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KDE Announces 4.9 Releases 159

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the shinier-than-ever-before dept.
jrepin writes "KDE announces 4.9 releases of Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. Version 4.9 provides many new features, along with improved stability and performance. Some of the highlights include, but are not limited to: more thorough integration of Activities throughout the Workspaces, ability to display metadata (ratings, tags, image and file sizes...) next to file names in Dolphin file manager, Mercurial versioning system support in Dolphin, detachable tabs in Konsole terminal emulator, support for MPRIS2 protocol in various places, ability to store and print PDF annotations from Okular document viewer, Okular can also play videos embedded in PDFs, Lokalize translation tool supports Qt's TS translation files, Kontact PIM suite gains ability to import data from Thunderbird and Evolution, Pairs is a new memory training game added to KDE Education package, and Marble desktop globe includes Open Source Routing Machine and support for bicycle and pedestrian routing. This release is dedicated to the memory of recently deceased KDE contributor Claire Lotion."
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KDE Announces 4.9 Releases

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  • Nice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lennier1 (264730) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:18PM (#40844683)

    Just make sure the tablet UI mode stays optional. We don't need another Gnome3/Unity.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've been shouting that at the Microsoft Win 8 development blogs, but I don't think they were paying attention.

      I suppose I could've been more tactful, insisting that the VP who came up with the design is romantically attracted to bivalves might've been a bit excessive.

    • Re:Nice (Score:5, Informative)

      by suy (1908306) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @03:19PM (#40846755) Homepage

      Just make sure the tablet UI mode stays optional. We don't need another Gnome3/Unity.

      KDE/Plasma doesn't have a "tablet mode". For the main interface (sometimes I've seen it mentioned as "primary user interface"), with the 4.x series a new approach was attempted. Instead of having somewhat monolithic blocks rigidly coupled (kicker, kdesktop, etc.), a general framework for creating this kind of interfaces was created: what today we know as Plasma. Plasma has shared libraries and frameworks, but the desktop experience is a program named plasma-desktop. A similar UI is plasma-netbook, and of course there are versions for tablet and even phone incarnations. Many things are shared, which is the cool thing about KDE.

      This approach was probably very ambitious at the beginning, and hence the initial bad impressions, but in my experience it was worth it, since now I can have a kick-ass desktop that is configurable way beyond I could imagine in the KDE 3.x days.

    • by diegocg (1680514)

      Unlike Gnome and Unity, the KDE desktop shell is flexible. You can make KDE look like Windows XP/7, OS X, Unity or even Gnome Shell, if someone implemented it. My KDE desktop looks like Unity.

      • by blackpaw (240313)

        Ditto, except I have the Task bar/launcher on the right, scaled to the size I want - love those SVG icons and Icon-Only Taskbar. And a autohide bottom panel with a activities tab bar.

  • Congrats! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by danbuter (2019760) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:21PM (#40844739)
    I'm glad the KDE crew is still pushing stuff out the door. While I'm not a huge fan of KDE4, it is improving.
  • Why don't they just round up and make it 5.0 releases?
    • by Desler (1608317) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:23PM (#40844793)

      Because they are saving 5.0 for when they throw away all the code and start from scratch again.

      *ducks*

      • by A12m0v (1315511)

        It would be funny if it weren't most probably true.

    • What I don't understand is how one can release .9 of something.
    • by Carewolf (581105) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:45PM (#40845159) Homepage

      KDE 5.0 is being worked on, but it is not called KDE 5.0, it is called KDE frameworks. One of the main points of KDE frameworks is get rid of the distinctions betwen Qt and KDE applications, so many KDE features are being ported into Qt now that it is under open governance, and the rest will be made to work well at Qt components that anyone can add to their application.

      • by icebike (68054) *

        This will be a welcome change.
        There is still a maddening separation of some visual elements that have to be adjusted in QT rather than KDE, and some applications that seemingly never made it to the KDE bandwagon.

        • by Desler (1608317)

          As long as they are only optional modules, sure. But tying cross-platform apps to KDE-specific features seems stupid.

