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KDE 4.3 vs. Gnome 2.26: Slap fight!

August 21st, 2009 2 comments

Ding!  Let the fight begin.

In one corner, we have the only desktop environment I’ve used in Linux – Gnome 2.26, the standard for Ubuntu (the distribution with which I’ve worked the most so far) and Fedora, the distribution I’ve chosen for this experiment.

The Gnome 2.26 desktop is something I'm familiar with.

The Gnome 2.26 desktop is something I'm familiar with.

In the other corner, we have newly announced heavyweight KDE 4.3, supposedly with all sorts of social networking integration and enough shiny parts to attract a magpie.

Windows 7, is that you?

Windows 7, is that you?

I’m not going to lie.  Both environments look pretty gorgeous, but KDE to me – though I’ve used Gnome more in Linux – looks (from screenshots at least) a little more familiar.  So what do they have to offer me?  Let’s find out!

History

Both environments have a rich history behind them.  KDE-ONE was released back in 1997,  a little more than twelve years ago today.  Gnome followed not long after, in March of 1999.

Gnome started in response to KDE’s not being completely under the GPL; two projects were started as to address this, and Gnome was born.  Whereas Gnome – and yes, the ‘G’ in there stands for GNU – started as a completely-GPL response to KDE, KDE in itself was started by a university student troubled by parts of the standard Unix desktop.

Long story short?  Both environments got their starts early, and for different reasons.  I respect both of their reasons for why and how they started, but I won’t let those get in the way of what I came her to do.

Functionality and usability

(credit to the main websites of both Gnome and KDE)

As I mentioned before, I’m all ready familiar with the Gnome desktop environment.  To me, as a hardcore Windows user it was easy to use, intuitive and fairly well laid-out.

Gnome’s newest version includes improvements to its disc burning software and file sharing.  File sharing in itself is rather important to me, due to my Windows Home Server containing the vast majority of my digital media.

There are a few other changes – things like the volume manager and Evolution notes client (though I all ready plan on using Thunderbird as I do in Windows), but nothing that particularly caught my eye.

KDE 4.3.0, as a major release, brings home a huge amount of firepower.  Full web integration has been brought straight to the desktop.  Along the lines of file management, Dolphin seems to offer a lot of the nice previews I’ve come to enjoy with my Release Candidate edition of Windows 7 – file previews in a folder, along with video thumbnails to let me know just what I’m going to be watching (VERY YES).

The System Tray has been completely re-vamped, which I understand could be a nice difference from Gnome (whose system tray hasn’t changed much in the last few updates).

The story thus far

Well, given my complete inability to effectively compare two things and document my findings, not much has been told here so far.  Both environments have a rich history and huge amounts of features to offer, and having only used Gnome so far I really can’t say much for KDE other than that ‘it looks nice and sounds nicer’.

…if you have any suggestions on either one, or would like to offer your own experiences here, please do so!  At this point, I think I’m leaning more towards KDE’s major 4.3.0 release.  Mostly for the shiny things, and partly for wanting to try something new.  I’m bored of Gnome.

Categories: Dana H, Free Software, GNOME, KDE, Linux Tags:

Technical difficulties

August 17th, 2009 No comments

First off, congratulations to Tyler B. for finally picking a distribution.  Nobody else has been as careful and diligent with this (nor documented their process nearly as well!) as he has.  I’m looking forward to testing the same distribution as he is, mostly so that he can help me and my n00b self out.

Secondly, some of you may have noticed slowdowns with the site recently; we sure have.  Please keep with us as our hosting service – provided by the always-fantastic Dreamhost – is moving our site to another server due to technical difficulties.  Everything should be back to normal within the next 72 hours.

My third (and final) point for the evening?  Spread the word!  We here at The Linux Experiment loves us some word of mouth.  If you like what you’re seeing and want to pass it on, link to us!  Blog about us!  Follow us on Twitter!  Our job is to get the word out about what we’re doing.

