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KDE 4.2 Beta 2 Release Announcement

FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION

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KDE 4.2 Beta 2 Release for Further Testing

KDE Commmunity Ships Second Beta Release of KDE 4.2, Inviting Community to Test and Report Bugs.

December 18, 2008. The KDE Community today announced the immediate availability of "Canaria", (a.k.a KDE 4.2 Beta 2), the second testing release of the new KDE 4.2 desktop. Canaria is aimed at testers and reviewers. It should provide a solid ground to report bugs that need to be tackled before KDE 4.2.0 is released. Reviewers can use this beta to get a first look at the upcoming KDE 4.2 desktop which provides significant improvements all over the desktop and applications.
Since the first beta, which was released less than 4 weeks ago, 1665 new bugs have been opened, and 2243 bugs have been closed. Since the release of KDE 4.1.0, more than ten thousand bugs were closed, showing a massive focus on stability in the upcoming KDE 4.2.0 which will be released in January 2009, 6 months after KDE 4.1. KDE 4.2.0 will be followed up by a series of monthly service updates and followed up by KDE 4.3.0 in summer 2009.


The Panel in KDE 4.2 Beta 2

Significant refinements of Plasma and KWin, the KDE workspace

  • The KDE 4.2 series will offer considerable improvements in stability, feature-completeness and performance over its predecessors in the KDE4 series.
  • The Plasma desktop shell has gained many feature that users were still missing in earlier KDE4 revisions.
  • Applications shipped with KDE 4.2 Beta 2 have many features added and bugs fixed
  • The KDE development platform has seen significant improvements on non-Linux platforms such as BSD, Windows and Mac OSX, making more applications available to users of those Operating Systems.
  • Writing KDE applications and add-ons in scripting languages such as Python and Ruby is easier than ever.

For the 4.2 release, the KDE team has fixed literally thousands of bugs and has implemented dozens of features that were missing until now in KDE 4.2. This beta release gives you the opportunity to assist in ironing out the remaining wrinkles. The KDE release team has put together a list with the most significant improvements in 4.2 Beta 2:

Many improvements

  • Compositing desktop effects are enabled where hardware and drivers support it, with a basic default setup. Automatic checks confirm that compositing works before enabling it on the workspace.
  • New desktop effects have been added such as the Magic Lamp, Minimize effect, Cube and Sphere desktop switchers. Others, such as the desktop grid, have been improved. All effects have been polished and and feel natural due to the use of motion dynamics. The user interface for choosing effects has been reworked for easy selection of the most commonly used effects.
  • Central elements of the desktop experience have seen significant improvements to give a usable and coherent experience. These include grouping and multiple row layout in the task bar, icon hiding in the system tray, notifications and job tracking by Plasma, the ability to have icons on the desktop again by using a Folder View as the desktop background. Restored features and minor tweaks round out the work, such as the return of panel autohiding to maximise your productive screen space, icons now remain where they are placed in the Folder View, the location of new applets is improved, and window previews and tooltips are back in the panel and Task Bar.
  • New Plasma applets include applets for leaving messages on a locked screen, previewing files, switching desktop Activity, monitoring news feeds, and utilities like the pastebin applet, the calendar, timer, special character selector, a quicklaunch applet, a system monitor, among many others.
  • KRunner, the "Run command..." dialog has extended functionality through several new plugins, including spellchecking, konqueror browser history, power management control through PowerDevil, KDE Places, Recent Documents, and the ability to start specific sessions of the Kate editor, Konqueror and Konsole. The converter plugin now also supports quickly converting between units of speed, mass and distances.
  • The Plasma workspace can now load Google Gadgets. Plasma applets can be written in Ruby and Python. Support for applets written in JavaScript and Mac OS dashboard widgets has been further improved.
  • Wallpapers are now provided plugins, so developers can easily write custom wallpaper systems in KDE 4.2. Available wallpaper plugins in KDE 4.2 will be slideshows and of course regular static images and solid colors.
  • Theming improvements in the Task Bar, Application Launcher, System Tray and most other Plasma components streamline the look and feel and increase consistency. A new System Settings module, Desktop Theme Details, gives the user control over each element of various Plasma themes.
  • Multi-screen support has been improved through the Kephal library, fixing many bugs when running KDE on more than one monitor.


