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KDE SC 4.8 – Is KDE In A Permanent Feature Freeze?


On 22 December, KDE unleashed its first release candidate of the next major iteration of the 4.x series on an unsuspecting pre-Christmas world. KDE 4.8 is a major release number. As such, I was hoping for some pretty cool new features. However, looking at the release announcement, I see that there are only three new features worthy of mention, being: implementation of Qt Quick in Plasma Workspaces; dolphin’s file view has been rewritten. This has some really nice performance improvements, and some pretty slick animations when resizing windows; KSecretService, enabling password storage which is available to non-KDE apps on the plasma desktop and vice versa. There’s also the ubiquitous catch-all of “bug fixes and performance improvements”. Hardly worthy of a major release number bump. Initially, I thought there must be more. However, when I looked at the full feature list on KDE.org’s techbase website, looking through the full feature list on yielded a handful of complete features, all of which were completely underwhelming. So where are the features? When the KDE 4.x series was first launched, there was a lot of talk about early releases stabilizing the frameworks underlying KDE SC and achieving feature parity with the 3.x series. Once

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KDE 4.7 – A First Look At Beta 1

dolpin default

On the 25th of May 2011, KDE released the first beta of KDE SC 4.7.  As an ardent KDE fan – so prepare for this article to be horribly biased – I’ve hunted down the openSUSE packages and installed it on a test machine.  The test machine is a circa 2 year old Dell XPS M1330 laptop with 4GB of RAM and mobile NVIDA graphics running openSUSE 11.4.   In the last couple of major releases of the 4.x release of KDE SC, the changes have been largely incremental.  In fact, it seems that Gnome and Ubuntu (separately but contemporaneously) have swapped places with KDE SC 4.  Previously it was Gnome that was the steady plodder making minor incremental changes through the 2.x series, building stability and only adding minor features.  However, with the recent releases of both Gnome Shell and the Unity desktop on Ubuntu, the Gnome/Ubuntu side of the desktop linux equation has made radical and controversial steps away from the well loved Gnome 2.x series, leaving KDE 4.x as the “steady as she goes” option. Having said that, there are a few radical changes to KDE, but these are more under the hood than front and centre,

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KDEnlive 0.8 Released – Best non-linear video editor for Linux

kdenlive screenshot

For a long time I’ve been a big fan of kdenlive. I’ve written a two articles about it. One is a general overview of video editing on Linux and the other is more specific to kdenlive. For a number of years, video editing on linux – at least at a consumer level – has been patchy at best. This is somewhat ironic given the heavy use of linux in major Hollywood block film production. However, with the advent of kdenlive, things are looking pretty good and with the release of version 0.8, there have been some great features added for the more advanced users, while still retaining a simple and easy to use UI. The new features include: Rotoscoping. This is an advanced technique for tracing over live action to create life like animation; Perspective image placement; Widget layouts. This allows you to quickly switch between different layouts for different workflows. Very handy for more efficient editing; Light Graffiti. Audio Spectrum and Spectrogram. Stop Motion Capture. Tooltips with quick explanations for filters/effects. There are some really useful tools there for advanced video editing and is increasing the compositing features of this editor. In addition, many existing features have been improved

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KDE SC 4.6 RC1 – An INTELligent Update

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the beta release of KDE SC 4.6. I lamented the regression that seemed to have occurred with kwin performance on my intel based graphics chip, whilst the performance on my NVIDIA based box had improved markedly. I have now had a chance to update my intel based machine to KDE SC 4.6 RC1 and wanted to post a quick update. I’m very pleased to report that kwin performance is as good as it is on the NVIDIA machine. Windows wobble with no tearing or jerking. Window resizing is fast and much much smoother than in 4.5. Other animations feel snappier and smoother. So whilst KDE SC 4.6 does not have a huge number of new features, it is definitely worth the upgrade for the performance improvements in kwin.

