A user by the name of grem75 has uploaded two screenshots of KDE 0.1 to imgur, and they offer a very intriguing look at just how far we’ve come.
I’ve only found this RPM, no source unfortunately. This is installed on Red Hat 4.1 with Qt 1.33. Impressive amount of progress for being so early in development. The project had been announced in October 1996, this package was built in February 1997. There really were no complete desktop environments available for Linux at the time, most distros shipped with FVWM and some assortment of applications from various toolkits. Gnome didn’t start until August of 1997. XFCE existed, but was just a panel for FVWM.
I’ve recently made the jump from Windows 10 to KDE Neon on my laptop, and after so many rocky years through KDE 4.x, I have to say the KDE desktop environment currently exists in an incredibly polished and attractive state, striking a perfect balance between attractiveness, usability, and customisability. KDE is currently an absolute pleasure to use for me, and I can’t wait to see what else they’ve got coming up (preferably a lot of work on either reworking or replacing Kmail with a smaller, more focused email application).
In any event, this is the first time I’ve felt at home on a desktop environment on Linux since the glory days of GNOME 2.x and KDE 3.x, and I couldn’t be happier. These two KDE 0.1 screenshots remind me of just how far we’ve come.
About 18 months ago I got a new (refurbished), 12″ laptop for my day-to-day carryin’ around machine, and did some environment experimentation in preparation. I was especially looking for something that would easily play nice with strange WiFi and strange displays.
After a decade of XFCE on Arch as default, I was very taken with KDE5 (still on Arch) as a better-Macintosh-than-current-Apple type platform, and have been daily driving that since. For the record, in the same round, Gnome3 was intolerably awful, the tiling hipster-WMs and their no-discoverability didn’t appeal to me, and LXDE was in half-baked transition. The interesting part is that it has forced me to try relaxing into automation features that my prior exposures to had felt like more trouble than they were worth (Pulse, NetworkManager) and it has been a good experience – it hardly feels like a traditional I-know-what’s-going-on UNIX box, but it’s generally a staggeringly nice magic-just-works computer.
Back in 1999 when I started seriously to consider Linux as a desktop I went with Gnome because I found KDE to look too much like Windows, but from what I see here, at version 0.1 widgets were looking even more like Windows, uncanny.
I remember how reviled KDE 3 was when it was released.
And, how well loved it was when KDE 4 was released.