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

About the Author

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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