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KDE GUI Software Linux

KDE 4.1 Alpha 1 Released 186

Crobain writes "The first alpha release for KDE 4.1 is out, and bugs aside, it looks promising. The KDE Plasma desktop shell now has preliminary support for Mac OS X dashboard widgets and SuperKaramba, and panels can be added and removed via contextual menu items. 'This alpha release marks the start of the 4.1 feature freeze, so virtually all of the remaining developer effort between now and the official 4.1 release in July will focus on bug-fixing, polish, and stability. Despite the current breakage, the actual feature set that has been stubbed out for this release is pretty darn good. If the developers can deliver on all of this functionality and make it stable and robust, version 4.1 will offer a much better overall user experience than 4.0, and Plasma will come close to achieving functional parity with the KDE 3.5.x panel system.' The KDE Techbase wiki has a full list of the features planned for the 4.1 release."
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KDE 4.1 Alpha 1 Released

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  • Plasma again... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by javilon ( 99157 ) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @03:43AM (#23260704) Homepage
    I am a very long time KDE user, and I expected 4.0 to be a great desktop, but it turned out to be a alpha so I kept using the old 3.x series.

    The scope of 4.0 was quite big, so understood the problems and I hoped for 4.1 to be a stable release.

    Reading the dot news on I found that the have gone back and rewritten a lot of plasma again. This means that it will need a new period of stabilization again.

    I just hope that this time they don't release before it is ready. It would be a huge blow to the project's reputation. 3.5 is excellent, so we can keep using it until they are really ready with the new version. No hurry.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lbbros ( 900904 )
      If you read also Aaron Seigo's blog, you'll see that this API change had been expected *way* before KDE 4.0 release. Libplasma is scheduled to go into kdelibs at some point (~ 4.2) so the API must be OK because then it'll be frozen. Besides, Plasma was reaborn from ashes (breakage wise) in just a week. This should tell something.
      • by makomk ( 752139 )
        Yeah, and the system tray has been broken for well over a week now (possibly even two weeks) as a result, with no signs it'll be fixed any time soon. Apparently, the version of Plasma in the alpha is a snapshot from when it was even more broken; the trunk version is now finally more-or-less working again (though there have been several interesting additional breakages in it over the last week or two).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Psychotria ( 953670 )
      I am not sure even 4.1 will be a stable release. However, they have made massive improvements. Most of the KDE 4.1 ported applications look really nice (and, yeah, it's not all just eye-candy). Running KDE trunk (aka 4.1) today resulted (for me) in quite a few crashes (more than a week or so ago). Do these crashes worry me? Not really, because I send the core-dumps etc to the developers so they can reproduce them and write fixes.

      I didn't know that 4.1 went alpha today, and (IMO) that seems a bit hasty...
    • I've been using KDE 4 for months.

      While it still has quirks around the place and isnt production ready, I cannot go back to 3.5.
      It looks and feels so old fashioned in comparison. :)

      The quirks generally dont impede productivity at all.
      They are just there.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Enleth ( 947766 )
        If you have a few minutes, could you please take a look at my 3.5 desktop [] and check if it's possible to configure 4.x this way now? I'm using my desktop configuration for a few years now and I'm quite used to it, but last I checked it was impossible to get it on 4.0, especially the top panel.
        • Might be possible.
          You can create a second panel, make it thin and then put plasmoids on it to get a similar effect.
        • The Mac-style option to have the application menu always at the top is not yet implemented in KDE 4, but plenty of people keep requesting it. It may be there when 4.1 launches.
          • by Enleth ( 947766 )
            Thanks, that's one of the things I wanted to know. I guess I'll take a look at Bugzilla and request that too.
        • by HeroreV ( 869368 )
          Oh man, your subpixel antialiasing is going berserk on my monitor.
          • by Enleth ( 947766 )
            Well, it's configured for a 12.1" laptop TFT (very high DPI, small size - that means very small physical pixels), so I guess it could look bad on a CRT, a low-DPI desktop LCD or one of those panoramic, glossy, high-contrast, low-DPI screens in those huge "laptops" one could use as a doorstop or a blunt weapon... But it sure looks good on a sublaptop, so no problem for me.
            • by HeroreV ( 869368 )
              It looks weird because the red, green, and blue pixels are arranged differently. I guess I should have called it "subpixel rendering []" instead of "subpixel antialiasing". I just think it's interesting the effect subpixel rendering has on screenshots. Who would have guessed screenshots would one day have hardware compatibility issues?

