Qt, das GUI Toolkit das benutzt wird, um KDE Programme zu kreiren, war ursprünglich nicht unter einer komplett freien Softwarelizenz, da Trolltech auch einen kommerziellen Zweig hatte. Als Konsequenz brauchten kommerzielle Programme, geschrieben für KDE, eine Lizenz von Trolltech, den Schaffern von Qt, und jede Verbesserung an Qt musste über Trolltech gehen. Da KDE Software ein Open-Source-Projekt ist, erzeugte die Wahl von Qt Kontroversen unter Open-Source Puristen. Qt wurde seitdem relizensiert unter der GPL und die Argumente veralteteten, aber sie bleiben ein wichtiger Teil der KDE-Geschichte.
To tackle this problem, the KDE Free Qt Foundation was founded by the KDE project and Trolltech. This foundation ensured the continued availability of Qt as a free software development framework. Namely, should Trolltech no longer make Qt available for free software, the currently released version will be re-released under the BSD style license - a license similar in nature but less restrictive than the GPL or LGPL.
This decision to re-release would be moderated by a team of 2 members representing the KDE foundation (unaffiliated with Trolltech) and 2 members from Trolltech to vote. In case of a tie, the KDE vote will gain higher weighting.
Those who prioritised the release of an GPL licensed formed the Harmony project - a project to clone Qt under a GPL license. Rapid progress was made during its time and thus gave purists no excuse to reject KDE as a respectable and compliant desktop environment. However this project was depreciated as Trolltech made the decision to re-license Qt under the GPL.
12 July 1998 - KDE 1.0 Announcement "An integrated Desktop Environment for the Unix Operating System. We are pleased to announce the availability of release 1.0 of the KDesktop Environment"
23 October 2000 - KDE 2.0 released "The KDE Team today announced the release of KDE 2.0, KDE's powerful, modular, Internet-enabled desktop. This highly anticipated release constitutes the next generation of the award-winning KDE 1 series, which culminated in the release of KDE 1.1.2 just over a year ago. KDE 2.0 is the work product of hundreds of dedicated developers originating from over 30 countries. "
17 December 2001 - KOffice 1.1.1 Released "Currently KOffice has functionality well-suited for home and SOHO users, who generally write letters, faxes, memos and similar documents. KOffice 1.1.1 is a minor update release for KOffice 1.1."
3 April 2002 - KDE 3.0 Released "KDE 3.0 is a major step for the KDE project. A hundred words could be written here, but to stop boring you with details, lets just say: Check it out!"
11th May 2007 - KDE 4.0 Alpha 1 Released "KDE Project Ships First Alpha Release for Leading Free Software Desktop."
16th October 2007 - KDE 3.5.8 Released "Project Ships Eighth Translation and Service Release for Leading Free Software Desktop."
11th January 2008 - KDE 4.0 Released "KDE Community Ships Fourth Major Version for Leading Free Software Desktop."
19th February 2008 - KDE 3.5.9 Released "KDE Community Ships Ninth Maintenance Update for Third Major Version for Leading Free Software Desktop."
29th July 2008 - KDE 4.1 Released "KDE Community Ships Major Update to Leading Free Software Desktop."
26th August 2008 - KDE 3.5.10 Released "KDE Community Ships Tenth Maintenance Update for Third Major Version for Leading Free Software Desktop."
12th October 2008 - KDE Forum Launched "KDE Launches Web-based Bulletin Board."
27th January 2009 - KDE 4.2.0 Released "KDE Community Ships Second Major Update To Leading Free Software Desktop."
4th August 2009 - KDE 4.3.0 Released "KDE Community Ships Third Update to the KDE 4 Desktop, Applications and Platform."
9th February 2010 - KDE SC 4.4.0 Released "KDE announces the immediate availability of the KDE Software Compilation 4.4, "Caikaku", bringing an innovative collection of applications to Free Software users."
10th August, 2010 - KDE 4.5.0 released Focusing on "stability, the overall polish and performance gain".
26th January 2011 - KDE SC 4.6.0 Released Major updates to the KDE Plasma workspaces, KDE Applications and KDE Platform
27th July 2011 - KDE 4.7.0 released Containing compelling new features and improvements to the Plasma Workspaces, the KDE Applications and the KDE Development Platform
For a more detailed look at the history, including details of all the KDE 3.x releases, see this page