Inside of K Desktop Environment (KDE) 4

After long wait of release time, the most expected project of 2007, KDE 4, has finally seen the light today! KDE 4 is the next generation of the popular K Desktop Environment, which seeks to fulfill the need for a powerful yet easy-to-use desktop, for both personal and enterprise computing. KDE project's goal for the 4.0 release is to put the foundations in place for future innovations on the FREE desktop.

Today, we will take a closer look at the main features incorporated in the final release of KDE 4. First of all, I should let you know that for these tests, I've used the Kubuntu 7.10 KDE 4.0 Remaster that can be downloaded from Softpedia. Let's see the highlights of KDE 4.0!

Plasma, the brand new desktop shell and panel, is an amazing piece of technology that makes your KDE experience better than ever. Its role is to offer, to the end-users, an efficient and ergonomic access to their desktop. A few Plasma applets or widgets (also known as Plasmoids) were created by various developers and can be found here, if you would like to make your KDE desktop more funky and modern!

The window manager of KDE 4, KWin, comes now with Solid (a sophisticated hardware API) and Phonon (a multimedia framework) and with some amazing desktop effects. In the System Settings window, at Display, you can activate these desktop effects, which are independent from Compiz Fusion. These are brand-new effects that can be found only in KDE 4! However, running them kinda slows down your entire desktop if you have 512 RAM. I've also tested it on a machine with 1 GB of RAM and works better. So, I guess the KDE developers still need to patch this in the 4.1 release.

Some of the old applications, that can still be found in KDE 3.5.x, are gone now and some brand new applications have taken their place. All known KDE applications, such as Konqueror, which is the default file manager and web browser, KGet, KColorPaint, Konsole, Kopete, SuperKaramba, are now greatly improved and I'll bet you will not even recognize some of them! Last but not least, KDE 4 uses a new and very beautiful icon theme, called Oxygen.

As an alternative file manager, Dolphin is included for those of you who have already been using it. Sadly, but Amarok is not included and it can't be installed. Don't know why!? Moreover, I really miss an important (for me) function in Konqueror that cannot be found in any other browser. The "Search & Replace Text" function, that could be activated with the CTRL+R key combination, is now replaced by the "Reload" function! I guess this happens because Konqueror is now powered by WebKit?!

In conclusion, it's not yet perfect, but from our test (until now) KDE 4 runs pretty good and looks amazing. I strongly suggest you download one (Kubuntu is preferred) of the CDs below and install (or just run directly from the Live CD) this final and groundbreaking version of KDE.

Btw, you can get Kubuntu 7.10 with KDE 4 at here, and source for KDE 4 at here.

Source: Kubuntu and KDE sites.


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