The one thing that significantly held back the wide acceptance of the
excellent KDE desktop was the fact that it used the QT+ toolkit for its graphical user interface development.
For many years this toolkit did not meet the requirements of the
General Public License (GPL) and so could not legally be included in
many distributions. Indeed, because of this the Gnome project was
begun. By September 2000 when it was announced that the new version
of QT+ (2.2) would be released under the GPL Gnome was already
catching up to KDE in its development and many of the major Unix
players had decided to adopt Gnome.
Nonetheless, KDE remains a good alternative to Gnome providing a
collection of well developed applications. It should be noted though
that all of these applications can run under any desktop, including
Gnome (but perhaps losing some functionality such as drag-and-drop
between applications). And, conversely, Gnome applications can
also run under KDE. The significance of the desktop is the look and
feel of the associated applications and underneath how they
inter-operate. Otherwise they are simple X Window System applications
and can run whether you are running the corresponding desktop
application or not.
We will review some of the KDE applications as alternatives to the
related Gnome application in the relevant chapters of this book.
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