Divergent design philosophies

By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2004-01-19 Print this article Print

There's also the matter of divergent design philosophies. KDE tends to err on the side of extra functionality and configurability while GNOME takes a "less is more" approach. For instance, KDE's file manager, Konqueror, does a lot more than GNOME's Nautilus, but Konqueror's many buttons and preference screens can seem bewildering. Konqueror also serves as KDEs default Web browser, and the environment ships with its own productivity suite, KOffice. This makes for better integration among KDE applications. Depending on your point of view, KDE is either monolithic and bloated or integrated and complete.

After writing in a column about my preference for KDE, I spent the next several months running GNOME as my desktop environment. While I missed certain KDE functions and found myself spending more time at the command line, I found GNOME to be more attractive-looking than KDE. Also, I have found that Konqueror as a browser and KOffice arent quite on par with Mozilla and OpenOffice.org. Since I prefer the Gtk-based Gaim and Evolution for instant messaging and e-mail, respectively, I don't take advantage of the integration benefits of using K applications across the board, anyway.

It may be that enterprise Linux distributors find GNOME's simpler design a better base from which to build and differentiate their offerings. But its important to remember that while GNOME has racked up some recent enterprise vendor wins, both groups are moving forward quickly, and its too early to write KDE off.

Although the UserLinux distribution will use GNOME, there's a project already under way to push KDE as an interface alternative.

So, bottom line, let's not limit our choices by deciding either/or. For now, both/and is a better answer.

Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at jason_brooks@ziffdavis.com.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at jbrooks@eweek.com.

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