Linux Mandrake - Gnome vs KDE?

To anyone who can help,

I’m planning a Linux project and decided to use Mandrake 9. I’ve NEVER used Linux before so I’m completely in a new area. As I understand it, you get a choice of desktop styles - Gnome and KDE.
Here are a couple of newbie questions:

  1. What are the benefits pros/cons of each desktop?
  2. Where can I download programs for Linux (MP3 player, media player, writing software etc.)?

Warning! Don’t laugh! :o

  1. Can you install Windows programs and work in Linux? Like running Mandrake and then install PowerDVD as my DVD player, Nero for CD writing, Winamp to play MP3s, and games like Counter-Strike?

Any help, tips, advice, suggestions would be really helpful. Thanks in advance. :confused:

There’s more than just KDE or Gnome.
There’s KDE, GNOME, Enlightenment, Blackbox, AfterStep, fvwm , twm , etc etc all with their own benefits and disadvantages.

Just try them all.

You can download a LOT of linux programs from

about the third question: yes and no. There are some MS Windows emulators, but don’t expect them to work 100% with all your programs. For writing , playing mp3 , divx and stuff there are all various programs for Linux distro’s. Check sourceforge or tucows for a lot of them.

thats an interesting thought - do all the old unix shells like bash and zsh and the billion others that come standard with every sun distro exist on linux?

most desktops advantages / disadvantages are preconfigured options. for others, u have to map them yourself, if i remember correctly.

Thanks Mr. Belvedere,

Like I said, I have never used any version of Linux. The closest I’ve been to it has been the screenshots of Linux desktops! I have also been told that Mandrake is one of the most popular and user friendly, which is why I’ll try it out first.

Is there anything I should know before installing Mandrake 9?

  • bugs? compatibility? warnings? settings? anything?

I need all the help I can get from anyone, so please feel free to post! Thanks again. :slight_smile:

Looking at your systems specs, I don’t see any reason why Linux would not run properly. Maybe some USB devices will give you troubles… but you can find out easily :).

About the shells: most (all?) distro’s come with the Bourne Again Shell, bash. This one works fine, nice and easy. I guess other ones, like the C-shell etc are available as well… I never tried since bash is great!

KDE or Gnome? Hard question. I think most ppl would say KDE… in most distro’s, this is standard. I however prefer GNome, cause it works a little faster for me.
If you’d install Redhat 8 with Bluecurve, it would be possible to switch between KDE and Gnome without really noticing that. The Bluecurve theme makes them look similar.
Other Window managers? Well fvwm is a nice one, if you can work with it. A friend of mine is really addicted to that one, because he doesn’t have to click a windows to activiate it (mouse scrollover does the trick).

I don’t think you’d go wrong with Mandrake 9. I did not try that one yet, but as far as I know, the new Mandrake seems to be very good (stable, fast). As it is based on Redhat Linux, you can use most/all stuff released for Redhat distro’s. That’s something that will come in handy if you plan to do lots of things with Linux.

Running Windows programs on Linux can be done… at least some. Wine is an emulater for Linux. It’s however a pain in the ass, since you need to map all files of the program yourself…
Luckily, there are some packages for Wine of some apps available, solving this problem a little… I know KaZaa is available this way.
Another way to run all kinds of Windows stuff from Linux is using VMWare. You van get a free demo from… this program really works fine. You’ll need quite some memory, but 512MB should do the trick.

Just one more advice: if you are abled to, download Knoppix ( I believe, I guess google an help you out;)) to see how Linux looks and works. Don’t be scared of the speed, Knoppix is slow because it runs from a CD (it doesn’t need to be installed, really great for testing Linux on a system(…


Thankyou so much for so much info!
I was meant to get a copy of Mandrake 9 last weekend at a computer swap meet, but the people that normally sell the Linux stuff weren’t there. I’ll have to see if I can buy it this weekend. All this waiting is making my excitement build up! I love trying new adventurous projects!

Thanks again :slight_smile:

Hmm I don’t know if you are abled to use a fast connection, otherwhise downloading Linux is an option as well. Find more info on!

The reason for BUYING Mandrake 9 is because I’m using a 56K modem. :frowning:
So there is no way I’ll be able to download something of that size, and the Mandrake 9 package that I’ve seen is a 3 DVD set. I suppose there is Linux software on the other 2 discs which should be more than enough to get me started.