This one's gonna cause a flamewar, I know.

I repeatedly hear comments from people (not overwhelming, but they're out there) about how BackTrack should drop KDE and go to GNOME. I'll say up front that I use GNOME on my desktop and think it's an excellent desktop environment; but I'm not quite sure what BackTrack needs GNOME for.

Let's hit head on and look at the facts, rather than wave around our favorite DE flag.

  • KDE - Eats lots of disk space, memory, CPU. Nice looking desktop environment.
  • GNOME - Eats less disk space and CPU and RAM, but still a lot. Nice looking desktop environment.
  • XFCE4 - Eats surprisingly little CPU and RAM and disk. Nice desktop environment.
  • IceWM - Very tiny. Very minimal, but still a nice desktop environment.
  • Fluxbox - Very tiny. Kind of ugly, shocking compared to the rest. For nerds.


Personally I'd like IceWM because it looks nice, it's tiny, etc, even still maintained! XFCE4 is also tiny (Xubuntu tacked onto Ubuntu is a 42 meg download, Kubuntu brings 192 megs), but it's not the less-than-a-meg program that IceWM is (about a hundred megs of RAM too, versus a few megs).

GNOME and KDE I think are best left for environments like Ubuntu, for a desktop environment. The more space crud eats, the less space you have to pack useful tools onto the CD; it's a fact of life. XFCE kind of does this better, and then there's IceWM if you want to go full minimal.

These are thoughts, and considerations. I'm not going to flamewar over KDE vs GNOME or insist someone get rid of the garbage on my screen; though, BackTrack 2 would have been way more tolerable without all the transparent menus (urgh). Lucky I can turn those off.