A desktop is a set of desktop tools and applications. The Microsoft Windows 9x desktop includes applications such as the Windows Explorer, accessories such as Notepad, games such as FreeCell and Minesweeper, and utilities such as the Control Panel and its applets. Although you can run X without a desktop, having a desktop helps you work more efficiently. The two most popular desktops used with X are KDE and GNOME.
KDE (the K Desktop Environment) is a freely available desktop that includes KWM, the K Window Manager, as an integral component. KDE provides a file manager, a help system, a configuration utility and a variety of accessories and applications, including:
Games such as Kmines, Kpoker, and Ktetris
Graphical applications such as Kfract, a fractal generator, and Kview, an image viewer
Multimedia applications such as Kmix, a sound mixer, and Kmedia, a media player
Network applications such as Kmail, a mail client, Knu, a network utility, and Krn, a news client
New KDE accessories and applications are available almost weekly. Work is underway on a complete open source office suite (KOffice) that runs under KDE. You can learn more about KDE and the status of KOffice by browsing the KDE web site at http://www.kde.org/.
Although KDE is freely redistributable, KDE uses the QT widget set to create user interface controls. This presents a problem, because QT is distributed under a license that many developers dislike. Therefore, the most popular desktop environment ...