First beta of KDE 4.1 breaks cover
The KDE community has announced the release of KDE 4.1 Beta 1, an impressive preview of the forthcoming final release. Highlights of this release include greater functionality and many more configuration options for the desktop shell, the return of Kontact, the KDE personal information management suite, and a good handful of KDE 3 applications that have now been ported to KDE 4.
Most users will be pleased to hear about the return of Kontact which now includes many of the features of the KDE 3 Enterprise Branch, making Kontact more useful in business settings. Improvements include new components such as KTimeTracker and the KJots note-taking component, a smooth new look, better support for multiple calendars and timezones and more robust email handling.
On the desktop, Plasma, the system that creates the menus, panels and desktop, is showing strong signs of maturing. Among these is the ability to support multiple and resizeable panels allowing users to compose their desktop just as they want.
The application launcher, Kickoff, has also been comprehensively polished and now sports a clean, new look and many optimisations. There is also an overhauled Run Command dialog that allows power users to quickly launch applications, open documents and visit sites.
Performance gains in composited window management in this beta provide better ergonomics and eye candy, including a Cover Switch alt-tab feature and the mandatory wobbly windows effect.
Also returning to KDE4 are a range of applications that were left out because they had not been ported from KDE3. Some of those making a return include the lightweight media player Dragon Player, KDE CD Player, and a new printer applet.
KDE’s browser, Konqueror now also has support for web browsing sessions, an Undo mode, and improved smooth scrolling.
KDE 4.1 is scheduled for final release on 20 July 2008.