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KDE GUI Software Operating Systems IT Linux BSD

KDE 4.1 Beta 1 Released 242

Posted by timothy
from the when-improvements-amplify-each-other dept.
appelza contributed a link to Tuesday's announcement of the next step toward KDE 4.1: "The KDE Project is proud to announce the first beta release of KDE 4.1. Beta 1 is aimed at testers, community members and enthusiasts in order to identify bugs and regressions, so that 4.1 can fully replace KDE 3 for end users. KDE 4.1 beta 1 is available as binary packages for a wide range of platforms, and as source packages. KDE 4.1 is due for final release in July 2008." I haven't used KDE much for the past few years, but the screenshots of a "grown-up" plasma are enough to make me correct that.
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KDE 4.1 Beta 1 Released

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  • by pacroon (846604) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:17PM (#23575673)
    I think that besides whats already been stated about the obvious nifts 'n gigglez with eyecandy, it looks a little less "overdone" than the previous ones. I'm not a big KDE fan myself, but in this particular period in time, I'm mostly happy that large free applications are being updated at all. :)
  • So there wasn't even a comment posted (even after a refresh) before the site was slashdotted and nearly dead.



    Impressive!

  • I dunno.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mpapet (761907) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:23PM (#23575763) Homepage
    My concern is not so much the desktop environment itself.

    How many KDE3-guified apps are going to switch over to KDE4? I don't expect to see very many this year, but next year should be very telling regarding the desktop's popularity.
    • Re:I dunno.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tanktalus (794810) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @04:12PM (#23576553) Journal

      I dunno ... I'm running kde 4.0.4 right now, and I have to say that while there are apps that are prone to crashing (darned open-source imperative to release early and release often, but, hey, I knew that before electing to install it), I do love what they've done with many things. A few things stick out in my mind: konqueror - VASTLY improved, okular - replaces kpdf and can read MS's "compiled html" (.chm) format (which is helpful for me), the composite effects are not all just eye candy - things like dimming background windows help me focus on the foreground application and pushing my mouse into a corner of the screen (default: top-left) to show all the windows on the desktop (or on all desktops) is HUGELY helpful.

      That's just some of the KDE3 apps that are already ported to KDE4. Even extras like ktorrent have already been ported to KDE4, which is nice.

      I really miss the PIM stuff (kmail, knode, kalarm, kaddressbook, etc), so I'm really looking forward to seeing KDE 4.1 in the main Gentoo portage tree, even masked, as soon as possible.

      I expect to see MANY kde3 apps moved to KDE4 this year.

      Heck, I was running the KDE4 version of ktorrent on KDE 3.5.8 earlier this year (yes, I know, 3.5.9 is out), so it's not like it's entirely a problem to have these apps coexist. This provides apps the opportunity to port to KDE4 without needing their users to actually use KDE4 as their desktop.

    • by novakyu (636495)

      How many KDE3-guified apps are going to switch over to KDE4?
      I don't know about how much things are different under the hood, but as far as GUI goes, QT4 has compatibility objects and methods for programs transitioning from QT3, if the developer doesn't want to re-implement everything with QT4.

      Except for very old, stable programs that are not being updated anymore, I don't see what would stop someone from switching over to QT4 (and presumably KDE4).
    • Amarok, Konversation, K3b, KDevelop and Kontact are main blockers in this regard, all are being ported.

      Amarok and KDevelop already have Alpha/Beta releases out, and should be done within a couple of months I think (original plan was to coincide with 4.1 but not sure if they will), Kontact will be a part of 4.1.

