View Full Version : Ubuntu and GNOME

Johnny K
February 25th, 2007, 08:23 PM
What I don't understand is where Ubtuntu ends and GNOME starts. I thought that GNOME was just the GUI, but I read that Linus Torvalds thinks GNOME doesn't have enough features and treats the user like an idiot.

So if GNOME is more than just the GUI, what is it?

February 25th, 2007, 08:31 PM
From a user perspective, GNOME basically is just the GUI. It consists of Nautilus, RhythmBox, Evolution, etc. Ubuntu is the name for the entire GNU/Linux based operating system, which includes GNOME by default. However, you could install KDE or XFCE, for example, on Ubuntu and still be using Ubuntu.

In summary, Ubuntu is an operating system. GNOME is a software package.

Johnny K
February 25th, 2007, 08:59 PM
Ahh alright, thanks. So what makes Ubuntu different from other Linux distros that use GNOME?

February 25th, 2007, 09:13 PM
What hardware support it has is one thing. My wireless works OOTB on Ubuntu but not on Fedora. Default software installs are another. Sabayon comes with Beryl by default. Ubuntu doesn't.

February 25th, 2007, 09:15 PM
Nothing; just the way it is distrobuted and it's community-driven support; am I right?

February 25th, 2007, 09:22 PM
Well, actually Ubuntu is a distrubution of the linux operating system, and not an O/S in itself.

There are a lot of different ways that distributions differentiate themselves. Some, like Damn Small Linux, specialize in running in as little space as possible. Others, like Sabayon, bring in additional eye-candy, etc. etc.

Ubuntu's goal is to achieve ease-of-use and installation of linux. Their selection of packages is how they achieve these goals.

The GNOME environment is one of the selections they have made. For better or worse, Ubuntu uses gnome because gnome hides complexity from the users, which should make it easier for new users to adopt.

A desktop needs applications to be useful. Ubuntu has a predefined selection of applications with it (OpenOffice, Evolution, Firefox). You can choose alternate applications, if you'd like, but Ubuntu developers have selected the one's they believe best suits the average user's needs.

Other choices they have made include basing their distro off of debian, which makes it much easier to install packages.

They have also create the installation routine for their distribution. You could install linux, piece by piece, all by yourself. But Ubuntu does most of the installation for you. There are aspects that it still has problems with (wireless and graphics drivers, for example) But it still works well for most systems, and is probably more universal than most distros.

So the OS is Linux, whether its Ubuntu, DSL, Sabayon, Suse, Red Hat, etc.

The differences between distributions include:

install routines
choice of desktop environments
package management
default applications.

February 25th, 2007, 09:25 PM
The OS is GNU/Linux
The kernel is Linux

February 25th, 2007, 09:40 PM
Ahh alright, thanks. So what makes Ubuntu different from other Linux distros that use GNOME?

Ubuntu is a collection of things: the desktop environment is Gnome, but there are also things like hardware detection, various libraries that are installed by default, package management (that comes from Debian), a release cycle, artwork, stuff like that.

February 25th, 2007, 09:56 PM
Ahh alright, thanks. So what makes Ubuntu different from other Linux distros that use GNOME?
Some distros, like Gentoo, require you to compile everything, starting from the kernel and working your way up, whereas with Ubuntu, all this work is done for you. The advantage to a distro like Gentoo is you get only the features you really want, and your kernel is completely customized to your hardware, so it runs fast and only contains what's necessary.

Johnny K
February 25th, 2007, 09:59 PM
Thanks to everyone, especially muguwmp67, for all the great answers.

February 25th, 2007, 10:01 PM
The OS is GNU/Linux
The kernel is Linux


February 25th, 2007, 10:22 PM
Note that different distributions may choose the same desktop environment, but it would still look differently. For example, Suse Linux also chooses GNOME. But it looks different that on Ubuntu. Here is a screenshot (http://www.suseportal.cz/files/opensuse/desktop.png) of the OpenSUSE desktop. It's GNOME, but one immediately notable difference is that there's only one taskbar.