New features in KDE 4.2
The KDE team has released version 4.2 of KDE 4. The release of KDE 4.0 a year ago laid the foundations for reinventing the KDE desktop – as well as attracting plenty of criticism, with the initial release of KDE 4 containing numerous bugs and overall, looking far from being a mature product.
The configuration options for the desktop have also been expanded and the revamped system tray shows reports from every conceivable process, from system messages to the status of large downloads. A new printer tool simplifies management of printers and print jobs.
The KWin windows manager has learnt a couple of new tricks. By default, it now switches on 3D and compositing effects automatically, on suitable hardware and manages these effects autonomously, without the aid of Compiz. With the help of the new Kephal library, the windows manager now offers additional options for running multiple monitors.
Power management is now a direct component of the KDE desktop – the power management tool goes by the name of PowerDevil, can be configured directly via the (also enhanced) system settings and shows the current battery status and display brightness via a Plasma applet. In order to be able to run KDE 4 on netbooks with smaller displays, the developers have redesigned many dialogs to occupy less screen space.
The Dolphin file manager has been partly revised, and should now be easier to use. As part of the Google Summer of Code, KMail has been redesigned, resulting in both a better appearance and better IMAP support. The KDE browser Konqueror also includes several new features.