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How popular is KDE? I found several sources saying that it's the most popular desktop environment, but I've also read that popular third-party software (Firefox, for example) are written for GNOME since that is more popular. So what's the official answer?

Note: I'm not asking which one is better

This was based on a poll: http://www.muktware.com/articles/3518/kde-voted-most-popular-desktop-environment

This is a blog post: http://www.thepowerbase.com/2012/01/5-reasons-why-kde-is-better-than-unity/

Basically, I didn't find a good official answer.

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Firefox is not written for GNOME. The integration of Firefox in GNOME isn't very good. For example, there is no GNOME keyring integration. The look of Firefox is also not GNOME like. The integration of Chromium in GNOME is much better. –  BuZZ-dEE Jan 22 '13 at 21:47
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I have only one question. Also, why was I downvoted and voted to close? –  asymptotically Jan 23 '13 at 2:21
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I did my research, which is in fact what led to the question. I found some statistics, but those were based on incomplete surveys, not based on number of installation/usage. –  asymptotically Jan 23 '13 at 4:11
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@EliahKagan Thanks, I've added them. The answer given seems to make sense, though a link to official statistics would be better. –  asymptotically Jan 23 '13 at 19:51
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I'm not polling, I'm asking for a link to official statistics. I meant that the statistics in that page were based on polls –  asymptotically Jan 23 '13 at 19:53
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closed as not constructive by Jorge Castro, Ringtail, gertvdijk, Eric Carvalho, hhlp Jan 23 '13 at 11:16

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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Datamation's June 2012 article suggests that while GNOME has lost users, KDE has failed to pick them up:

Over the last fourteen months, discontent with Unity and the GNOME 3 series of releases have sent GNOME users galloping in all directions in their search for alternatives. Xfce and Linux Mint's Cinnamon and Mate in particular have benefited from this search. However, one alternative that users have not considered to any extent is KDE.

Considering the years in which GNOME and KDE were considered the main desktop environments for Linux, this trend is surprising at first.

Yet the trend seems hard to deny. Compare the results of LinuxQuestion's Members Choice Awardswith the statistics from previous years, and you’ll see that GNOME 3's release cost the desktop as much as half its users.

However, the same comparison suggests that KDE is only at three-quarters of its pre-KDE 4 popularity.

Read Full Article

Meanwhile, a question on unix.stackechange discusses why distros have historically bundled GNOME over KDE: Why do most linux distros default gnome?

It's difficult to get an accurate read on the popularity without relying on survey data.

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It's easy to see why Gnome has historically (before Gnome 3) been the preferred DE to bundle with distributions: because it's easier to use and learn, unlike KDE, which has many bells and whistles and a higher learning curve (not to mention that out of the box KDE newcomers will wonder where the heck their desktop icons are). –  trusktr Jul 26 '13 at 8:16
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