Desktop Linux - Desktop Environments - History and Criticism

History and Criticism

KDE was the first advanced desktop environment, but it was controversial due to the proprietary Qt toolkit used. GNOME was developed as an alternative due to licensing questions. The two use a different underlying toolkit and thus involve different programming, and are sponsored by two different groups, German nonprofit KDE e.V. and the United States nonprofit GNOME Foundation.

As of April 2007, one journalist estimated that KDE had 65% of market share versus 26% for GNOME. In January 2008, KDE 4 was released prematurely with bugs, driving users to GNOME. GNOME 3, released in April 2011, was called an "unholy mess" by Linus Torvalds due to its controversial design changes.

Dissatisfaction with GNOME 3 led to a fork, Cinnamon, which is developed primarily by Linux Mint developer Clement LeFebvre. This restores the more traditional desktop environment with marginal improvements.

The relatively well-funded distribution Ubuntu designed (and released in June 2011) another user interface called Unity which is radically different from the conventional desktop environment and has been criticized as having various flaws and lacking configurability. The motivation was a single desktop environment for desktops and tablets, although as of November 2012 Unity has yet to be used widely in tablets.

Read more about this topic:  Desktop Linux, Desktop Environments

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