          • by icebike (68054) *

            As long as they are only optional modules, sure. But tying cross-platform apps to KDE-specific features seems stupid.

            I have no problem with better integration of cross platform apps. When you work all day in KDE, and have some apps pop up with a look and feel that is so jarringly different and non-standard (kde standard) you feel like you stepped into a time warm to the past each time you launch them.

            I wonder what percentage of Linux users even work cross platform? I suspect a large percentage of them only know an app is cross platform because it says so, not because they have an Apple computer sitting next to KDE.

            • We have multiple Qt applications at our company that are compiled across all the platforms that we use. Apple, Microsoft, and Linux boxen. We have two camps in our company. One is of the Java school and the other is of the Qt school. I can tell you that the Qt applications feel quicker, but the Java applications tend to be more flexible and have better selection of libraries that can be used on every platform.

              Writing an interface for our AS/400 system in Qt wasn't especially pain-free, but it was a w
              • by Desler (1608317)

                but the Java applications tend to be more flexible and have better selection of libraries that can be used on every platform.

                Exactly what types of cross platform libraries in C or C++ are you lacking? I ask sincerely since I've heard this asserted all the time, but it is rarely true.

                • It's not a lack. It's libraries that can be used on every platform. As in, I can select one library and it have the same interface on every platform. Usually when going between Windows and anybody else, the API changes on you with a given library. However, that's really not a fault of Qt or C++, but more along the lines that Window's libraries wanting to do things their way.

                  I've not run into a problem where I needed to do something and a library simply not exist for a given platform. It's just havin
                  • It's not a lack. It's libraries that can be used on every platform. As in, I can select one library and it have the same interface on every platform. Usually when going between Windows and anybody else, the API changes on you with a given library.

                    So your complaint then is that you can't find a cross-platform library for something? Can you elaborate what that your requirement is?

            • I wonder what percentage of Linux users even work cross platform?

              The corporate desktop is still dominated by Windows XP Professional. So it's often a case of Windows by day, Linux at home.

              None of these are Qt-based but at work I've regularly used the following in preference to win32 only alternatives due to the fact I can run them on my home machine:

              Eclipse/Netbeans, Firefox, Gimp (simple image editing), Geany (no vi/emacs wars please). Thunderbird and Libreoffice not so much because most businesses

              • by donaldm (919619)

                The corporate desktop is still dominated by Windows XP Professional. So it's often a case of Windows by day, Linux at home.

                Maybe in the places you have worked but for me and I have worked for some very large companies MS Windows 7 is standard. I have even seen the dreaded "Blue Screen of Death" on MS Widows 7 OS's on quite a few occasions. I have been using Fedora for well over four years in a professional capacity and at home and have never really had any issues working with colleagues who are using MS Windows and MS Office. Actually most of the time I use KDE although when KDE 4.0 came out I had to jump ship to Gnome for abo

      • by KugelKurt (908765)

        KDE 5.0 is being worked on, but it is not called KDE 5.0, it is called KDE frameworks. One of the main points of KDE frameworks is get rid of the distinctions betwen Qt and KDE applications, so many KDE features are being ported into Qt now that it is under open governance, and the rest will be made to work well at Qt components that anyone can add to their application.

        How can this completely wrong comment get "Score:5, Interesting"?
        "KDE 5" is not being worked of and "KDE frameworks" is not its new name and no distinction between KDE and Qt applications will be gotten rid of.

        Here's the correction:
        Every 6 months a community whose name is "KDE" release 3 software bundles: KDE Plasma Workspaces, KDE Applications, and KDE Development Platform which consists of the libraries that make up the foundation of the former two.
        Plasma Workspaces will stay at 4.x for the foreseeable fu

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is the 9th supplemental release of the 4.0 code base. Normally major number bumps, such as going to 5.0, indicate a break with backwards compatibility.

      The next release in the 4.x series -- assuming there is one -- will be 4.10.

    • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:57PM (#40846407)

      Why don't they just round up and make it 5.0 releases?

      The number isn't decimal. It is major-version.minor-version. We can have 4.10 and 4.11.