Desktop as Folder View (traditional desktop)

New and Improved Applications

All applications have seen bugfixes, feature additions, user interface improvements and generally received more polish during the last 4 months of development. The following list gives some ideas about the areas of improvement.

  • Dolphin now supports previews of files in tooltips and has gained a slider to zoom in and out on file item views. It can now also show the full path in the breadcrumb bar.
  • Konqueror offers increased loading speed by prefetching domain name data in KHTML. A find-as-you-type bar improves navigation in webpages. It also gained the option to use your bookmarks as the start page by means of the new Bookmarks KIO slave.
  • KMail has a powerful and attractive message header list, and reworked attachment view.
  • The KWrite and Kate text editors can now operate in Vi input mode, accomodating those used to the traditional UNIX editor.
  • PowerDevil, the new KDE4 power management infrastructure brings a modern, integrated tool for controlling various aspects of mobile devices.
  • Ark, the archiving tool has improved UI, gained support for password-protected archives and is accessible via a context menu from the file managers now.
  • A new printing configuration system brings back a number of features users have been missing in KDE 4.0 and 4.1. The components "printer-applet" and "system-config-printer" are shipped with the kdeadmin and kdeutils module.
  • KRDC, the remote desktop client improves support for Microsoft's Active Directory through LDAP.
  • Kontact has gained a new planner summary and support for drag and drop in the free/busy view.
  • KSnapshot now stores the window title as meta data when saving screenshots, making it easier to index them using search engines.
  • The secure file transfer protocols SFTP and FISH are now also supported by KDE on the Windows platform.
  • Killbots is a new game shipped with the kdegames module. Other games have improved user interaction and added themes and levels.
  • Educational apps such as KAlgebra, KStars, KTurtle and Parley have seen major improvements in UI and feature sets.
  • Okteta, the hex editor has significantly improved various aspects of its user interface.
This list of new features in KDE 4.2 is not comprehensive yet. Please refer to the changelog for more details.


Improved Desktop Grid Effect

To find out more about the KDE 4 desktop and applications, please also refer to the KDE 4.1.0 and KDE 4.0.0 release notes. KDE 4.2 Beta 2 is not recommended for everyday use. This beta will be followed up by a release candidate on January 6th and the final release of KDE 4.2.0 on January 27th, 6 months after the release of KDE 4.1.0.

Installing KDE 4.2 Beta 2 Binary Packages

Packagers. Some Linux/UNIX OS vendors have kindly provided binary packages of KDE 4.2 Beta 2, and in other cases community volunteers have done so. Some of these binary packages are available for free download via the KDE 4.2 Beta 2 Info Page. Additional binary packages, as well as updates to the packages now available, may become available over the coming weeks.

Package Locations. For a current list of available binary packages of which the KDE Project has been informed, please visit the KDE 4.2 Beta 2 Info Page.

Compiling KDE 4.2 Beta 2

The complete source code for KDE 4.1.85 may be freely downloaded. Instructions on compiling and installing KDE 4.1.85 are available from the KDE 4.2 Beta 2 Info Page.

About KDE

KDE is an international technology team that creates free and open source software for desktop and portable computing. Among KDE's products are a modern desktop system for Linux and UNIX platforms, comprehensive office productivity and groupware suites and hundreds of software titles in many categories including Internet and web applications, multimedia, entertainment, educational, graphics and software development. KDE software is translated into more than 60 languages and is built with ease of use and modern accessibility principles in mind. KDE's full-featured applications run natively on Linux, BSD, Solaris, Windows and Mac OS X.


Trademark Notices. KDE® and the K Desktop Environment® logo are registered trademarks of KDE e.V. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks and copyrights referred to in this announcement are the property of their respective owners.


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