jrepin writes "KDE released the first beta for its version 4.9 of Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the KDE team's focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing new and old functionality. Highlights of 4.9 include, but are not limited to: Qt Quick in Plasma Workspaces, many improvements in Dolphin file manager, deeper integration of Activities, and many performance improvements. The KDE Community is committed to improving quality substantially with a new program that starts with the 4.9 releases. The 4.9 beta releases are the first phase of a testing process that involves volunteers called 'Beta Testers.' They will receive training, test the two beta releases and report issues through KDE Bugzilla." I was recently forced into installing GNOME 3 (who knew printing required removing GNOME 2); after trying for a while to get Sawfish working again in the deprecated fallback mode, I gave up and tried KDE again. I have to say that I was surprised: KDE 4.5 was unpolished and painful to use whereas 4.7 is pretty slick. With the GNOME 3 developers catering to some seemingly mythical user, it's nice to see the other major desktop using user feedback to make design decisions.