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Linux Desktop Comparison: KDE 4 vs. GNOME 3

The Perennial Rivalry

  • October 13, 2010
  • By Bruce Byfield

Bruce Byfield

How will GNOME 3 compare to KDE 4? The picture is still emerging, since GNOME 3's official release is still months away. However, with GNOME Shell available as a preview in the latest GNOME releases, a general outline is starting to be visible.

Of course, some elements cannot be compared yet. It would be unfair, for instance, to compare panels in any detail, because in the previews GNOME Shell's panel has neither applets nor configurations. Nor, for that matter, can much be said yet about the upcoming KDE 4.6, which should be the latest version when GNOME 3.0 is released.

Yet such limitations still leave general performance and design issues to talk about. And they are worth starting to think about -- and not just for the purposes of reigniting the old KDE vs. GNOME flame wars about which desktop is better. Clearly, the choices available for Linux users are about to change drastically.

General Performance

Currently, GNOME Shell either starts from the command line, or else replaces Metacity window manager as GNOME starts. Either way, you cannot get an accurate sense of how quickly GNOME Shell loads. Subjectively, it seems to load roughly twice as fast as KDE, but since part of GNOME is already loaded when it starts, that impression is probably misleading.

Once running, GNOME Shell opens non-desktop specific applications like OpenOffice.org or Firefox 10-20 percent faster in GNOME Shell than in KDE. GNOME Shell also loads KDE applications 5-10 percent faster than KDE loads GNOME applications, except when some additional piece of software needs to be started -- for instance, when Akonadi server needs to start for KMail. In addition, GNOME Shell shuts down about twice as quickly...

Read the rest of this KDE vs. Gnome story at Datamation

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