"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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