KDE vs Gnome

Magnus Therning magnus at therning.org
Thu Jul 21 07:27:11 UTC 2005

On Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 09:27:01PM -0400, Stephen R Laniel wrote:
>On Wed, Jul 20, 2005 at 06:17:31PM -0700, Bernie Betlach wrote:
>> !) What is the bottom line difference between Gnome and KDE?
>At what level? They're totally different applications and they have a
>totally different look and feel.
>The fundamental difference is that there was a fear, for a while, that
>KDE would be unfree; GNOME came in to fill the free-desktop-environment
>void. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNOME
>"The GNOME project was started in August 1997 by Miguel de Icaza and
>Federico Mena to provide an alternative to KDE.
>KDE is a free software desktop environment that relies on the Qt
>toolkit — a piece of software written by Trolltech that did not use a
>free software license. Members of the GNU project became concerned
>about the use of such a toolkit for building a free software desktop
>and applications and launched two projects: "Harmony", to create a
>replacement for the Qt libraries, and the GNOME project to create a new
>desktop without Qt and built entirely on top of free software."
>Incidentally, de Icaza is a Linux superstar and has a blog:

Direct from the horse's mouth:


>> 2) Can't I install both and switch back and forth?
>You can install both and switch back and forth amongst their
>*applications*: I have the GNOME desktop running right now alongside
>KDE applications like KOrganizer (calendar &c.) and Akregator (RSS
>However, it's quite a bit harder to switch back and forth between the
>KDE and GNOME desktop environments. You need to shut down the GDM
>(basically the GNOME login daemon) and start the KDM (the KDE one).
>It's more involved. In practice, people don't switch back and forth
>amongst the desktop environments. You rarely need to.

No, as others have pointed out there is no problem using GDM to access a
KDE desktop.

>> 3). Is it just personal preference as to which GUI you like?
>What else are you looking for? Logical proof? :-)
>I think the big difference used to be the freeness of the various
>licenses, as indicated above. Nowadays it's aesthetic choice. KDE used
>to look cartoonish, I felt, so I switched to GNOME. I don't think the
>choice really matters particularly much.

Since both desktops are heavily themable you can make them look as
cartoonish, Windowish, serious, whatever you like. You can even make
them look amazingly alike.

>> 4). Can apps that run on Gnome also run on KDE and vs versa?
>No. They use totally different libraries. We *should* have a single set
>of interoperable libraries, but it's not going to happen.

Yes they can. In some cases you will notice that the integration between
applications is lower when you mix. Freedesktop.org is workin hard to
create "standards" that let the various free desktop environments
interoperate as well as possible.


Magnus Therning                    (OpenPGP: 0xAB4DFBA4)
magnus at therning.org

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