      Konversation and K3b are going to be ported, but I don't know when
  • by ryanisflyboy (202507) * on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:25PM (#23575797) Homepage Journal
    I am not a window manager guru by any stretch. I use Gnome since that is what a lot of my friends use, and at the time I made the choice KDE didn't seem as capable. Now I look at KDE and get the impression that Gnome is falling behind in breadth and depth of features, configurability, and ease of use. Is that an accurate view of the situation? If so, why isn't Gnome able to keep up?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Now I look at KDE and get the impression that Gnome is falling behind in breadth and depth of features, configurability, and ease of use.
      It always had been. I'm a GNOME user who remembers the years of file chooser abuse by the GTK devs. I'm using GNOME because the whole thing feels more "solid", I like nautilus better than Konq, and that Firefox uses gtk.
    • by domatic (1128127) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:37PM (#23576001)
      The GNOME guys idea of user friendly is strip features and configurability rather than refining features, picking good defaults, and laying out dialogs for ease of use by normal users and having tastefully accessible extra options for the particular and demanding power user. And no guys, clicking around in gconf which may not even respect those customizations on the next login doesn't cut it.

      Historically KDE has fallen down by making configurability difficult for casual users and a pain for power users but at least power users could eventually get things the way they want them. I read good things about how KDE4 is going with that but have yet to see it for myself as it was a mass of regressions from KDE 3.5 the last time I tried it. Once it acquires polish and forward ported features and apps from 3.5, I'll be switching too.
      • Important Caveats (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Alaren (682568) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:50PM (#23576223)

        I read good things about how KDE4 is going with that but have yet to see it for myself as it was a mass of regressions from KDE 3.5 the last time I tried it. Once it acquires polish and forward ported features and apps from 3.5, I'll be switching too.


        I read good things, too, so I just assumed that "4.0" meant "everything 3.5 is, only better." But after installing KDE4, I found that every customization option I was really interested in required me to dig into Plasma's guts and re-script stuff. For all of that, I may as well have installed Gnome.

        Almost all my online inquiries got this response: "That's planned for 4.1, but until then you can make it happen by [rewriting this file in some obscure way]." Stuff as simple as dragging elements around in my panels was not even implemented.

        I actually liked the parts of KDE4 that felt complete, so I do plan on migrating eventually. But the more time I spend learning about it, the more it looks like KDE4.1 should have been KDE4.0. As it stands, KDE4 is almost useless as a GUI, because the "G" part of that acronym doesn't apply to customizing your settings. So if by "acquires polish" you mean "becomes a feature-complete GUI," I agree.

        • Re:Important Caveats (Score:4, Informative)

          by Jesus_666 (702802) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @04:07PM (#23576489)
          Actually, KDE 4.1 is what the average user considers to be "KDE 4". 4.0 was mainly the technical basis on which the actual GUI would be built.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by PitaBred (632671)
          4.0 was advertised as a "base" platform for application developers and bleeding-edge adopters, a feature-freeze for the KDE 4.0 frameworks, not necessarily a feature-complete desktop environment. Was there somewhere or someone that said otherwise? If so, they should be slapped with a trout.
          • Thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Alaren (682568)

            See, looks like everyone knew what was going on except for me!

            I don't think I ever saw anything that said KDE was feature-complete. I just saw article after article about lower memory usage, improved user experience, greater customization, and then "KDE4 Beta" followed by "KDE4.0 Released!!!" I drew some incorrect conclusions, that's all.

            I can't blame my ignorance on anyone else. But it's worth pointing out that, while as an ex-IT guy I have a pretty good handle on technology, when it comes to the Li

          • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @05:24PM (#23577777) Journal

            Was there somewhere or someone that said otherwise?
            Only the convention of a "dot-oh" release since the beginning of... since forever.

            If it was meant for bleeding-edge adopters, it should have been called alpha or beta. If it was meant for application developers, call it a release candidate, or split it into two projects and call this one "kdebase 4.0".

            Calling it "KDE 4.0" was a mistake.
        • by lattyware (934246)
          Yeah, when KDE4.0 was released, they basically said look to KDE4.1 for our first proper release.
        • Re:Important Caveats (Score:4, Informative)

          by StormReaver (59959) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @04:44PM (#23577079)
          KDE 4.0 was never intended for mainstream use, but rather as the first implementation of the new KDE libraries that allowed developers to begin porting their KDE 3.x applications to KDE 4. As such, KDE 4.0 was largely unusable. However, its goals (the main porting effort) were achieved, so it was considered a success.

