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13 May 2009, 14:41

First beta version of KDE 4.3 released

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The KDE developers have announced the release of the first beta of version 4.3 of their desktop environment. In addition to integrating new technologies such as Policy Kit and extra window animations, the development team have also added a series of new programs and functions. There is plenty to discover in the way of Plasmoids, with seven new Plasmoids joining the line-up. On top of a unit converter, system monitoring tool Bubble Monitor and a time management Plasmoid, they include openDesktop, representing a first step towards the social desktop. Using the geolocation functions integrated into KDE 4.3, openDesktop shows nearby friends and other Linux users.

The developers have also been buffing up some of the older Plasmoids which have long been part of KDE 4. In addition to Twitter, the Micro-blogging Plasmoid now also supports the micro-blogging service and grouped windows in the KDE bar now show a preview. The desktop wallpapers offer plenty of eye candy. KDE 4.3 allows users to select a 'virus wallpaper', which slowly eats its way through the desktop, or spruce up the desktop with Mandelbrot fractals or the interactive Marble globe.

The folder view on the desktop automatically switches to a folder if the mouse lingers over it and the system settings control centre comes with an optional tree view. Kmail now supports adding in-line images to emails and the Akonadi PIM framework, on which it is based, now supports synchronisation with Google Calendar. Games fans will be able to enjoy a new program, Ktron, improvements to Bovo and 40 new levels in Kmahjongg.

The developers are hoping that plenty of users will try out the beta version and report any bugs, so that the final version planned for late July will be as bug-free as possible. The source code for KDE 4.3 beta can be downloaded from the KDE website. Packets for openSUSE 10.3, 11.0 and 11.1 are available to download using One-Click Install. Links to the .ymp files can also be found on the KDE download page. Users wishing to try out the beta version without installing it can download a KDE LiveCD from the openSUSE download page.

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