Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am a self-confessed Linux noob - But I am completely confused and overwhelmed by the idea of Gnome or KDE.

What should I choose? Whats the difference? What are the pros/cons?

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by splattne Jul 7 '09 at 13:18

Questions on Server Fault are expected to relate to server, networking, or related infrastructure administration within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This is a highly subjective question. As you're new to linux I'd suggest using the default install on the distro you've installed, get familiar with linux and then look into the various alternative dekstops/window managers.

share|improve this answer
It may be subjective, but surely I can't be the only one asking it. And secondly, since most new Linux users are probably ex-Windows users, isn't the GUI kinda important for easing users into 'nix? – Ash Jul 7 '09 at 11:31

In a very general* sense I've always found KDE to be closer to Windows in it's look and feel, where as Gnome is more like OSX, or even older systems like the Workbench on the Amiga so if you're familiar with Windows KDE may be the way forward, but if you do a lot with other stuff (probably not as you're confessing to being a linux noob) then Gnome may suit you more.

*As Geoff says this is very subjective and frequently comes down to personal preference so no down votes please people!

share|improve this answer

I think it depends on user preference. Do try both and see what you like.

I started out with KDE, but now my preferred WM is Gnome. My experience:

  • KDE is very easy to use, with LOTS of customization options. I personally found them all overwhelming trying to find the right one I was looking for.
  • You might feel yourself "lost" in Gnome when you first try it out, as it's very simplistic.
  • KDE takes more resources to run than Gnome. So if you have a slower PC, you'll find that Gnome is faster. XFCE beats both, but that's a different story.
  • I personally try to stick with apps "made for" each window environment. Such as, QT apps for KDE, and GTK apps for Gnome. I couldn't stand using Amarok in Gnome due to the different look and feel, so I used Banshee. This is just my personal quirk. There is no reason why you can't use a QT app in Gnome.
  • QT is supposedly easier to work with than GTK, so you may find more apps there, or more robust/better apps.
  • For a beginner in the Linux world, I would recommend KDE so they can still do everything the GUI-way easily. As you become more accustomed to how things work, you'll probably find yourself using the GUI less and less, and getting irritated that so many of your system resources are being occupied by your GUI, and might wind up using XFCE eventually anyway. :)
share|improve this answer

If you install both on your system, as most distros do, you are set. Both will run programs from each other and such. You might get a trouble with copy and paste between kde and gnome, but it should work.

The log in to kde and use it for a day or 3 and then gnome and use it for a day or 3.

Then make up your own mind. Don't get carried away with useless and damaging bickering.

For my 2 cents, being a redhat/fedora/centos person, I usually just use Gnome because it is default. Most of my work is in terminal anyway, I like GEdit.

But use what ever you like. If you install both, it really does not make a difference

share|improve this answer

Each window manager has different options and tweaks. The best way to find out your favorite is to work with each of them for couple of weeks.


  • Default applications,
  • file manager,
  • applets:

Applets can be found here:

  • KDE applets -
  • Gnome applets -
  • Xfce applets -

Your personal settings are the key to get window manager work well.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.