I really need information. ...Please.

Links to articles would be a fine response…

I downloaded the openSUSE 13.2 ‘.iso’ file – Leap is too new – and mounted it in a virtual DVD. Even in that DVD I couldn’t find any documentation for KDE.

The articles I read make such informative statements as “I like Gnome more because it’s better for beginners” and “I use KDE because it’s configurable”. There never seems to be discussions that go beyond relatively valueless opinion.

I currently use XFCE. It’s okay, but quite primitive and unfinished. There’s almost no documentation and it’s full of bugs. And the Whiskers Menu is really just an application launcher, not a menu system. Also, there’s nothing that comes even remotely close to Windows Control Panel and the GUI is very difficult to configure.

I’m not sure Gnome or KDE are any different from XFCE.

This article: ‘http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/unityplasma’, mentions KDE Plasma and Unity Gnome. What are they? Shells? Alternative GUIs?

I’m tired of being shown screen shots and not knowing what I’m looking at. I really want to know what the execution environments are like because I have Windows 10 on a hard drive and if I overwrite it, there’s no going back.

Are Gnome, KDE, and XFCE my only choices?

No, there are other choices (MATE, Enlightenment, LXDE, LXQT, and probably others.

They are usually called “desktop environments”.

Personally, I use KDE. However, there is a big change between KDE in 13.2 and in 42.1. So maybe you should start with Gnome.

You can actually install KDE, Gnome and XFCE all at the same time. Then you can easily switch between them to decide which you prefer.

It’s a bit hard to describe, particularly since I am not sure what you are looking for.

The KDE menu is perhaps the most like Windows. That is, you click on a start button (usually called the “Kick off”, and get a menu system. With Gnome, you move the mouse to the top left corner (active corner) to get an application launcher and a search bar to search for other applications.

I tried to do that in my previous thread.

Do you know of an architectural design document that describes the KDE design objectives?

I’m an engineer. I’ve been using computers every day since the late 1960s.

Ah! (brainwave)

I’ll look for live DVDs of SUSE for each of the various desktops. I wonder if there’s a SUSE-sampler with all of them installed.

Live CDs/DVDs are always a good idea even if potentially a bit slow. To shoot off to one side for a bit selecting one (or at best a very small number) of GUs is probably the first decision before which distro etc etc. Difficult to do but once you know which GUI everything else gets a bit easier. Don’t know of a multi-GUI sampler.

Do you know of an architectural design document that describes the KDE design objectives?

I don’t but I’ve little doubt that something like that (or several things vaguely connected) will exist. Whether It has much real world use might be another matter…

Also, there’s nothing that comes even remotely close to Windows Control Panel

Really? You will have had Yast in every standard Suse derivative so I’d like to know what you find wrong with that. The perf monitoring parts will be what the GUI supplies although you could use the perf monitoring app from one GUi with a different one (usually).

Try here: Li-f-e (Linux for education)

Use the 64-bit iso. It has Gnome, KDE and MATE. If you “burn” it to a USB drive (should be 8G or larger), you can actually save changes that you make.


Really? You will have had Yast in every standard Suse derivative so I’d like to know what you find wrong with that. The perf monitoring parts will be what the GUI supplies although you could use the perf monitoring app from one GUi with a different one (usually).[/QUOTE]
My experience is with Mint (Ubuntu-based), not SUSE. I don’t know what Yast is, but I imagine I’ll learn that soon.

My prime concern is with configuration, not performance – I think that’s what you mean by “perf”. I know that SUSE is not Mint. Mint’s configuration choices are cryptic (using pseudo-marketing jargon, not real GUI-terms) and there’s no help or documentation, and changes happen as soon as you click something and then it’s sometimes too late to figure out what you did and you can’t go back. As a result, I do as little tweaking as possible. I have written some utility scripts, but that’s as far as I could go. I know from past experience with UNIX (& Apache) that settings are file-based, but with no documentation for the operating system, I’m at a loss to do anything. Linux scares the c-r-a-p out of me.

I think that lack of documentation is a prime reason that, at age 25 (this year), Linux (all versions) still has only 1-percent of the market.

