One of the hardest things for users of other platform to understand is that GNU/Linux does not have a single graphical display. Instead, there are dozens, ranging from basic window managers that control the look and positioning of windows in the X Window system, to complete desktop environments with a wide variety of utilities and specially designed applications.
However, for most users, the choice comes down to either GNOME or KDE, the two most polished and popular choices.
Which is right for you? In this two-part article, we'll make a close comparison of the two desktops, trying to get away from the holy wars that often obscured this topic. The goal is to discuss the differences as dispassionately as possible.
In Part 1, we'll discuss where the KDE and GNOME desktops come from. We'll also discuss the basic features that distinguish them from desktops on other platforms and their customization options.
In Part 2, we'll discuss the utilities, administration tools and desktop-specific applications of each.
In the mid-1990s, desktop options for GNUI/Linux and other UNIX-like systems were limited by lack of functionality, or by philosophical freedom – or both.
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