Qt4 is available with a GPL licence on *all* platforms. GTK+ is LGPL.
Unless we are working with some kind of "sins of the father" model, we should
just stop attacking KDE based on Qt being non-free at some point in the past. This is just
too tedious. The company has been very nice to the community, and the cooperation is ever
increasing. You don't hear too many people attacking GTK for being LGPL.
Even more Subjective:
I believe that KDE was behind GNOME in terms of looks. Not anymore. If you like clearlooks
in GNOME (the current default), try out QtCurve for KDE. It gives the same look and feel
to the widgets. Similar color themes can also be installed. KDE is much more customizable
than GNOME, and can be made to look and behave like GNOME, if you like it that way. As
far as iconsets go, oxygen (shown at akademy 2005) is very beautiful! With projects like
Tango, you could get similar iconsets for KDE and GNOME anyway.
The best part of KDE is the technology. It feels like a well integrated set of components,
each excellent at its job. Unix philosophy extended to the desktop. I just love the
ioslaves, kparts, dcop, and nx technologies. Ioslaves provide features like excellent
network transparency. Fish protocol is godsent. Excellent use of kparts in kontact. I can
right-click on a postscript file, and select an action, which would convert it to a pdf
file, and upload it to my remote server over ssh. (No, kfmclient is much more general
purpose and powerful than gnome's remote folders. And ioslaves are used more
consistently than gnome-vfs). Dcop makes it easy for the user to do stuff like link his
superkaramba themes (like gdesklets in gnome) to his music player or chat client. It is
trivial to, say, take an incoming message from kopete (chat client) and make ktts speak it
out over your speakers. (Not that you want to do that, but you could, with 10 lines of
code). Some other features are given here:
The upcoming technologies in KDE are even more exciting. Plasma is nice, and Tenor, a
highly innovative project related to tracking context of data on your computer. It is far
more ambitious than beagle / spotlight / winfs kind of projects.
I guess my point is, KDE is an excellent and exciting project, and if you haven't
tried it out recently, give it a try. The real fun starts when you customize KDE with your
own cute little scripts! I was a cli / KDE user, switched to GNOME with 2.6, and now back
to KDE with 3.3/3.4.
I try to track the progress of both the projects.