"KDE was the original custom desktop environment for
Linux, give or take a dozen or three window managers. As of 1998,
the K(ool) Desktop Environment was the first comprehensive
integrated desktop environment for Linux, but KDE had a problem. It
was based on the framework of Trolltech's Qt libraries which
weren't available under a free software license.
""KDE was an inspirational project," de Icaza later recounted,
"but at the time, the Qt toolkit on which KDE was built was a
proprietary toolkit. It was a disgrace that everyone in the
community had worked so hard to create a fully open-source
[desktop] (a legacy to all humanity) that we would give up in the
end because of the lack of a free toolkit. So GNOME was started to
make sure that we had a fully free system, and it was based on the
most advanced C toolkit available at the time: the toolkit built by
Peter Mathis and Spencer Kimball for their most excellent GIMP
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