The Best of Both Worlds: KNOME

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The Linux Desktop Environment of Your Dreams is Here!

Official KNOME logo. (Credit: knome.org)

For over twenty years, there have been two Linux organizations working on the desktop experience who have stood above all else: GNOME and KDE. Though once a fierce rivalry to claim the title as the de facto standard in Linux by providing the most innovative, beautiful, and usable desktop, it has been well-documented that the two open source organizations have become great friends in their quest for (Linux) world domination.

Look no further than the Linux App Summit to see what kind of bond that the two open source megaliths have built today. However, nobody ever expected the unimaginable, which has actually just been announced today — GNOME and KDE will no longer be friendly competitors. Instead, they will be working together on a single project via an unprecedented merge!

The Linux App Summit. (Credit: linuxappsummit.org)

Now, if you’re like me, this is extremely exciting news and undoubtedly one of the biggest developments that the Linux world has seen in many years. Never in my right mind would I ever imagine that something of this magnitude would happen, but here we are. So, what does a merger of two very different desktop environments look like? Well, in short, KNOME.

Yes, that is the actual name of the new project, created by cleverly combining the two project’s previous names, GNOME and KDE. KNOME is a desktop environment that promises to bring together the best features of the GNOME Shell with that of KDE’s Plasma desktop. Now, this might feel weird at first considering how different the two projects are, but once you take a look at what they’ve been working on together, it’s truly easy to see that it is a match made in heaven.

The KNOME Desktop Environment. (Credit: knome.org)

Using a brand new cross-platform GUI creation toolkit that includes the best of both worlds from the GTK and Qt platforms of old, QTK is sure to bring the most powerful UI elements at almost no cost! In fact, QTK was specifically designed with the end user in mind and focuses on the future of desktop design. In addition, this will allow all applications from both KDE and GNOME to be seamlessly integrated into KNOME from the start. Now, that’s what I call a-mazing!

In fact, QTK has allowed the KNOME developers to completely redefine what a GUI can be. The new default window design for KNOME is definitely something that will make you shake your head — in a good way. The first thing that you will notice when opening up Dolphilus (the default file manager of KNOME) is that the titlebar controls have been moved to the left side for more efficient spacing along your screen. In addition, after much debate, carefully selected visual elements were included in an icon set that will truly make you wonder how no one had thought of it before. It really is mind-boggling!

Dolphilus, KNOME’s default file manager! (Credit: knome.org)

Unfortunately, since the KNOME project is brand new, I haven’t had the ability to truly give it a spin for myself. However, here is a statement from the President of KDE e.V., Aleix Pol, regarding the merge:

A joint conference was only the beginning. KNOME, QTK3, Krimp, Lollyrok…the possibilities for shared development are now limitless.”

Moreover, Neil McGovern, Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation also had a few words regarding the creation of KNOME:

We see ending desktop fragmentation as the key to Linux success. Feeling united and utterly bored in these hard times also contributed to our decision to merge the projects.”

The new KNOME login screen. (Credit: knome.org)

Both statements give me goosebumps just thinking about the incredible possibilities that inevitably will result from a major mind-melding such as this. Having the talented engineers from both projects now in the same room with a shared vision is quite exciting and even scary to some extent. It’s almost unbelievable and I can’t wait to see what happens!

Of course, since this is only the first release of KNOME, testers from all over the world are needed, even though the developers have assured their users that their are literally zero bugs. Zero, nada, ziltch! So, if you want to give KNOME a spin and see how it can improve your workflow and general computing experience, head over to their incredibly polished and very detailed official site here and click that download button…if you dare!

With the news of this merger, there are many questions that will bubble to the surface. What will the other desktop environments be forced to do in order to compete and survive? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see who will make the next move — Xfce, MATE, Cinnamon, LXQt, Budgie, Deepin — or maybe, just maybe, KNOME will swallow them all.

The official KNOME icon. (Credit: knome.org)

Thanks so much for reading and enjoy the rest of your April Fools day! 🙂

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