FORK PROPOSAL: Rebuild KDE 3 with QT4

Here's a proposal I throw out to the world: Who would work with me to 'fork' KDE 3 and rebuild it with QT 4.x (4.4 at this point)? This would be the entire KDE 3 environment. No, I have absolutely no idea how much work would be involved. But in looking at where the current KDE 4 desktop is headed. and considering comments from many quarters about the preferred capability of KDE 3, I'm curious to see if anyone would step up and work with me to establish a new branch, porting KDE 3 to QT 4.4 (and later).

Perhaps in the process we can clean up many of KDE 3's lingering annoyances and bugs.

Working project title: KDE5.
Goals: Higher quality, a better user experience, a better KDE4 than KDE4.

Please leave your comments at the end of the post.


Other project titles:

IceDE - Named after a 'now it's really free' web browser.
QDE - Qt Desktop Environment or Quality Desktop Environment
NiNK - No it's Not KDE (I personally like that one)


  1. IANAL, but "KDE® and the K Desktop Environment® logo are registered trademarks of KDE e.V." -- maybe the forked project should be named "Ice-something" :-)

    Or "Four 5" (because based on Qt4.x), or "5DE".

  2. Have you laid you eyes on KDE3's code and its structure?. Seriously?. You have a lot of work ahead!.

  3. Like this?

    The main font is Nevis, and the checkmark is Wingdings.

  4. And what, might I ask, is your basis for the "direction KDE4 is heading?" Just a bunch of people complaining, or have you legitimately been following the 4.1 branch?

  5. If you can find enough people with enough talent/resources, just grab some archived development of KDE4 after the majority of it was ported but little was changed, a lot of smaller projects still remain to be ported though.

    (IMO I think it's still best to just port that app/feature you miss to KDE4 and offer it as a feature)

  6. What is the purpose of this fork? I assume that you don't like plasma desktop and direction it is moving to. But plasma != KDE4. KDE4 is much bigger. It includes new frameworks (photon, solid), enhancements in libraries, new applications (marble) etc. What is wrong is with everything else (except of Plasma) in KDE4?
    So if you don't like Plasma all you need is to port KDE3 desktop shell to QT4. And I believe that at some point of time durring development of KDE4 before introduction of Plasma old KDE3 desktop shell was already ported to QT4. Just take a look at

    So I believe all you need to to grab corresponding revision from SVN and bring it to usable state. In this way you will get all advantages of KDE4 frameworks, tools and application and will have you KDE3 desktop shell.

    I am absolutely positive you don't need any kind of fork. All you need is alternate desktop shell.
    And this is absolutely doable task.


  7. Well KDE4 is a port of KDE3 to QT4, but they refactored and added a lot of stuff.
    You should be able to use some of that.
    I think forks can be a good thing, but you have to be willing to do the thing mostly by yourself at first.
    If you are willing to spend all your free time hacking you might have KDE3.5.10 running on QT4.6 in two years time. Your might even have some people helping you by then, but communities around forks grow really slowly ( if they grow .. )
    But you have to consider, that by the time you have rebuild the functionality of KDE3.5.10 KDE4.5 will be nearly ready. And it will be way more modern, easier to maintain, crossplatform and it will be the most flexible DE out there.
    My advice: Wait 1,5 years and then spend a few hours to configure KDE4.4 the way KDE3 used to work.

  8. Hey Bill,
    Here are some (slightly inaccurate, maybe) facts:

    1. Most of KDE 3 was ported to qt4 before KDE4 was done. That was the foundation for some of the KDE4 you see today.
    2. The porting alone took about 2 years if I remember correctly.
    3. Many many people worked on this porting assignment.

    Here are some suggestions / ideas /comments / personal views:

    1. Wait a little bit further before rounding up people to 'fork' KDE. One of the foundations of KDE has always been it's configurability, the ability to change the most basic aspects of how it works. Achieving this level of configurability took time in the past, and it will take time again with KDE4.
    The mere fact that you don't like a certain set of features/default settings doesn't mean you'll be married to them in the future. I know that with KDE 4.1 I can change a whole lot more settings that I don't like than I could with KDE 4.0. With a little time, I'm sure you can make KDE4 look, and act, a lot more like you want it to.

    2. Instead of taking on the MASSIVE project of re-porting KDE 3, why don't you try and help develop KDE4? If you don't like a certain direction KDE4 took, offer/design an alternative and it can be a configurable alternative so that each user choose what he wants.

    3. If you really are serious about porting KDE 3, why don't you try checking-out early KDE4 revision from svn, where some/most of the porting (to QT4.1/2/3, keep in mind) was done.

    But basically, what I suggest is exercising patience, and if you can, help KDE4 become the best it could be FOR YOU, and I'm sure everyone else, myself included, will benefit.


  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. AnonymousJuly 08, 2008

    That's a good idea, I think. Because I don't like KDE 4.

    But I think it's faster when you remove plasma and replace it with a kde3-like background and panel, and then you remove Dolphin and make the KDE4-Konqueror like the KDE3-Konqueror is.

  11. AnonymousJuly 08, 2008

    I hope this has a future! :) Otherwise I change my desktop to GNOME. : (

  12. Any KDE fork should start modestly, by simply taking over the maintenance of the KDE3 code.

  13. Carlitos Esquer:

    I think that is a good opportunity for
    a KDE3 fork..
    I will open a project in some days
    in SourceForge just to have a common
    site for developers who want to do thisk
    BIGGER task...
    I know that is something difficult
    but i have now JavaQT and the developing
    is really fast...

  14. Hello i'm interested on a KDE3 fork
    please contact me for comments
    i will open a sourforge project for
    the Kde fork...

  15. Howdy, any news since ? Still didn't find any valuable informations about such forks on internet.

  16. No, no news. The recent 'merger' of Nokia with Microsoft has raised questions about the future of Qt:

    Besides, it's been two years since I wrote this, and an awful lot has happened. Like Canonical's desire to replace X with Wayland, the just-recent release of Gnome 3...

    I had the crazy idea of doing something much smaller; replacing GTK with Qt on the Gimp, to make it more attractive to developers, but even that idea has been called into question by Nokia's actions.

    Right now I'm learning how to work with Android on my shiny new MyTouch G4. I just want to see what that process is all about and satisfy my curiosity about the device.


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