Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What´s new in KDE SC 4.10

the KDE project released the first Beta for KDE SC 4.10, which will be released to the public sometime early next year. After KDE SC 4.9, a conservative (in a good way) release whose main target was stability, 4.10 takes us back to the more standard KDE release type, rich in new features.

The complete list of features and changes is LONG, so I will only list a number of highlights here (from the Official dot.kde.org ANNOUNCEMENT):

  • Qt Quick in Plasma Workspaces -- Qt Quick is continuing to make its way into the Plasma Workspaces. Plasma Quick, KDE's extensions on top of QtQuick allow deeper integration with the system and more powerful apps and Plasma components. Plasma Containments can now be written in QtQuick. Various Plasma widgets have been rewritten in QtQuick, notably the system tray, pager, notifications, lock & logout, weather and weather station, comic strip and calculator plasmoids. Many performance, quality and usability improvements make Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces easier to use.
  • New Screen Locker -- A new screen locking mechanism based on QtQuick brings more flexibility and security to Plasma Desktop.
  • Animated Wallpapers -- Thanks to a new QtQuick-based wallpaper engine, animated wallpapers are now much easier to create.
  • Improved Zooming in Okular -- A technique called tiled rendering allows Okular to zoom in much further while reducing memory consumption. Okular Active, the touch-friendly version of the powerful document reader is now a KDE Application.
  • Faster indexing -- Improvements in the Nepomuk semantic engine allow faster indexing of files. The new Tags kioslave allows users to browse their files by tags in any KDE-powered application.
  • Color Correction -- Gwenview, KDE's smart image viewer, and Plasma's Window Manager now support color correction and can be adjusted to the color profile of different monitors, allowing for more natural representation of photos and graphics.
  • Notifications -- Plasma's notifications are now rendered using QtQuick. Notifications themselves, especially concerning power management, have been cleaned up.
  • New Print Manager -- Setup of printers and monitoring jobs was improved thanks to a new implementation of the Print Manager.
  • Kate Improvements -- KDE's Advanced Text Editor received multiple improvements regarding user feedback. It is now extensible using Python plugins.

I left out some other things that were highlighted in the KDE announcement that I don't consider that relevant myself. On the other hand, though, there are some features that went by unmentioned that got my attention, specially around the Kwin area. For instance, a change has been merged to get the window menu inside the window decoration, which should make things look much cleaner. I don´t like how the separation between the decoration and the window is made evident sometimes when using wobbly windows, so here´s hope that this change will fix that. Martin Graesslin himself merged another interesting one thanks to which decorations inform the compositor about their transparency, a change that should provide more consistent looks when windows are maximized. Finally, I read not long ago from Martin again that they were looking at the translucency effect. This effect comes enabled by default when dragging windows, and surprisingly they realized it was hungry on resources and heavy on the system. The plan is for that effect to get fixed in KDE SC 4.10 as well.

There are many more things in the works. In fact, looking at the complete list of features, it almost feels concerning that there are so many incomplete items at this stage, specially given the Beta stage we're at. I wonder if all those targeted goals will actually make it into KDE SC 4.10. We´ll have to wait and see.

1 comment:

  1. Chema, though I know you're traditionaly a (K)ubuntu guy, if you have some free time could you test the latest Kademar linux? It used to be a Debian based KDE with a home-brewed config tool , with full support in spanish and catalan, but in version 5 has been reworked on Arch. I have tried it and it's quite polished, plus having a pendrive installer that has persitence, just like the ubuntu method.

    Thanks..and keep up your good insight