              (BTW, I'm using a Dell 2001FP LCD monitor. It's has a 20.1" size, a 1600x1200 resolution, a 4:3 aspect ration, and a matte finish.)
      • According to the article, 4.1's still in the crashes-a-lot type of alpha stage. Some kinds of quirks I can put up with, but it's obviously not for me yet...
    • Perhaps the candy is nice if you have a huge dual screen system. I have not tried it on my dual screen desktop yet.

      I have tried it on my small-screened laptop and found the candy annoying and pixel hogging. Yes, I know I can turn it off...

      As my 16 year old son said of the jello-wobble screens: Cute, but what's the point!

      • As my 16 year old son said of the jello-wobble screens: Cute, but what's the point!

        and to think people said the same of Vista! Look how wrong they tur... oh yeah.

        Seriously, Microsoft's main marketing effort in flogging copies of Vista, and persuading the world that Vista was the thing to have was entirely down to the UI. The fact that Vista hasn't had the expected take-up is partly down to it being a unhelpful resource hog and that too many bloggers said so. If Vista's UAC, Aero etc worked as we expected and there was just 2 editions, I think MS's recent results would have shown an incre

        • I have one of those "Vista Capable" laptops. What I just figured out the other day, is that if you switch to the "Windows Classic" theme, then the system actually runs quite smoothly. the dwm.exe process goes from about 90 MB to about 5 MB, and it runs just as quickly as XP did. For the most part anyway. I think that MS could have saved themselves a lot of bad press if they just would have told retailers to enable the classic theme by default on low end machines. Sure it wouldn't look pretty, but at lea
      • I love the wobble window effect. That's just me.
  • I'm not a kde user but I must say some of the things that I've seen about it would make me consider giving it another go. I quite like some of the ideas they've got, but I can't help but feel that its a bit of a shame that we have two desktop environmnets for Linux which effectively means twice the effort and a dividing of the developers. I know that there are idealigical differences between the two camps... Perhaps this is part of the downside of open source. We've had the same thing with pidgin - in the e
    • Actually, there's more than two.
      XFCE definitely counts as a "desktop environment".
      If you expand that to include window managers, you'd add at least fluxbox, blackbox, openbox, windowmaker, ratpoison, and icewm.
    • I can't help but feel that its a bit of a shame that we have two desktop environmnets for Linux which effectively means twice the effort and a dividing of the developers. I know that there are idealigical differences between the two camps... Perhaps this is part of the downside of open source. We've had the same thing with pidgin - in the end perhaps we could all just get along?

      Please no. Let's foster competition. Especially in the case of Pigdin. This is how developers route around damage. This is Ope

      • Examples like Pidgin fork maybe working as intended but I still can't stop thinking that there's a lot of waste of good will and efforts in the Open Source community, which in the ends bites back and generate products which quality could be better.
    • What is the difference between a "Desktop Environment" and a "Desktop Shell"?

      I used to use KDE. At one point I discovered that I could replace "startkde" with "kicker & kdewin" for drastically shorter startup times and I noticed no difference in functionality whatsoever.

      I then went to e16 and then to e17. What are these "Desktop Shells" lacking that a "Desktop Environment" provides? True, e17 does not have a system tray, but there are plans to add one, and I currently use a standalone tray.

      Note: I do ha
    • You're making a simple math equation, but 1 + 1 is not always 2.

      If you combine the developers working on GNOME and KDE you won't end up with one project that's twice as productive. In fact, it will be very unproductive because each set of developers have vastly different vision.

      Two parallel projects keep each other motivated to become the best one. It also creates playground to implement new features. Sometimes GNOME might not like an idea because it's to controversial. When the developer can implement

  • by AlvinTheNerd ( 1174143 ) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @03:58AM (#23260754)
    I am using KDE 4.0, yeah its rough, yeah some basic functionality isn't there. And I think it is a poor setup not to be able to do things like drag and drop and make things smaller than default. Everything can be made larger, but never smaller.

    However, despite all the failures, which I believe will come around, KDE is really moving to the next step and once the polish is applied it will outshine the rest. A desktop were apps of every shape and color can be integrated. Where the best ideas don't have to be accepted by the head developers, customization, and opening the doors to open source even further. It is a place were truly original ways to organize data and display information will come. It is were we will begin to move beyond just making a windows 3.1 gui more fancy and with more features. I think these are worthy goals. I put up with the annoyances now because I want to be part of it. I think it will be big.

