Difference between GNOME and KDE

By Jaxson

Main Difference

GNOME began as a project to develop a free and open-source desktop environment and corresponding applications in August 1997. Its design philosophy can be best described as streamlined and easy to use. KDE community started in October 1996. Its design philosophy is dedicated to functionality and expansion of its features. GNOME concentrates more on eye candy and user interface while KDE is robust, not all that flashy


It is a desktop environment that is composed entirely of free and open-source software. GNOME is an acronym for GNU Network Object Model Environment. Its target operating system is Linux, but it is also supported on most derivatives of BSD


It is an international free software community producing an integrated set of cross-platform applications designed to run on modern Unix-like and Microsoft Windows systems. It is known for its Plasma Desktop, a desktop environment which is provided as the default work environment on many Linux distributions, such as openSUSE, Mageia, and Kubuntu. It is also the default desktop environment on PC-BSD, a BSD operating system.

Key Differences

  • GNOME and KDE are two different Desktop Environments in Linux.
  • GNOME concentrates more on eye candy and user interface while KDE is robust, not all that flashy
  • KDE has excellent applications which IMO is superior than any other Desktop Environment’s applications.
  • Gnome by default (this can also be changed) favors dark grey and purple, has a toolbar at the top and then a pop-out dock and KDE can be made to be orange.
  • KDE has a reputation for having confusing menus and options. In Gnome’s file browser preferences, you see five tabs with a bunch of options underneath each one.
  • KDE has a System Settings central location for configuring system preferences. This can be accessed through Kickoff. And, despite KDE’s reputation for being more Windows-like than Gnome, you can see the layout here is actually quite similar to Mac OS X’s System Preferences window.Ubuntu’s Gnome has also recently adopted an OS X–like System Settings window. Unlike the KDE one, which is sprawled all over the place, the new Gnome one seems evenly spaced and less cluttered.
  • GENOME has earned a reputation of being simple as compared to KDE.
  • In KDE, usually when you make a change, you have to clickApply or Save to get the changes to stick. In Gnome, changes usually take effect as you are choosing the new option.

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