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06 June 2012, 12:51

KDE 4.9 enters beta testing

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KDE logo The KDE developers have made the first beta of version 4.9.0 of the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC) available for testing. The preview of the next major update to the open source K Desktop Environment introduces changes to the Plasma Workspaces, applications and underlying platform.

The first beta of KDE SC 4.9 improves support for Qt Quick in Plasma Workspaces: Plasma Components are now said to be more mature, and additional components of the Plasma Desktop have been ported to QML. Updates to the Dolphin file manager improve file display, sorting and searching based on metadata, and files can now be renamed inline. Activities for files and windows have been more deeply integrated.

Other features expected to arrive in the 4.9 release include KLook, which allows users to quickly preview files in Dolphin, and StackFolder, an applet for browsing a stack of folders. These were contributed by developers from Russian firm ROSA Laboratory, known for the ROSA Media Player and its own fork of Mandriva Linux. A full list of planned features can be found on the KDE TechBase Wiki. The developers note that, as the API, dependency and feature freezes are in place, they now will focus on finding and fixing bugs, while also "polishing new and old functionality".

With the arrival of the first beta, the KDE Community has launched a new testing initiative and is currently seeking volunteers. The developers say that these volunteers will receive training over IRC on how to use the project's Bugtracking System for "effective bug reporting". Beta testing guidelines and installation instructions are provided on the KDE Community Wiki.

More details about the beta can be found in the official release announcement and on the KDE SC 4.8.80 Info Page. Source code for self-compilation and binary packages for various Linux distributions are available to download from the project's web site. As with all development releases, use in production environments and on mission critical systems is not advised.

KDE is licensed under a combination of the LGPLv2, BSD, MIT and X11 licences for core libraries and the GPLv2 or GPLv3 for applications. The current stable release is KDE SC 4.8.3 from early May.

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