KDE releases 'elegant' 4.6 desktop, apps

Version 4.6 of the KDE Software Compilation has been released with many optimisations that promise to make it the most elegant desktop and mobile interface thus far.

KDE SC consists of the Plasma workspace, KDE applications and KDE platform, which are all released simultaneously.

The Plasma workspace has interfaces for desktops and netbooks and version 4.6 debuts revamped “Activities” support for task-oriented computing.

“By right clicking to the window title, you can now make applications and files part of an activity,” according to the developers. “Changing to this activity, the Plasma workspace will show you what you need when you need it. Adding, renaming and removing Activities has also been improved.”

The main windowing interface, KWin, has been optimised for 4.6 and now has scripting support for custom requirements. Better integration with GTK+ apps is also a feature.

The 4.6 release is the seventh generation release of the KDE 4 series, which was criticised in its early versions for not being ready for everyday use compared with the previous KDE 3 series.

Notifications are now more flexible and can be placed anywhere on the desktop.

KDE SC includes its own collection of desktop applications, which for the 4.6 release, are becoming increasingly social.

The graphics apps Gwenview (image viewing) and KSnapshot (screen grabs) gain the option to export images to Flickr, Facebook, PicasaWeb and other social networking services.

Dolphin, the file manager, has more options for search and filtering and a new Git plugin arrives for browsing Git source code repositories.

At the system level, the tools for power and device management have also seen significant changes with the addition of new power, disk and device backends for Solid, KDE’s hardware management library.

The legacy Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) is now not required to manage hardware on Linux systems.

Another example is the new Bluetooth framework, BlueDevil, which replaces the old KBluetooth.

KDE SC 4.6 follows the regular six month release cycle and work is underway on version 4.7, due mid-2011.


Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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