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KDE SC 4.6 RC1 – Another Look

A few weeks ago, I put up a post about the first beta release of KDE SC 4.6. Unfortunately, due to a number of bugs, I’ve had to revert back to 4.5 on a couple of machines. One because there seemed to be a regression in graphics performance on the Intel based chipset I had on one machine. The other, because I decided to move from openSuse back to Kubuntu, which I might say was a pleasant surprise in terms of polish and stability. Anyway, back to the story at hand … Having now installed KDE SC 4.6 RC1 on my main desktop machine, running Kubuntu, it seems to be playing quite nicely. Here are my impressions of this latest pre-release of KDE SC 4.6. kdepim and akonadi As I have stated in my previous post, the only really earth shattering thing in this release is (was) the porting of the KDEPIM suite of applications to Akonadi. This was left out of the 4.5 release due to too many bugs. Well, it seems that it will be left out of the 4.6 release as well, due to migration issues with large data sets. This is interesting, as I had a

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KDE 4.6 Beta 1 – a first look


The first beta release of KDE SC 4.6 was released yesterday. OpenSUSE had packages up almost immediately, so being curious as to what’s new, I’ve downloaded and upgraded to the new release. These are my impressions thus far. KDE’s release notes tout the following (main) features of the 4.6 release: libplasma now does does something with QML for widgets on devices – why this is the number one feature listed on a PR release about the new release I do not know. It’s hardly sexy; the reintroduction of activities, which now includes starting and stopping applications as part of an activity. This sounds interesting – more below; optimization of Kwin. The release notes say that this will LEAD to smoother window management and more stunning desktop effects. So I’m guessing these aren’t in this release; faceted browsing in dolphin. What I think this means is that you can filter particular files by various categories in a folder view; git plugin for dolphin – yawn; introduction of akonadi to the PIM applications. KWIN Optimisations This is actually really hard to show, because any screen capture program I use to show the improvements will be jerky and completely defeat the purpose. However,

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5 Things I Miss From Linux When Using OSX

I have been a Linux user for over 10 years. I have used it exclusively on my home systems since that time and although it was a struggle at the beginning, I haven’t had any desire to use any other operating system … until now. Recently I purchased a MacBook Pro. Principally because I like the hardware, and can put Linux on it. However, it has also given me the opportunity to use OSX. In fact I’ve been using OSX quite a lot – given I’ve paid for it, I want to really see how it works. However, in the course of using it, I’ve come across a number of features of Linux and the KDE desktop that I greatly miss. If you think I’m wrong on any of the items below, please let me know – I’d love to be able to fill in some of the gaps I’ve found. This is my list: 1. A Package Manager Package management is a central feature of most Linux distributions. Whether it be apt, rpm, emerge, packman or the myriad of other package managers, the basic premise is the same – the ability to update every piece of software on your

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KDE SC 4.5 – Desktop Activities Exposed

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KDE SC 4.5 RC1- The (well) hidden features


This is the third in a series of posts about the pre-releases of KDE SC 4.5. This one is about the first release candidate. In the previous posts about beta 1 and beta 2 I went over the new features in 4.5 – few as they are. I also pointed out that one of the focuses of this release is stability. Obviously RC 1 adds no new features, so what is there to talk about? Well, there’s more stability – since beta 2 was released, 1233 bugs have been reported and 1165 have been closed – pretty impressive. Despite there being no new features in the RC, there is one new feature that overlooked in my previous posts. The new configuration dialog for the oxygen style. In KDE SC 4.4, this was hidden. When you set the oxygen style in the appearance configuration module, there were a few configuration options, but possibly not enough for the die-hard KDE users who like to configure every aspect of their desktop to within an inch of its life. So in this release of KDE SC, you have the ability to tweak a whole bunch of aspect of the oxygen style: So what are

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KDE SC 4.5.0 – Beta 2 – Another Quick Look

Having given a quick overview of the first beta of the latest KDE SC release last week, a couple of days later, beta 2 was released. So dutifully, I have updated to KDE SC 4.5 beta 2 to see what’s changed. Stability According to the release announcement “1459 new bugs have been reported, and 1643 bugs have been closed, so we’re witnessing a lot of stabilization activity right now”. So for those who left comments on my last post bemoaning the KDE developer’s lack of enthusiasm for bug fixing – kerblam! take that! In fact, I have indeed noticed some stability improvements myself, so the empirical evidence is backed up by the anecdotal. In beta 1, there seemed to be a reasonable amount of instability in kwin. Compositing would turn itself off rather regularly, and on the odd occasion, X itself would give up the ghost altogether. With beta 2, no such misfortunes have befallen me. More Things I’ve Noticed Calendar Plasmoid There has been a nice update to the calendar plasmoid, which can be accessed by clicking on the clock on the main panel. Now this shows PIM and calendar events using Akonadi marking the relevant date in the

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