      A change in the major-version number usually means that changes in the API have taken place and things marked deprecated are removed completely.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thanks KDE, your releases just keep getting better. The Metadata info will be great to have.

    The haters, they just keep hating. When was the last time you used these apps?

    • Re:Another Win (Score:4, Insightful)

      by not already in use (972294) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:48PM (#40845209)
      Any service with a commenting section is full of people projecting their anger and insecurities on others. Given the nature of slashdot, it's particularly bad here.
      • by icebike (68054) *

        Any service with a commenting section is full of people projecting their anger and insecurities on others. Given the nature of slashdot, it's particularly bad here.

        And anyone using the word "haters" is right up there among the most insecure.
        What ever happened to a difference of opinion?

        I personally dislike Gnome, but I certainly don't "hate" it.
        I much prefer KDE, but I understand people who want things much simpler.

        • by Desler (1608317)

          But even if you did hate it, so what? The fucking DE fanbois need to get over themselves.

    • by icebike (68054) *

      Thanks KDE, your releases just keep getting better. The Metadata info will be great to have.

      True, but many of these features have been there for several releases.

      Metadata has been available in the Information sidebar for well over a year.
      Detachable Konsole tabs have been there since KDE 3.5 days (what, almost 5 years now?).
      PDF annotations in ocular have been there for many prior releases, only the option to print them is new.
      And Kontact PIM is still a mess.

      So most of these are minor improvements to an already excellent desktop that far surpasses anything else in this market segment.

      • by richlv (778496)

        i was surprised about 'detachable konsole tabs' being new, as that's something i've been using s lot since kde 3 indeed.
        could somebody clarify what was actually meant there ?

      • by blackpaw (240313)

        And Kontact PIM is still a mess.

        Beg to disagree, have been using it as my main client with GMail/IMAP since 4.7.x, working well for that. With 4.9 (have been using the beta) Contacts/Task/Calendar sync with google is working very well too.

        Search is still very flaky though, if I have a serious email search to do I drop back to Gmail.

    • The haters, they just keep hating. When was the last time you used these apps?

      Been using KDE for years and years because I detest GNOME (though I say this and also happen to be wearing a Ximian shwag t-shirt, so go figure). Got a new machine at work a few months back, threw Kubuntu 11.10 on it. Woof.

      This machine isn't a speed daemon but within 10-14 days all 10GB of RAM were used. Switching to another window resulted in 5-10 seconds of swapping and HDD light activity. And I'm only running a web b
    • by Maltheus (248271)

      I'm a long time user who finally threw in the towel a few months ago. I like KDE as a window manager, but the "desktop" internals drive me crazy. Especially knotify4. That app has locked up more of my linux systems than any other piece of software out there. Finally got tired of flipping the power switch and now (after an adjustment period) I'm much happier with openbox/tint2. Not missing that semantic/nepomuk garbage either.

  • Activities? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by colin_faber (1083673) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:33PM (#40844959)
    I love KDE but I don't understand activities. Am I "doing it wrong" ? I can't seem to find a use for this feature.
    • I'm with you there. As a home user the only use i could have for activities is for each activity be a session in the sense i could have an instance of kmail/opera/whatever in each instance. It would save me having separate logins to separate the uses.
    • by Carewolf (581105)

      Neither can I yet. It doesn't fit very well with how I use a desktop, but it seems to make a lot more sense when used together with the Netbook, Mobile or Tablet Plasma interfaces, where you can make specialized home- or notification-screens. Once I get KDE on one of those devices, I will try again, the idea sounds promising there.

      • Re:Activities? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by icebike (68054) * on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:25PM (#40845885)

        Activities have always been something of a niche feature, with most people being perfectly content to use multiple desktops
        which have been available since the Pleistocene. Having tools on the desktop in the form of widgets or switching the entire look and feel based on when you stop work and start relaxing were just about the whole selling point of activities, but none of these were problems to begin with.

        Unfortunately, the KDE team let one small group of designers (two people, as best as I can figure out) run away with the desktop for several releases trying to foist Activities on the userbase. In later releases, the bitch level got so high that the rest of the KDE team have pretty much got those individuals under control, and sanity has returned. You can pretty much avoid activities now entirely, or at least make them sit silently in the background managing nothing but wallpaper.

