DEC
12
2007

KDE 4.0 Release Candidate 2 Out Now, Codename "Coenig"

The KDE Community is happy to announce the immediate availability of the
second release candidate for KDE 4.0
. This release candidate marks the last
mile on the road to KDE 4.0. This release sees increasing participation from distributions, you can download packages for Debian, Kubuntu, Mandriva, openSUSE & Fedora or grab the live CDs from Kubuntu & openSUSE.


KDE's webbrowser Konqueror

KOffice has also put out a sixth alpha release, released separately.

While progress on the quality and completeness of what is to become the KDE 4.0 desktop
has been great, the KDE Community decided to have another release candidate before releasing
KDE 4.0 on January 11th. The codebase is now feature-complete. Some work is still being done
to put the icing on the KDE 4.0 cake. This includes fixing bugs,
finishing off artwork and smoothing out the user experience.

Comments

A-ha. Thank you.


By logixoul at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

I'm quite fond of the DejaVu font family, actually.
What's "dated" about it? The latest version has been released a couple of days ago... and I find it quite good as a dektop font.

"Fraktur" can be said to be dated, but most sans, not-too-fancy fonts could be used on the desktop with decent results.

What's good with DejaVu is the Unicode coverage -- so it can be a good default font for a large number of languages.

I used to use the condensed version for places where space was an issue, the problem is that it got impossible to select it recently, due to Qt/fontconfig issues, I think.


By Luciano at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

> What's "dated" about it?

Just the look.

The letters are very wide. New OS like Leopard (LucidaGrande font), Vista (Segoe font) and some devices like cell phones and media centers are using more narrow letters.

It's just a matter of fashion. And KDE 4.0 is a big improvement in that direction with Oxygen icons and theme, little animations, stylish wallpapers etc.
The default font looks a bit out of place with it's mid-90s charm.


By Ascay at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Well, I didn't realize font fashion changed so rapidly.
Actually, I think fonts are chosen quite conservatively -- "Times New Roman" seem to still be a popular font, for example.

Cell phones are a special case, where horizontal space is not to be wasted (they tend to have tall and narrow screens).

Anyway, this is something KDE can't do much about -- I think it asks for a "sans" font, which the distros maps to their preferred font for the role.

And there are not many free fonts that can be used anyway.

The Liberation family does not even have hints (at the moment, anyway), and its Unicode coverage is not comparable with DejaVu.


By Luciano at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

> Well, I didn't realize font fashion changed so rapidly.

Well, you can't argue much about fashion and style. For most people it's just a matter of acclimatization and not taste.

Nevertheless, two examples to compare:

Kickoff with wide letters:
http://www.kde.org/announcements/announce_4.0-rc2/konqueror.jpg

Lancelot with narrow letters (Ivan Čukić has generally a nice taste concerning GUIs imho btw):
http://ivan.fomentgroup.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/lancelot-2nd...

In my opinion the font in the Lancelot screenshot looks much more elegant and modern.

> Actually, I think fonts are chosen quite conservatively --
> "Times New Roman" seem to still be a popular font, for example.

You are talking about font usage in general, I'm talking about fonts for GUIs. Who uses Times New Roman in menus e.g.? Nobody I hope. :)

Times New Roman is quite ugly actually. It's only used so much because it is the default font in widespread applications like Word. Or for compatibility because every Windows and OSX installation has it.


By Ascay at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Actually I like the Kickoff screenshot more because it's easier to read for me - more space between the characters.

Printed Times New Roman is not that bad, though I prefer the standard LaTeX font.


By mat69 at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

Hello, can you please tell how you got kde to look like this:

http://ivan.fomentgroup.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/lancelot-2nd...

Maybe a small step-by-step how to do that?? It looks very cool and I think more people would like that


By Peter V at Mon, 2007/12/17 - 6:00am

I do not think DejaVu fonts look dated at all. On the contrary they are one of the most modern Free fonts to me. But all this is a matter of taste of course.

To address your point, there is a variant of DejaVu called DejaVu Condensed which is significantly narrower. It should make you happy.

Regards,

Med


By Med at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

> But all this is a matter of taste of course.

More a matter of fashion or trend. Wide fonts like DejaVu (Standard) or Verdana and Tahoma came up in the late 90s. Nowadays they are quite rarely used on modern user interfaces and look therefore a bit dated.

I didn't say that Vera Bitstream or DejaVu look ugly. On the contrary, I prefer them for longer texts like on webpages (Verdana is quite present there). But on a brand new desktop environment like KDE4 they are a bit out of place in 2008.

