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29 July 2008, 15:58

KDE Desktop 4.1 released

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KDE 4.1, the desktop environment for Unix, Linux (and coming soon to Windows and Mac OS X) is now available for download. The work on KDE 4.1 has focussed on stabilising the release and working on the desktop shell, Plasma, to give it the functionality users found missing in the KDE 4.0 release when compare with KDE 3's desktop. KDE 4.1 is also the first relase to contain the KDE-PIM suite, made up of KMail for email, KOrganize for planning, Akregator for reading RSS, KNode for reading Usenet news and other components, all tied together in the Kontact shell.

The Dolphin file manager has been enhanced with a treeview and tab support, new context actions and single click selection to make using it more consistent. Konquerer, the KDE browser, can now reopen closed windows and tabs and has had it's scrolling smoothed. The GwenView image browser has acquired a new full screen view and thumbnail bar and image rating. Marble, the KDE desktop globe, now integrates with OpenStreetMap allowing you to navigate on free maps.

The KWin window manager has been focus for some stabilisation efforts, but new features such as "wobbly windows" have made it into the release. Plasma, the desktop shell, now has a new panel controller which uses direct visual feedback on how you configure where the desktop places panels, rather than inferring them from the appearance of panels. A new folderview applet within Plasma lets you create desktop "views" of files, if you prefer to navigate directly through the desktop.

Under the hood, Phonon, the sound framework, has seen new backends added to support GStreamer, Quicktime and DirectShow9, improving support for KDE on Windows and Mac OSX, thought KDE for the latter is not ready for productions use.

KDE 4.1 also brings with it a number of new applications. Okteta, is a full featured hex editor. KSystemLog is an extensive log file viewer. Dragon Player is a easy to use video player and Step is a physics emulator for education. KSCD, the CD player has been resurrected and returned to the KDE release. On the lighter side, KDiamond (a Bejeweled clone), KBreakout and Kubrick have been added to KDE 4.1's games.

KDE 4.1 source code and binary release are available from the KDE site. There are links on that page to "one click installs" for OpenSUSE 10.3 and 11 and packages for Mandriva 2008.1, and also to details of which distributions are pushing KDE 4.1 into their updates, like Debian and Fedora.


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