KDE 4.3 – early preview

[ Thursday, 9 April 2009, Bastion ]


Finally the day has come, when the curiosity about the KDE4.3 development branch took the better of me. Unfortunately the gap between what I was blogging on caused some confusion on what is really new out there. So the review will be a little unusual, more like a shooting in the dark ‘oh this looks like it’s not in 4.2′ :) If anything, you’re welcome to send corrections :) just in case.

KRunner’s New Face

First visible change concerns the different presentation style of the search results in KRunner. Previously these were presented ‘checkerboard’ style, now however, they are simply listed out. Interestingly, I haven’t found any setting to make it work ‘old style’. However KRunner has an impressive list of available plug-ins expanding its functionality, which is cheering us up.

r949375-krunner r949375-krunner-settings r949375-krunner-settings2

Quicksand might be a good option for the future – so far it is far from being handy and intuitive. Maybe someday …

r949375-quicksand r949375-quicksand2

Mixing Oxygen with Nuno gives us… Air

A while ago, Nuno has presented mock-ups of the new, default Plasma style for KDE 4.3 commonly dubbed Air. Today I took the first closer look at it… But let me talk about experience later on.

Just to let us compare the key elements, let’s try to remind ourselves the Oxygen style:

r949375-oxygen r949375-krunner

and now, how they look Air style :

r949375-air r949375-air2 r949375-air-menu r949375-krunner-air

Well :) Personally, I think Air is heading in the right direction, as an alternative for “the darkey” :)

A Hundred And One Desktop Styles

So far, KDE 4 only let us choose one of the two desktop styles : the traditional Plasma applet container or the Folder View. Now, we can choose from Blank Desktop, Black Board or Cluttered Desktop. The most interesting of the three, I think, is Black Board, allowing to draw any shapes on the desktop, allowing to perform presentations directly from the desktop :) On Cluttered Desktop, the (I think the only) difference is, you cannot create icons there.

r949375-desktop2-2

Other than that, there is now more options on the wallpaper manipulation. It can be a static image, or a slide show (from a given directory). New stuff includes animated wallpapers, drawing fractals or one displaying the Earth or a map from Marble educational program.

r949375-wallpaper r949375-desktop-marble

Dolphin

The file manager has been enhanced with multimedia preview (e.g. playing the movie in the information panel or directory preview in the information cloud). Small changes are these, but very nice.

r949375-dolphin r949375-dolphin-preview r949375-dolphin-tooltip2 r949375-dolphin-information

Kopete and Skype – going along

Kopete can now communicate with Skype users. Well the plug-in is still a wrapper, communicating with Skype via their special API, so still the installed Skype is needed – launched in need. Notably for Gadu-Gadu users – Kopete employs libgadu.

r949375-kopete-proto r949375-kopete-skype r949375-kopete-skype-api r949375-kopete2

Lancelot

The Lancelot is meant to be a replacement of the standard menu for KDE 4 – however the development lasts ever since the KDE 4 premiere, and show no prospect of being finished soon. Well it is usable all right – but sadly, doesn’t fit my expectations. Not. Handy. At. All… After all, who on Earth uses the menu, having KRrunner? But as it is there, you might as well see what it looks like :) :

r949375-lancelot

Google Widgets for KDE

A nice feature seems to be the possibility not only to show Plasma applets, but also the Google widgets; Browsing, installation and adding them to the desktop is a child’s play.

r949375-google2 r949375-google

It’s raining Plasma applets

There is a bunch of new Plasma applets, let me show you just the most interesting ones.

r949375-plasma-webbrowser r949375-plasma-weatherforecast r949375-plasma-tipoftheday r949375-plasma-previewer r949375-plasma-plasmaboard r949375-plasma-pastebin r949375-plasma-bubblemon r949375-plasma-blackboard

Other images

r949375-cylinder r949375-cube r949375-cube-cfg
r949375-cube-adv r949375-oxygen-deco-cfg r949375-oxygen-deco

Summarizing

Like it or not, KDE 4.3 will be a great leap forward in this environment’s development. I won’t hesitate to say, it will be a bigger one than KDE 4.1 to 4.2. Interestingly enough, my compilation of development snapshot worked stable and jerk-free – no major issues there.

This article originates from authors’ blog /dev/santyago, available according to terms of Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Unported license.

