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[Acronym] for __C__ommon __D__esktop __E__nvironment
The "Standard" [GUI] interface for Unix, based on the Motif toolkit. Since the Motif toolkit was proprietary, the OpenSource community didn't really embrace it much, and it got steamrolled by [GNOME] and [KDE]. I believe SunMicrosystems (one of the major supporters of [CDE]) have decided in the latest releases of Solaris to bundle [GNOME] as well as [CDE] and give users the option of which to use.
: Although there was "lesstif" which was an open source replacement, it was much later.