July 12, 1998 – The K Desktop Environment 1.0 was unveiled, spearheaded by a software developer named Matthias Ettrich. Truth be told, this wasn't a revolutionary system. It was a fairly easy-to-use and relatively polished Open Source desktop environment for UNIX-style systems (including Linux). It did include many of the mainstays of Linux Desktop Environments, including virtual desktops and a fairly high level of customizability. If CDE and Windows 95 had a baby... and that baby were Open Source... it might look something like KDE 1.0.
Extremely Important Tidbit: The “K” originally stood for “Kool.” It was the “Kool Desktop Environment.” Which is both horrible and wonderful all at the same time.