    But seriously, developers, start getting functionality working. You have to get people to use it. The widgets will come but you need functionality to get people to use it. No drag and drop for icons on the desktop, can't move around widgets in the bottom bar, right clicking doesn't give you widget specific options. And when they do, it is very limited, like the digitial clock being set to 12 hour time. I know these aren't sexy to work on, but nothing else matters if this isn't done.

    Lastly, what I think will make the biggest appeal is making kde install easy on vista. People hate the vista interface, but have to have it for the new stuff underneath like directx 10. If you can make kde4 stable and install smooth on vista, you will have a firefox style pickup of it.
    • "And I think it is a poor setup not to be able to do things like drag and drop and make things smaller than default. Everything can be made larger, but never smaller."

      That's why I switched back to 3.5. Big effing stupid everything will be fine when I'm old(er) and blind, but I can see ATM and teh largeness is annoying. That's also why I don't use Gnome.

      As a user, I want a VERY easy to configure desktop I don't have to spend time fvcking with. and don't care if it looks old-fashioned to some people.

      KDE 3.5 i
  • Yesterday I installed KDE 4.0 on my corporate laptop!!! Next to Windows, without touching the partitions! All thanks to a small program called wubi and which makes it possible to install Kubuntu and the others _inside_ Windows partitions. So far I have less than four hours of experience with KDE 4.0, but have only found minor details to complain about - like some menus don't get their contrasting font color if you switch to a dark colored widget style. As Debian user I cannot say that Ubuntu is _easier_ t
  • by Edulix ( 726376 ) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @04:11AM (#23260794) Homepage
    That's not true my friend, I think you misunderstood the 4.1 Release Schedule []. We're in soft feature freeze, but planned features can still be added to the code until May 19th ;-)
    • You are apparently involved with KDE, so maybe you can help me understand: what is plasma? I have read a lot of "vision", I have seen a few toys applets, but I cannot seem to get a feel for what is really is and what it will mean.

      I don't think having puzzle toys and the weather channel on my desktop is a great revolution, so I must be missing something. But what?

      • by lbbros ( 900904 ) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @05:41AM (#23261066) Homepage

        Shameless plug on the Plasma FAQ (which I, among others, work on): []

        The first three questions should answer at least part of your doubts.

        • by Viol8 ( 599362 )
          "incorporating semantic application elements,"

          Oh great , more bloatware, just what we need when KDE isn't exactly quick to start with.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by xtracto ( 837672 ) *
          Plasma aims to change that, incorporating semantic application elements, and bringing cooperating technologies to the user's fingertips in a way that is visually appealing while easing work flow.

          Howdy, it seems some of the Apple and Microsoft marketing guys are contributing to KDE!. BTW, you forgot to add the word synegry. It always sounds more buzzworthy :).
  • by michuk ( 996480 ) on Thursday May 01, 2008 @04:31AM (#23260864) Homepage
    Here is a related (p)review of latest revision of KDe 4.1 (not the exact alpha just released): [] "Plasma has gone under major API changes and is still a bit wonky, Dolphin gets tabs (hell yeah!), Phonon gets a Gstreamer backend, KWin gets wobbly windows (hell yeah!), and KInfoCenter and K3b get KDE4 ports. KDE 4.1 will be sure to blow your mind." A bit more comprehensive and screenshot-rich than the ArsTechnica article.
  • I am using KDE 4 (latest builds) at home on my laptop and desktop. Yeah, production environment.

    Q. But it's an unstable alpha right?

    A. Right, a lot of the KDE4 applications crash. Never fear, for any buggy KDE4 app I simply run the equivalent KDE3 version instead.

    Q. But this uses a lot of memory to have kde3,qt3,kde4 and qt4 loaded at same time right?

    A. Right, but it still manages to use under 500MB and run smoothly with compositing enabled thanks to the new code and efficient toolkits (qt3 and qt4).

    Q. So s
  • I mean, look at this []. Are they purposefully trying to waste as much screen real estate as possible? It looks like they deliberately put 50 pixels of even more no-quite-brushed-metal-looking empty space around each little button there.
    • That's the preview for plasma themes. It only shows up when you click the combo box, so screen space usage is irrelevant. Not great, but better than no preview.
  • by MattBD ( 1157291 )
    I recently upgraded to Kubuntu Hardy. After much agonizing, I eventually decided reluctantly to stick with KDE3.5 - for me it's just not ready yet in Kubuntu. But since Intrepid Ibex will include KDE4.1, I'll be very glad to switch to that. KDE4 is brilliant - just not yet.
  • Thankfully they have got rid of those absurd glass borders. On immediate appearance however I think it still looks pretty discontinuous and lost as an overall design.

