As there are other Linux distributions, there are other Linux GUI desktops. Perhaps the main alternative to GNOME is KDE, the K Desktop Environment. Both are quite popular among Linux users. In fact, many Linux users, myself included, prefer KDE. While the Red Hat default is GNOME, all of the major Linux distributions allow you to install either desktop environment.
Red Hat has integrated the Bluecurve theme into its implementations of both GNOME and KDE. It also has integrated a number of common tools into the main menus of both desktops. In Red Hat Linux, the two desktops are converging in functionality. Thus, your choice of desktop is a matter of personal preference.
While the rivalry between KDE and GNOME isn t as intense as, say, between Linux and Microsoft Windows, the desktops do come from different development environments. KDE uses the Qt toolkit , which was fairly recently released under open source licenses. Most KDE development is centered in Europe, which contributes to its popularity outside of North America. For example, KDE is being adapted by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany as its default desktop GUI.
In this chapter, we ll cover the basics of the KDE interface, along with the custom utilities associated with KDE. We ll take a detailed look at the capabilities of the KDE Control Center. As you ll see in this chapter, the people behind KDE have developed a number of excellent administrative tools that I believe rival the redhat-config-* tools in quality.
In addition, the Red Hat implementation of KDE allows you to use GNOME applications and utilities, which we covered in Chapter 16 . If you ve read Chapter 16 , you ll see a lot of similarities in this chapter, which reflect Red Hat s work toward standardizing the Linux GUI. KDE (as well as GNOME and redhat-config-* ) tools are easily accessible directly through the KDE K Menu button. This chapter covers the following topics:
Working with the basic KDE interface
Using the KDE Control Center
Learning about KDE utilities