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Linux KDE – a Major Linux GUI

written by: Ada Stoy•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 6/22/2010

KDE is one of the major Linux desktop managers. Linux KDE is powerful and easy to use and this is why so many people like it.

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    What Is Linux KDE

    KDE (short for K Desktop Environment) isn't just one of the many Linux desktop environments. Linux KDE is one of the two major Linux desktop managers (the other being Gnome) and it has its hardcore fans. In a sense, Linux KDE looks more like Windows and maybe this is why many people, especially Linux newbies, find it easier to use Linux KDE than Linux Gnome or any of the other Linux desktop managers.

    However, it is not true to say that Linux KDE is popular only because it is Windows-like. Gnome has the standard UNIX-appeal and in terms of beauty, definitely KDE has the lead. I don't mean that Gnome is ugly – not at all but it certainly doesn't have the visual design extras of KDE. It is true that beauty is only skin deep, but when you interact with a GUI all day, you definitely would like it more if it is more beautiful.

    Visual appeal is only one of the differences between KDE, Gnome, and the other Linux GUIs. The more substantial difference is between the applications included in Linux KDE and the other desktop environments. Usually there are applications, which are part only of one of the desktop managers, so if you need a particular application, you'd better stick to the desktop manager that has it by default.

    However, as a rule (especially if the application is popular), there is a way to run a KDE application on Gnome and vice versa, so actually this isn't that much of a difference either. Additionally, the choice of applications depends on the distro– even the distros that use KDE don't necessarily include the same KDE applications. Even if you get a distro that doesn't come with Linux KDE, you can still install KDE later. Some distros come with both Gnome and KDE, or in the case of Ubuntu, they come with Gnome by default but there is also a KDE version (called Kubuntu) ready for you to download.

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    What Is Inside Linux KDE?

    Linux KDE is a great choice not only for beginners. For a newbie, the look and feel of KDE is more familiar than the look and feel of Gnome. There is even My Computer on the KDE desktop, as seem from this screenshot of KDE on Linux Mepis:

    Linux KDE Mepis 

    Konqueror, the file manager is also easy to use, though if you don't know the directory structure in Linux and how Linux disk space is arranged, don't rely on your intuition to make your way to the file or folder you want:

    KDE Konqueror 

    The K menu is the place where all the programs are accessible from. Depending on the distro you use and the version of KDE included, the list of programs varies but basically the top level menus look like the ones in the next screenshot:

    KDE menu 

    KDE might look different on the different distros and this is only natural. For instance, if you want to see how Kubuntu looks, these Kubuntu screesnhots will give you an idea.

    Linux KDE is a powerful desktop environment, and if you are a newbie, it might take you some time to look around and see what's inside. However, once you get to know it, you will see that Linux KDE is a wonderful way to work in Linux.