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OpenSuse 13.1

I have an embarrassingly simple question that I'm compelled to ask: How can I tell which apps will "work" inside my desktop environment (Gnome 3)? Do certain apps require KDE? What should I look out for that would tell me?

For example, I'm curious about Linux video game emulator programs and noticed a list here: http://www.linuxlinks.com/article/20081012160727880/VideoConsoles.html It's unclear to me which of these require Gnome, which require KDE, and which of these don't work at all inside desktop environment.

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Is it possible for you to look for the program's dependencies?

I don't use OpenSUSE but on Xubuntu (Debian-based), I can look at what dependencies a program requires before I install that program. For that, I use apt-cache show program_name.

In the following examples, I replaced program_name with xmahjongg, gnome-mahjongg and kmahjongg. The dependencies are shown below:

xmahjongg
Depends: libc6 (>= 2.4), libgcc1 (>= 1:4.1.1), libstdc++6 (>= 4.1.1), libx11-6

gnome-mahjongg
Depends: libc6 (>= 2.3.4), libcairo2 (>= 1.2.4), libgdk-pixbuf2.0-0 (>= 2.22.0), libglib2.0-0 (>= 2.31.8), libgtk-3-0 (>= 3.4.0), librsvg2-2 (>= 2.32.0), dconf-gsettings-backend | gsettings-backend

kmahjongg
Depends: kde-runtime, libc6 (>= 2.14), libkdecore5 (>= 4:4.11.2), libkdegames6 (>= 4:4.10.80), libkdeui5 (>= 4:4.11.2), libkio5 (>= 4:4.11.2), libkmahjongglib4 (>= 4:4.9.80), libqtcore4 (>= 4:4.6.1), libqtgui4 (>= 4:4.5.3), libstdc++6 (>= 4.1.1), kdegames-mahjongg-data (>= 4:4.10)

By inspecting the output, I can tell that gnome-mahjongg is (obviously) a GNOME program because it requires libgtk-3-0 and that kmahjongg will pull in kde and qt dependencies.

For software which isn't in my Operating System's software center, I'd need to consult the homepage or website for the respective software. Requirements probably are specified there.

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If you're on GNOME 3.12 or above, there's actually an option built-in to GNOME Software for some package managers. When you look at a piece of software, it will have a star rating. This star rating tells you how well the application will integrate with GNOME. The higher, the better - if it's supported and you're on the proper version of GNOME, use this to inform your package installation decisions.

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Almost all of this

As any GNU/Linux distribution is open-source, you must be able to install a C Compiler in your host, with all needed libraries.

The command ldd may list wich installed libraries is used by any binary:

ldd /bin/ls
    linux-vdso.so.1 =>  (0x00007fff25dff000)
    libselinux.so.1 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libselinux.so.1 (0x00007f5dea4ae000)
    librt.so.1 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/librt.so.1 (0x00007f5dea2a6000)
    libacl.so.1 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libacl.so.1 (0x00007f5dea09c000)
    libc.so.6 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc.so.6 (0x00007f5de9d11000)
    libdl.so.2 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libdl.so.2 (0x00007f5de9b0d000)
    /lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2 (0x00007f5dea6ed000)
    libpthread.so.0 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libpthread.so.0 (0x00007f5de98f0000)
    libattr.so.1 => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libattr.so.1 (0x00007f5de96eb000)

Many project website hold a history and some pre-compiled binaries suitable for specific version of most common distributions.

Gnome + KDE cohabitation

In many configuration, having KDE application running under Gnome environment don't break anything, same in reverse order: having Gnome application that run under KDE desktop could work without real problem.

Distribution dependancies

Each distribution come with his package manager. This tool is responsible of maintaining right required libraries with all installed stuff.

This could be assimiled as a time tag where

At specific date, this stuff was run under this kernel version and this x-server version and this version of libc and ... so on.

Installing required stuff to run C compiler must be - and is, in fact, generaly well - documented in distribution's docs.

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