KDE and Gnome

These are the 2 major desktops for Linux. Both are open source, and both are excellent. What are they?

Gnome was developed using the GTK software development package, itself an open source package. This makes it quintessentially free and open (you don't even have to buy software to customise the source code!)

KDE was developed using the QT software development package, which was closed source - you had to buy QT if you wanted to customise the KDE source code.

However the QT package is itself open source now - having been released to the public domain by the developers - which removes any barrier open source purists may have put around KDE.

In terms of desktop functionallity there isn't anything to choose between the 2 systems - but Windows users will feel more at home with KDE (as if that's any reason to choose it!)

My personal preference is for KDE - but please don't feel swayed by that! It's simply the desktop I began my Linux experimentation with, and the one I've grown most used to. I have grown accustomed to the K applets and know where to find things.

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