If I’m reading you correctly, you are used to the Microsoft GUI and applications and wish to see if an alternative will meet your needs.
May I suggest that you purchase an additional HDD or SDD and use that drive to sample the alternative of the plethora of Linux environments; yes, yes, if the Windows 10 were to be overwritten you will experience a steep learning curve to move over to Linux plus the issues of moving your personal data to Linux.

  • Linux can read a good proportion of Microsoft-produced data but, things such as Address-Books can be difficult to port.

The late '60s: let me guess: IBM mainframes; DEC PDP-8 (12-bit), PDP-6 (DECsystem-10) (36-bit), PDP-15 (18-bit); ICL mainframes; Sperry-Rand mainframes; Thomson and Ritchie were working on the initial UNIX code; and of course all the other manufacturers who were around at that time.
Basically the question is, given your experience, what are you currently expecting from the possibilities current machines offer?
What’s more important for you? – the look-and-feel of the GUI or, the data which the machine produces (for example, printed output)?

UNIX was and is very man-page oriented with some information only being available from the comments in the source code. On the other hand there’s a lot of information available from the UNIX Standard: <http://opengroup.org/unix>
Almost the same for Linux – the Linux Foundation: <http://www.linuxfoundation.org/>
openSUSE documentation is available from the following URL: <https://doc.opensuse.org/>
KDE documentation is available from the following URL: <https://docs.kde.org/>I’m not aware of a quick pointer to specific KDE Architecture documentation – if ever find something please post it here.

Your post sounds like your current highest priority is an appearance and layout that’s familiar, intuitive and probably similar to a MSWindows experience, then followed by GUI tools that help you do various common tasks.

In the Linux world, there is the Distro which provides your base functionality and some basic common apps/functions which are configurable in distro-specific ways. openSUSE is a “leading edge” distro which incorporates new features, technological improvements and capabilities at a faster rate than most competing distros, which generally means that for whatever you might want to do as a hobbyist, personal or business use, you can do it on openSUSE.

openSUSE is unique among all Linux distros that has a YAST tool which is comparable to a MSWindows Control Panel but so, so much more. Start with anything you might have done on MSWindows like install, remove and maintain applications, and tools to configure hardware on your system, but extend its capability far beyond what you’ve ever seen in Control Panel. Besides the default YAST applets, there is a multitude of additional plug-in applets you can install (search in YAST’s Software Manager or use the command line “zypper”).

Besides the base Distro,
You also have a multitude of choices for how your desktop might look, each is called a Desktop. Your choice probably starts with whether you might feel more comfortable with a Gnome layout and appearance which probably appeals more to traditional Linux users, and KDE which has a layout and appearance which is more similar to MSWindows with its Application Launcher button, menus layout and organization. Both the full Gnome and KDE Desktops will also install plenty of “helper” apps which will do a lot of extra things automatically similar to MSWindows, like automatic updates, enhanced device detection and configuration, animated and enhanced visual effects.

Besides the full Gnome and KDE Desktops, openSUSE uniquely (no other distro does this) provides XFCE and LXDE Desktop options which are themed with a similar look and appearance to Gnome and KDE, respectively. This means that maybe you like the overall look and feel of Gnome or KDE, but don’t want all that automation and visual effects that uses up system resources, instead of turning off those extras one by one, you can simply start off with a lighter Desktop.

openSUSE also gives you many more Desktop options, like Enlightenment (one of its main configurations is very much like mobile devices), MATE (which itself has something that’s similar to parts of YAST), Cinnamon, and many more. You can also install openSUSE with only the barest of graphical support (MinimalX) or without any Desktop at all.

But, don’t let this description of Desktops prevent you from trying these Desktops out on your own if you have plenty of available disk space.
Unlike distros like Ubuntu which release entirely differently flavored distro versions,
With openSUSE,
You only need to open YAST’s Software Manager, set to display patterns and install the pattern for a different Desktop and also disable auto-login. This enables you to choose your Desktop when you enter your Username/Password.

Search for, and view related threads in the Technical Help Forums for additional detailed information how to do things like install and switch between Desktops.


