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02 August 2012, 09:42

KDE SC 4.9 now available

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Version 4.9 of the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC) is now available and brings with it important changes to the KDE Platform, the KDE Applications and Plasma Workspaces. The update also includes preparation for work on the next iteration of the KDE Development Platform, the Qt 5 based "Frameworks 5". Qt 5 is expected to be released this month.

In KDE 4.9, the Dolphin file manager has been updated to include support for back and forward mouse buttons. It also brings improvements to file display and sorting, as well as searching based on metadata such as ratings, tags, file sizes and date. The user interface for Dolphin includes an improved Places panel, better search support and improved terminal location synchronisation. A new plugin adds support for the Mercurial version control system to Dolphin's existing support for Git, Subversion and CVS, allowing users to do pulls, pushes and commits from within the file manager.

Zoom The KDE 4.9 desktop
Source: KDE
The Konsole terminal emulator can now search for a text selection using KDE Web Shortcuts, and existing terminal window tabs can be cloned into new ones with the same profile. KDE's KWin window manager has been upgraded to better deal with Activities, which have been more deeply integrated throughout the Workspaces.

The Kontact personal information management (PIM) suite features a new wizard to import data such as settings, messages, filters, and calendar and address book entries from the Thunderbird and Evolution email clients; users can give the suite access to their Google accounts to add contact and calendar data. The Okular universal document viewer can now save and print annotations with PDF documents, and text selection, bookmarking and search have been improved. KDE's image viewer, Gwenview, now has a full-screen option for browsing files, and the Juk music player now supports streams.

Zoom Activities have been more tightly integrated in the Workspaces
Source: KDE
Critical bugs have been fixed in the Nepomuk semantic framework and the Soprano software library; the developers say that addressing these issues should make desktop search "faster and more reliable". Work on Plasma Workspaces to use Qt Quick has also continued: the Plasma Components, which were first introduced in KDE 4.8, have further matured, and more components of the Plasma Desktop have been ported to QML.

In addition to adding new features, the developers say that one of the primary goals of the major update was to "improve the general levels of quality and stability in KDE software". With the first beta, the team launched a new testing initiative that offered volunteers training over IRC on how to use the project's Bugtracking System for "effective bug reporting".

The developers have dedicated KDE 4.9 to the memory of Claire Lotion, a devoted KDE contributor who passed away in May of this year. More details about the major update can be found in the release announcement and on the KDE SC 4.9.0 Info Page. KDE SC 4.9 can be downloaded as source packages for self-compilation; at the time of writing, binary packages are not yet available. 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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