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Building a New KDE - page 4

Starting from Scratch

  • January 31, 2008
  • By Bruce Byfield

Olson says that he expects KDE to receive some criticism because last week's release included only the basic desktop--and, in many people's perception, fell short even there some times.

The problem is, once you stray beyond the educational programs, games, and utilities, many KDE programs are simply not ready for KDE 4. Some KDE-based programs, he says, were dependent on the pillars of KDE or the new libraries being relatively mature, and could not possibly have been released with the basic desktop. Still others have a release cycle that does not sync with KDE's. KOffice, for example, will not be releasing so much as the beta of its next release until later this month.

Still, now that the major release has been launched, KDE-based programs can start to catch up. Speaking unofficially, Olson anticipates that "Maybe some time this summer we'll have a 4.1 release, and by then all of the major players are going to have a release based on KDE 4 technology."

Yet even within the core of the new release some parts are unfinished. Although none of the release's major goals were abandoned, Olson suggests that, in individual modules, some plans may have quietly been dropped.

Perhaps the strongest is the objects center on the new Plasma desktop, and the areas in which it seems less advanced than its 3.x counterpart--in particular, the lack of customization for the panel. However, Olson strongly defends such decisions. "The Plasma community has been taking a bit of undue heat in my opinion," he says, "Because with its complexity, it really did have to wait for newer versions of QT and some [KDE libraries] to be done. And above and beyond that, it really did start from scratch."

Moreover, when compared to the desktop in earlier versions, Olson suggests, the Plasma desktop is "infinitely more flexible. And it's going to take a lot less heat when it comes to the control you have over the panels, the transparency of those panels, how cool it is with compositing effects and dealing with multi-head displays and different resolutions." Olson also indicates that the new desktop will feature the ability to choose different use profiles at startup, and tight integration into Kiosk, a tool for controlling what users can do from their desktop.

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