If you're new to Linux, your next step after downloading the distribution of your choice is getting to know your new desktop. Where are the icons and menus, and how do they correspond to the ones you're used to seeing in Windows or Mac? Two of the most common Linux desktop environments are GNOME and KDE.
Many Linux distributions use one of these as the default desktop. For example, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, and openSuse use GNOME by default. Mandriva, Kubuntu, and Debian ship with KDE.
Jack Wallen has put together two galleries to visually acquaint you with the basics of KDE and GNOME:
Here are some additional resources on these desktops that you might be interested in:
- How do I... Create desktop icons in KDE and GNOME?
- Beginner's Guide to Linux Desktops (Techgage, Dec. 2006)
Now, I have to point out that both KDE and GNOME have come into their fair share of criticism in reviews on TechRepublic, but perhaps in areas that are more relevant to the intermediate and advanced Linux users. Still, I would be remiss not to provide links to Jack's personal favorite desktop environment, Enlightenment:
Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and IT Security blogs.