KDE is the desktop choice for myself and countless other Linux enthusiasts. It is in my opinion the easiest to install, use, and unlikely to crash you system. KDE has been stable for almost a year and is fast becoming the preferred desktop for Linux users. That said you have undoubtedly heard of GNOME, below please find my impressions of both KDE and GNOME and how to use them together if you are so inclined.
Recommended system configurations
for KDE and GNOME
The following recommendations are based on installing and using both KDE and Gnome on a Intel P120 a Cyrix PR200, a AMD K6-233 and a PII300 with varying amounts of ram. You may find you disagree but these subjective rating should ensure a pleasant experience and not a lot a waiting which we all hate.
Minimum KDE: P120 48mb ram
Recommended KDE: P233 or faster 80+mb ram
Minimum GNOME: P200 48mb ram
Recommended GNOME: P300 or faster 80+mb ram
Notes: Really they both hog memory but Enlightenment and/or GNOME is just a cpu drag. Considering you can buy a 300Mhz+ machine for $400 this is not really the end of the world though. I did try GNOME on a P120 with 88mb ram and you just waited a lot for things to happen, not fun.
A mini-mini KDE review
KDE is in my opinion the most user
friendly, feature complete, and stable desktop environment you can use
today. People coming from Microsoft Windows will have little or no problem
adjusting to it. You can drag and drop items to your desktop and create
shortcuts to apps like in windows. You can do basically anything
you can in windows through the KDE control center which allows you to do
everything from adjusting the background image to altering window animation.
You can also use mime links to link files to certain applications even
though they are not KDE apps which is great. For instance I have mp3 files
linked to x11amp and mpg file linked to mtv a mpeg player.
As far as applications go basically you have everything you need. A great file manager that can act as a web browser, a nice fast notepad called kedit and a decent email client called Kmail which is what I receive all of your emails on and also compose messages on. Its easy to add applications to the panel and also your menus. As far as stability goes I had 55 days uptime in KDE before I did a kernel compile with no crashes! Overall its really a painless experience.
A mini-mini-GNOME review
GNOME has come
a long way in the past year, heck even the past few months. Compared to
the version which shipped with the 5.9 beta there was much improvement
in Gnome. First off the stability is much better although GMC GNOME's file
manager tends to still core dump now and then. There are still some bugs,
but overall I would not hesitate to tell someone to try it if they had
As far as apps go they basically they have are about the same as the KDE ones. Some are nice like GNORPM a rpm manager and GFTP a graphical ftp client. One app that I do not like is GMC it is just not stable. One important difference is that in GNOME you double-click versus in KDE single-clicking.
One area in which I do really like GNOME is its Panel which allows for a ton of customization and has some really neat cpu wasting applets. Does the average user need all of this customization, no, but then it is nice to have the choice.
Overall a very nice desktop environment second only to KDE. What would put it in first? Well get rid of Enlightenment as the backend since it is a few years from 1.0 release and is too resource hungry. And fix up GMC to make it less buggy. I have to say it is sad that we have two desktops fighting for the same thing when if they worked together we would be much farther by now. That said below please read about using the two together.
Using KDE and GNOME together
Well the nice thing about RedHat
6.0 is you can use either GNOME or KDE which is good, but even better you
can use GNOME apps in KDE and KDE apps in GNOME. By default in GNOME you
get access to all of you KDE apps. And if you do a find apps search in
KDE system folder you get your GNOME apps. In KDE you can create
shortcuts to say GNORPM or GFTP which work fine under KDE. In GNOME I prefer
to use kedit so I create a shortcut to it on my desktop. One thing
which is much better in KDE is its filemanager. You can use it under GNOME
with some preparation. First it requires that you are mainly a GNOME user
and do not use KDE much if at all. Go into your KDE desktop and put all
of your icons into one folder in the upper-right hand corner. Now use the
switch desktop utility to switch into GNOME. Now launch KDE's filemanager,
notice how your folder pops up from your desktop. You can now use kfm instead
of GMC. There are are many other apps which work the same way across both
KDE and GNOME and undoubtedly there will be a price to pay with trying
to use some apps both ways, but if you experiment you will find both can
coexist quite nicely. As I find more interesting tips I will put them up
here as well.