Do you want Emong, or Edk?

One of the things we keep saying we love about Linux is “freedom of choice” (to go along with freedom of price, and for those of us who code, freedom of code). But how can there be any real freedom of choice when you don’t know what you’re choosing from? It’s kind of like going to the poll on election day. You probably know who you want to vote for at the higher offices, like President, but when you get to the smaller local offices, you just have a list of names. Some you may have heard of, others not at all, but you have no idea who any of these people are, or which one is best for the job. Chances are we don’t understand what the job really is. I think Linux, as it becomes more popular, is suffering from that, but at the presidential level.

The desktop environment is one of the most important choices a user can make, and will greatly affect whether or not they like “Linux”. Yet they have no idea what they’re choosing between at the time that they choose. As a geek, I want to play around with multiple desktop environments and window managers, and see what they’re all like, but the mainstream world is used to not having a choice at all in the matter, and will most likely never switch away from whatever they start with. Handing somebody an Ubuntu disk could turn them off of Linux completely if they dislike Gnome. Likewise with Kubuntu and KDE. In fact, any distro has a default selection, and that default is what Joe User will deal with (or abandon) forever. There’s got to be some way to help people make an informed decision, but I’m not sure what that is. Is there a site anywhere that explains, objectively and in short, simple terms, the differences between the major desktops?

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