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KDE 4: Wow Factor Fully Engaged - page 3

Weird Science?

  • February 25, 2008
  • By Kenneth Hess

One of the most compelling new Plasma components is the Zooming User Interface (ZUI). The ZUI allows you to create virtual desktops, insert specific widgets into them, and then zoom them in or out depending on your current needs. You can see what this looks like at KDE Desktop Grid. You can zoom in on the virtual desktop that you need to work with, zoom out again and select a different desktop, zoom in and get to work with that set of widgets. Plasma and ZUI are both in their developmental infancy so stay tuned for increased functionality in this exciting area of a new generation of desktop software.

Oxygen is the new artwork project associated with KDE 4. Though mostly concerned with icons, the project focuses on creating rich artwork to represent folders, applications, hardware, etc. that have a unified theme and a specific set of colors. Icons have a default size of 128x128 instead of the usual 16x16 which provides more opportunity for detail and realism. The use of Scalable Vector Graphics gives the icons the ability to retain their crisp detail regardless of size. To learn more about the Oxygen Project, go to The Oxygen Project Site.

KDE 4 breaks with the traditional Konqueror browser as the default file manager. Dolphin now takes over in that coveted spot in KDE's latest version. Dolphin is similar in look and feel to Thunar, the new XFCE file manager, with a new navigation bar, split views, panels, and properties views. Windows users who are converting to Linux will feel comfortable with this file manager as well since its navigation bar is comparable to the Windows file manager (see Figure 3).

Okular is a universal document viewer for KDE 4. It supports a wide variety of file formats including PDF and ODF (Open Document Format). The coolest feature of Okular is that you can not only view documents but also add notes (annotate) to them as well.

Phonon is KDE's platform-independent multimedia API. What does Phonon do for you, the end user? It provides an easy way for developers to incorporate media rich applications to enhance your desktop experience. Phonon and Solid (a project focused on providing support for wireless hardware) also make it easier for you to use multimedia hardware.


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