Just look at OSX Leopard, Vista, cell phones, consoles (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3), DVD menus, audio players... narrow letters everywhere. People get used to such trends, if you ignore it, it will look dated.

The icons and theme from KDE3 (Krystal, Plastik) look very dated today and got replaced to something much more modern. Great! Why not doing the same with the default font?

> To address your point, there is a variant of DejaVu
> called DejaVu Condensed which is significantly
> narrower. It should make you happy.

I suggested that font in my initial post. :)

But it's not about me. I can change the font settings myself. It's more about a modern look that will appear on screenshots in magazines, on websites etc.


By Ascay at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Narrower fonts only make sense in large hi-resolution devices (e.g., 1080p HDTVs, 20+ inch LCDs, etc.). Just try looking at those "modern" fonts on an old-school 1990's SDTV and tell me that narrow fonts are universally good. You can't read shit when the characters are using lines that are thinner than possibly representable on a 480i display...


By matt at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Nobody cares about your old SDTV anymore.


By anon at Mon, 2007/12/17 - 6:00am

> The icons and theme from KDE3 (Krystal, Plastik) look very dated today and
> got replaced to something much more modern. Great! Why not doing the same
> with the default font?

Fonts aren't something you can make easily. There goes a lot of work in that and that's the reason why there are very few fonts which are usable for screen display. DejaVu is probably the only real OSS font project with a community and with a font usable for screen, and even we didn't design the main glyphs...

Anyway, for a font, the biggest concern should be legibility, not fashion. And legibility for small font sizes was one of the main concerns when vera was designed.

Sure, if you have perfect eysesight, you may prefer something thinner, but I don't think my grandma would be happy with such defaults, unless you also make the default font size bigger.

Another note: DejaVu Condensed fonts aren't hinted (doing that would take a few months full time work, but if someone has a lot of time, we welcome him), so it's not possible to use those as default now. Furthermore, Qt cannot handle the condensed family, which isn't exactly helpful to make them default either...

Finally, the font settings are made by the distro, not KDE. Although there have been talks about adding dependencies on certain fonts in KDE, it'll still be the the distros who will make the defaults... But you can always make a slick preview distro with the funky fonts of course :-)

Greetings
Ben, DejaVu maintainer


By ben at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Kpackage has been unuasbly slow for my for the complete length of the release cycle (using the openSUSE packages). E.g. scrolling the list of packagews is so slow that it takes half a minute to scroll by one package (on a AMD X2 4600+).

I'd like to be able to try out kpackage on my system (as it seems to be a frontend for smart, and I'd really like to get rid of smart's ugly and unfunctional GTK-GUI).

What's the reason for this behaviour?


By Peter Thompson at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Not sure how you installed the packages but if you go here: http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/KDE4/openSUSE_10.3/ and install the KDE4-BASIS.ymp and the KDE4-Default.ymp then it should work but you should uninstall present packages first.


By Bobby at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

> What's the reason for this behaviour?

Mostly nobody working on it :(


By Jos Poortvliet at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

How long until 3.5 is EOLed? I'm assuming debian and the like will keep it around for a few years regardless.

If KDE4 doesn't learn to treat screen real estate with respect I'll end up back with fluxbox. A lot of the new libraries rock out hard, but I've been severely underwhelmed with desktop functionality.


By Velvet Elvis at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

KDE 3.5.x updates should continue for some time, according to announcements, AFAIK at least until 4.1, as many intended features and applications (especially those not in KDE-core) simply didn't make it for 4.0 and the announced plan is to allow parallel installs of KDE 3.5.x and 4.0.x so people can continue using their KDE 3.5 apps until they get migrated to 4.x, which will be 4.1 time for many of them.

This is also why there has been a heavy emphasis on making KDE 4.0 apps behave well with KDE 3.5 and vise versa, 3.5 apps with 4.0. In fact, IIANM, some of the updates in the 3.5.7 thru (the upcoming) 3.5.9 are specifically that, helping certain 3.5.x apps to work more smoothly under the 4.0 kwin and etc.


By Duncan at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Not too many people will tell you this, because it's politically incorrect, but KDE 4.0 is not meant for general use by the masses. You will probably have to wait until 4.1 for something that's up to par with 3.5.


By David Johnson at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

The biggest question is who cares enough to maintain 3.5?

