1996. október 14-én jelentette be Matthias Ettrich a "Kool Desktop Environment" projekt indulását:
Unix popularity grows thanks to the free variants, mostly Linux. But still a consistant, nice looking free desktop-environment is missing. There are several nice either free or low-priced applications available, so that Linux/X11 would almost fit everybody needs if we could offer a real GUI.
Of course there are GUI's. There is the Commond Desktop Environment (much too exensive), Looking Glas (not too expensive but not really the solution), and several free X-Filemanagers that are almost GUI's. Moxfm for example is very well done, but unfortunately it is based on Motif.