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GNOME vs. KDE — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on December 7, 2023
GNOME and KDE are Linux desktop environments, with GNOME focusing on simplicity and KDE emphasizing configurability and a classic desktop look.
GNOME vs. KDE — What's the Difference?

Difference Between GNOME and KDE

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Key Differences

GNOME and KDE stand as two of the most popular desktop environments within the Linux ecosystem. They both provide graphical user interfaces that enhance the Linux user experience, but they have distinct philosophies and design directions.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 07, 2023
GNOME is known for its minimalist and clean interface. Its design principles emphasize simplicity, intuitiveness, and integration. KDE, on the other hand, leans more towards providing a feature-rich, customizable environment. It’s akin to a more traditional desktop experience reminiscent of Windows.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 07, 2023
When it comes to performance and resource consumption, GNOME, despite its simplicity, might consume more system resources compared to some KDE setups. KDE's Plasma desktop, being highly configurable, allows users to trim down features, possibly reducing its footprint.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 07, 2023
Customization is a significant differentiator. KDE arguably offers a more customizable experience, with numerous settings and tweaks available to users. GNOME offers fewer customization options out of the box, but extensions can help bridge that gap.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 07, 2023
Both GNOME and KDE have their ecosystems of applications. GNOME apps are designed to be straightforward and integrate seamlessly with the GNOME desktop. KDE applications, often prefixed with the letter 'K' (like Konsole or KWrite), are built to fit well within the KDE environment but are also feature-packed.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 07, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Design Philosophy

Simplicity and integration
Configurability and traditional desktop
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Dec 07, 2023

Default Interface Look

Minimalist
Feature-rich and reminiscent of Windows
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Dec 07, 2023

Customizability

Limited out of the box, extended with extensions
Highly customizable
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Dec 07, 2023

Resource Consumption

May consume more resources
Can be trim, depending on configuration
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Dec 07, 2023

Application Ecosystem

GNOME apps (e.g., Nautilus)
KDE apps (e.g., Konsole, KWrite)
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Dec 07, 2023

Compare with Definitions

GNOME

A Linux desktop environment focusing on simplicity and integration.
I prefer using GNOME due to its clean and uncluttered interface.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

KDE

A Linux desktop environment known for its configurability and traditional look.
KDE allows me to customize my desktop just the way I like it.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

GNOME

A desktop built primarily using the GTK toolkit.
Many applications for GNOME are developed using GTK.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

KDE

Stands for K Desktop Environment, an open-source project.
KDE has been contributing to the open-source community for many years.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

GNOME

A user interface characterized by its minimalist design.
GNOME's streamlined design helps users focus on their tasks.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

KDE

A desktop environment that utilizes the Qt toolkit.
KDE's applications are primarily built using the Qt framework.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

GNOME

An environment that can be extended using extensions.
With GNOME extensions, I added a weather widget to my top bar.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

KDE

Known for its suite of integrated applications starting with 'K'.
I often use Konsole, KDE's terminal emulator, for my tasks.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

GNOME

One of a fabled race of dwarflike creatures who live underground and guard treasure hoards.
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Oct 01, 2023

KDE

An environment offering widgets, panels, and multiple customization options.
With KDE, I added multiple widgets to my desktop for quick information.
Tayyaba Rehman
Oct 21, 2023

GNOME

In the occult philosophy of Paracelsus, a being that has earth as its element.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

A pithy saying that expresses a general truth or fundamental principle; an aphorism.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

A brief reflection or maxim; a pithy saying.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

An elemental (spirit or corporeal creature associated with a classical element) associated with earth.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

One of a race of imaginary human-like beings, usually depicted as short and typically bearded males, who inhabit the inner parts of the earth and act as guardians of mines, mineral treasure, etc.; in modern fantasy literature and games, when distinguished from dwarves, gnomes are usually even smaller than dwarves and more focussed on engineering than mining.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

A person of small stature or misshapen features, or of strange appearance.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

The northern pygmy owl, Glaucidium gnoma, a small owl of the western United States.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

A small statue of a dwarf-like character, often bearded, placed in a garden.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

An upper atmospheric optical phenomenon associated with thunderstorms, a compact blue starter.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

A banker, especially a secretive international one.
The gnomes of Zurich
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

An imaginary being, supposed by the Rosicrucians to inhabit the inner parts of the earth, and to be the guardian of mines, quarries, etc.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

A dwarf; a goblin; a person of small stature or misshapen features, or of strange appearance.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

A small owl (Glaucidium gnoma) of the Western United States.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

A brief reflection or maxim.
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

A legendary creature resembling a tiny old man; lives in the depths of the earth and guards buried treasure
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

A short pithy saying expressing a general truth
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Oct 01, 2023

GNOME

An open-source software project founded in 1997.
GNOME has a rich history, dating back to its inception over two decades ago.
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Oct 21, 2023

Common Curiosities

How do I customize GNOME?

While limited out of the box, GNOME can be customized using extensions.
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Dec 07, 2023

Can I use GNOME applications in KDE and vice versa?

Yes, but they might not integrate as seamlessly as when used in their native environment.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Which is more user-friendly for beginners, GNOME or KDE?

Both are user-friendly, but GNOME's simpler interface might be easier for beginners.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Is KDE based on GTK like GNOME?

No, KDE primarily uses the Qt toolkit.
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Dec 07, 2023

Which one is older, GNOME or KDE?

KDE was founded in 1996, and GNOME was founded in 1997.
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Dec 07, 2023

Can I switch from GNOME to KDE without reinstalling my OS?

Yes, both can coexist, but you'll need to install the necessary packages for KDE.
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Dec 07, 2023

Can I use KDE on any Linux distribution?

KDE is available for most distributions, but installation methods might differ.
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Dec 07, 2023

Which desktop environment is more resource-heavy?

GNOME can sometimes consume more resources, but it varies based on configuration and usage.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Are there other desktop environments apart from GNOME and KDE?

Yes, others include XFCE, LXQt, and Cinnamon, among many.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

How often are GNOME and KDE updated?

Both have regular releases, with major updates typically coming annually or semi-annually.
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Dec 07, 2023

Do GNOME and KDE have different file managers?

Yes, GNOME uses Nautilus, while KDE uses Dolphin.
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Dec 07, 2023

How can I contribute to either GNOME or KDE?

Both projects welcome contributions. You can join their respective communities and check out their contribution guidelines.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

Which is better for touch-screen devices, GNOME or KDE?

GNOME has a design more oriented towards touch-friendly interfaces.
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Dec 07, 2023

Are both GNOME and KDE free to use?

Yes, both are open-source and free to use.
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Dec 07, 2023

Which has more features out of the box, GNOME or KDE?

KDE tends to offer more features and customizability out of the box.
Tayyaba Rehman
Dec 07, 2023

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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