      • Re:Activities? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by socceroos (1374367) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @07:49PM (#40850251)
        Activities haven't been picked up nearly as much as was first desired. It was (and still is in many respects) a great idea.

        The idea was that you could be using your IM, email, and a host of other applications and services all set up for your work environment (or any environment you desire, for that matter) - your IM contacts were your workmates, your email was work email, your browser had your work bookmarks and started up with your work webapps open, etc - THEN, with the click of a button, you could switch to 'home' or 'personal' or whatever and suddenly you'd be seeing your setup for that environment - your personal email, your personal IM contacts, your personal browser setup, your personal folders being displayed on the desktop with a pic of your dog, etc.

        The power was with the user to set this up as they wished, you could have as many (or as few) activities as you desired. Perhaps a Music Creation activity that had all your perferred apps open for music creation + any other stuff you so desired to be configured, or perhaps an activity set up for your Development environment with folders on the desktop pointing directly to your files, etc. The list goes on.

        The power of the idea streched even further to 'networked Activities'. The idea was that you could walk into a hotel for instance and KDE would inform you that there was an 'Activity' that the hotel was offering you to use. This could include things like links to common items in the browser, Icons on the desktop for the menu in the hotel's restaurant, IM contacts that were the hotel's helpdesk, a document explaining the local area and local attractions, etc.

        When it comes down to it, the idea was actually very cool - your desktop environment could mould itself to suit your 'Activity' making access to the things you needed far, far easier and quicker. A great idea. But, the takeup has been bad, misinformation has been rampant and there has been no clear explination of the concept for user's benefit.

        Personally, I'd still like to see it get a run - I love the idea.
        • by celle (906675)

          "The idea was that you could be using your IM, email, and a host of other applications and services all set up for your work environment (or any environment you desire, for that matter) - your IM contacts were your workmates, your email was work email, your browser had your work bookmarks and started up with your work webapps open, etc - THEN, with the click of a button, you could switch to 'home' or 'personal' or whatever and suddenly you'd be seeing your setup for that environment - your personal email, y

          • The problem with having this in the documentation is the same as the problem KDE 4.0 had. 'Activities' is not quite there yet - the idea is great, the developers are keen, but noone has quite picked it up yet. Not many user facing applications have yet integrated themselves with 'Activities' which makes the whole point of them less clear. Which, as I said, is partly why KDE 4.0 got off to such a bad start too.

            Having said that, along the lines of what you're suggesting, it would be good if in the document
            • That's the problem with a lot of 'future proofed' tech, noone sees it as useful until everything ties together.

              Agreed with your analysis - just wanted to point out here that the KDE process allowed the activities folks to steal one of the four screen corners (the most valuable screen real estate per Fitt's law) for a feature that's not really ready. Then again, the stupid acorn has another corner, and it's rarely needed, so maybe I shouldn't be so surprised.

              • The cashew? Never heard it get called an acorn. =D

                I tend to agree though - its usefulness doesn't extend very far (for example, the same contextual menu can be accessed with a right-click). However, I think one of the main reasons behind the cashew was to allow access to that same contextual menu regardless of your desktop setup. For example, there are some 'desktop layouts' (found in Desktop Settings) that entirely change the behaviour of right-clicking on the desktop: the 'folder view' layout displays
    • Re:Activities? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @01:52PM (#40845271)

      Don't worry, nobody can, except perhaps Siego. Activities are a solution looking for a problem.

      • by G3ckoG33k (647276)

        "a solution looking for a problem"

        Brilliant. I can think of that as well put in a large number of totally different scenarios.

    • Re:Activities? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @02:08PM (#40845579)

      Think of it a groups of applications and desktop widgets between which you can switch.

      For example, I find it convenient to have, say, an IDE, a web browser a couple consoles and relevant apps in an activity, and in another activity the word processor, another browser, perhaps a drawing programme.