          KDE 4.1 is supposed to be the first KDE 4 version usable by real people. There was a lot of space between 4.0 and actual usability; but the developers have been making rapid progress, and KDE 4.1 seems good in the article, so I'm allowing myself a bit of optimism that it might have enough of 3.5's functionality to be useful -- especially if I can uninstall Dolphin without trashing the rest of the desktop.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Frekko (749706)
      As a long time KDE user I can tell you that this is not true. Not that KDE 4 isn't very impressive (I love, that's why I use it) but these two projects are developed in parallel. They watch each other as hawks and most of the features are in fact quite similar. Yes, there are some differences, but hey they are different products.

      Love the fact that we have competition on the desktop on Linux. It's our greatest blessing!
    • by Chineseyes (691744) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:39PM (#23576033)
      Taking the lead of what exactly? Gnome has followed a trend of removing features and giving users few options while KDE has been giving users more features and more options.

      Some people feel that completely removing options is a good idea because they are looking to target corporations and limiting options makes support easier, but I have always felt that KDE's approach is much better. Give the users all the options they could imagine and then let them decide what is best. With KDE's approach you can always have some sort of locked down "corporate default" setting that would make support easier but with Gnome's approach what do you do when a user wants a feature that has been removed?
      • by Niten (201835) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @04:22PM (#23576727)

        No, there's a huge difference between removing options and leaving advanced under-the-hood features, well, under the hood.

        GNOME takes very much the same approach as OS X here. For instance, in order to let users adjust how Spaces handles new windows popping up in different workplaces, Apple didn't throw yet another checkbox into some huge and unnavigable control panel. Rather, they left it as an option to be configured with defaults write com.apple.Dock ..., because 95% of users won't want to change this behavior, and those who do won't have any trouble figuring out defaults write anyway.

        Likewise, a lot of obscure GNOME / Metacity / GTK+ configuration options that aren't wasting space on a control panel somewhere are still accessible through GConf or a separate configuration file. I'm an "advanced" user, and I like this because it gives me less junk to hunt through when I want to change something in the GUI; and I know many "beginner" users who appreciate GNOME for the very same reason.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          because 95% of users won't want to change this behavior, and those who do won't have any trouble figuring out defaults write anyway.

          Well when I was using GNOME there were many things I wanted to change, and I had trouble figuring out how to change them, eventually I managed to change half of them and was told the other half were impossible to change "because people generally don't want to change that" or some shit like that.

          I'm sorry for not figuring out GNOME, but somehow on KDE I can change anything I want (to be fair, 4.0 is missing a lot of configuration dialogs for plasma, but that's temporary, they'll be back in 4.1 or 4.2, wh

      • by HalAtWork (926717)
        with Gnome's approach what do you do when a user wants a feature that has been removed?

        You write a basic task-oriented application. You could argue that Gnome is a more modular approach while KDE is a more monolithic approach.
    • by Hoplite3 (671379) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:42PM (#23576085)
      I use KDE, but I don't think Gnome has fallen behind. I'd say both are about at the same level.

      If anything, the big tragedy is all of the stuff that's now done by KDE/Gnome that should be done by non-X related systems. Wifi association, laptop power stuff, suspend/resume functionality, and so on... all of these things are now handled through Gnome and KDE subsystems to some degree, rather than handled by a non-X related program that communicates to some graphical widget.

      There's been a big loss of separation between parts. It's a shame.
      • by PitaBred (632671)
        Naah. They're handled through freedesktop.org interfaces. NetworkManager, powernowd, all that just provide hooks that KDE and Gnome take advantage of with their controller widgets. It's the same underpinnings, just a different fascia depending on the DE.
        • by Hoplite3 (671379)
          Ah, but set the rules for what happens when you close the laptop lid in Gnome, then fire up KDE and close the lid ... the result is the default for KDE.

