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06 February 2013, 14:22

KDE 4.10 gets a QML refresh

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The developers of the KDE Software Collection have released version 4.10 of their desktop environment and associated applications. KDE 4.10 includes improvements in the Plasma Workspaces environment with the expanded use of the Qt Quick framework and updates to a range of applications such as Kate, Kopete, Marble, and the desktop's PIM (personal information manager) applications. The Qt Quick framework's expansion into many more facets of the desktop also brings changes for developers. Work on creating a comprehensive SDK for the Plasma interface has also progressed.

Plasma Tasks screenshot
Zoom The task grouping feature in Plasma Workspaces has received a new look
Source: KDE Project

With KDE 4.10, more of the components of Plasma Workspaces have been rebuilt with the Qt Quick framework. Qt Quick combines the declarative user interface design language QML with a language runtime and unifying user interface elements. The move to Qt Quick is supposed to make the component parts of the Plasma desktop interface more consistent and easier to use. The developers also say that it improves the overall stability of the desktop. KDE 4.10 includes a QML-based screen locking application that is designed to be more secure and a rewritten wallpaper engine that enables users to more easily create their own animated wallpapers. However, the work to rewrite Plasma Workspaces using Qt Quick and QML is ongoing and is far from being completed yet.

Other Plasma improvements include new effects and scripts in the KWin window manager and its built-in compositor, which now also detects being run under some virtual machines and adjusts the graphic rendering accordingly. Tiling functions in KWin have been removed because of stability issues and will be available as a plugin for KDE's JavaScript-based API in the future; however, the new plugin is expected to be ready by the next release at the earliest and the developers are looking for help with the implementation. Colour correction is now also available in some applications through KDE's built-in KolorServer and the desktop can now create a common menu for several applications running side-by-side. A full list of all improvements in Plasma Workspaces is available from the Plasma Workspaces 4.10 release announcement.

Marble satellite view
Zoom Marble can now show orbiting objects, including orbit tracks of space missions
Source: KDE Project

KDE's bundled applications have also received several updates. The Kate text editor has been given less intrusive notifications and the Konsole terminal application has had its print screen option, and other functionality that users were used to from KDE 3, restored . The search backend for the desktop's PIM applications is said to have been "vastly improved", which benefits email indexing and searching. The Marble map viewer can now display satellites in orbit around planets and can visualise orbit tracks of NASA and ESA space missions. A list of all improvements in the KDE application suite is available from the project's web site.

The KDE 4.10.0 Info Page includes information on how to obtain binary packages of the desktop environment and how to update existing installations. KDE is licensed under a combination of the LGPLv2.1, BSD, MIT, and X11 licences for core libraries and the GPLv2 or GPLv3 for applications.


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