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I have recently installed the KDE version of Manjaro Linux (I was only using Gnome environment derivatives before). When I decided to install a few of my favourite apps (Sublime3, Remmina), I have discovered, that Gtk2 is included in their dependencies (i.e. https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/sublime-text-dev/) .

The question is, are there any downsides to installing apps that are Gtk-dependent in a KDE environment? The apps I've installed work as expected, but maybe I am missing something and I should rather have KDE-specific apps as my primary choices?

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GTK apps really aren't much of a problem with KDE. There's a few GTK-specific things that KDE should set up for you automatically (themes and such), but for the most part there's no real difference between vanilla GTK apps and, say, Athena or TK apps. The GTK and QT libraries don't interfere with each other, and most of the interoperability problems (clipboard and such) were fixed years ago.

Things like (Libre|Open)Office and Firefox are GTK apps. I'm willing to bet Sublime is as well. Remmina's website is horrible, but apparently it has GTK-only versions available. These will be what you want to use, and shouldn't have any issues with KDE.

The problem is when you run GNOME apps. GNOME (and KDE as well) provides services beyond what the GTK toolkit does. In order to run GNOME apps and get full functionality, you need a basic GNOME environment running or you'll be missing functionality. This isn't an issue if you're wanting to play GMines, but you'd notice if you tried to run Nautilus.

In my experience, what ends up happening is that the vast majority of what you want to do works fine, but there will be the occasional weird issue when you're running something GNOME-specific. For instance, the file picker on a GNOME app might not find things like ftp sites you've set up. MySQL Workbench will want to use GNOME Keyring, which doesn't cooperate with the KDE wallet (there's a way to get it to work, though). Pretty much anything that would give you major problems has an analog in KDE, though.

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The only downside is that you have more libraries in your computer (i.e. the gtk2 libraries) some consider this somehow "polluting" your setup with unnecessary libraries/dependencies, there are Qt purists and GTK purists out there which absolutely refuse to use anything that relies on anything else than their favorite gui library.

But the way I look at it, if there would be downsides, they would be KDE's fault, not GTK2's (not even Qt's). I've noticed discrepancies in launch times (and assume there could be some discrepancies in performance, equally minor) of programs in various desktop environments. Usually Qt based environments will launch Qt based programs faster than GTK based ones, and vice versa (not absolute, but it is commonly the case). This was a bigger problem in the past. But now... who gives a damn about a couple of milliseconds difference? My favorite environment is Enlightenment, it is based on EFL (neither Qt nor GTK) everything worked fine (Qt and GTK applications) within that.

So no you are not missing anything, and you should only choose your favorite programs as your primary choices, disregard everything else. You customize the system to your needs and your desires, not your environments needs or someone else's ideologies. Never forget that, otherwise what would be the point of customizing things to begin with? If you don't notice a difference, everything is working just fine, that's what matters.

My favorite image editor (and well since I like to paint as well) is Krita, it is based on KDE framework, and with KDE framework it pulls in a mountain of terrible fat KDE-related dependencies (not a problem if I'd already use KDE, but sadly it just doesn't agree with me). This doesn't stop me from using it. Not on Enlightenment, not Openbox, not Xmonad, not XFCE, not anything because that is the program I want, and while the dependencies are many and fat, it's not like they're getting in my way somehow, they're not slowing down my system, they're just making it a couple hundred megabytes larger than it otherwise would be, that's a price I'm simply willing to pay. Are you?

Similarly, Krita might take a second less to launch under KDE than other environments, should I allow that to stop me from using something else? I don't think so, if I don't like KDE but happen to like a KDE associated program, I will just use that program on my favorite environment regardless.

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  • Thanks for the response! ;) I see your point about possible minor performance overhead. At the same time, I've already encountered small inconvienience with KDE integration, so there is in fact a noticeable difference, that can't be simply solved. It's all about the balance - do I rather use the environment I like and give up full integration, or I switch back to Gtk and forget about other useful functionality. I guess it's not worth returning to Gnome just for few apps, but after some time, when more apps like that will be used, there might be a moment when I'll have to consider that.
    – olhur
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 15:48

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