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ZDNet: Linux-based GUIs: A Gartner perspective

Oct 13, 2001, 12:06 (73 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mary Hubley, Sheila Osmundsen)
"...Both KDE and GNOME comprise integrated desktop environments. End users see a consistent set of interface widgets and a set of interoperable clients for editing documents, reading mail and news, Web surfing, and other common tasks. Both have attempted to make the user interface intuitive. The native user interfaces resemble enough the familiar desktop metaphor that they are navigable at least by experienced users schooled on the Windows desktop. Both also use the concept of themes for customization. This allows the developer to provide the capability for the end user to change the look from, for example, a Motif to a Windows look and feel or to introduce new looks.

On the development side, various thumbnail comparisons cite KDE as more developed and stable and GNOME as more customizable. KDE, despite being developed by scores of contributors in the open source tradition and perhaps because of its head start, is a more integrated system of parts working together. GNOME, by contrast, does not, for example, have its own window manager but works with several different ones produced in the open-source community.

KDE is written in C++ and GNOME in C, but both have language bindings, respectively, to C and C++ as well as to a number of other languages. As KDE, GNOME, and Motif all have the X Window System as their base layer, programs written with any can run together on one system and within the opposite desktop environment but not without conflicts introduced at the higher layers. Interoperability is now receiving a lot of developer attention. Developers from both camps have worked cooperatively on such GUI details as making sure that when color settings are changed for a GNOME program, for example, they will propagate to a KDE program. One project is working on a standard for a so-called thumbnail picture standard for file managers."

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