Translated-by: el_es

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39 Comments

fold this thread Skrell  Thursday, 9 April 2009 o godz. 6:03 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

why can’t i zoom in on any of the pics? When i click on them they show the exact same tiny image as on the page. Please load large images!

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fold this thread Noo  Thursday, 9 April 2009 o godz. 6:05 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

It is supposed to be “Plasma” not “Plazma” ;)
You are not linking to the bigger version of those images, clicking just gets you the thumbnail…

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fold this thread Adam M.  Thursday, 9 April 2009 o godz. 7:38 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

All done. Sorry for all the confusion. I indeed published it with some haste. I hope it will be forgiven :) . Now please enjoy the review.

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fold this thread L4Linux  Thursday, 9 April 2009 o godz. 9:04 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +4

How can they improve KDE so much in just 6 months????
When 4.0 was released everyone was burying it and after 1,5 years all its gravediggers (not you, generally speaking) will be praising it!!

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fold this thread Mario  Sunday, 19 April 2009 o godz. 9:09 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Maybe because KDE 4.0 was meant for developers and not users. It was advertised as not ready for consumer use. The KDE team just want external developers to get their hands on the libraries and start porting applications and polishing the desktop.

And as more users/programmers started using the new desktop, the community involvement grew with them.

 
 
fold this thread Mine  Thursday, 9 April 2009 o godz. 10:13 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +3

It is quite incredible.

The air style is simply beautiful.

I just hope phonon has been improved as well (I want to be able to control the sound separately for each application).

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fold this thread Christian  Friday, 10 April 2009 o godz. 12:39 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I’d just be happy it they can get the resposiveness improved.

I’ve got a pretty new Core2 CPU and a Radeon HD4850 card running the Catalyst driver, and the version of KDE that ships with Ubuntu 9.04 beta.

Just about everything on my KDE desktop feels far slower than it should with that hardware, and than it is with my Gnome desktop.

I like a beautiful desktop as much as the next geek, but the unresponsiveness of KDE 4.2 so far has just left me frustrated. For now I avoid Kubuntu largely for that reason.

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fold this thread Zammi  Tuesday, 14 April 2009 o godz. 6:06 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

Try to upgrade to KDE 4.2.2. It gave me a huge improvement regards to the responsiveness. I’m using Fedora 10 though.

 
fold this thread shagrath  Friday, 1 May 2009 o godz. 9:04 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

or try to change your distribution :)

I’m using Arch Linux and kde4 there is just incredible fast

 
fold this thread John  Sunday, 3 May 2009 o godz. 10:46 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

KDE 4.2 on Kubuntu, Linux Mint & I suppose any Ubuntu related distro does indeed seem ridiculously slow. I find all Ubuntu-based distros pretty slow. It seems to be the base, not KDE. Mepis 8 w/ KDE 4.2 is just fine.

fold this thread valczir  Sunday, 17 May 2009 o godz. 10:09 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Exactly what I was going to say. Ubuntu and its derivatives are barely even linux, these days. I think I used ubuntu as my third linux distro and that was the first time I tried KDE – I hated it. Thing is, it wasn’t KDE that was the problem – it was ubuntu.

Ubuntu has -never- worked well with KDE. Ubuntu is no longer about choice – they force you into what they think is best. Which is why I’ve stopped using and supporting it.

If you want to try a distro with a good KDE implementation, go check out Sabayon. It’s based on gentoo, and works essentially as a pre-configured, anaconda-installed version of gentoo, with two package managers that work together. Entropy is their binary package manager, similar to aptitude, and portage (from gentoo) is the source-based package manager. They keep a common database, so if something has been installed in entropy, portage will know that it’s installed and which version you have. Same thing if you install something with portage.

Sabayon’s a little more advanced than something like Ubuntu, though – they have four discs to choose from, and when you install it, you are asked to choose which programs to be installed by default. The four discs are x86 and amd64 versions of KDE 4.2.2 and GNOME versions. The last letter of the ISO file name represents whether it’s KDE (K) or GNOME (G).

 
 
fold this thread Millsy1979  Monday, 1 June 2009 o godz. 6:20 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I used to use Kubuntu but found that KDE4 was slow as. I changed to Fedora 10 and haven’t looked back.

