Linux backers to announce KDE League

KDE Linux desktop supporters have formed KDE League at Comdex 2000 to actively promote KDE as an alternative to GNOME. But the move has the potential to sharply divide the Linux community.

LAS VEGAS -- The KDE Linux desktop environment will take a giant step forward on Wednesday when its supporters announce here at Comdex that they have banded together to form the KDE League to actively push the technology.

Ransom Love, president and CEO of Caldera Systems Inc., confirmed on Tuesday the establishment of a unified group to actively promote KDE (K Desktop Environment) as a viable alternative to GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment).

KDE is a collaborative project by hundreds of developers worldwide to create a customizable and stable Linux desktop environment employing a network-transparent, intuitive user interface.

Development is currently focused on KDE 2, which will offer a free, open-source, fully featured office suite that could make the Linux desktop as easy to use as Windows and the Macintosh, participants say. GNOME is also designed to make Linux and Unix easier to use.

The KDE League initiative follows the formation of the GNOME Foundation in August.

"KDE has always been an excellent technology that is stable and reliable. It has had a technological advantage over GNOME for business applications for some time but lacked an entity to actively promote it. We will now have that," Love said.

A KDE spokesman declined to comment, saying an announcement would be made on Wednesday.

Other companies that will support the initiative are expected to include SuSE Inc., IBM, Compaq Computer Corp. and Corel Corp, sources say.

But the move has the potential to sharply divide the Linux community, which wants to provide an effective competitor on the desktop front to Microsoft Corp.'s Windows and Office offerings.

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