View Full Version : [other] KDE , Gnome what does exactly the OS Do?
March 31st, 2009, 11:48 AM
After trying kubuntu live CD (i got ubuntu installed on my PC) , i found that they are totally different except for the "ubuntu" part in their names maybe the shell commands too are common but thats a linux kernel thing, my question is whats the different between kubuntu and knoppix(i think it use KDE) if they both use KDE?
i find that Desktops are the one which nearly determines how the OS Acts
so what does ubuntu or even any other linux do?
forgive me if its too idiot question but i just had to know this/
March 31st, 2009, 09:14 PM
KDE and Gnome are just Desktop Environments (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desktop_Environment). If you install the Ubuntu server edition, then you don't get those and you control everything by command-line. So basically KDE is a graphical interface for Linux, with a set of tools pre-installed. It is used by several Linux distributions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_distribution), but doesn't mean they are identical.
In graphical computing, a desktop environment (DE) commonly refers to a style of graphical user interface (GUI) that is based on the desktop metaphor which can be seen on most modern personal computers today.  Almost universally adopted in modern computers , these graphical interfaces are designed to assist the user in easily accessing and configuring (or modifying) the most important (or frequently accessed) specific OS packed features, yet it is not meant to give access to the whole vast feature set found in an OS, reason for which the traditional, yet more complicated and less intuitive, command-line interface (CLI) is still in use when full control over the OS is required.
A desktop environment typically consists of icons, windows, toolbars, folders, wallpapers, and desktop widgets. (See WIMP.) 
Software which provides a desktop environment might also provide drag and drop functionality and other features which make the desktop metaphor more complete. On the whole, a desktop environment is to be an intuitive way for the user to interact with the computer using concepts which are similar to those used when interacting with the physical world, such as buttons and windows.
While the term desktop environment originally described a style of user interfaces following the desktop metaphor, it has also come to describe the programs that provide the metaphor itself. This usage has been popularized by the Common Desktop Environment and The K Desktop Environment.
It's hard for a Linux beginner to understand this because we usually associate the OS with everything it has. Windows for example has everything so integrated that you can't change stuff like Linux can. For instance, with Linux you can use different desktop environments, different window managers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Window_manager), window decorators (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Window_decorator) and so on. You can even choose different frontend appllications for the same backend (mplayer, gnome-mplayer, smplayer). But with Windows you have to swallow what they want to sell you.
March 31st, 2009, 09:24 PM
The differences between linux distros is mainly in the bundled applications (or lack thereof), package management, and software repositories.
Linux is Linux no matter what, but Linux is only the kernel. The actual components of the OS are comprised of separate packages and utilities, like bash, GCC, etc. The proper term for a "Linux operating system", is Gnu/Linux. KDE and GNOME are merely different desktop environments and control how the GUI functions.
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