When I first started using Linux a decade or so ago I had no real preference in desktop environment. I used KDE, I used GNOME, I even ran command line only depending on the distribution. Once settling on Slackware as my distro of choice, I found myself using GNOME on a full time basis. From time to time I would switch to KDE for a short stint and then switch back and acted like the whole thing never even happened. I even dabbled with XFCE, Enlightenment, and Blackbox and it’s derivatives on a few occasions, still going back to GNOME. Just to get it out of the way, Enlightenment was too sluggish for me back in the day, and XFCE and Blackbox are fine, but I really haven’t been able to get into the minimalistic menus and stuff. And then there was KDE. KDE is something I keep giving every major release and a lot of times on the minor releases a try, but none have ever swayed me. First and foremost, early on KDE was sluggish to me compared to GNOME and it reminded me too much of Microsoft Windows, which is what I was trying to get away from. In modern times, the sluggishness isn’t too much of an issue for me. What does drag me down is the software and the GTK versus QT display issues. GTK apps look like shit in KDE without a lot of massaging and hackery. I don’t have the time in my day to sit around trying to make those applications look pretty. Now that being said, I am aware there are alternatives to the GTK software I use in KDE. I don’t want to use those applications, I want to use the applications that I’m used to and have fallen in love with. Specifically, Firefox is the web browser of Linux. I know WebKit is all the rage these days, but I’ve never liked Konqueror, and all of it’s superior abilities when it comes to passing the Acid test. The other app that I can’t stand in KDE is Kopete. I’m not sure what the hell that name is supposed to mean or what, but the application in general has given me more problems than it’s worth. Pidgin (formerly GAIM) has been my choice for instant messaging for many years and will remain as such for many more years. Those two applications aside, I really dislike the Konsole and for whatever reason (perhaps I’m dumb) I have a hell of a time finding anything on the KDE menu, the new one (KDE 4.x) especially. So call me a creature of habit, but that’s why I don’t use KDE. I am infinitely more productive in GNOME, it still seems to be the de facto standard for a lot of distributions and quite frankly, I don’t care that Linus Torvalds says I should use KDE over GNOME. The beauty of Linux is that we can pick and choose what we want to use, and I choose GNOME.
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