Gnome vs KDE applications
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  1. #1
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    Gnome vs KDE applications

    I installed Fedora 13 and use the Gnome desktop. I want to keep my installation as clean as possible and have heard some contrary advice about installing both Gnome and KDE desktops, so I want to stay with just Gnome. In the past I have mixed both and feel that resulted in tons of packages that I probably didn't need and tons of updates all the time.

    However, some applications seem to be KDE applications and installing them requires installation of many KDE packages. This is a source of confusion for me:

    Is there a distinction between Gnome applications and KDE applications? If so, how do you tell the difference? Should one NOT install KDE applications if you are using the Gnome desktop and not interested in installing KDE desktop? Is there a best practice on how to approach which software to install so that you do not create a mix and match mess?

    Any advice and guidance greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    I also use a gnome desktop, and there are a couple of KDE app's that I like and use (most notably K3B). It installs a few KDE-related things but not everything that one would have for a KDE desktop.

    One thing I don't at all like is the kdepim being installed on my gnome desktop, it has a ton of menu entries it adds for various things I don't use and don't even want -- so it's gotten so if something wants to install kdepim too, I won't install it.

    There was a blogging client I used for a short while that I really liked (blogilo formerly bilbo) but they made it part of the kdepim so I had to find something else. I even did a yum excludes to keep it from updating on F11, for that reason. So my personal advice is to keep an eye on what wants to come in as a dependency or during updates, and if it includes kdepim, just say no.

    ---------- Post added at 11:45 AM CDT ---------- Previous post was at 11:45 AM CDT ----------

    I also use a gnome desktop, and there are a couple of KDE app's that I like and use (most notably K3B). It installs a few KDE-related things but not everything that one would have for a KDE desktop.

    One thing I don't at all like is the kdepim being installed on my gnome desktop, it has a ton of menu entries it adds for various things I don't use and don't even want -- so it's gotten so if something wants to install kdepim too, I won't install it.

    There was a blogging client I used for a short while that I really liked (blogilo formerly bilbo) but they made it part of the kdepim so I had to find something else. I even did a yum excludes to keep it from updating on F11, for that reason. So my personal advice is to keep an eye on what wants to come in as a dependency or during updates, and if it includes kdepim, just say no.

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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    "Is there a distinction between Gnome applications and KDE applications?"

    Yes, certainly. One way to look at GNOME and KDE is as frameworks; they provide various bits of infrastructure you can build apps on, such as interface libraries, notification systems, IPC frameworks, and random bits like calendaring and so on. An app is a KDE app or GNOME app *because* it uses infrastructure provided by the desktop in question. If an app doesn't use any of the shared resources provided by KDE or GNOME, it really isn't a KDE or GNOME app in any practical sense.

    "If so, how do you tell the difference?"

    Probably the easiest way for most people is to do exactly what you did - just try and install 'em and see what they depend on.

    "Should one NOT install KDE applications if you are using the Gnome desktop and not interested in installing KDE desktop?"

    It's kind of a matter of preference. Most KDE apps will run under GNOME, and vice versa. Depending on the themes you choose, they may look a bit odd running under the 'other' environment. Usually running a KDE app in GNOME will result in lots of processes being run in the background which usually wouldn't be running otherwise (various KDE bits), which increases resource consumption (principally RAM usage). This is also true for running GNOME apps in KDE, though usually to something of a lesser extent. Sometimes some bits of functionality won't be there when you're running cross-environment like this - for instance, a GNOME app won't usually be able to integrate with KDE's calendaring system - but there are some cross-desktop initiatives to mitigate these kinds of effects (so, for instance, installed apps will appear in the menu systems for *both* environments, they no longer have completely separate menu systems as they used to years ago).

    "Is there a best practice on how to approach which software to install so that you do not create a mix and match mess?"

    There aren't really any hard and fast rules here. Many people run apps 'cross desktop' and are fine with it - a common situation is using k3b in GNOME, for instance, if brasero doesn't provide enough advanced options for your purposes. Usually, if you have apps from the 'other desktop' installed - or the other desktop itself - but don't actively choose to run any of them, resource consumption should be the same as if they weren't installed at all - as far as I know, no bits of GNOME get run when logged into KDE unless you actually run a GNOME app, and vice versa.

    But some people prefer to install only apps from the desktop they run, to make sure they don't accidentally use non-native apps and use extra memory or miss functions and so on. It's really kind of a personal preference thing, and depends how badly you rely on apps from 'the other side'.

    Just to muddy the waters a bit, remember to also keep in mind the distinction between 'KDE apps' and 'Qt apps', and 'GNOME apps' and 'GTK+ apps'. It's actually quite simple. GTK+ and Qt
    are the graphical toolkits (well, mostly; both have sprouted quite a few functions beyond this area these days) associated with GNOME and KDE respectively. An app which *only* uses resources provided by GTK+ is a GTK+ app but not a GNOME app; you don't need to have any bits of GNOME proper installed to install or use it. Ditto for Qt and KDE - you can write an app such that it *only* uses the Qt toolkit but none of the KDE functions, and that's a Qt app but not a KDE app.

    Practically, any 'GNOME app' is also a 'GTK+ app' and any 'KDE app' is also a 'Qt app', but not vice versa. Running a Qt app on GNOME or a GTK+ app on KDE is unlikely to result in any missing functionality, and will result in a lower increase in resource usage, than running a KDE app on GNOME or a GNOME app on KDE. Running GTK+ apps on KDE is particularly common, especially since all the Fedora config tools, and PackageKit, are GTK+ apps.

