KDE vs Gnome 3 vs Unity

    Even though the terminal is where all the action is at, the GUI is what the majority of users deal with to interact with the PC and makes a big impact on how they use their PC. KDE and Gnome are the default choices most Linux distributions offer, while Unity is only on Ubuntu. A couple lesser known GUIs are XFCE and LXDE which are great for lower end, older systems. For example an install of Linux Mint LXDE on machines with half a gig of ram runs the machines run pretty darn well, and functions in a way that windows converts can handle without blowing their mind during the transition.

    When it comes to my desktop/workstation KDE is the option that I've decided to stick with, while on my laptop I've gone with Ubuntu's Unity. Tried using Gnome 3 with the Mint Gnome Shell Extentions, but just didn't like the interface. The Mint Gnome Shell Extensions provide a familiar feel to a new piece of software. Having two launchers seemed cluttered, not to mention couldn't adjust the properties to either bars. Just wanted them to auto-hide but couldn't tell them to. Also it seemed unorganized how it creates new virtual desktops on the fly, I prefer the four virtual desktops in a 2x2 grid pattern like in Unity. KDE approaches this differently in what is called activities. Instead of switching between virtual desktops the activity is more of a toggle, you set up the desktop the way you like it for a certain task, like video editing then save it as an activity. Then you would just choose the activity that you want to do and all the apps and windows will open. The activities do allot more then just remember what applications are open though, will save that topic for another post though. ( How to use KDE Activities)

 Here is a List of GUIs on the wikipedia, some of them are no longer active though.

    Like the rest of the Open Source desktop environments KDE is much more then a way to use the mouse to click an icon and launch an application, providing file managers, simple tools like a calculator and an interface to change the settings of the PC. KDE goes even further then most, not just with the amount of applications it provides but sheer amount of features and the way they are so perfectly integrated into the system is unrivaled. On top of all the features are the options, there are tons of them and they are easy to find, but not in a way that makes the system feel cluttered. In fact it the is very clean.

    While I like Ubuntu with Unity and the direction their heading, it just isn't the way I interact with a desktop with multiple screens. It's perfect on a laptop though, and will make a nice addition to the market space when Unity appears in televisions and android phones. Unity is also pretty easy to use as Ubuntu has been the Linux system that takes pride in ease of use and setup. Although with ease of use and taking away some of the options and simplifying things users lack the knowledge to fix or work around things that break. On top of that some of the ways that they make the system easier to use feels less safe from a security standpoint. First of all the installations are pretty standard among the install base, and as it becomes more popular it will become a bigger target that'll effect a bigger group, like the users with out of date packages. This shouldn't be a problem as Linux is pretty secure from the ground up, and gets security patches, updates, and bug fixes more often then the competition, but it's up to the user to perform those updates.

This video (not by me) shows the new features of KDE 4.8, but is gets no where near all of the awesome features of KDE. It will provide a good look into the KDE desktop environment though.

This is a video of the Unity interface from Ubuntu. This desktop environment is on its' way to your phone and television, and will be a nice change.

Love Linux Mint, just not a fan of Gnome 3, even with the MGSE (Mint Gnome Shell Extensions) Gnome 3 just wasn't for this user. This is a review of Linux Mint 12 that covers the MGSE (not by me)

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and share them.


    LinuxMCE (Linux Media Center Edition) is a free and open source software platform with a 10-foot user interface designed to allow a computer to act as a home theater PC (HTPC) for the living-room TV, personal video recorder, and home automation system. It allows control of everything in the home, from lighting and climate to surveillance cameras and home security. It also includes a full-featured VoIP-compatible phone system with support for video conferencing. The distribution it runs on is Kubuntu Linux.