If you don’t know what these are, GNOME and KDE are a bunch of pieces that represent your computer. Things like the buttons you click are provided by these two desktop environments. There are others too. Both GNOME and KDE are acronyms whose meanings mean nothing to normal humans and they are basically two efforts to accomplish the same thing. Efforts have been made to work together a bit better, but they can’t get over their fixations with the letters G and K. Anything GNOME builds has to have a G at the front (they’ve been getting better) and KDE stuff must start with K.
Now, I’ve been a GNOME fan for years. There’s something I can’t quite express that I don’t like about the KDE. Seriously, I just don’t like it. A little while ago, they decided they needed to make some major changes, kind of like Microsoft and Vista except that KDE developers actually made changes. So many changes that they knew some people would have a bad experience but they pressed on. I appreciate that a lot. And KDE is looking fabulous. Enough that when 4.2 came out a couple months back I had to try it.
I added the KDE experimental PPA in Ubuntu and installed. It actually was pretty slick. But I still didn’t want to use it. Still unquantifiable, but I like where they’re going (I think). But installing those packages ruined my normal GNOME desktop. Sound didn’t work and all my pommed provided Mac shortcut keys were broken too. X, the visual display, kept crashing too I believe. Lots of problems.
In the end, I opened the file /var/log/dpkg.log and went through that list to remove everything that KDE had done to my system. There was no malice in this. I will be keeping my eye on KDE going forward, but if it keeps my laptop from running, well, it has to go. One problem I ran into was that I needed to downgrade several packages to the version my desktop needed rather than a later version that KDE needed. In the end it led me to aptitude which is a command line tool similar to Synaptic. Aptitude let me search through installed packages and I was able to select a previous version of a package and mark it for installation. That was perfect since Synaptic would have made me uninstall the package (and it’s dependencies) completely and install it again later. Thank you aptitude.