Those concerns aside, I am writing this piece in hopes of sharing what each desktop offering has to provide and which of these options makes the most sense for your business.
A case for KDE on the desktop.
Despite the KDE team catching flack for opting to use the Qt toolkit back in the 1990's due to Qt's licensing at that time, I have found that KDE applications provide a more robust experience when compared to those developed for their GNOME cousins.
Linus Torvalds himself has made it no secret that he prefers using KDE over GNOME due to his belief that it is just easier to use and more consistent. I believe that this is a blanket answer to a complex question that Torvalds apparently is tired of addressing control over usability.
It is difficult to group any single user into one desktop environment camp over another. I have seen veteran Linux enthusiasts and new converts alike, flocking to KDE because in their minds, the overall control is there at a level that leaves them feeling good about their desktop experience. Filled with a variety of options to tweak, modify and integrate your KDE based applications further into the desktop, KDE does indeed make a lot sense for a growing number of users.
One area that I will certainly give props to the KDE team on is how tightly bound together their control panel is. Tie this in with the fact that KDE is allowing the Linux platform to keep pace with competing platforms like Windows and OS X, it is not all that difficult to see why many have become disillusioned with GNOME as a viable option for mass adoption. KDE has put together a great piece further discussing their team's perspective and why they feel customizability, control and consistency are key to its success.
A case for GNOME on the desktop.
Even considering the fact that much of GNOME's history stems from fear of KDE's early perceived misdirection with Qt, today its primary focus is definitely freedom, ease of use and sustainable development. Another difference between KDE and GNOME is that the GNOME project favors what the GNOME teams calls HIG. otherwise known as Human Interface Guidelines.
GNOME is very much against an abundance of configurable options. At first pass, this may seem rather limiting. However, once you understand what their vision of HIG is all about, it is easy to see why this is a necessary evil for GNOME to remain true to its core vision freedom and ease of use.
Unlike KDE, GNOME configurable options are a bit more scattered by default. This, of course, can be remedied by installing the GNOME control center. Yet any perceived similarity with the KDE's control panel ends there, as GNOME's control center opens up each selection in a new, self-contained window. The positive side to this however, is that new users are able to come to this control center and easily make changes without finding themselves becoming lost in an over-abundance of variable settings. Should they become lost, all that is needed is to close that single window.
The overall feel of the GNOME desktop environment is that it is somehow less appealing to some users than that of KDE. Because of its minimalist approach to desktop design, there is less emphasis on glamorous rollover effects and more attention to their vision as laid out in their HIG guidelines.
To fully understand where GNOME is coming from, I would suggest becoming familiar with their HIG guidelines.
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