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28 May 2008, 13:46

First beta of KDE 4.1 released

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The developers of the K Desktop Environment have released the first beta version of KDE 4.1. The most noticeable changes are evident in Plasma, the desktop shell. It is now possible, for instance, to change the size of the panel and to add additional toolbars to the desktop. KDE 4.1 beta makes it possible, with WebKit support, to integrate Mac OS X dashboard widgets into the desktop The redesigned Kickoff menu is clearer and more intuitive and the improved composite features in Plasma promise better display of 3D desktop effects.

The beta version, unlike KDE 4.0, finally includes the Kontact PIM suite that will use the new Akonadi framework in upcoming versions. In KDE 4.1 beta, developers added two new modules to the personal information manager, KtimeTracker and Kjots. Kontact now has a more polished appearance and also provides better support for multiple calendars and time zones.

Dragon Player is KDE's new standard media player; and a CD playback program is now included in the desktop. The Phonon multimedia framework can handle subtitles and supports new back ends, including Gstreamer. Applications, like the Gwenview image viewer, Dolphin file manager, and Krunner, a quick-launch for applications, all have extended functions. For instance, Dolphin now uses tabs and the developers have also improved the look of the file tree to make it more accessible. The quick-launch features an easy to use configuration dialog that lets the user specify whether Krunner will only be used to launch applications, or if it can also open documents and URLs; the user can also specify whether he wants to include a calculator, unit converter and a search function for the KDE address book.

On the project website you can find both the source code and links to distribution packets. The packets for Mandriva Linux are already complete; other distribution packets for OpenSuse, Kubuntu and Fedora are on the way. KDE beta 4.1 is also available for Windows and Mac OS X. The final version of KDE 4.1 is slated to be released in July of this year, replacing the 3-series version of the desktop.


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