    Why such vast tracts of grey? In some of the screenshots on the PolishLinux site [] window elements are surrounded by entire football fields of grey nothingness.

    Why the faded titles in the panel? What are they intended to signify?

    Why are the minimise and maximise icons raised, tiny and 'stuck on' rather graphically integrated into the window
    • >> Why such vast tracts of grey?

      Partially due to incomplete dialog design on the snapshot they are testing. This isn't released software. Also it depends on what you're comparing it to. Mac UI also has a lot of empty space, mostly because of the icon+text toolbars.

      >> Why the faded titles in the panel? What are they intended to signify?

      I don't see this anywhere in the link you gave. I think in the ars screenshot, it's just a bug in the theme.

      >> Why are the minimise and maximise icons ra
  • I don't really care what the KDE developers state, but the way they have gone about releasing and hyping KDE 4.x.x is stupid. They built and built and built the hype for the 4.0 milestone, even though they were screaming it wasn't perfect. But the hype outshone the voices of caution. Now everyone was waiting for some stability in 4.1, and we're not going to get it then either, again, after hyping 4.1 will be usable. By the time the 4.x version is usable no one will give a crap about it. I, personally,
    • Exactly the same thing with the Ubuntu release. All hype. And then a release comes and it's (knowingly) buggy as hell.

      Doesn't shipping with a beta web browser that is known to be broken and extremely unstable enough evidence? I can't even print in their version of Firefox 3 without the browser crashing.

      Wireless support (especially in laptops) is (yet again) a nightmare. No progress really has been made. Wext is insufficient in many cases. Ndiswrapper doesn't work a lot of the time. Gnome or KDE netwo
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pherthyl ( 445706 )
      So you gazed into your crystal ball and figured out that 4.1 will not be stable? Since it hasn't been released that's quite the accomplishment. I use a snapshot of 4.1 at work, and I haven't seen it crash in weeks.
  • I hate to harp on about it, but that start menu has got to be fixed [].

    I see that it's now resizeable, but that doesn't fix the basic problem of it hiding all the contextual information about where you are in the menu structure and being useless for people who rely on spacial memory.

    I'm seriously wondering whether I'll have to switch to GNOME or Xfce.
  • I like KDE better than I like Gnome (due to KIOSlave/KParts being available in all URL/file prompts, etc).
    I really miss using "ggl:blah" in my run dialog.

    However, two things have been keeping me with Gnome lately:
    1. KDE applications start slowly.
    2. Ubuntu is much more mature than Kubuntu.

    The second is inevitable, I guess, and is being worked on, so there's less to complain about.

    But the first really annoys me - launching one of the smallest KDE applications I could find (kate) as a benchmark of app startup time s

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bh_doc ( 930270 )
      There is always time taken in loading the supporting libraries, which really only affects the starting time of the first app that uses them. For subsequent apps that also use them, they're already loaded. Have you ever tried to start gedit while running a KDE desktop? It might give a similar result.
  • KDE 4.0 was pre-alpha. I mean it was bad. It was almost criminally bad. Significant rebuke has been placed on the KDE team. Such a horrible release that even now is still quite bad even with the updates.

    KDE 4.1, hopefully will be much better. We'll see.

    KDE 4.x has the potential to change the landscape of desktop managers in Linux but if these guys can't get it worked out and faster than say 5 years, it will seriously disappoint.
    • KDE 4.0 was pre-alpha.

      Umm, yes. That's why the KDE project announced all over the place that 4.0 was a developers' release and not meant for end users.

  • So I've been using Ubuntu 7.x on my Toshiba laptop for the last several months, and found it pretty easy, albeit with certain caveats (getting wireless to work was a pain, as was graphics - ATI chipset) I'd tried KDE quite some time ago, and was interested in trying it again. So I downloaded and installed the KDE4 Remix for AMD64 machines. Looked fine at first, but then came those damn wireless issues again. I downloaded, built and installed ndiswrapper, grabbed the latest XP drivers (Atheros AR5007EG c

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