God review.

 
 
fold this thread Lake-end  Friday, 10 April 2009 o godz. 1:34 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

Christian: For me KDE 4.2 (with latest NVIDIA drivers) has been as slick as they come. With nice effects enabled I still get very good response times and in general very good general responsiveness. It´s amazing really, KDE4 being the best looking desktop there is (on any platform) and also very good performer.

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fold this thread Tyrone Shoelaces  Friday, 10 April 2009 o godz. 4:05 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +3

Running Kubuntu 8.10 and Mandriva 2009 with KDE4.2 and I love how nice it looks. v4.2 is the one that is finally ready for everyone and their parents to use.
I cant wait to try 4.3
THe Kwin effects are nice but also useful (4panel view, zoom, tranparency, rearrange programs,etc) and KDE4.2 is just amazing on my Dell Mini 9 netbook. Even my mac friends love it.

Only one thing: I cant tell the two distros apart. Seriously, …apart from a few wallpapers its really too close for people to tell apart.

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fold this thread Golodh  Friday, 10 April 2009 o godz. 6:58 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  --3

Well, I agree that with the “Air” style the looks of KDE 4.3 are improving. Good.

There seems to be a rash of new widgets and applets, which isn’t bad really, I just hope at least half of them *really* work smoothly and without hiccups. Now if KDE would tell us which ones they are and offer an option to hide any of those that don’t work perfectly they could improve KDE’s user experience with a leap.

However, if this progression shows anything it is that:
(1) KDE 4.0 and 4.1 were *not* ready, and were slagged for very good reason
(2) Despite claims to the contrary it is *not* easy to build a good desktop environment
(3) Despite everything, KDE hasn’t surpassed MS Windows in terms of polish and usability.

I’m sure that KDE will continue to be improved, and after version 4.4 (yes, the one after this one which hopefully will address responsiveness issues) it may even be ready for mainstream use.

Don’t despair, it’s getting there!

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fold this thread Bernard  Friday, 10 April 2009 o godz. 8:04 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +3

Great !

Looks like KDE 4 is becoming mature. I just upgraded to 4.2.2 and it seems to quite as solid as 3.5.

The thing I find best in 4.3 features is Kopete/skype integration. Everybody uses skype and this gives some hope of a better skype support in Linux.

Bernard

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fold this thread vvhtvr  Friday, 10 April 2009 o godz. 10:48 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

From the article:

After all, who on Earth uses the menu, having KRrunner?

Well, I don’t know but I guess I’m just a kind of person who enjoys a good menu since I very often control my desktop using mouse and mouse only. I may be silly to say but I would not mind having a section in my menu with quick links to most frequently used applications as well alongside with a predefined ones. Does this sound familiar to anybody here… ?

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fold this thread Bobby  Saturday, 11 April 2009 o godz. 8:24 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

I second that. I also like a good start menu. Although I use kRunner sometimes I still find the start menu to be more handy and less geeky for Linux new comers ;)

Kickoff is okay for me although it could do with a little more bling, speed and polish – there is always room for improvement. I tried Lancelot a few times but Kickoff seems to be more intuitive and less complex.

What’s happened to Nuno’s Raptor? I haven’t heard anything about it for quite a long time.

 
 
fold this thread puli  Friday, 10 April 2009 o godz. 12:32 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

Hmm… So, no “new mail” notification plasmoid yet? That’s disappointing. Seriously. Don’t any of the KDE developers think users might like to see a notification when they receive new mail?

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fold this thread Henta  Friday, 10 April 2009 o godz. 7:55 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

lolwut? There is notification for new mail in 4.2 on every new mail and you can see how much unread mail you have by looking at tray icon of kmail at any moment.

 
fold this thread augustofretes  Sunday, 12 April 2009 o godz. 7:36 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

There are quite a few. And that includes the kickass gmail google gadget behaving like all plasmoids do…

 
 
fold this thread rastos  Friday, 10 April 2009 o godz. 3:31 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Any idea about 4.3 release dates? The page http://techbase.kde.org/Schedules/KDE4/4.3_Release_Schedule still shows nothing.
Any idea about when quanta and kdevelop become available?

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fold this thread Hans Hansen  Friday, 10 April 2009 o godz. 10:28 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

Yes it does, just scroll down. 28th July is current target. Might change though.

