Posted by: Anonymous Coward
on February 19, 2007 05:06 AM
I used Gnome exclusively from 2001-2006. A few months ago, I built a new system and tried KDE, just to see how it had changed since I last ran it. In the past, it would have this annoying habit of changing my font sizes from HUGE to TINY, from login to login, somewhat arbitrarily. The last time I used KDE, the toolbars also had an irritating penchant for instability.
I've been running KDE now for probably about 4 months. I don't miss Gnome at all. I still have it installed on my system (I assumed I'd just mess around with KDE but use Gnome most of the time - this has not turned out to be the case), amd while I think Gnome looks a little less cartoonish, overall, I'm happy to have all of the coniguration options that Gnome was missing and I definitely like the file selecter better in KDE.
I've heard people claim things like they "can't get work done" - whatever that means - in either environment, but as a user now of both KDE and Gnome, I find that to be a trollish comment, because of course you can "get work done" in either, or any of the smaller WMs out there. Statements like this say far more about the poster than either WM/WE.
KDE feels more modern, more forward-looking, and definitely more configurable. I left Windows back in 2001 because I got sick of it assuming it knew better than I did what I wanted and because of its idiotic defaults (hide file extensions!?), and because it treated me like a child (sure those defaults could be changed - changing them was the first thing I did after the initial install - but they represented a mindset which pervaded the rest of the OS).
In hindsight, after a few months of KDE, I realize that Gnome suffers from a milder form of this same elitism by burying its configurability of many options, as well as some asinine (but changeable) defaults. For example, I have no doubt that Gnome devs and probably some of its users LOVE spatial windowing. I do not, and I tried really hard to love it for several months. It is a stupid default, and while it can be changed, it strikes me as presumptuous that they wouldn't make that option easily accessible.
Since the annoying instabilities of KDE were cleared up, there are only a few minor things I miss from Gnome - its weather applet, which is better than KDEs (which is horrid), for one, and Pan is definitely more fully featured than KNode, speaking in terms of gtk+ vs qt apps.
I haven't run Gnome in several months and probably won't again unless it changes its crusty presumptiveness. If I were to sit down in front of a Gnome machine and had to do serious productive work on it, I could, but it's definitely not my first choice anymore. I have no loyalty to any software; I simply use what I like best, and Gnome is no longer the WM/WE I like the best.
As for KDE being a "Windows wannabe" let me shock you and cause a major furor(e) here: Like Gnome, KDE can actually be *configured* to look *however you want it to look*. You better sit down for this next part. You can move your toolbars around and even make it look vaguely like a Mac. And, beyond this - you can even use different icon sets or themes. Oh my. And beyond which, in KDE, you can tweak the color and spacing of just about *everything*...easily. Which is more than I can say about Gnome. Note: I don't consider this a MAJOR advantage of KDE. That look/feel stuff is more "nice to have" than essential.
Nothing impresses me less than some kind of judgement of a windowing environment more than the criticism of its default out-of-the-box look, which differs from distro to distro anyway, at least among those that customize things.
What makes KDE look like Windows is, primarily, where its toolbar is placed when you first install - the bottom, with a sort of "Start Button" on the lower left and a clock on the right. Gnome installs a toolbar with a menu and clock up on top, like a Mac.
If that, alone, affects your decision on which to use, your opinion isn't worth a lot to me, personally.
Because guess what? I moved my KDE toolbar up to the top, where it is on Gnome. Why? Because I'm used to Gnome. Problem solved.
Lastly, as for "choice", the primary value worshipped by anyone who gets upset about arguments over WM/WEs...Choice is not without a price. It dilutes the developer pool, forces those of us who want to run whatever we want to install two sets of libraries (at least), and requires more package maintainers for each distribution. Yes, I'm happy to have some choice, but I have to wonder what KDE or Gnome would look like if every developer was working on one major WM/WE.
I could still use Gnome, but I can't find a good reason to. Both Gnome and KDE are completely stable for me. I've noticed no difference in that between either, and I am suspicious of people who claim one is stable and one isn't, because I push my desktop pretty hard, and I have had no problems with either - this wasn't the case in the past, but it is now.
Also, one man's "bloat" is another man's "feature." I haven't noticed any performance difference between the two nonetheless.
In summary, I gain a bunch of small things from KDE, and lose one or two things from Gnome. In balance, KDE wins, and I'm sticking with KDE. If Gnome should do some major innovating and fixing its spartan configuration menus and dialogs, I'd not hestitate to switch back. Right now though, for me, KDE is better. Gnome, in comparison, feels stunted, and even a little dated. I don't personally give a crap about whether someone's grandmother can use my WE, either. As someone else pointed out, given all of the Linux users in the world, how many of them fall into the category of people who would be confused by more configurability, as opposed to less?
It may well be that there is/will be a place for Gnome among these kinds of "grandma" users, but it won't have much purpose on my desktop. I don't know how many people who use Gnome use it because its what they've always used, vs. those who actually like less configurability, but it would be interesting to see the breakdown.