Gnome or KDE, which excites you most? The argument for Gnome is like the argument for Windows or Mac, it is the dominant choice. The main argument I used to hear for KDE was KDE is closer to Windows and an easier conversion. Today people tell me KDE has a superior application development approach. What did you choose when you tried them and why?
KDE based Linux distributions
I read an article about KDE and Gnome by one of the leaders in the KDE development community. The article suggested most Linux and Unix distributions chose KDE. I have installed ten or more brands of Linux and none had KDE as the default. I have installed several varieties of several distributions and the only one focused on KDE was Kubuntu. By my count, the default installation is 19 for Gnome and 1 for KDE.
I did not try Kbuntu. I did try the KDE option of some other distributions and they were painful. If you want to use KDE, do not choose the KDE option in a Linux distribution that defaults to Gnome. Instead choose a distribution designed for KDE.
Widgets, KDE widgets, are little applications that occupy screen space and help/hinder you. windows Vista had widgets. KDE had Widgets before Gnome. I get about an equal number of requests to remove
that annoying virus infecting my desktop and to restore
that cute little thing in the corner of the screen.
A widget displaying the weather might be useful when you select clothes in the morning but do you need it using precious screen space 24 hours of every day? I prefer bookmarked pages in a Web browser so i can look at the pages I want when I want and not have them distract me for the other 23 hours and 59 minutes of the day.
GTK or Qt?
Gnome uses GTK for graphical display and KDE uses Qt. I am a Gimp user from way back and Gimp was the source of GTK. I am used to the Gimp/GTK interface and find the KDE/Qt interface more difficult. Some people prefer KDE and use DigiKam instead of Gimp.
I tried to use DigiKam several times on different computers and, every time, DigiKam failed dramatically. KDE applications appear to be more like experiments than Gnome applications.
KDE on Gnome
You can download KDE based applications and run them under Gnome. From my experience of KDE under Gnome, each download is bloated because the KDE applications do not share KDE the way Gnome/GTK applications running in Windows share GTK. instead they work more like Java applications where every application downloads a different version of Java because Java is too fragile to risk sharing one copy.
Gnome on KDE?
This is something I have not tried. When I ask KDE users how to do something under KDE, they say I have to switch to KDE applications, applications from other environments either will not work or are
inferior. On one project I switched back from KDE to Gnome because the KDE people would not let me use an industry standard application in KDE.
What do you choose when switching from Windows to Linux?
Back in the previous century or close to it, I listened to a few KDE users telling me that KDE keyboard shortcuts are closer to Windows and KDE is the better choice for people switching from Windows. Today some KDE users tell me that Gnome is the better choice for people switching from Windows.
I find Gnome easy to use along side Windows when switching back and forth between the operating systems. I find KDE more difficult to use in the mixed environment of Windows and Linux.
If you start your cross platform migration by running open source applications in Windows, with Apache, mySQL, PHP, Bluefish, and imp as examples, the applications either have no graphical interface or they use GTk or they use MingGW, with both GTK and MingGW working more like Gnome than KDE. When you finally migrate, it is easier to migrate to Gnome.