Thursday, November 15, 2007


When I made Ubuntu my main desktop OS, many were surprised that I would even consider GNOME after having run KDE for so long. I mentioned that I was running BOTH Ubuntu and Kubuntu (dual boot), but that I wanted to ultimately decide on one or the other, and promised to report here on my Blog which I chose.

Surprisingly to some, I'm sure, I have chosen GNOME as my desktop environment.

KDE vs GNOME is more a personal preference than anything else. It's not like there is a right or wrong choice here. For me, however, GNOME just "feels" better for where I'm coming from. Here are four reasons why *I* prefer GNOME over KDE (YMMV):

1. It is the default for Ubuntu.

As I had mentioned in an earlier blog, I have been very impressed with Ubuntu. One reason I believe Ubuntu is so nice, is because of the millions of people using it. From the information I've seen, it looks like Ubuntu is being used ten to one over Kubuntu, which means it gets ten times the testing and attention to details.

Ubuntu, rather than Kubuntu, is also the "official" distribution being backed directly by Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical, and I think it shows. When running Ubuntu, I feel like I'm running a well-thought-out operating system, where everything fits nicely together. When I would run Kubuntu, however, it felt more "pieced together." Ubuntu felt professional and polished, but Kubuntu felt more hobbled together, as if it were more for hobbiests and developers than professionals. There are many examples of this, but one glaring one for me, is how Kubuntu uses Konquerer as the default web browser instead of Firefox. Another example is how each deals with Themes. I never did care for the, again, pieced-together feeling of themes in KDE. GNOME does a much better job here.

2. It seems faster.

I didn't do any time tests, but GNOME just felt more responsive and faster in loading apps, rendering screens, dragging windows, and so on.

3. It seems more stable.

Again, I don't have a lot of quantitative data here, but GNOME just "feels" more rugged, sturdy and stable to me. When running KDE, I saw the "blow up" screen fairly regularly, something I have yet to encounter with GNOME.

4. It's new for me.

Part of my deciding to go with GNOME could just be the simple fact that it's new to me, and I've had fun and enjoyed using it. As you know, moving to "new" software can either be an enjoyable or trying experience. The fact that I've found GNOME easy and fun to run is a testament to what they've achieved. After six years of running KDE, one would assume I'd have found myself frustrated as I stumble about trying to figure out how GNOME does things, but that hasn't at all been the case.

I should mention that KDE does have some applications which I prefer, such at KSnapshot (which allows for a region capture), Kolour Paint (nice, quick and easy program for editing graphics when you don't need all the power of Gimp), and AmaroK (a great music player). The nice thing is, I can run these and other KDE applications nicely in Ubuntu with GNOME.


Both KDE and GNOME are wonderful testaments to what the FOSS world has to offer. Either is a very capable choice, and as I said, mostly a matter of taste than anything else. I can certainly see why neither has pulled out in front of the other, and both share about the same popularity amongst the various distributions. However, for me, at least for now, Ubuntu running GNOME will be my desktop environment of choice.

Kudos to both the GNOME and KDE communities for their wonderful achievements. Thanks for giving Linux TWO great choices!


PS: Look for my "out-of-the-box" report on my new Dell/Ubuntu PC, coming soon.


OooMatron! said...

I agree with your statement. I always experience the KDE crash handler whenever I use KDE programs and I think Ubuntu is the smartest looking distro out there. In Gutsy everything just seems to fit together nicely and for me it's a one stop solution.

Nice looking desktop, customisable, clean, stable, responsive and fast. I still have trouble understanding why people think KDE is the dog's bollocks.

Wonderboy™ said...

Yeah, GNOME's really good. Ironically, I've actually been trying out KDE lately, just to see the differences.

Justin Carmony said...

I still like Windows... ;) Thats only really because for work we use Visual Studio, and because its easier to run games on. :P

Chakkaradeep said...

You are correct Kevin. I still stand by my statement, KDE looks more as bloated and and also takes up more memory resources. Of course, Gnome was using more memory in its early stages but now its not. Gnome is slick and is the best personal desktop one can get.