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.

KDE desktop

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:

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: