Questions about setting up a new computer

Kyle kyle4jesus at
Sun Jul 17 23:07:31 UTC 2016

I'm not sure what you mean by "most like Windows," since Windows is 
itself a moving target. Sure it stayed the same for years at a time, but 
then once it changed, the interface totally changed, forcing users to 
learn something entirely new. Since I haven't used any version of 
Windows since XP, I would be further unable to answer that question, as 
I never even tried to learn any later version, so don't know what 
desktop may look most like it, although I have heard a time or two that 
KDE, although it doesn't work at all with Orca, is closest.

Desktop environments are largely based on personal preference, although 
interaction with the Orca screen reader can vary from one desktop to the 
next. The two that work best with Orca are MATE, which is my personal 
favorite, and GNOME, which is not so menu driven, and is based more on 
screen overlays. For example, in MATE, I can press alt+f1 and get a menu 
that shows me all my installed applications in various categories. 
However, if I press the same key in GNOME, I get a search box where I 
can type what I'm looking for, whether that may be an application that 
does a certain thing, the name of the application or a file on my 
system, and the matching applications and files pop up and allow me to 
tab between them, pressing the enter key to open what I want. For 
example, depending on what I have installed, under the internet menu in 
MATE, I may have Epiphany, Evolution, Firefox, Seamonkey and 
Thunderbird. But in GNOME, I can type internet into the search box, and 
it will give me Epiphany, Firefox and Seamonkey. Same for the word 
browse. And then typing mail will give me Seamonkey, evolution and 
Thunderbird, assuming I have all these installed. There is also an "all 
applications" overlay on GNOME that will pop up a grid of all the 
applications installed on my system if I want to use it to find 
something and don't know how to best search for it, which pops up with 
super+a. These do tend to be categorized somewhat, but everything is 
just laid out there, and in my experience, makes something a bit more 
difficult to find.

Another major difference is the fact that MATE, being continued from the 
days of GNOME2, still has a working desktop area that can include files, 
folders and launchers, along with panels at the top and bottom of the 
screen, which although they are prepopulated with some common functions, 
may be customized to include any launcher or applet you want. On the 
other hand, GNOME has its desktop turned off by default, and the only 
panel is the top bar, which isn't really customizable except via 
gnome-shell extensions, but does include some useful functions by 
default.  Because there is no desktop by default, you have a vary large 
area of the screen with nothing on it. This can be fixed in GNOME by 
installing gnome-tweak-tool and turning on the desktop, but it's an 
extra step if you want a functional desktop with files, folders and 
launchers, similar to MATE's desktop. You can also use gnome-tweak-tool 
to search for extensions that will further customize your interface, 
including the way workspaces, also known as virtual desktops, are 
presented, the layout of the top bar, additional panels and overlays, 
and more.

Although I can't answer the question of which desktop is "most like 
Windows," I hope some of these options have helped you to make an 
informed decision of which desktop environment you want to use getting 
started. Keep in mind that you may change your mind and try another 
desktop at any time, without having to reinstall the whole operating 
system and without losing any of your documents or other files.
Sent from my email

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