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KDE 4.2 (Codename: "The Answer") Brings Improved Desktop User Experience, Applications and Development Platform
January 27, 2009. The KDE Community today announced the immediate availability of "The Answer", (a.k.a KDE 4.2.0), readying the Free Desktop for end users. KDE 4.2 builds on the technology introduced with KDE 4.0 in January 2008. After the release of KDE 4.1, which was aimed at casual users, the KDE Community is now confident we have a compelling offering for the majority of end users.
See the Visual Guide To KDE 4.2 for the details on the innovations in 4.2 or read on for an overview.
Further refinement of the Plasma desktop interface makes organizing
your workspace easier.
New and improved applets include a Quicklauncher, weather information,
newsfeeds, comics, quick file sharing via "pastebin" services. Plasma applets can
now be used on top of the screensaver, for example for leaving a note while the
owner is absent.
Plasma optionally acts as traditional, file manager-like desktop.
Previews for the file icons and persistant locations of icons have been added.
The Plasma Panel now groups tasks and display multiple rows. The enhanced system tray now tracks longer running tasks such as downloads. System and application notifications are displayed in a unified fashion via the system tray. To save space, system tray icons can now be hidden. The panel can now automatically hide in order to free up screen space. Widgets can be displayed in panels as well as on the desktop.
KWin offers smooth and efficient window management. In KDE 4.2 it employs motion physics to give a natural feel to old and new effects like the "Cube" and "Magic Lamp". KWin only enables desktop effects in the default setup on computers that are able to handle them. Easier configuration allows the user to select different effects as window switcher, making changing windows most efficient.
New and improved workspace tools increase productivity. PowerDevil supports mobile life by bringing modern and unobtrusive power management to laptops and mobile devices. Ark offers smart extraction and creation of archives, and the new printer tools allow the user to easily manage printers and print jobs.
File management becomes faster and more efficient. The Dolphin file manager now has a slider to easily adjust the icon size. Further user interface improvements include tooltips with previews and a capacity indicator for removable media devices. These changes have also been applied to the file dialogs in KDE, making it easier to spot the right file.
KMail's email list views have been reworked by a Google Summer of Code student. The user can now configure the display of additional information optimizing the workflow for each individual folder. Support for IMAP and other protocols has also been improved making KMail much faster.
Web browsing becomes better. The Konqueror web browser improves support for scalable vector graphics and receives many performance enhancements. A new find dialog makes for less intrusive searching inside webpages. Konqueror now shows your bookmarks on start-up.
Technology previews of various KDE applications for Windows and Mac OS X are available, some applications are nearing release quality already, while others need some work depending on the functionality they implement. Support for OpenSolaris is upcoming and approaching stable quality. KDE4 on FreeBSD continues to mature.
After Qt will be released under the terms of the LGPL, both the KDE libraries and beneath it Qt are available under those more relaxed licensing terms, making for a more compelling platform for commercial software development.
KDE, including all its libraries and its applications, is available for free under Open Source licenses. KDE can be obtained in source and various binary formats from http://download.kde.org and can also be obtained on CD-ROM or with any of the major GNU/Linux and UNIX systems shipping today.
Packagers. Some Linux/UNIX OS vendors have kindly provided binary packages of KDE 4.2.0 for some versions of their distribution, and in other cases community volunteers have done so. Some of these binary packages are available for free download from KDE's http://download.kde.org. Additional binary packages, as well as updates to the packages now available, will become available over the coming weeks.
Package Locations. For a current list of available binary packages of which the KDE Project has been informed, please visit the KDE 4.2.0 Info Page.
Performance problems with the NVidia binary graphics driver have been resolved in the latest beta releases of the driver available from NVidia.
The complete source code for KDE 4.2.0 may be freely downloaded. Instructions on compiling and installing KDE 4.2.0 are available from the KDE 4.2.0 Info Page.
The KDE team encourages everybody to spread the word on the Social Web as well. Submit stories to websites, use channels like delicious, digg, reddit, twitter, identi.ca. Upload screenshots to services like Facebook, FlickR, ipernity and Picasa and post them to appropriate groups. Create screencast, upload them to YouTube, Blip.tv, Vimeo and others. Do not forget to tag uploaded material with the tag kde42 so it is easier for everybody to find the material, and for the KDE team to compile reports of coverage for the KDE 4.2 announcement. This is the first time the KDE team is attempting a coordinated effort to use social media for their messaging. Help us spreading the word, be part of it.
On web forums, inform people about KDE's new compelling features, help others getting started with their new desktop, help us spread information.