KDE (K Desktop Environment) is a Free graphical desktop environment and framework built with Trolltech's QT Toolkit for Unix. The "K" originally stood for "Kool", but was later changed to stand simply for "K". The project was announced in October 1996 by Matthias Ettrich, and KDE 1.0 was released in July 1998, to be followed by version 2.0 in October 2000. The current version (2.2.2) was released in November 2001.
According to the KDE website; "KDE is a network transparent contemporary desktop environment for UNIX workstations. KDE seeks to fill the need for an easy to use desktop for Unix workstations, similar to the desktop environments found under MacOS or Microsoft Windows."
KDE was originally patterned after (and presumably intended to replace) CDE, the "Common Desktop Environment". CDE is an older Unix desktop environment used by commercial Unix vendors, such as Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard.
There is a perceived ongoing flame war between certain users of KDE and GNOME as to which GUI is "better", however, this has generally been blown out of proportion by the media, and there is a large degree of cooperation between GNOME and KDE to promote interoperation and to set standards.
- http://www.kde.org -- The KDE website
- http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=53tkvv%24b4j%40newsserv.zdv.uni-tuebingen.de -- The original project announcement (from Google Groups)