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KDE (K Desktop Environment) is a free software project which aims to be a powerful system for an easy-to-use desktop environment. The aim of the KDE project is to connect the power of the UNIX operating systems (such as Linux) with the comfort of a modern user interface.

KDEis not a window manager. While KDE includes a sophisticated window manager (KWin), KDE is much more than that. It is a full-blown Integrated Desktop Environment.

The KDE project serves as an umbrella project for many standalone applications and smaller projects that are based on KDE technology, such as Konqueror,  KOffice, KDevelop, Amarok, and many more.

Many Linux distributions include KDE such as: Debian, Fedora, Freespire, Gentoo, KNOPPIX, Kubuntu, Linspire, Mandriva, Mepis, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Slackware, and Xandros.

KDE's main competitor is GNOME.

KDE is primarily a volunteer effort, although various companies, such as Novell, Trolltech, and Mandriva employ developers to work on the project. For example, Sebastian Trueg, the maintainer of K3b (a popular CD/DVD burning application), is employed by Mandriva and allowed to spend part of his working day developing that software application.

KDE's tools and applications are available in 65 languages.

 KDE 4.0.2

Free to download

4.2MB (for kdebase)

GNU General Public License and others

The KDE Team


System Requirements
For building KDE see Requirements Table

Support Sites:
KDE Documentation, KDE User Guide, KDE FAQKDE Quickstart Guide,, KDE Mailing Lists, KDE Dot News, Planet KDE,,

Selected Reviews:
Ars Technica, tuxmachines

The following software is included in KDE:

  • aRts: Analog realtime synthesizer and sound daemon. aRts enables playing multiple audio or video streams concurrently, whether on the desktop or over a network. aRts is a full-featured sound system, and includes filters, a modular analog synthesizer and a mixer.
  • KDE-Libs: Various run-time libraries
  • KDE-Base: The base components (window-manager, desktop, panel, Konqueror). KWin supports advanced compositing features. Dolphin is KDE's new file manager. Dolphin has been developed with usability in mind and is an easy-to-use, yet powerful tool. 
  • KDE-Network: KNode, KNewsticker, Kppp, ...
  • KDE-Pim: KMail, KAddressbook, KOrganizer, KPilot, ...
  • KDE-Graphics: Graphics applications such as KDVI, KGhostview, KPaint, KFax, and more.  KDE 4 introduces okular, the KDE 4 document viewer
  • KDE-Multimedia: Noatun, KMidi, KSCD, ...
  • KDE-Accessibility: applications to improve computer access for disabled people...
  • KDE-Utilities: KEdit, KCalc, KHexEdit, KNotes, ...
  • KDE-Edu: Edutainment applications
  • KDE-Games: KAsteroids, KPat, KTetris, ...
  • KDE-Toys: The fun stuff
  • KDE-Addons: Addons for Konqueror, Kate, Kicker and Noatun
  • KDE-Artwork: Additional icons, styles, wallpapers, screensavers and window decorations
  • KDE-Admin: Various tools to aid system administration
  • KDE-SDK: Script and tools which simplify development of KDE applications
  • KOffice: Integrated office suite
  • KDevelop: C/C++ Integrated Development Environment
  • KDE-Bindings: bindings for various programming languages (Python, Ruby, Perl, Java...)
  • KDEWebdev: Web Development Tool

Two pseudo-packages not part of the official release are also available.

  • KDE-Extragear: Extragear is a collection of applications associated with the KDE project, not part of the official release for various reasons. These are however still part of the project and can be downloaded separately. This gives them higher visibility to Translators and Documentation Writers.
  • KDE-Playground: Similar to KDE-Extragear, this pseudo-package also contains software not part of the main KDE release.

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Last Updated Monday, March 10 2008 @ 03:22 PM EST

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