          Likewise, log in to a VT rather than an X session. NetworkManager won't associate with any known basepoint around at login. nmtool doesn't even have the ability to force a connection.
    • by theJavaMan (539177) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:45PM (#23576139)
      I would say it's the design philosophy. Gnome says "Do this our way, because it is better" (see the ok-cancel button debate). KDE says "You can do it this way, but you can also configure your own way".
    • by cozziewozzie (344246) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:49PM (#23576207)
      The KDE team has been rewriting/porting basically everything over to Qt4, which was a gargantuan task.

      During this time, they used the opportunity to fix some long-standing issues and redesign some key components. Things were broken and in development for a long time, while the stable release 3.5.x went into bugfixing mode. Gnome was making steady improvements to their 2.x codebase this entire time.

      KDE is only now starting to reap the fruits of this effort. The real power of the platform will become more obvious in the coming years.
    • by scorp1us (235526)
      Well, KDE uses Qt. Qt is commercial, and has commercial funding in addition to its opensource side. I've always suggested that commercial corporations can have better direction than undirected opensource scratch-an-itch development. (That is not to say that all opensource development is scratch-an-itch. I'd never be so naive.) Really, KDE4 is just riding on the back of Qt4, which tries to make money by getting commercial developers to buy it. And I think that's where it is different from GTK/GNOME. GTK/GNOM
    • by inalienable (670771) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @05:39PM (#23577961)
      I've been using linux since 1999, and in that time I don't recall there ever being a moment when it would make any sense to say that KDE didn't seem as capable as GNOME. Some people prefer GNOME's appearance, design philosophy, or set of apps to KDE's -- and vice versa -- but when it comes to capabilities, KDE has always (at least since '99) been the clear winner. In fact, lack of capabilities is GNOME's selling point -- less capabilities means a simpler interface that many people prefer.
  • I'm looking at the screen shots and I'm wondering with a couple of them-- What's up with the jaggies? Is it really that difficult to implement a little anti-aliasing on the edges of the apps when you apply certain effects?
    • by Fez (468752) *
      I can't get to TFA to check the screenshots, but it may be the same as Gnome in my case. On one of my systems I have running Ubuntu 8.04, some compiz effects have jagged edges. It is especially noticeable with the Wobbly Windows effect.

      I may have an option turned off, something misconfigured, or perhaps AA is only used for higher-end video cards than I have.
      • by bersl2 (689221) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:52PM (#23576259) Journal
        What video card(s)/driver(s) are you using?

        Mesa doesn't support AA IIRC.
        • by Fez (468752) *
          On that box I'm using Nvidia's binary drivers on an NV18-based GeForce4 MX440.
          • by Fez (468752) *
            Hate to reply to myself but there is another detail: I am using the nvidia-glx driver, as that card did not seem to take to well to the most recent set of drivers. I might try it again, though.
      • From what I remember, Beryl (the Compiz fork that everyone used until it was merged again) never supported antialiasing. I don't remember what the reason was, but I suspect that there's something that makes it tricky to apply these effects to a desktop (versus a game).
        • by Fez (468752) *
          It doesn't bother me at all, so I haven't given it much concern.

          It may also chew up too much CPU or GPU time to use it on a desktop, more than any perceived benefit.
  • Beta? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:31PM (#23575909)
    "The KDE Project is proud to announce the first beta release of KDE 4.1. Beta 1"



    What?! The first beta of beta?

    • Re:Beta? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday May 28, 2008 @03:42PM (#23576077) Journal
      "The KDE Project is proud to announce the first beta release of KDE 4.1. Beta 1"

      What?! The first beta of beta?


      Naw. The Department of Redundancy Department got its hands on the press release.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jesus_666 (702802)
      Actually, they included rounded corners and JavaScript, which allowed them to add gratuitous AJAX. The result is KDE 4.1 2.0 Beta. Since it's not entirely done yet and they're still testing they released a beta version, KDE 4.1 2.0 Beta Beta.

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