As you may have read earlier, Ryan Rix and I are doing a desktop switchoff next week: he's going to go GNOME for a week, and I'm going KDE. In order to prep up for the week (...or more, if we decide we need a longer timesample to get a good evaluation period going) of fun, it seemed prudent to ask the metabrain for thoughts on...

Help with KDE: I have never used KDE before, though I've had a general idea that it was around and Did Some Things Differently, though I didn't - and still don't - know exactly what that means. I haven't the slightest idea what I'm in for. KDE testimonials (or complaints), guides, cool-stuff-to-try - all are extremely welcome. (Why do you use/contribute-to KDE?) I'm starting with KDE's "An Introduction To KDE" and Bruce Byfield's "KDE 4.2: 10 tips for getting started" article (yes, I realize 4.2 is no longer the latest version, but I'm trying to grok whatever subtle paradigm shift is needed here) and have also found some general KDE reviews to peruse.

Help with GNOME: Same questions as for KDE above. I'm actually asking this for myself (although I'm sure Ryan will find it useful too ;-). I've been a GNOME user for several years now, having gone from enlightenment to xfce in high school to fluxbox and then GNOME in college, largely due to... well, to be honest, laziness and the path of least resistance. But I actually have very little insight into how the GNOME community works, what GNOME is all about, why it's awesome, things to try with it, etc. Various places on the GNOME website seem like a good resource to start with for understanding this.

A list of use cases: This is something I should be adding to as the week goes by, but I'm trying to think of a list of tasks I'd want to be able to accomplish with any desktop, so I have something to compare with. I'm not sure how one goes about building a good list like this for comparing desktops, but that list is at least a stub where I'm attempting to start. Edits welcome. I'll take notes on what it takes to complete each task in each desktop during the week of the test (and the first week I switch back).

Ultimately, I pretty much agree with Stormy: it's not a GNOME vs KDE thing for me, it's about trying to understand the uniqueness - and the richness - of both projects for what they are and what they're trying to be, and getting a better feel for what is in the land of open source desktops, and why. I sometimes (er, often) feel far less informed about the various components of the stack I run than I should be, and this is one of many attempts to rectify a portion of that - and to learn stuff while having fun. It's an experiment! We'll see how it pans out.

As an upside, I'm also learning how people with very little context into a piece of software and its community start hunting for clues as to what that project is all about - and yes, I'll blog about this for Fedora Marketing as notes pop up. We do have much to learn.