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KDE on Windows

The February 2010 issue of "Linux Journal" has an article on running KDE 
4 applications on Microsoft Windows. Apparently what's been holding them 
back is the licensing on the Qt UI library they use, which Nokia (after 
acquiring Trolltech) has since changed, making a GPL version available 
for Windows.

So in a short period of time, there seems to be a flood KDE applications 
that now run on Windows. (That seems to imply the porting effort was 
minimal, and perhaps Qt gets all the credit for that. Still, an 
impressive feat.)

Unlike the many Gtk apps you can find that run on Windows, which are 
each packaged and installed individually, the KDE developers took the 
approach of creating a combined installer, due to the large base of 
common code shared by most KDE apps. The installer looks like much like 
a GUI package manager, like say Synaptic.

You can even install the KDE Plasma desktop shell in place of Explorer, 
to get a more complete KDE experience, but it is experimental, and the 
reviewer says it isn't all that usable yet.

Aside from some rough edges when dealing with file paths, the reviewer 
said the applications worked pretty well on Windows.

I've sampled many KDE apps on Linux, and while none have risen to my top 
choice in their category, this still seems like a useful tool for 
helping people migrate from proprietary to open source. Add KDE apps to 
the list with Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, and OpenOffice, and they'll 
have even fewer reasons to stay locked-in to Windows.


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
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