Immediately after the release of KDE 4.0 RC1, the KDE office suite KOffice today announced the release of version 2.0 Alpha 5. As with the previous alpha versions of 2.0, this is a technology preview more than a version for users to test out. Nonetheless there are some exciting new features and developments here. Read on for more information.
In addition to enhancements in all the applications themselves which are too many to mention here, there are a few particularly important improvements.
More Shared Infrastructure
The general libraries saw several enhancements. First, there is improved sharing by making resources like gradients and strokes shared. All applications are now using the same implementation of these features, something that will reduce bugs and heighten the users feeling of a unified application suite. Another change is that the basic routines for handling the OpenDocument Format have been broken out into its own library. This is not a user-visible change, but important nonetheless because it is this library that was suggested will be made available for other KDE developers in kdelibs 4.1.
Simplified Word Processor: Kids Office
Over two years ago, Inge Wallin proposed a simplified word processor to be used in school for kids. Thomas Zander, the KWord lead developer, made a proof of concept of this using the infrastructure of KOffice 2. This proved simpler than even Thomas would have believed, and KOffice 2.0 Alpha 5 now contains a first version of the KOffice for kids. Note that only the GUI is simplified, and that it still contains the full power of KOffice. This means that it can save and load the OpenDocment Format, which will make it easy to interact with other users of OpenOffice.org or the full KOffice suite.
New Drawing Tools in Krita
The Krita team is working hard to make Krita the best free pixel based image editor in the world. This version introduces so called Chinese Brushes and a new Path Tool. It also now has all the filters that Krita 1.6 had again, as well as a first-cut implentation of on-canvas filter previews.