      I could do that on virtual desktops, but I like each group of apps spread over 3-4 virtual desktops. This is like a way of organising (in my case) 18 virtual desktops in 6 more manageable groups. Also, I don't want the twitter feed on all of them, and I want different directories on my desktop for each group.

      Does it make sense?

    • I don't use it but I see a potential use, for example if you have a laptop that you use at work and at home you can have a work activity with all the documents and shortcuts to programs that you use at work on desktop and then have another home activity with games, photos and other crap on the desktop. Or you could have a boss activity where you switch when your boss is around and a slashdot activity with live feeds from slashdot on desktop and other such productive things :)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I had the same problem until just recently where I started working on several programs at once. Now I never close my IDE, profilers, file manager..., I just go to the next activity when I am done working on one project. I usually manage to fill up pretty much every virtual desktop in each activity. When I log in I hit super+tab until I am at the right activity that has everything open that I need to continue my work.
      So right now I have an activity for my regular stuff like emails and browsing, several for m

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zlamma (962382)
      If you don't understand them, it means you don't have the problem they are solving - a lot of UI components open all at once.

      But whenever you're overloaded with multitude of items, grouping may help you. And sometimes you can distinguish some non-overlapping groups of GUI components. These are activities.
      Like: For staying up to date with life (my eMail client, my facebook page), for the project I am currently working on (my IDE, some folders of the project I am currently editing, GIThub page, various goo
    • by Tetch (534754)

      I love KDE but I don't understand activities

      I feel exactly the same - I have no idea what an activity is, what it's for, or how to use it. But I have figured out (I think) that you have to edit activity settings in order to change the wallpaper or screensaver ..... wait a minute, was that KDE 4.4, or KDE 4.8 ? Confused I am, quite a bit.

      Still, at least in 4.8 you can now edit the window decoration theme for the KDM login dialog without having to know the arcane binary name of the 'System Settings' utility to run via KDESU.

      One of the key missing comp

    • I've generally found myself getting used to them with two main problems left:

      #1: No official way to bind activities to key combinations. I see an unofficial way of hacking this into Plasma, which seems to indicate high demand for this feature, but the developers have proven supremely uninterested in official support for it.

      #2: No way to bind applications to activities. If I'm supposed to use activities to group applications, then why the fucking hell can't Plasma remember which activitiy an application was

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Many times I've tried to switch to linux from windows and many times I moved back because something doesn't work as it should or slow, etc. But recently I've installed Kubuntu 12.04 and I actually like it. It has been 2 weeks now and I'm not planning to get back to Windows. I still have windows to play games though. Anyway, good job KDE, keep up the good work!

  • Has anyone dared to install it through a backports PPA on Ubuntu?
    Is it something worth doing?
    • If you intend to use the LTS released for actual long term support, I recommend against doing this.

      If you want something closer to the edge, you should use Debian Unstable, Arch, etc.

      I always laugh at the guys on ubuntu forums asking about how to install the current kernel on their 10.04 box...

    • by blackpaw (240313)

      Has anyone dared to install it through a backports PPA on Ubuntu?

      Is it something worth doing?

      Yes, I've done it - works fine. Backports now has the full 4.9 release.

  • by fritsd (924429) on Wednesday August 01, 2012 @04:56PM (#40848115) Journal
    What I would like to know is, if I do the following:

    ssh -X otheruser@localhost kmail

    Does it Just Work(TM)? Or does it still crash because akonadi / nepomuk / strigi / mysql / kitchensink haven't all been woken up at the same time to serve the urgent e-mail indexing needs of otheruser@localhost.

    It's interesting to me that akonadi has such a nice and detailed self-test, but a pity that it seems to need it :-(
    • by Rich0 (548339)

      What I'd like to know is if you can use kmail without having neopmuk even installed. Kmail is a great piece of software. Nepomuk is something that I don't need, so I don't have it. KDE works great without it, minus any of the PIM elements. So, I don't use the PIM elements.

  • Upgrading to 4.9 was painless.
    Plasma Desktop is the best DE out there since 4.2.
    Improving KWin scripting makes it even better! Dolphin 2.1 rocks hard.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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