KDE 3.0-alpha1 Release Announcement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Third Generation KDE Desktop Ready for Developers
KDE Ships Alpha of Third Generation of the Leading Linux Desktop for Developers
October 5, 2001 (The INTERNET). The KDE Project today announced the immediate release of KDE 3.0alpha1, the third generation of KDE's free, powerful and easy-to-use free Internet-enabled desktop for Linux and other UNIXes. KDE 3.0 is scheduled for its first beta release this December and for final release in late February 2002.
This inaugural release of the KDE 3, which follows two weeks after the stable release of KDE 2.2.1 series, is based on Trolltech's Qt 3.0.0beta6. It ships with the core KDE libraries, the core desktop environment, and over 100 applications from the other base KDE packages (administration, multimedia, network, PIM, utilities, etc.).
The primary goal of the 3.0alpha1 release is to provide a framework for developers to start porting their KDE 2 applications to KDE 3 and to solicit developer feature contributions and feature requests before the KDE 3 API is frozen for binary compatibility. In addition, experimental KDE users who would like to try this release can set up a KDE 3 system side-by-site with a KDE 2 system. Instructions for doing so are available here.
For both developers and users, KDE 3 offers substantial improvements and additions compared to KDE 2 (the great bulk of which are, at this juncture, due to the switch to Qt 3):
For the developer:
- Database access.
- KDE 3 provides a database-independent API for accessing SQL databases. It provides support for ODBC as well as direct support for Oracle, PostgreSQL and MySQL databases (custom drivers may be added as well).
- Data-aware widgets.
- New database-aware controls provide automatic synchronization between the GUI and the database.
- RAD Development.
- A greatly improved Qt Designer now supports interactive construction of the application main windows with menus and tool bars in addition to dialogs. It supports KDE, Qt and custom widgets, including preview, and can be used in conjunction with KDevelop.
- Regular expressions.
- KDE 3 features a new and powerful regular expression engine. While compatible with, and as powerful as, Perl regular expressions, the Qt regular expression classes additionally provide full support for international (Unicode) character sets.
- The addition of Qt Linguist as an alternative to KBabel. Qt Linguist allows users to convert KDE-based programs from one language to another seamlessly, simply and intelligently. Qt Linguist helps with the translation of all visible text in a program, to and from any language supported by Unicode (including Unicode 3), and can be used in conjunction with KDevelop.
- International text support.
- KDE 3 offers radically improved support for displaying non-Latin alphabets. In addition, characters of different character sets may be freely mixed in the same text, even without Unicode fonts installed.
- Bidirectional language support.
- KDE 3 provides full support for right-to-left and bidirectional languages, such as Arabic and Hebrew.
- Multi-monitor support.
- KDE 3 provides support for both Xinerama and the traditional multi-screen technology.
- KDE/Qt Integration.
- KDE 3 improves the integration of pure Qt applications into KDE by applying the KDE 3.x widget style plugins to pure Qt applications. Pure Qt applications thus largely achieve the KDE look and feel. In addition, the Qt style engine has been extended to support a wider range of standard widgets, including progress bars, spin boxes, and table headers.
- Hardware accelerated alpha blending.
- This features, among other things, makes disabled icons look nice.
- HTTP improvements.
- The HTTP kio-slave is going to support HTTP pipelining, which provides much faster downloading of web sites containing numerous images.
Most of these improvements result directly from the switch to Qt 3, which has been the focus of KDE 3 code development so far. Improvements to the KDE libraries and applications themselves are planned for the successive beta releases leading to the first stable KDE 3. A list of these planned features is available here.
Porting to KDE 3
Since KDE 3 is mostly source compatible with KDE 2, porting applications from KDE 2 to KDE 3 can usually be done surprisingly quickly. The process is substantially easier than it was for porting from KDE 1 to KDE 2, and even very complicated applications can be ported in a matter of a few hours.
Instructions for porting KDE 2 applications to KDE 3 are available separately for the KDE libraries and the Qt libraries. Most of the changes required for the port applications pertain to changes in the Qt API. Although neither the KDE 3 nor the Qt 3 APIs are frozen, few changes are anticipated for the final releases of KDE 3.0 and Qt 3.0.0, respectively. The KDE team will provide a mailinglist for porting questions soon.
Downloading and Compiling KDE 3.0alpha1
Compiler Requirements. Please note that some components of KDE 3.0alpha1 will not compile with older versions of gcc/egcs, such as egcs-1.1.2 or gcc-2.7.2. At a minimum gcc-2.95-* is required. In addition, some components of KDE 3.0alpha1 (such as the multimedia backbone of KDE, aRts) will not compile with gcc 3.0 or 3.0.1, though the forthcoming gcc 3.0.2 release will most likely work.
KDE is an independent, collaborative project by hundreds of developers worldwide working over the Internet to create a sophisticated, customizable and stable desktop environment employing a component-based, network-transparent architecture. KDE provides a stable, mature desktop, an office suite (KOffice), a large set of networking and administration tools, and an efficient and intuitive development environment, including an excellent IDE (KDevelop). KDE is working proof of the power of the Open Source "Bazaar-style" software development model to create first-rate technologies on par with and superior to even the most complex commercial software.
Corporate KDE Sponsors
KDE, K Desktop Environment and KOffice are trademarks of KDE e.V. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Unix and Motif are registered trademarks of The Open Group. Trolltech and Qt are trademarks of Trolltech AS. Netscape Communicator is a trademark or registered trademark of Netscape Communications Corporation in the United States and other countries. Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc. All other trademarks and copyrights referred to in this announcement are the property of their respective owners.
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