This is where YAST is a lifesaver, for those who prefer not to find all those configuration files and edit by hand.
If you’ve had to do something like configure Apache on one distro and then moved to another, you’d find that the entire application structure and configuration, even methods of configuration would likely be totally different. You’d be looking at least another 3 hrs getting all the different intricate settings sorted out, and this is if you <know> what you’re doing!

On openSUSE, many of those configurations like your IP Tables Firewall, Apache webserver, maybe even FTP server and many, many more things are configurable with a graphical tool in YAST (not all, like the Apache webserver config tool are installed by default but needs to be added using YAST’s Software Manager). For basic settings, you may not have to touch a single config file directly, just fill in the tool’s forms and save.

How’s that for getting up to speed quickly in Linux?


I’ve used many GUIs, beginning with Atari-5200, then DeskView, MS-Win 1.1 (& successors), Solaris, Macintosh, Nextstep, plus various stand-alone electronic-hardware design tools such as Mentor Graphics Idea and Intergraph IGDS. I have formed my GUI desires based on a bit of experience with many systems. Overall, I’d say that the best GUI was WindowsXP, though the menu system in Windows98SE was slightly better. Microsoft drove into the weeds thereafter.

That’s extremely good news as I use Windows Control Panel & Microsoft Management Console (MMC) plug-ins to control the firewall, enable/disable services, drivers, devices, and to set local user account & group policies, so I’m looking forward to using a well designed system application for such tasks.

No visual effects, please. And no animations or transparency. I want as few icons as possible, buttons as small as possible, no ribbons, and as many controls & pads & notification areas &tc. as possible offscreen but callable by a hot key. In short, I want the GUI to pretty much disappear so that I’m left with the largest application windows possible. I know that rubs GUI developers the wrong way because they want to shout, “Hey! Look at me!” And the task bar on the left, please, so that vertical space is maximized.

That’s great news. I’m used to XFCE, but I find it’s long term usability somewhat restricted due to lack of tools.

Thank you so much, Tsu.

I generally run all applications maximized. I utilize drag-&-drop to copy/move files & data between applications by using a hot task bar to do the drag-&-drop activated switching/selection. In occasion when that doesn’t work (not enabled by an application), I use context-menu cut & paste. Beginning with Vista, Microsoft has been crippling all these techniques and I understand that in Win10, the context menu has completely disappeared. I can’t understand how Microsoft keeps its customers.

If you like the console, try out twin, then there is also spectrwm both in my home repos on the openSUSE Build Service;

That sounds like my system, using KDE.

Okay, the task bar is at the bottom (I think you can move it). But I have it set to auto-hide, so it is usually out of the way. Desktop effects (animations) can be turned off. The full screen is available. And I can have several virtual desktops (alternative screens) to switch between. No icons on the desktop, except in the “folder view” widget (which can be deleted).

Gosh, this is a friendly place.

The joys of having a stress (well relatively) free operating system like openSUSE… :wink:

I also have blackbox (builds disabled at present) as well;

If you really want to try that I probably should rebuild against updates…

I’m sorry. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

The openSUSE Build Service…?



I’ve been struggling with KDE for the better part of 2 days and have made almost no progress. I’m registered with the KDE forum and have been corresponding with people there. But it’s as though we are running different operating systems. The things they refer to don’t even exist in my KDE.

I turned off all animations and transparency and transitions and all that other time-wasting junk.

For example: When I first started using KDE, I discovered that the close button ([X]) for each window was at the left end of the title bar (instead of at the right end with the other task bar buttons). I was delighted!! But then about an hour ago that changed for no apparent reason. Now the left end of title bars have a radio button with a tooltip that says “On all desktops”, and the close button is at the right end of the title bars (just like MS Windows). I didn’t do anything to cause that.

KDE seems to be configuring itself.

I want an operating system that is simple, has a flexible menu system, and that doesn’t do anything more. I think Linux developers are wasting their time on flashy hogwash.

Man, am I ready for that. How do I do it?

(…And, unrelated, am I doing something wrong? I reply to a message in this forum (your message, for example) and my reply winds up 5 replies later instead of right below and indented.)

The MATE desktop (based on GNOME 2) is another option if you want something less flashy than KDE or GNOME 3 that is more full-featured than XFCE or LXDE.