Posted 30 April 2013 - 02:39
Between those two choices, for me it's KDE hands down, so Kubuntu. KDE 4 was a bit rocky at its first release but it's quite a solid desktop now... probably my only complaint is just getting a consistent look between GTK and QT apps (not a fan of the stock KDE theme and getting both toolkits to look consistent can be a challenge sometimes), and that's obviously a minor gripe. Personally the Gnome developers have gone off the deep end, makes some of the design decisions in Windows 8 look good, and they just seem to be ramping up the stupidification with each release. I personally would probably use a different distro myself, but if you want a ginormous amount of community support, you can't go wrong with the Buntu's.
KDE throws everything at you as far as options/features go, no holds barred.. it's not a proper KDE app if there isn't at least 5 ways to do one thing. Gnome hides/removes a majority of the useful functionality beyond the basics. KDE's more of a "traditional" desktop as far as layout and usability goes, Gnome feels like a tablet OS now, in my opinion, and the "simplifcation" seems to have actually made things less productive for me. Not a big Unity fan either but at least that one still feels like a desktop OS.. This is out of the box mind you, it can be tweaked of course if you put a little bit of effort into it, pretty much the first order of business for me on any OS really regardless of it's *Nix or Windows based anyway, but something to keep in mind if you don't want to put a lot of time into customizing things. For Gnome I'd replace Nautilus, add some extensions, replace the menu, etc. But that's just opinion.
That aside it really doesn't matter.. you can run QT and GTK apps under both desktops after dependencies get pulled in. You can mix and match whatever you like as long as you got room for everything, or even install both desktops on one install if you're in the mood to fiddle with it. May want to look at Cinnamon, Mate and XFCE as well, also pretty solid with different ways of doing things, lightweight vs full featured, etc. Pick whatever one does it for you the best, don't let random forum people tell you what to use. (Me, I find the Windows 7 desktop much more productive over any of the *Nix desktops. See? Don't listen to forums.) Best bet, toy with the live CD's or get busy with a virtual machine, you're the one that has to work with it.. one man's killer desktop may be utter crap to someone else.