Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Mar 2008 21:49 UTC
Editorial "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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It depends on the user.
by Kokopelli on Sun 23rd Mar 2008 21:28 UTC
Kokopelli
Member since:
2005-07-06

Gnome is not intrinsically better than KDE, nor is KDE intrinsically better than Gnome. It really depends on the user, how he likes to work, and what he does.

For users who tend to stick with the defaults (voluntarily or due to corporate desktops), or only change things a little I would rank the DEs Gnome, XFCE, KDE. Gnome presents a usable desktop out of the box without risking overload from options. KDE can also present a usable desktop but it is not as visually appealing IMHO and does present more options to the user upfront. From a personal perspective I do not understand or see the argument that the menu options for KDE apps are too busy. I honestly do not find them at all confusing or cluttered. Enough other people on this board have made the comment though that I will accept it as a limitation. Kicker on the other hand can get outrageous if you install a lot of software and do not prune the menu. In contrast the Gnome menu seems to stay clean by not presenting the user with all installed options.

Conversely if you are a person who wants maximum control over appearance and behavior of your environment I would rank the DEs KDE, XFCE, Gnome. This is not to say that Gnome can not be changed around, or that the amount of changes allowed by Gnome are not enough to satisfy many users. What I am arguing is that KDE allows more options than Gnome. My situation is an example of a user who hit limitations in Gnome. First and foremeost I use a lot of keyboard shortcuts, some multi-key, and of late some even dependent on what window has focus. Gnome's ability to set hotkeys for application launching and macros are extremely limited compared to KDE. Short of installing a 3d party application I could not find a way to set global shortcuts for arbitrary applications, much less contextual shortcuts. Even then I could not find one with a friendly UI.

Next came another limitation. I like my desktop to be completely empty by default, no visible toolbars or icons. While Gnome could do this I was having a problem where even when hidden the panel was acting as a strut and apps would not take the whole screen. KDE on the other hand let me:
a) set the panel to not act as a strut even when visible,
b) only become visible when I hit a corner (versus side), and
c) set the panel to be visible for a timed setting once the mouse left the area.

Sure these are minor things but I spend a lot of time in front of my computers and the little things like this make a difference to me. Then there came windows options. I prefer for my windows function buttons to be on the left of the toolbar and the context menu on the right (similar to OS X). I could not figure out a way to do this in Gnome whereas in KDE it was quite simple. Then I narrowed the size of the menu bar, set transparency levels for certain programs, and so forth. Again the options might not matter to many but there are users who like to have this scope of configurability not only available, but apparent without searching.

In the end it really comes down to the user, his personality, and how he likes to operate on a computer. There is no right or wrong answer. The question should not be whether Gnome or KDE is better but which is better for how you use a computer.

On a side note: sbergman27. I would think KDE would be easier to administer for a XDMCP setup. Yes you can use a 2 line gconftool script to push down changes and that is nice. You can copy the corresponding config file for KDE in one line. For that matter in a shared setup you can specify some config options to be immutable at the system level and change it on one location for all users (while letting them change setthings that make sense to set for the individual.) You would need to know what config file controls what, but you had to learn what settings in gconftool controlled what at one time as well. This is not a dig or an attempt to refute your statements, merely my thoughts. On the other hand I have never tried maintaining such a configuration for a group of users before. There are probably some tools to help administer accounts in mass in Gnome that I have not used and do not have an equivalent in KDE, gconftool does not count though.

Edited 2008-03-23 21:31 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: It depends on the user.
by kelvin on Mon 24th Mar 2008 12:15 in reply to "It depends on the user."
kelvin Member since:
2005-07-06

There are probably some tools to help administer accounts in mass in Gnome that I have not used and do not have an equivalent in KDE, gconftool does not count though.

This functionality has been built right into gconf from the very beginning, and you can use gconf-editor or gconftool to set any keys as default or mandatory (provided that you have write-access to /etc/gconf/).

Reply Parent Score: 2