    There, now that's nice and clear, right? =)
    Adam Williamson | awilliam AT redhat DOT com
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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    To put Adam's point about RAM usage, the figures from top for my computer are
    - running Gnome: 330MB, 95 tasks
    - running IceWM: 270MB, 82 tasks
    That's 60MB used up on running a desktop, with 13 extra tasks. Adding KDE wouldn't take that much extra memory, but would certainly add to the complexity of the system.

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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    If you can spare let's say 100MB harddisk space and have at least 1GB RAM installed, there's absolutely no reason NOT to run KDE apps in Gnome or ANY GTK- based environment.

    In fact I'm running some KDE apps (namely k9copy, kdenlive and kid3) in LXDE.

    If you can spare another 200MB of HDD space, install kdebase-desktop, so that you can customize your KDE apps to look like GTK apps (systemsettings / appearance). Once your done, you can even get rid of kdebase-desktop again and settings are still kept.
    "A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila." - Mitch Ratcliffe

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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnRock
    Is there a best practice on how to approach which software to install so that you do not create a mix and match mess?
    Yeah, if you use Gnome or any other GTK+ based environment, avoid Qt and especially KDE apps as much as possible. Same goes for the reverse, If you're using a Qt based environment like KDE, avoid GTK+ and especially Gnome apps as much as possible.

    AdamW's post explains it very well while attempting to stay neutral, I just thought it was worth repeating.

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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    axel668: there is a reason: it will use extra memory compared to using GTK+ apps only. It will also cause somewhat of a CPU time hit at first launch, as several KDE components get launched.

    If you have the power to deal with that, it's totally fine...but LXDE is often used in situations where you want a 'lightweight' desktop. Running LXDE but then running KDE or GNOME apps on top of it defeats that goal almost entirely, as all the weight from the 'heavy' desktop is run anyway. If you're using LXDE to be lightweight, it's best to stick to lightweight apps. If you're just running it because you like the Win98-style interface, but you have lots of RAM and CPU power, by all means go nuts with KDE and GNOME apps.
    Adam Williamson | awilliam AT redhat DOT com
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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    I use KDE because I prefer it's configurability over gnome. It's got better multiple monitor background management as well.

    But I still use mostly gtk apps such as thunderbird, pidgin and firefox (although I've largely switched to chrome, which is also a gtk app). I prefer the gnome nm-applet over the KDE one (the KDE one is a piece of crap).

    Hell, almost all of the apps I use regular with the exception of konsole and krdc are gtk based .

    I have the benefit of 2/4/8 core systems with 4GB RAM on my weakest machine so resources aren't generally an issue

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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    Hey - thanks to all of you for sharing your excellent expertise and advice. You have helped me understand the differences much better.

    One last question on this point: On my Fedora 12 system I had rambunctiously installed both desktops at first even though I only use gnome - this was before I was aware of how significant a move that was. My system is fine, but after many months of running yum update the number of packages that I have seems to keep growing and growing uncontrollably due to all the dependencies. So, I wanted to uninstall kde desktop, and maybe even all kde packages, to clean this up a bit, but there are so many packages at this point I have no idea if it is safe to remove them and how many to remove.

    Is there a safe strategy of how to roll out kde once its implanted ? If I just go one at a time and remove kde 'things' and the all the dependencies that go with them, do I risk messing my system up?

    Thanks!

    ---------- Post added at 10:42 PM CDT ---------- Previous post was at 10:41 PM CDT ----------

    Thanks Adam! You helped a lot!

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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnRock
    Hey - thanks to all of you for sharing your excellent expertise and advice. You have helped me understand the differences much better.

    One last question on this point: On my Fedora 12 system I had rambunctiously installed both desktops at first even though I only use gnome - this was before I was aware of how significant a move that was. My system is fine, but after many months of running yum update the number of packages that I have seems to keep growing and growing uncontrollably due to all the dependencies. So, I wanted to uninstall kde desktop, and maybe even all kde packages, to clean this up a bit, but there are so many packages at this point I have no idea if it is safe to remove them and how many to remove.

    Is there a safe strategy of how to roll out kde once its implanted ? If I just go one at a time and remove kde 'things' and the all the dependencies that go with them, do I risk messing my system up?

    Thanks!

    ---------- Post added at 10:42 PM CDT ---------- Previous post was at 10:41 PM CDT ----------

    Thanks Adam! You helped a lot!
    There a number of threads about removing KDE (or any DE) and generally it is a dangerous move. Unless you are very careful it will take out dependencies needed by Gnome.

    A better alternative may be to do a clean install of F13. Select just the packages you want and you will be ok. Back up your data first of course.

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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    If you know what you're doing, understand the dependency chain, and use yum to do everything, you should be fine.

    just look at the list of packages that will be autoremoved and make sure nothing's being removed that you care about.

    In my experience packages in fedora all describe dependencies thoroughly, so you shouldn't be able to remove a package and break other packages dependencies unless you have done a significant amount of manual rpm actions.

    That said, unless you're really dying for disk space, is it worth it?

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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    as ozjd and wangmaster said, you can do it, but it's not particularly easy. Sometimes people think you can just use yum to remove the entire GNOME or KDE package group, but this is a very bad idea, as these groups contain some packages you'd want to have to installed even if you're removing KDE or GNOME themselves; removing either of these groups tends to leave you with an unusable system.

    Broadly I'd go with wangmaster's line of thinking - unless you really need the disk space, leave it alone. Having a lot of packages _installed_ isn't really a terrible thing. If you want to be 'efficient', concentrate on looking at what's actually running. Stuff that's installed but not being run isn't wasting anything but disk space.
    Adam Williamson | awilliam AT redhat DOT com
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    Re: Gnome vs KDE applications

    Further note on uninstalling:
    yum groupremove is deadly: it does not check the dependencies, assuming that the group is self-contained. If you use it to remove an unused desktop, it takes out gdm and the boot will hang until you do Ctrl-Alt-F2 and reinstall it!

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