As I mentioned, Gnome is the default desktop environment for Ubuntu, and it is the only option that comes with the initial installation. There is an Ubuntu variant called Kubuntu that has KDE as the native environment, and I was considering giving that a shot sometime soon, but after doing some reading on the Ubuntu Forums, I learned that using both is quite easy, and that I just have to download it from the software repositories and install it. This I did, and I got a chance to give it a whirl. Here's a screenshot:
My first impression is that everything is blue (I changed the default blue background to the photograph you see), which is a shock after the orange-brown "Human" theme of Ubuntu's Gnome. All of my installed files and programs are still available, plus a positive slew of KDE programs: games, widgets, educational software, and many others. With the Gnome programs also available in each menu, I'm actually having a hard time finding anything. One thing about KDE that grates on my nerves a little is that all of its applications either begin with the letter "K" (Konqueror - the default browser, KNotes, KPilot, etc.) or have the letter "K" prominently in the name. The names also often don't correlate with any function of the program ("Kaffeine" is a music player, I learned), which makes the menus a little more overwhelming. This is strange (in my view) for a program touted for its usability. Here's a shot of the screen with the start menu:
The other thing I noticed is that KDE looks a lot like Windows, and moving from Windows to KDE, at least visually, would be a more intuitive switch. Other things to mention:
- I found that Firefox does not display as well in KDE. The default text size is too small.
- Konqueror, the native Internet browser and file manager is very nice, and in some ways, I like it better than Firefox. It actually resembles Opera a little.
- The "eye candy" factor is quite impressive. It seems that Linux desktop environments rival Windows Vista and Mac in this respect.