For users of Linux on the desktop, Gnome and KDE offer two good, yet different, environments for interacting with their computers. Although these projects split the bulk of Linux desktop real estate, other good alternatives remain.
Ive been testing XFce4, a desktop environment that covers all the interface basics while maintaining a slim, quick profile. I installed XFce4 on a laptop with an Intel 300MHz Celeron processor and 128MB of RAM and experienced good performance.
XFce conforms to standards from Freedesktop.org that provide for a measure of interoperability with Gnome and KDE. While running XFce, my Gaim instant messenger appeared in my task bar just the same as in those other desktop environments.
The software, which became available last month, is available for free download at www.xfce.org/en/download.html I installed XFce4 using the precompiled packages for Red Hat Linux that we found at the XFce4 site. Pointers to packages for other distributions, such as SuSE, Mandrake and Debian, were also available at the site.