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32BitsOnline: KDE vs. GNOME: One User's Experience

Jan 07, 2001, 18:00 (17 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Chris Koresko)

"I'd like to share some experiences with KDE and GNOME in the hope that they'll be useful to people thinking of giving one or both of them a try. KDE and GNOME: what are they?"

"KDE and GNOME have a lot of similarities: These are essentially desktop environments, which means that they work with the window manager to produce an interface familiar to users of MS-Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000, OS/2, CDE, and to some extent the MacOS. So they have graphical file managers which present the filesystem as a set of "folders" containing "objects" which can be files, subfolders, launchers, or links."

"You can move these objects around by dragging them with the mouse, and adjusting their properties (permissions, bits, names, etc) through notebook-style dialog boxes thatare brought up by right-clicking and selecting the appropriate option on the popup menu. You can tell the program associated with a launcher to start and load a particular file by dragging that file's icon to the program's launcher. You can put launchers on the desktop or on the "panel", a graphical application that typically resides at the edge of the desktop and contains launchers and applets. You can choose many details of the behavior of the desktop, including things associated with the window manager, such as window focus behavior, placement of menus and buttons, etc., through graphical control panels. In principle you can associate particular types of files with particular applications so that clicking or double-clicking the file loads it into the application, but that doesn't work too well in practice."

"...In particular, my experience with both environments suggests that they have a lot in common from a user's perspective. KDE and GNOME each provide a lot of functionality in a graphical interface that's well enough designed to make it more efficient than the commandline for some tasks. Neither achieves the usefulness of the very best desktop interfaces out there (OS/2 Warp with Object Desktop and a couple of freeware utilities, or arguably the MacOS), but they're advancing pretty rapidly and may well overtake those venerable environments within the next year or two."

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