In 1996, Matthias Ettrich announced the creation of Kool Desktop Environment (KDE), a graphical interface for Unix systems, built with Qt and C ++ and designed for the end user. The name “KDE” was a pun on the graphic environment CDE, which was proprietary at the time. Read the original announcement of the KDE Project.
KDE One Conference
In 1997, about 15 KDE developers met in Arnsberg, Germany, to work on the project and discuss its future. This event became known as KDE One.
KDE Beta 1
The beta 1 version of KDE was released exactly 12 months after the project announcement. The release text emphasized that KDE was not a window manager, but an integrated environment in which the window manager was just another part.
KDE e.V. was founded
In 1997, KDE e.V., the nonprofit that represents the KDE community financially and legally, was founded in Tübingen, Germany.
KDE Free Qt Foundation was created
In April 1999, a dragon is announced as the new animated assistant to the KDE Help Center. It was so charming that it replaced the previous project mascot, Kandalf, from version 3.x on. See the KDE 2 Screenshot showing Konqi and Kandalf.
KDE Two Conference
In October 1999, the second meeting of KDE developers took place in Erlangen, Germany. Read the report on the KDE Two Conference.
From the beta 1 version of KDE 2 it is possible to perceive a project naming change. The releases that once referred to the project as “K Desktop Environment”, began referring to it only as “KDE Desktop”.
KDE Three Beta Conference
In July 2000, the third meeting (beta) of KDE developers occurred in Trysil, Norway. Find out what was done during the conference.
From the release announcement of version 2.1.2 there is also a change of the nomenclature. The announcements began referring to KDE as “KDE Project”.
KDE Three Meeting
In March 2002, about 25 developers gathered for the third KDE meeting in Nuremberg, Germany. KDE 3 was about to be released and the KDE 2 code needed to be migrated to the new library Qt 3.
KDE e.V. meeting
In August 2002, there was a meeting of board members of the KDE e.V. that was essential to establish how the organization works. At this meeting it was decided, among other things, that the brand “KDE” would be registered and that new members should be invited and supported by two active members of e.V..
In August 2003, about 100 contributors of KDE from various countries gathered in a castle in the Czech Republic. The event was called Kastle and was the forerunner of Akademy, the event that would become the international annual meeting of the community.
In August 2004, the first international meeting of the community took place. The event was held in Ludwigsburg, Germany, and launched a series of international events called “Akademy” which take place annually since then. The event got its name because it happened in the “Filmakademie” city film school. See the group photos of all Akademies.
KDE Four Core meeting
In July 2006, the developers of the KDE core libraries gathered in Trysill, Norway, for the KDE Four Core meeting. The event was a kind of successor to the KDE Beta Three Conference and KDE Three Meeting and in it developers worked on the development of KDE 4 and stabilization of some core libraries to the project.
KDE 4 Alfa 1
KDE 4 Development Platform
In October 2007, KDE announced the release candidate of its development platform consisting of basic libraries and tools to develop KDE applications.
In 2008, the community announced the revolutionary KDE 4. In addition to the visual impact of the new default theme, Oxygen, and the new desktop interface, Plasma; KDE 4 also innovated by presenting the following applications: the PDF reader Okular, the Dolphin file manager, as well as KWin, supporting graphics effects. See KDE 4.0 Visual Guide.
From the announcement of version 4.1 on there was already a tendency to refer to KDE as a “community” and not just as a “project”. This change was recognized and affirmed in the rebranding announcement of the following year.
First Camp KDE
Gran Canaria Desktop Summit
1 million of commits
The community reached the mark of 1 million of commits. From 500,000 in January 2006 and 750,000 in December 2007, only 19 months later, contributions reached the 1 million mark. The increase in these contributions coincides with the launch of innovative KDE 4.
First Randa Meetings
In November 2009, the community announced changes to its brand. The name “K Desktop Environment” had become ambiguous and obsolete and is replaced by “KDE”. The name “KDE” is no longer just referring to a desktop environment, but now represents both the community and the project umbrella supported by this community.
KDE Software Compilation
From version 4.3.4 on, KDE announcements began to refer to the whole suite of products as ‘KDE Software Compilation’ (KDE SC). Currently, this trend is abandoned.
In April 2010, the first meeting of Brazil KDE contributors took place. The event was held in Salvador, Bahia, and was the only Brazilian Akademy edition. From 2012 on, the event expanded to a meeting for all Latin American contributors.
Join the Game
In June 2010, the KDE e.V. announced the supporting membership program “Join the Game”, which aims to encourage financial support to the community. By participating in the program you become a member of the KDE e.V., contributing to an annual amount and being able participate in the organization’s annual meetings.
KDE SC 4.5
In August 2010, the community announced version 4.5 of its products: Development Platform, Applications and Plasma Workspaces. Each of them began to have a separate release announcement. One of the highlights of this version was the Plasma interface for netbooks, announced in version 4.4.
First Conf KDE India
In March 2011, the first conference of the KDE and Qt community in India took place in Bengaluru. Since then, the event has taken place annually.
Desktop Summit 2011
In August 2011, another joint conference of the KDE and Gnome communities took place in Berlin, Germany. Nearly 800 contributors from all over the world came together to share ideas and collaborate on various free software projects.
The community released the first version of its interface for mobile devices, Plasma Active. Later, it was superseded by Plasma Mobile.
In April 2012, the first meeting of the KDE contributors in Latin America, LaKademy, took place. The event was held in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The second edition took place in 2014 in São Paulo, and since then has been an annual event. So far, all editions were held in Brazil, where the highest number of contributors from the Latin American community is based.
KDE Manifesto, a document that presents the benefits and obligations of a KDE project, was released. It also introduces the core values that guide the community: Open Governance, Free Software, Inclusivity, Innovation, Common Ownership, and End-User Focus.
Release cycle change
In September 2013, the community announced changes in the release cycle of its products. Each of them, Workspaces, Applications, and Platform, now have separate releases. The change was already a reflection of the restructuring of KDE technologies. This restructuring resulted in the next generation of community products, which would be released the following year.
The first stable version of Frameworks 5 (KF5), the successor of KDE Platform 4, was released. This new generation of the KDE libraries based on Qt 5 has made the KDE development platform more modular and facilitated cross-platform development.
Release of the first stable version of Plasma 5. This new generation of Plasma has a new theme, Breeze. Changes include a migration to a new, fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack centered around an OpenGL(ES) scenegraph. This version of Plasma uses as base the Qt 5 and Frameworks 5.
GCompris joins the KDE
The community announced Plasma Mobile, an interface for smartphones that uses Qt, Frameworks 5 and Plasma Shell technologies.
Plasma on Wayland
The first live image of Plasma running on Wayland was made available for download. Since 2011, the community works in support of Wayland by KWin, the Compositor of Plasma, and the Window Manager.
Version 5.5 is announced with several new features: new icons added to the Breeze theme, support for OpenGL ES in KWin, progress to support Wayland, a new default font (Noto), a new design.
Akademy 2016 part of QtCon
Kirigami is released, a set of QML components to develop applications based on Qt for mobile or desktop devices.
KDE presents its Vision for the future
In early 2016, as a result of a survey and open discussions among community members, KDE has published a document outlining its vision for the future. This vision represents the values that its members consider most important: “A world in which everyone has control over their digital life and enjoys freedom and privacy.” The idea in defining this vision was to make clear what are the main motivations that drive the community.
KDE announced the Advisory Board
In order to formalize the cooperation among the community and the organizations that have been its allies, KDE e.V. announced the Advisory Board. Through the Advisory Board, organizations can provide feedback on community activities and decisions, to participate in regular meetings with KDE e.V., and to attend to Akademy and community sprints.
KDE celebrated 20 years
On October 14, KDE celebrated its 20th birthday. The project that started as a desktop environment for Unix systems, today is a community that incubates ideas and projects which go far beyond desktop technologies. To celebrate its anniversary the community published a book written by its contributors. We also had parties been held in eight countries.
KDE Slimbook is announced
In partnership with a Spanish laptop retailer the community announced the launch of the KDE Slimbook, a ultrabook that comes with the KDE Plasma and KDE Applications pre-installed. The laptop offers a pre-installed version of KDE Neon and can be purchased from the retailer’s website.
QtCon Brasil is announced
Inspired by QtCon 2016, which took place in Berlin and brought together the KDE, VLC, Qt and FSFE communities, KDE community in Brazil hosted QtCon Brasil in 2017. The event was held in São Paulo and brought together Qt experts from Brazil and abroad in two days of talks and one day of training.
KDE and Purism partnership
KDE and Purism have partnered to adapt Plasma Mobile to the smartphone Librem 5, manufactured by the American company. Librem 5 is a phone focused on preserving the privacy and security of user communication. The adaptation project is underway and soon we will have the first phone in the world fully controlled by the user and running Plasma Mobile.
KDE set goals
KDE sets its goals for the next four years. As part of an effort undertaken by its members since 2015, the community has defined three main objectives for the coming years: to improve the usability and productivity of its software, to ensure that its software helps to preserve the privacy of users and to facilitate the contribution and integration of new collaborators.