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17 June 2013, 17:33

KDE 4.11 beta brings Wayland support to KWin

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The developers at the KDE project have released a first beta version of KDE 4.11 – including Plasma Workspaces, the KDE Platform and its associated applications. New features include experimental Wayland support in the KDE window manager KWin, the introduction of more Qt Quick elements to Plasma Workspaces and several improvements to file indexing and the desktop's contact management application.

Wayland support in KDE has been on the cards for quite a while and with the introduction of the ability to run KWin under the X Server replacement, it takes another step forwards. KWin has also received OpenGL optimisations, mostly geared at reducing the memory and CPU footprint of the OpenGL backend for the window manager. Additionally, some of the KWin effects have been rewritten using JavaScript to make them more easy to maintain.

The developers have continued to rewrite parts of Plasma Workspaces in Qt Quick. The KDE project is using its own extensions on top of Qt Quick which the developers call Plasma Quick; KDE 4.11 Beta 1 sees the task manager widget rewritten using this technology. After the final release of Plasma Workspaces 4.11 with version 4.11 of the KDE Software Collection, the developers plan to freeze the features of the desktop shell while they work on its successor, Plasma Workspaces 2. This also means that Plasma Workspaces 4.11 will be maintained for two years as a long term support release.

Other new features in KDE 4.11 Beta 1 include performance improvements to the Nepomuk file indexing engine that speeds up data reads up to six times, according to the developers. The desktop's contact managing application, Kontact, also benefits from these speed improvements and received a new theme editor for email headers.

KDE 4.11 Beta 1, also referred to by its actual version number of KDE 4.10.80, can be downloaded from the KDE download page for unstable versions and installation instructions and more information is also available on the corresponding Info Page for the release. The KDE developers say that "with the large number of changes, the 4.11 releases need a thorough testing" but also caution users, as with all development releases of the desktop, to not use it in production.



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