Happy reading!

Categories: Dana H Tags:

Better than Indy’s own

August 7th, 2009 No comments

Hi, sports fans!  (That’s right, I’ve decided to start addressing you all with stupid and arbitrary tag lines… please deal with it.)  Since Jon has put Tyler and I (and ESPECIALLY) Jake completely to shame with his constant blog posts, I’ve decided to keep up my end of this and, after some research, made a decision…

*drum roll please*

My distribution of choice is, and really always has been (mostly) my main idea – Fedora 11. Why?  I’m glad you asked.  As a relative Linux noobie, Fedora 11 jumped out at me for these reasons:

  • As Jon pointed out in an earlier blog post, Fedora is the choice of Linux grandfather Linus Torvalds.  This guy obviously knows his stuff.  While Linus primarily supports KDE, the supposed ‘lack of maturity’ of the KDE 4.0 user interface caused him to switch to Gnome.
  • Gnome, the same default interface as Ubuntu, is an interface I’m used to.  At this point, I’m not looking to dive in completely to unknown waters; God only knows I’d just drown.
  • NASA also uses it.  NASA is badass (not for using Fedora… for that other stuff they do).
  • It has proven stability.  Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a derived distribution, and that’s a rock solid environment.

While I envy Jon’s trumpeting of KDE 4.3 for now (yes, it looks gorgeous) it’s not something I immediately want to play with.  Perhaps down the road, and believe you me – it’ll get documented here if I do.

Now, I just have to cross fingers that all of my devices work with this, the latest release of Fedora.  I have pretty high hopes for the laptop, but some of my peripherals – like my HTC Dream phone – might run into issues.  I’ll re-list my entire system profile here.  If you have any input (and I’m very interested in Fedora 11’s improved open driver support for nvidia graphics cards), I’d be happy to hear from you.

  • Motherboard: LG P300-U.APB3A9 with Intel GM965 Mobile Chipset
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T8100 @ 2.10 GHz, 800 MHz FSB, 3 MB L2 cache
  • RAM: 4096 MB
  • Video: nVidia GeForce 8600 M GS (256 MB)
  • Audio: Realtek ALC88x series HD audio codec
  • Hard drive: 320 GB Seagate 5400 RPM
  • Optical drive: LG USB 2.0 slim external DVD+/- RW
  • Networking: Intel 4965 A/G/N wireless networking card (I don’t use wired on this)

Looking forward to the adventure ahead, that’s for sure.  Also, my apologies in advance for intermittent blog posts; I just started a new job this week and the training is a good time.

Categories: Dana H, Linux Tags: , , , , ,

Choices, choices, and more choices!

July 29th, 2009 2 comments

Howdy, everyone! Dana here with what looks like the very first blog post on all of The Linux Experiment. Let me take the time to welcome you here; we have high hopes for the site, and hope you enjoy the process every bit as much as we’re hoping to.

As you know (or may not know!), Linux comes in a wide variety of “flavours”, also known as distributions. Each distribution has its own little personality; some are built for users with no Linux experience and are very user-friendly out of the box, while others require you to compile the kernel itself before you can do anything useful with it. Sounds fun, right?

Part of the challenge we face before the September 1st deadline is picking a distribution to install as our operating system of choice for the four months to follow. As documented in the Rules section of this site, we’re not allowed to install any distribution we’ve touched before – which knocks out a few for me, even though I have limited overall Linux experience.

A few that I’ve been considering so far:

Fedora 11 – this is far and away my front-runner. Reading up, I’m intrigued by its improved open-source driver support, and I’ve heard wonderful things about the new version just released in June.

Slackware – my grandfather’s distribution of choice. Never toyed with it, but he seems amused enough.

Knoppix – I’ve used Debian, but not this one.

I pose the question to you, the reader – what would you have me do? Do you have any input on any of these, or maybe some that I didn’t list? Let me know!