed, but Gnome systems seem to be best built all at once so all the apps can configure themselves to best use all the libs that are going to be needed by everything else and hence have optimal features built in for the particular system.

    Some of the KDE applications are much more advanced than their Gnome counterparts, so being able to have both is cool. I think I like how KDE handles files and folders slightly better than how Nautilus does it, but I like the Gnome panels and overall look and feel a bit better. The default Gnome desktop applications are typically somewhat minimalistic, but they seem to function as simple substitutes for most commonly needed tasks well enough unless a preferred package of some sort has been installed to do that task by the user. KDE seems to instead attempt to install somewhat more sophisticated desktop apps which tend to be less unified overall.

    So I suppose what I'm saying here is that I prefer the somewhat simplistic style of Gnome as a base for my system but I like to add more complex apps like from KDE and elsewhere in an ad hoc fashion. I find that it tends to make a more heterogeneous mix of Linux applications which somehow adds to my enjoyment of using my Linux system. I believe that a complete KDE desktop system is better suited to a small tight system which requires maximum functionality in a compact package, like for PDA's and embedded systems particularly, which especially benefit from having a few large super-libs to share among them rather than Gnome's legion of flyweights.

    In Gentoo at least, Gnome *appears* to compile faster because it is flying through zillions of minuscule packages, while KDE seems to take forever and a day to compile QT and KDElibs. It's anybody's guess as to whether this is actually true though and probably depends on what options you build Gnome with.

    I could probably go on like this for pages. Nuff said . . .

  • by Compenguin ( 175952 ) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @04:25PM (#22831522)
    The problem with GNOME is that it is unmaintained. Sure modules have "maintainers." But it seems the maintainers can't be bothered to review patches on core (aka "boring") components; all they want to do is write "exciting" new code. Consider the following there are 3322 unreviewed patches on GNOME bugzilla []. A significant fraction of them are over 100 days old and to gnome desktop or platform components (vs related software that uses Gnome bugzilla).

    Gnome-panel has 67 unreviewed patches, 9 are over 100 days old. Where are the so-called maintainers???

    Some of my favorites are: [] - 39 days [] - 93 days [] - 119 days [] - 398 days

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger