Open Ballot: KDE and Gnome

Gnome

We're already planning the fifth installment in our podcast series, and our open ballot topic this time is going to be that old flamewar veterans' favourite battleground: KDE and Gnome. But we're not interested in which one's best; we want to know whether it's a good thing for Linux to have two major desktops. Is it a pointless duplication of effort that confuses newbies with multiple toolkits, or does the right to choice trump all other considerations? Post your thoughts below!

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Your comments

As ever, choice is good

Pretty much the same as with the ballot on how many distros there are, I think the "choice is good" argument holds true here. Look at it this way: There are people who think Gnome is the best, simplest, most intuitive thing since sliced bread, others (myself included) find it restrictive and annoying. There are those who think KDE is a triumph of configurability, allowing the user to tell the computer how to behave, not the other way around, while others find it an over-complicated and confusing sea of configuration dialogues. If we didn't have both, we'd only be able to cater to those who like one of the desktops, and the others would be left frustrated every time they log on.

As far as "confusing newbies" is concerned, I think it can actually help with adoption. If someone said to me "I tried Linux but I didn't like the desktop" I'd say "try another one". I don't like the desktop on Mac OSX, and don't have that option, so I don't use it.

It's all about the choice!

It's all about the choice! Otherwise wouldn't we all be using the other proprietary operating systems?

While one may claim that not putting all the effort into making an absolutely fantastic desktop environment is wasteful and unproductive, both KDE and Gnome are aimed at different users so it makes since to continue to offer a choice.

Most importantly, a new user should get to experience KDE, Gnome (and others) to see which works best for them, especially if it is to ease the transition from another, more familiar looking OS.

Yes

Yes, it is good that Linux has (more than) 2 DEs, having more choice is alway better.

But having 2 DEs also has some drawback too, for example, you use GNOME but you prefer Kopete over the default IM program of GNOME that is pidgin, then you will have to install a lot of KDE dependencies, and it won't blend in with you GNOME desktop, or even worse, it will look ugly. Not to count that you will have to use more rams than normal to load libraries from 2 DEs.

So the main problem here is the interoperability between KDE and GNOME, some projects from freedesktop has improved this, but it is still far from perfect. For the newbie I think they should just stick with one DEs, then playing around with other DEs to find one fit them the most, with normal user, GNU/Linux + GNOME is a different OS than GNU/Linux + KDE.

PS: I use Xfce 4.6 and have a lot of GTK/QT apps with QtCurve theme so I can have uniform look for my desktop ;)

this situation sucks

Imho the situation with 2 DEs sucks for 2 different reason.
1) we divide our manpower, we have now half people working on KDE and half on Gnome.
2) applications are designed around a toolkit, so i cannot use in the other toolkit without load tons of libraries and get an unprofession look. So we have a full duplication of application (for example Brasero/k3b, Amarok/Totem, Kwin/Metacity, ecc.)

yes its good.........

yes its good.........to have 1 more choice. user may feel different flavor in different Desktop. & chooses there favorite Desktop.

Its irrelevant

Good or not we have them. IMHO choice is always good, but that choice adds a layer of complexity for new adopters. We have larger challenges than educating new folks on desktop environments though.

Yes

Yes. I do not use KDE at all, but tons of people do, and they wouldn't be happy otherwise.

Choice is good, due to competition

I would say that having more than one DE is good for Linux due to competition. If there was only one DE, they wouldn't have as much incentive to keep improving their work, adding features, and innovating. With more than one major DE, it becomes sort of a friendly competition. DE 1 thinks of killer feature A, DE 2 counters with sweet app B. DE 1 comes back with better art, DE 2 decides to try some thing radically different. It's not always as clear, but I would say that more than one is certainly better because competition is good.

Not entirely yes.

I agree with the competition arguments above, but above all we need to set a standard within Linux in order to sell people a distinct desktop, but at the same time we can lead people to confusion, as our OS is named after our Kernel, and more than one DE leads to unpredicability.

We almost need to change the game somewhat and maybe sell Linux as Linux/KDE and Linux/Gnome (Linux/YourDEHere) (add GNU/ if you must!)
and add a degree of seperation.

Of course this'll make things confusing too...

Something for everyone

The two major desktops have a distinctly different look and feel. I wouldn't want to miss out on either one of them. And it is not such a big thing. I mean: on Win or Mak you cannot run programs other than the ones written for its specific desktop. While on Linux Gnome users can run KDE apps without any problems (or reboot) and vice versa.

Not long before...

Gnome becomes dependent on Mono, at which point I'll be dropping it and moving to KDE like a shot. If I wanted MS cr@pware on my box I'd just run windows.

Gnome

I started out as a KDE user, and then my profile got corrupted (this was a my university) so I was forced to use GNOME, and I have looked back ever since then (going on 9 years now).

choice is good

If i find i don't like gnome, i can switch to xfce or kde... it there was only 1 i should either pay for my OS or use something i don't like...

And we are not dividing our manpower, that is a stupid idea... people working on gnome or kde or xfce - they want to work on those projects... some of those people would not be into linux or programming if those projects did not exist.

we might have more programmers if we had only one DE... BUT i bet they would fork it as soon as first fights among the community break out

open source - forking inevetable

Choice is great but we need a standard for newbies

All apps should work across the board but to help wen people away from windows we needs to have more of a standard.

It's all about choice

Competition is good to keep them evolving and advancing. KDE, for example while has very solid design and architecture, supported by one of the best UI toolkit in the world (Qt), still lacking usability and UI polishing. Gnome, its UI is simple and polished, but still many people feel "crippled" because of the lack of options.

And then, if we only need 1 DE, we should only need 1 distribution right? But if the only one distribution is Ubuntu, I would really migrate to *BSD :D Nah, open source is all about choice, everybody (including every programmer) has the right to do whatever interest him/her.

Good but still too fragmented

Having more than one desktop environment is fine. The problem arises when they are incompatible with one another. In my opinion, both the desktops should have the same technologies under the hood (i.e. widget toolkit, etc.) and a common method of configuration. Having two completely discrete desktop environments often requires more work for developers and packagers, which is just plain stupid.

Think Sex

Choice is not only good as such. While I'm a KDE guy and find Gnome rather dull,I appreciate that others have different priorities and can find something. Geeks have even more choices!

But the real value is what I would call "genetic": There is an enormous amount of cross-fertilization between the two major DEs and some adultery with xfce or straight X based applications that lead to always now, slightly different, more innovative, niche specialized foeti - some of them die in infancy, others grow up and are strong, proliferating again and taking in new genes. This is so much more interesting, productive and innovative, compared to the monocultures that we see on the proprietary side!

The speed of development and adaptation of Linux in the past few years beats M$ and the fruit logo by a large margin. Sure, like with the real thing (bringing genes together), there is frustration, infertility, birth defect... - a sometimes messy story, nothing for the faint at heart. Natural selection!

But after all, there are some real geniuses, some fascinating beauties, some heros - and always more bubbling up.

Well, its all in taste, and where they are coming from

The old adage that KDE looks like Windows and Gnome looks like Mac is true. If you show a newbie the two, they would say it looks like that. The great thing is that they can make it change to look like either (KDE look like a Mac and Gnome to look like Windows). And you completely missed Xfce! (And I believe that there are even more DEs out there that I can't remember at the moment.) Open Source = Freedom of Choice.
As for a standard for the newbies? Let them chose the one that they will be comfortable with. For me, it was starting out in KDE 3.5. I was coming from Windows and it looked and felt a lot like it. The amusing thing is after the distro with KDE 3.5 was installed on the computer, I didn't go back to Windows except for a few times to use a certain IM client that pidgin didn't have support for yet. When KDE 4.1 came out and became standard, I installed Gnome and Xfce because I didn't like it. And now we go back to the Freedom. I was able to install the other DEs because I didn't like the one I had. And now I have 3 stable DEs that I can switch to on a whim if I chose. Newbies don't stay newbies for long.
As for the programs being duplicated I honestly don't mind it. It gives me more choice. I honestly don't know what I would do if I couldn't play KPat(ience) anymore (Which I play just fine in Gnome).
As for the programmers... Programmers write in what they are familiar in, they write for what is comfortable to them. There are only a handful of applications that won't work for me when I try to load the KDE application in Gnome. I make a mental note of it so I can log out and switch DEs when I need to use that program.

Choice is very good - but compatibility is also

I think it would be nice if there was more compatibility between the two desktops, but other than that, it just adds more flavor to Linux, rather than like windows where it's not really customizable at all. It would be nice if they were more unified. The term 'window manager' baffles first-time users.

Good choice and Bad choice

Generally the more choice the better. But because Gnome and KDE are tightly coupled vertical stacks ( applications / desktop environment / libraries / system-level infrastructure ), there is really only 2 choices at the moment:
1. Gnome DE and Gnome suite of applications
2. KDE DE and KDE suite of applications

And a choice with 2 options isn't actually much of a choice at all. Real choice would be the ability to cherry pick applications from across the two stacks and have them work seamlessly with whichever desktop environment you choose. So those vertical stacks need to be broken up into loosely-coupled layers so that applications become independent of the desktop environment in which they run. Gnome and KDE should shrink into what they truely are -- desktop environment layers and not the monolithic beasts they are today.

Maybe as a side benefit we would have a little less time wasted re-creating underlying infrastructures (e.g. Phonon, KWin compositing, etc, etc) that serve to constrain true end-user choice rather than adding to it, because of the vertical silos they result in)

I Started using Linux with

I Started using Linux with Kurumin(KDE), some months after i started to use Ubuntu(Gnome) and love it.
I Feel gnome more light and fast for my stuff(and still pretty).

But in some points I agree with Simone

Sorry my english

Yes

I think it's quite a good thing, for a few reasons
1) The inter-operability (see how I slipped the word "opera" into there?) of the desktops is quite good I've found, and except for slightly slower startup times, much longer download time for the first "non-native" app you download, and uglier interfaces, functionally the apps from either desktop (and XFCE as well) all work on the majority of Linux systems. People can say what they like, for me, I've never found an individual modern open-source app that doesn't work on one specific distro or WM I've tried (and I've tried a LOT of distros and WMs ;p) as long as you have the correct dependancies, and at worst, have to recompile it from source. On Windows, even with the same "window manager" (explorer.exe), many games don't work or mess up caused by problems in it (case in point: Worms Armageddon's colours mess up unless you kill explorer.exe before starting it on many systems)
2) You get free choice; I regularly use KDE, OpenBox, and IceWM. I use KDE when I want to do a normal session on the computer, I use IceWM if I just want to do something quick (eg just turn it on and print something), and I use OpenBox on my Wii. I have no problems with any apps, hell, most apps I use in OpenBox are KDE apps (Dolphin, Opera (that's Qt, does that count?), knetworkmanager, knetstat, etc.). On Windows, especially things like Vista, you have to turn it on and endure the painfully slow boot time even if you just want to look up a single web page (admittedly things like Dell Media Direct and Asus QuickGate or whatever it's called ease this a lot, but my point still stands for those without Dell or high-end Asus computers/mobos respectively)
3) There's always a fallback. If you manage to fell a big giant like KDE (and that's not a hard task if you fiddle with your config), and you hate command lines (which I have to say I don't hate them, but I know many who do), you can just boot into IceWM, OpenBox, XFCE or Gnome and sort it out. On windows, if you fuck up explorer.exe, you're screwed.

More than two desktops!!!

Just noticed a few people saying there's two desktops and divides us etc. There are far more than 2 desktop environments for Linux. A lot more!

Choice is good. So is competition. Competition drives each dev team to work on things people are asking for. Otherwise they get lazy and arrogant and become Microsoft.

choice is good, there is more than one

Not having a choice would mean not to be free.

And there are some more alternatives beside Gnome and KDE.

Choice & consistency.

I disagree that we should have choice for choice's sake. Not with something so important to the long-term success of Linux on the desktop. The desktop environment is the first thing new or curious users experience. It has to be right, otherwise they'll turn away. And saying 'well if you don't like this then why not install another desktop' isn't the answer in my opinion.

I've been a Gnome user for many years (mainly Fedora, and a bit of Ununtu). I've used it mainly because I have disliked KDE, rather because I love Gnome particularly. Gnome has just been more functional, but recently KDE has gone through a painful revolution, the results of which (4.2) are showing real potential for how a modern desktop should look. Gnome on the other hand, seems to shuffle from one minor release to the next, looking less inspiring each time.

That's my take on the current two main desktops. However, I still believe there is room for this choice, but it needs to be more focused. Rather than multiple desktop environments chasing the same user space, I believe we should get more organized. Two different scenarios might be as follows:

1. Have one desktop environment focus on home users, aiming for ease of use, attractive design, desktop effects, etc. Have another focus on serious workstation use, needing a clean, professional look, with speed and stability as priorities. You could argue KDE and Gnome respectively partially fit these groups already.

2. Alternatively, let's get a unified desktop environment, but have versions targeted at different hardware platforms. On installing a distro, it would be good to be able to chose not between KDE and Gnome, but between 'Server', 'Workstation', 'Home Desktop / Laptop', and 'Netbook'. All versions would be tailored to the devices, but all share the same underlying look & feel,

Personally, I think OpenSolaris delivers the best Gnome experience, Ubuntu Netbook Remix the best Netbook environment, and Mandriva 2009 the best KDE look. However, what I'd love to see is a unified desktop, where all apps share the same design philosophy, and be as attractive as MacOS X. Right now I don't believe any desktop environment is heading in that direction, but I think KDE will get closest.

Final comment - TuxRadar and the podcasts are the best thing since Linux Format was launched. Great stuff!

Choice is good...confusion and complication are bad.

Having a choice is good because it's fun and interesting but, I agree with DaithiF about true end-user choice being rather constrained. And sometimes choice backfires.

I use XP Pro and OS X Leopard everyday; I play with GNU/Linux and BSD almost everyday. Use vs play with, that's the difference. I am still not confident about which apps work with which DE and I read about this stuff all the time. Not one of my family, friends or clients have the time, or care enough to make this much effort. They will try Linux, and often do try several distros, but they almost always give up. (PCLinuxOS is the only distro that has been adopted by anyone I know.) The irony of their frustration, and the reason they often give for going back to Windows or Mac is that they wanted to use application_A with media-player_B and quicktime movies didn't work in browser_C and they couldn't get all of this to play nice in the more modern cooler-looking_KDE so they go back to a familiar OS where they have less choice.

I usually have at least six or seven computers around and most of them have one or more Linux distros installed. I try to keep up with the top ten from DistroWatch and selected other distros that catch my attention. I think Gnome looks nice and clean but is way too simplified or dumbed-down and in that sense feels like OS X. I think KDE 3.5.x is stable and useful but old-fashioned looking and a little too much like Windows 2000/XP. KDE 4.x is looking good and improving quickly but not quite stable enough for daily use.

The point of all this, and what I've learned from trying to wean myself off of Windows and help people switch to Linux, is that frustration, confusion and complication trump the fun of having lots of interesting choices.

Sure

If for no other reason, it creates unending drama and debate between those with different software philosophies... and who doesn't love that?

Really. I think it's rather charming that the community can talk and hash out the differences between an ambitious vision and steady incrementalism, all while trying out both programs on the exact same machine. It's a discussion that's a completely invisible in Windows/OSX, and I don't think its presence is such a terrible thing.

@DaithiF:
I think you've characterized the vertical separation a little harshly between the desktops. At present, I'm running GNOME, but kTorrent is my default BitTorrent client and Kate handles all my light coding. While perhaps a bit disparate on style (not to mention it's far prettier to go from KDE => GNOME than vice versa), the functionality is pretty much there.

its all good

Having the choice between DE's is a huge part of Linux's appeal, for me. The OS I used to use had one environment to choose from, and the configuration of that environment was "limited" at best. Having 2+ major environments to choose from is refreshing, powerful, flexible, and looks neat.

Survival of the fittest works

While there are two major desktop environments in Linux, there are way more than two in total. This is because there's enough choice that everyone can pick the exact environment to meet their needs. If an environment has nothing to recommend it then it will fall into disuse, and the opposite is also true.

If one DE becomes so crushingly superior for all situations that all the others become niche then the question will have resolved itself, but the fact is that both Gnome and KDE have much to offer (as do other DEs).

I also don't think it confuses newbies, as the vast majority will not choose a DE, but go with the default DE of their distro of choice, and they will stick with one distro rather than chopping and changing frequently.

Regardless of which environment a person chooses, it will have so many advantages over Windows that any potential confusion is an inconsequential risk.

More choice the better

Choosing between KDE or Gnome is easy and not really a problem for ex-windows converts. Either one will work. The real choice, IMHO, is between CLI and GUI. New converts (and many of us elder types also) favor the GUI tools but the gurus favor the CLI. So there's a problem when a convert asks a question and the answer comes in abstract terminal commands which mean nothing to the newbie. Sometimes, if the newbie protests, he receives a less-than-friendly answer; I know you don't believe that but, yes, he sometimes does :^>. THAT'S what causes newbie confusion and bailouts!

My peanut brain says make it possible for both groups to co-exist happily in the same distro. Make the GUI tools fool-proof and flexible as the CLI tools and allow everybody the option of choosing one or the other without recrimination. Gurus should respect the newbie's chosen method of using the GUI or CLI, and respond in kind.

The two strengths of Linux are these: Quality free software (both kinds of freedom), and wide wide choice. IMHO, strengthening BOTH will sooner or later do Mr Gates in.

However, the more Linux can be interoperable under the hood, the better. Keep KDE and Gnome and all the others, but cooperate on libs and such. Keep CLI and GUI with, maybe, a button to choose between. Let users choose to operate as root if they want to, then help them pick up the pieces.

And make it illegal to say "RTFM" :^).

[/rant]

In faith, Dave
Viva Texas

It's Cool

I like choice, I use Gnome but sometimes I use KDE 4. I want to like KDE, I really try but for me Gnome is much more usable and easier.

You know what I really hate about Linux DEs? They get slower and slower release after release. I use Ubuntu 8.04.2 on my desktop computer's main partition. On a small partition I use Ubuntu 9.04 alpha 6 for testing purposes, I also use it on my laptop.

When I type my password on Hardy, Gnome 2.22 boots faster than Gnome 2.26, I mean way faster.

KDE 4.0 and 4.1 booted in 3-4 seconds. Now KDE 4.2 needs much more time to boot. I really hate that.

Opening folders like the Home folder for example is not opened as soon as you click on the Icon, Gnome and KDE take like 1.5 to 2 seconds to open the folders. I hate that too. And that needs to improve because the end user wants snappy DEs.

Choice is Awesome!!

Having multiple desktop environments develops competition within the desktop environment camps, it promotes development which is good, and means that they are always trying to 'one-up' each other. It has to be good when people get a choice in what they use.

With windows, they offer varying colour schemes for the same layout, but that is about all that they offer. Complacency comes with just offering one desktop environment, like Micro$oft does.

Having Gnome, KDE, Openbox, Xfce and the numerous others out there, all competing for users is just awesome.

The only problem I would say, is that, having multiple DE's, and thus applications could be seen as a bad thing, especially if a person sees a particular Linux app, goes to install it, and finds out that it only works on a particular DE isn't good. Having multiple DE is good, but would be even better if KDE apps could run on Gnome, and Gnome apps run on KDE without having to have the other DE installed, but not using it at that time.

It's Good to Choose, But.....

Yes, we have the great oportunity to choose, but i think it's better to have just ONE desktop enviroments for each different need. i.e. great looks: kde xor gnome, lightweigth xfce xor fluxbox. Ahh and btw when it comes to libraries such as qt or gtk, i think it will be awesome to have a basic common api.

It's good!

But there should be a unified api (either QT or gtk+) since it will lead to better integration. At the very least a unified iconset (like tango) should be default to help integration, because more often than not kde apps look horribly out of place on a gnome desktop, and vice versa. At the very least programs should be less dependant upon the DE, since if you want one kde app (amarok, or another cool qt app) you have to haul in loads of packages you don't want and won't use, which can mess up an otherwise well planned package system (I'm possibly a bit ocd about this kind of thing...).

However, I'm all about the choice, and if I choose to run gtk apps on gnome (possibly openbox as well) then I'm more than happy to accomodate the k DE as well.

It shouldn't be difficult for newcomers, since they will invariably get used to the DE that came on the distro that converted them to foss and linux, and if they don't like it, they can change, and experience the freedom of choice!

Choice is good BUT...

You have again asked a question as the world would be black and white. I think the world is grey ;-).

So the more choice is good basically (you can find many good argument above).
But from a newbie point of view it is the same situation like having many linux distributions. So when you change from win2lin or mac2lin you are coming from a single solution system. It is very-very confusing to having many things to consider when you change. I would say that because of this reason some people will not change to linux.

So what would be my solution is that the linux community should "vote/decide" for every single application above the kernel that which one is considered to be the "official linux version" and every distribution would need to fully support that and I would even say to be the default choice (at install time you could choose but the default would be always the same). I know it sounds harsh but if we seriously thinking to geting to every home, every computer (even on your gradma computer) then we should make some difficult sacrifices.
And this comes back to your original question. KDE vs. Gnome on desktop. It is good but seriously we should decide.

Integration not separation

It is good to be able to choose the desktop that best fits each individual but, is the KDE/Gnome route the best way to implement it? I personally like (and run) Gnome. But, not just any old Gnome; I use the variant from openSUSE. It doesn't litter the screen with two system bars (top and bottom), rather like KDE and doesn't suffer the surfeit program names starting with k in KDE. For me it just works and looks good.

One frustrating outcome of the separate approach to desktops in Linux are the good programs from KDE which wont run in Gnome and, Gnome in KDE. One very good example of this is the desktop implementation of Clam, which in KDE is excellent whereas the Gnome version is very limited and restricted in the way it works.

The right, not to have to choose

firstly there both great desktops and its good to have a choice. But there's always a caveat, and this is it (for me anyway)

The problem arises when I want to use a KDE app in Gnome or Xfce for example or whatever combination.

maybe its this "GTK/QT" your all on about? I don't notice it. It's not something I see on the screen.
I do notice however a proliferation of configuration tools in any given desktops menu system, why for instance are there KDE config tools in my gnome desktop's menu?

Gnu/Linux is fast approaching a editing configuration tool event horizon.
What's controling what? I don't know? Who is controling what?

Whilst its good to have all this choice most of the time I'd settle for a kick as default.
I don't have time to spend six months configuring shadow, type face or any other thing I haven't got time to configure. Although given the option to I'll waist days on the task.

I'd just like less configuration tools.

By that I mean tools I've requested not ones I haven't.
Most of the configuration tools at my disposal at the moment are waiting for me to find a use for them.

Choice

In my opinion innovation is a child of choice, without a choice how can anyone innovate?

Would Windows be re-designing itself if there was no Mac?

I think it's good to have a choice because each person's choices can challenge another. When it largely comes down to it GNOME and KDE are competitors and they challenge each other. For example GNOME has historically been lighter than KDE and it's possible this comparison (and the fact QT is a bit lighter now) has lead to KDE being written with consideration to the claim GNOME was less bloated than KDE. Similarly GNOME came about because KDE was innovating the open source desktop but had issues with GPL licensing (which again is a choice).

Gnome

Never liked KDE...

Choice?

I think that the many computer users who migrate to Linux not only appreciate, but also understand the notion of choice and freedom. However, the reality is that the vast majority of society is not choice driven, but trend driven.

Whether it's clothes, cars, or even whom we find attractive, the latest fashions and trends is what determine what is appropriate for the masses. What is hip and popular today is outdated and moldy tomorrow. Not because trends have any intrinsic value, but that's simply how the world goes.

So, yes, having various desktop environments is appropriate for the relatively select few who appreciate the value of choosing what best suites them, for the masses, it is actually an annoyance to make any sort of decision at all.

As for the ones who advocate various desktops because it creates competition, I think there is enough competition from big guys like Microsoft and Apple.

deceptive choice

Gnome or KDE is really the choice between GTK or QT tools and libraries. The main problem is when you favor one but like the applications written for the other, Linux will install both libraries. I am a Xfce user, same libraries as Gnome but I really like BasKet Note Pads, written for KDE. Along with the KDE libraries I also get a few other KDE apps I don't want thrown in.

Linux will run without a GUI, but seems the GUIs take root with a level of integration into the Linux system. If you put multiple desktops on a system, sometimes it is not so clean. Sometimes there is confusion who is controlling the desktop.
Changing a desktop session often means re-tweaking to make it work right.

So let there be as many desktops, only make them truly run on top of Linux. Seems KDE and Gnome want to be a secondary OS with applications designed specially for them. This is what I don't like or is there a Gnome Linux, a KDE Linux or even a Xfce Linux?

XFCE 4EVAH

XFCE 4EVAH

Point and Click!

Maybe we should look further than the desktop. Such a simply concept is severely limited.

Freedom and Choice

You cannot be free until you have made your choice as there is another choice to make around the next corner. Decisions decisions, decisions.

We are living in a ferrytail.

In some alternet universe, where virgin elf princesses ride unicorns, where geeks don't squabble about the capitalization of the letter F in free, and lawyers were never invented, there is probably one true DE that rule them all. A DE that is both configurable, but doesn't confuse the user with options, has lots and lots of features to please every user under the pink sun, while keeping small and fast and fit into 32 K of memory, is both shiny with lots and lots of Bling, and keeping a sparse coreperate look.

Now seriously.

Lets try to describe the optimal FLOSS desktop ecosystem: A single (or at least a dominant) framework stack, and on top of it several desktops each filling it's particular niche, building on top as little or as much of the stack as suitable for the particular DE, and everything with standard interchangeable components that would work with everything.

But wait, this is not far from what we got in the real world. Sure, if there was a single mustermind to guide us the toolkits, we are all using would have a single source, but barring this overlord, the FLOSS work already is pretty close to that optimum, because there is a standardization of framework, and where there isn't a standard the choice of toolkit is less and less significant, so we are getting closer to that optimum every day.

YES

yes because if your a windows refuge then kde is most like windows if your from mac gnome with avant window navigator is best and sadly opensolaris doesnt have kde so i have to use gnome (more distros should allow it to be EASY!!)

Engineer

I think people would benefit from 2 or more sets of top-level window managers that gives them a choice of look and feel, but to have two entirely different stacks from bottom up seems to be a waste of developer energy.

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