 
 
fold this thread Ivan Č.  Saturday, 11 April 2009 o godz. 8:39 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

I’ve just lost the last comment due to an OpenID error here…

The first thing that I wanted to say is that you can use KRunner through Lancelot. I know many users that have set Alt+F2 to open L instead of KRunner since it has more features.

As for the “no prospect of being finished soon”, it already is finished. It is finished just like any other KDE application – it just receives new features with every release of KDE. Obviously, the new features are developed slower than in some other programs, but that is because I’m the only developer working on it, and this time I had to redevelop quite a few things because of the breakage the Qt 4.5 introduced in QGraphicsView.

If you need some features that are not there, join the fun at http://forum.kde.org/lancelot-brainstorming-t-15049.html

Cheerio!

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fold this thread ypcx  Sunday, 12 April 2009 o godz. 10:17 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

The buttons are horrid (I know, themeable), but all in all this looks to be my new desktop:) I’m currently on Gnome/Copiz.
Way to go, KDE guys!

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fold this thread paul92  Monday, 13 April 2009 o godz. 11:04 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Hello Bastion, sorry for my English, I speak French…
Which distribution is on the screenshots? Fedora, Kubuntu, openSUSE? and which version of this one?

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fold this thread Pat  Tuesday, 14 April 2009 o godz. 7:18 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

The Air theme just looks gorgeous. This must be the best looking desktop i saw until now!

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fold this thread Thomas Seeger  Wednesday, 15 April 2009 o godz. 12:28 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  error

Hoi,
I like very much this Wallpaper, you are a very good Designer and Programme. I really like Lancelot.

Sorry for my bad english

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fold this thread lee stefan michael rott  Thursday, 23 April 2009 o godz. 9:26 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  error

i believe a previous poster mentioned that 4.0 was meant to be available for devs firstly. AND for something that m.shuttleworth has described as, “..a big leap.” is it any wonder it was a challenge?
the beauty and functionality(LOVE kRunner!) of 4.2.2 speak of the hard work the kdeDevs put into it.

kde-devs reading this, u ROCK! n ty..

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fold this thread lee  Thursday, 23 April 2009 o godz. 9:37 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +1

for something that href=”http://video.golem.de/desktop-applikationen/1875/mark-shuttleworth-interview-(part-one).html”>m.shuttleworth described as, “.. a great leap.” is it any surprise that 4.0 was a challenge?

contrasted with 4.2.2 today it seems they made a wonderful decision
to head in this direction. i LOVE kRunner’s functionality, (a w) opens my non-branded browser, (=139*26) gives me the calculation for the jawbone2 in local currency!

kde-devs, NICE work, and ty for all your time/effort and bravery..

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fold this thread Bugsbane  Friday, 15 May 2009 o godz. 1:21 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +2

KDE 4 rocks. 4.3 rocks harder.

‘Nuff said. :)

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fold this thread Andrej  Wednesday, 20 May 2009 o godz. 2:55 pm #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

I just installed KDE 4.3 Beta 1 on my Mandriva computer and what can I say. This is looking and working like a dream. It’s so nice in fact that Linux has finally started to look attractive to my sister. Way to go KDE devs! Can’t wait for the final stable release.

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fold this thread El Tuco  Wednesday, 12 August 2009 o godz. 8:00 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  --1

ubuntu 9.04/kubuntu was terribly buggy afa KDE 4.2 is concerned.
And Gnome was a horror, when it came to photo management (big 12 Megapixel files).

openSUSE is for KDE users. Use the repos from the 3rd party repo list with KDE 4.3 and I am very pleased. Gwenview and kipi plugs + a fast working dolphin and all the system is stable and fast on an antic P IV 2,8 GHz 1GB ram mem computer.

I am glad to be back to openSUSE, after 3 months ubuntu.

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fold this thread Vance Freire  Friday, 18 September 2009 o godz. 4:18 am #  Add karma Subtract karma  +0

Air… Aero…

Why does this look so much like the Aero theme?

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(Comments wont nest below this level)
 
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Korneliusz Jarzębski

Free software enthusiast, KDE fan. Author of a popular blog: /dev/jarzebski (in Polish). Contributes to PolishLinux.org since October 2007.

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