Deciding between 2 desktop environments

I am refreshing my dual-core laptop with openSUSE and trying to decide between 2 desktop environments. While I know that this is something I’ll have to decide for myself I figured I would up out some of the Pro’s and Con’s I have for them and see if there are any for one or the other I may not have considered!

One desktop environment is KDE. It looks very polished, stable and is well supported in openSUSE. The other environment, is Xfce and I guess I am uncertain about it because last time I tried installing it from the DVD image (openSUSE 13.1?) the system was unable to boot (something wrong with Grub). Also I haven’t made it look as nice as KDE can look, but that’s something I’ll work on.

Some of the applications I use I will use regardless of the desktop environment (Firefox, Chormium, Gimp, LibreOffice, OpenJDK for Minecraft and Skype). While its gotten better, I prefer using applications of a similar nature to the environment so they fit in with the environment’s theme.

  • While Thunar is getting better, I think Dolphin is an easier to use file manager for networked drives and previewing files.
  • The one application I probably use the most, outside of Firefox or Chromium web browsers, is Pithos, the Pandora radio player. I have a number of stations I regularly use and prefer not having to use a browser if I don’t have to. Pithos uses Gstreamer, iirc, while KDE uses Xine for the music back-end and I don’t know if that messes anything up.
  • I have never been able to make friends with Kmail/Kontact very much, and though I use Thunderbird usually I find even that is not complete. Often I end up trying to add a shortcut to my Gmail and/or Outlook accounts.
  • I’m not overly fond of Amarok, but I also don’t usually play my own music very much and as I have uploaded much of my music to Google Play Music so I can just use that.
  • To pass the time, when not playing Minecraft, I prefer KPatience over Aisle Riot. Minor, but still a factor. :wink:
  • The computer is capable of playing the game World of Tanks in Windows, but haven’t managed to get it to work in Linux using Play On Linux. It’s supposed to work pretty well in Linux via Wine and I have a desktop system that plays it through PoL but I haven’t managed to get the laptop to play it in Linux. I don’t know if the window managing system of KDE would work better, or if the benefit of a lighter DE would make a difference or if this is all moot. :wink:
  • Another thing I use is Remmina for SSH access to my servers (Minecraft server, web server, external servers, etc.) and I like having the list of sites to pick from rather than typing in the full command each and every time in a terminal. I don’t think there is KDE native application for that.

I know these are probably minor points, but it still makes me flip back-and-forth with which one to use and try to hold onto for a significant period of time (you know, like more than a week :wink: !). Then again, Gnome may be the middle-ground, but I still need to get used to the environment quirks.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Or am I just whining and I should shut up and install something rotfl!

On Mon 26 Jan 2015 03:16:01 PM CST, dragonbite wrote:

Thoughts? Suggestions? Or am I just whining and I should shut up and
install something rotfl!

This one :wink: :wink:

What about E19?

Cheers Malcolm °¿° LFCS, SUSE Knowledge Partner (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 12 GNOME 3.10.1 Kernel 3.12.32-33-default
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Yeah right!
I tried gnome and liked it, I thought it will be my main DE in openSUSE 13.2
replacing xfce, then I tried e19, first time using it was a bit hard finding things
and now am a little bit familiar with some of the buttons to click and liking it.
If you’re a first time e19 user, be ready to roll-up your!

You can run KDE programs while using Xfce; in fact, as more of the KDE5 Framework comes into play this will become easier.

I have KDE, Gnome, XFCE and Enlightment installed on my system. They all play very nicely with each other.

I like, and use KDE nearly always. In fact, that’s all I installed at first. It is (to me) a lot nicer looking, the general apperance, the customization, the fonts, the icons and most of all, the WOW factor when Windows users see the desktop cube for the first time! That said, I prefer many of the Gnome applications. Evolution being among the “Must Haves” on my system. I’ve yet to have a problem running any desktop application in it’s non-native desktop.

Out of curisoty, I finished up the install of Gnome and tried it. I don’t care for it. That is strictly my impression, and most likely stems from lack of familarity with it.

After the install of Gnome, I decided to install enlightment as I remember it being the default in a very old version of RedHat I tried way back in the last century! It’s pretty! Come a long way. I haven’t played with it too much as KDE does what I want and more.

To finish it up, I installed XFCE. Not very pretty. Does what is needed and not much more. That’s it’s call to being. It’s light and quick. When you’re stingy with resources, it’s the ting to use.

Now. I just spent all these electrons telling you what you already knew. :wink: Take Malcom’s advice.

Oh! For music streaming, streamripper is one of the best! Write a script to make the initial selection of which station, tell it to create a stream of it’s own which you can listen to with any of the desktop apps (I use VLC) and just redirect the “ripped” songs to NUL


Well I didn’t know enlightenment was the default for Red Hat at any time! I must have come after they decided on Gnome because that’s all I know of them using.

Yeah, my experience was similar with Xfce, not very pretty, does what you need.

I remember first thinking that LXDE was a light KDE version of Qt based environment similar to how Xfce was a light Gnome version of GTK. Now I see that it isn’t, but I have heard of LxQt.

Ok, I shut up and installed (something) :wink:

I isntalled Xfce to try and make it work for me. I have KDE (and Gnome) in my back pocket just in case something happens.

Now comes the fun, and arduous, task of customizing the desktop to my liking and making sure all the programs are installed. Since /home is in its own directory, by preserving that I save all my files (like wallpapers I cycle through). This will be fun, though.

Then will be letting my son get used to it. I doubt he’ll have much trouble once he sees how to customize it and has time to play with it, after the essentials are covered; web browser (Chrome or Chromium) and Minecraft.

More fun will be his friend who borrows the laptop for multi-player Minecraft. He only uses Windows and “doesn’t program”.

Just two notes:

KDE does not use Xine, the xine backend has been dropped years ago.
Nowadays you can choose between GStreamer (1.x in 13.2, 0.10 in earlier versions) and VLC, with phonon-backend-gstreamer being installed by default on openSUSE.
There should not be a conflict between all those frameworks though.

Another thing I use is Remmina for SSH access to my servers (Minecraft server, web server, external servers, etc.) and I like having the list of sites to pick from rather than typing in the full command each and every time in a terminal. I don’t think there is KDE native application for that.

Well, there is KSSH:

Unfortunately the KDE4 version doesn’t have all options of the KDE3 version though, and it seems abandoned.
A package is available for openSUSE here:

What I miss most is that it doesn’t store passwords…

Well, that didn’t last long. I’ve already written over the Xfce version with KDE (to avoid duplicate programs/packages showing up in each other distribution).

Funniest thing I’ve noticed is that Xfce used more RAM, but less CPU (thus not heating up and requiring the fan so much) while KDE uses more CPU and slightly less RAM. Xfce is still lighter than KDE, but it is interesting for which each one uses and how that will effect performance.

Other than the SSH situation, it seems to be working alright. Somebody suggested PuTTY for Linux, which would be OK since I use it at work and in Windows, but even that is a GTK application in the OBS.

I’ll probably end up with installing Remmina (or whatever it’s called) or PuTTY for Linux anyway. Or try and make shortcuts that open the terminal with the server’s information (username and server location).