T H E K D E S K T O P E N V I R O N M E N T
April 19, 1998
An integrated Desktop Environment for the Unix Operating System
We are pleased to announce the availability of the fourth public
beta "Kirkland" of the K Desktop Environment.
KDE is a powerful graphical desktop environment for Unix worksta-
tions. The KDE desktop aims to combine ease of use, contemporary
functionality and outstanding graphical design with the technologi-
cal superiority of the Unix operating system.
KDE is a completely new desktop, incorporating a large suite of
applications for Unix workstations. While KDE includes a window
manager, file manager, panel, control center and many other compo-
nents that one would expect to be part of a contemporary desktop
environment, the true strength of this exceptional environment lies
in the interoperability of its components.
Beta 4 highlights:
o New KFM configuration options.
o Improved html page viewing in KFM.
o Smart window placement options.
o New, greatly improved, bookmark management.
o Generally, much improved configurability of the entire
o KLyx, the document processor is compatible with Beta 4.
o Improved centralized configurability via the KControl Cen-
o Wide use of geometry management in dialogs.
o KDE now actively supports 20 different languages.
o Countless bug fixes.
KDE Free Qt Foundation:
The KDE Free Qt Foundation was announced on April 08, 1998. The
purpose of this foundation is to guarantee the availability of
Qt, the graphical tool kit used for building KDE, for free soft-
ware development now and in the future. Please visit
for more information on the KDE Free Qt Foundation.
Key KDE features:
o Transparent Network Access:
Most KDE components are inherently Internet aware. KDE's
folder windows are in fact web browsers. You can open URLs
and view HTML pages, download files by dragging them from
the folder windows onto your desktop or even edit remote
documents by simply dragging them from a remote site opened
in a folder onto KDE's editor.
o Session management:
KDE supports elaborate session management. You can leave
documents and applications open when you log out and ses-
sion management aware applications will be restored to
their previous state on your next log in. KDE offers pseudo
session management for legacy X11 applications.
Most, if not all settings are configurable through intu-
itive GUI dialogs rather then the traditional cryptic con-
figuration files. The configuration files are of course
o Vast pool of KDE applications:
A great number of applications have already been written
for the KDE project. Some are supplied with the base pack-
ages available for download from http://www.kde.org, others
can be found in the 'apps' directory on ftp.kde.org and its
many mirrors. We proudly offer applications ranging from a
postscript viewer to a CD player, a calculator to a sound
system, and even a finite element analysis application. We
are confident you will be pleasantly surprised by the broad
spectrum of applications available today.
Most of KDE's core components and many of the KDE applica-
tions are internationalized. That is, they will operate in
many languages. We consider this a key feature in gaining
acceptance among a wide audience. In fact, at present we
support already as many as 20 languages. Please consider
helping us translate more of our applications. Visit
http://www.kde.org/i18n.html for more information on the
Screen shots of a typical K desktop and some of its core
components can be found at
We are certain you will like what you see.
Where to get KDE:
You can download the KDE base packages from
ftp://ftp.kde.org/pub/kde or one of its many mirrors.
Please visit our web site at http://www.kde.org for more
info. The precise locations of the beta 4 packages are:
KDE was primarily developed under the GNU/Linux variant of the
Unix operating system. However it is known to compile with-
out, or with very few, problems on most Unix variants.
At the moment we explicitely support GNU/Linux (Intel , Alpha,
Sparc) and Solaris (Sparc) and we have success reports for
FreeBSD, IRIX, OSF, SunOS, HP-UX. and others.
KDE was developed by a world-wide network of programmers
during the past 18 months. In fact the release of the first
beta coincided roughly with KDE's first birthday, October
KDE development is open to everyone. Please consider join-
ing the KDE project. If you are a programmer, consider
writing applications for the KDE project. If you are a
graphical design artist consider creating icon sets, color
schemes, sound schemes, logo's and other supporting art. If
you enjoy writing, you are invited to join our documenta-
tion project and help creating help documentation, tutori-
als and other supporting documentation in the K documenta-
tion project (KDP). Please visit our web site for further
information on how you can help make KDE an even better
environment than it already is.
To the expert:
KDE's development model differs deliberately from that of
other known desktop projects in that it does not try to
follow preconceived handed-down specifications. We have
recognized the availablilty of an existing and usable desk-
top at all stages of development as paramount to the suc-
cess of the project. Only in this fashion we are able to
attract the large number of developers necessary for a pro-
ject of this enormous scale. KDE improves on an almost
daily basis in an iterative cycle of design, coding, test-
ing, revision, redesign, leading to constant excitement
and concrete tangible results at any given time. We are
convinced that we have chosen the right development model
prerequisite to running a successful Internet project, and
accommodating the special circumstances arising from the
fact that all development is done on a strictly volunteer
basis. Please give KDE a try, we believe that the results
speak for themselves.
The KDE libraries are licensed under the LGPL, to allow for
the development of commercial applications for KDE. KDE
applications are licensed under the GPL. KDE is based on
the Qt GUI library which is free for the X Window System,
provided the applications developed with it are released
under a free license such as the GPL. More information
about Qt may be found at http://www.troll.no
What does the 'K' stand for?
Nothing. It is simply named the "K Desktop Environment".
Lastly: KDE is NOT a Window Manager
KDE is not just another window manager trying to imitate
the look of an existing desktop environment, but rather an
integrated environment of which the window manager provided
with KDE is only a small part. In fact if you so desire you
can continue to use your favorite window manger, however we
strongly encourage you to use the KDE window manager and
enjoy the functionality afforded by the interoperability of
the KDE components. The KDE window manger provides all the
functionality you need and more.
Additionally, KDE is not a CDE, Windows or OS/2 clone.
While some ideas may have originated from these systems,
KDE is unique and we have no intentions of cloning another
Please submit your bug reports at http://buglist.kde.org .
Consider subscribing to our mailing lists in order to stay
in contact with the latest developments.
kde (general discussion)
kde-devel (development issues)
kde-look (look and feel issues)
kde-licensing (licensing issues)
kde-user (end user discussion)
kde-patches (daily patches)
To subscribe (unsubscribe), send mail to
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is provided at:
We would like to thank Troll Tech AS http://www.troll.no
for creating Qt and our sponsors for making KDE ONE
http://www.kde.org/kde-one.html in Arnsberg, Germany possi-
We sincerely believe that we have initiated a new era for
the Unix operating system and hope you will share our
excitement. We hope that KDE will allow you to get your
work done faster and more efficiently than ever. Please
consider joining and supporting the project.
The KDE Core Team
As during previous beta releases, expect ftp.kde.org to be
rather busy. Please take note of the list of official mir-
rors of ftp.kde.org available here: