Gnome vs. KDE – The Differences Between Desktops

Over the next few weeks or months, I intend to review some of the more popular Linux distributions. In order to do so, though, I feel I need to begin by offering a little bit of background into some of the more integral parts of Linux. Throughout my reviews, I will most likely make some reference to some of these items and the way a distribution behaves with a default installation. However, things like the desktop environment (which is what I’m going to focus on in this post) are almost always completely interchangeable between distributions, and should only be considered pros and cons of a distribution when discussing the default behavior of that distro.

As mentioned, to begin with, I would like to take a quick look at the two main desktop environments used within Linux distributions.

A desktop environment can basically be thought of as the “look” and “feel” of a Linux installation. The way windows behave, the way menus look, the sidebars and panels you can create and much more are all dependent on your desktop environment (and, if you really want to customize things, the window manager you choose to use within that desktop environment).

I have found a few good resources that discuss (in a mostly unbiased fashion) the differences between the two giants: KDE and Gnome.

  • First, I would like to direct you to a somewhat abstract article (I believe it was intended to be humorous – at least to people that are really into Linux).
  • Then, you should move onto a much more practical comparison between the two, complete with screen shots, written from a somewhat layman’s point of view.
  • Next, if you are really, truly interested in the differences between KDE and Gnome, and want to know a bit of the technical reasons behind the differences, you can check out an article posted on on the subject.
  • Finally, you can check out the Wikipedia articles on Gnome and KDE. You can also check out the official Web sites for each project: and