If many companies stay on 3.5 for years, updates can continue for years. Linux still sees releases of the 2.0 kernel once in a while (I haven't kept up, but I believe there was one last year, and may be more in the future), and that hasn't been the current up to date stable kernel for 10 years. (some linux distributions support releases for 5 years, so they may be forced to do some 3.5 work for several years yet just to fill customers needs)

KDE 3.5 will likely remain unlocked in SVN forever. However doing a release is a lot of work. The current release team will want to stop doing releases as soon as they can. However if someone else steps forward to do the work for more releases of 3.5 we may see them.

This is open source, in large part what happens depends on who is willing to do what.


By Hank Miller at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

> This is open source, in large part what happens depends on who is willing to do what.

Exactly. This is where most community driven projects unfortunately suck. And I do not mean to accuse floss or kde.org folks, stating the obvious. It all comes down to organisational and human aspects, ensuring proper maintenance over the lifetime of a "product" and accepting that its lifetime doesn't end, when the next iteration of your product is released.

Having the human ressources and the will to do at least two or three years of higher-level maintenance for KDE 3 than just crash and security fixes - no new features of course - an occassional bugfix release inclusive from now on is the point where I'd consider kde.org's organisation mature.


By Carlo at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

> If KDE4 doesn't learn to treat screen real estate with respect

specifics, man, specifics. this tells us exactly nothing ...

> I'll end up back with fluxbox.

the silence you hear is all the people rushing to prevent this from happening. ;)


By Aaron J. Seigo at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

The default icon sizes all around seem to be larger. The plasma wrench in the corner of the screen is huge. The oxygen kwin decoration and style have excess space pretty much everywhere, though it is much improved as of late. The panel is huge. Kickoff is huge. Many of these items are not resizable.

Will KDE 4 provide a workable desktop? In the strictest sense, at launch, yes it will.

Will it for me? No. I can't stand to see so much wasted space. I like maximizing my work area, and giving the lion's share of my desktop space to content.

I'll check back when there is more flexibility to define the desktop exactly how I want it, which in my opinion, has always been perhaps the greatest strength of KDE as a desktop.


By T. J. Brumfield at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

it's called "white space", and most people are actually more efficient when it exists.

there's also the issue of higher average screen resolutions. i mean, it's not a 640x480 world anymore.

> The panel is huge.

actually, it's not. it's precisely 2px taller than kicker's default. so why is it so big? the svg that's being used has these gigantic borders. why? because it's the same one we use for the applets because the artists haven't given me anything proper to use yet.

i don't expect you to have known this, but.. yeah.. doesn't make complaining about it any more fun.

> Kickoff is huge.

lol. ok, so.. tell me this:

a) why does this matter when it's something that only appears when you use it?
b) you can have the old, cramped application menu. you don't need to complain about kickoff.
c) the #2 complaint about kickoff right now? it isn't big enough. yeesh.

> Many of these items are not resizable.

apparently many people apparently refuse to read comments to the same story they are replying to. ;)

> The plasma wrench in the corner of the screen is huge.

how big is your screen? it's a quarter circle, diameter 48px. that's not particularly ... huge.

and what is it interfering with, precisely?


By Aaron J. Seigo at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

First off let me say, that you have been getting more criticism than praise. So when I say I don't care for something, also let me say, that I do appreciate all work going into the project. I'm just expressing an opinion.

Kickoff isn't resizable at all that I know of. Some applets, such as the new panel, are only resizable by reading the dot and finding which files to edit. At a glance, they appear to not be resizable. When I try a new distro, one of the first things I do is configure the panels in KDE, and I usually go with a smaller panel. The new panel is slightly larger than the old default, but I didn't care for how large the old default was either. I'm not suggesting development should pander to me.

Quite the opposite. When the desktop is finished, and it is easier to customize it to make everyone happy, then I'll switch. A big part of the appeal of KDE to me is the power of flexibility. I like having my desktop exactly how I like it, and neither Gnome, OS X, nor Windows allows me to do that.

Many of the complaints of KDE 4 aren't really faulting the work of KDE 4, but really they just speak volumes of what a great product KDE 3 is. When you do a major refactor, it takes a while to fully match your existing product. I'd be proud that the bar you set for yourself is so high, and it seems like you are close to meeting that bar.

I'm exciting for the future of KDE 4, but I don't want to use it just yet.


By T. J. Brumfield at Fri, 2007/12/14 - 6:00am

Exercise a little patience. Wait until the eggs are laid before you start judging what the chicken will look like. As far as I have read and understood KDE4 will be much more configurable than the present 3.5x so yes it will also be a desktop for you :)

The most of your critics are actually minor issues. you will be able to use a new theme and icon-set if you don't like oxygen, the same applies to window decoration and Kickoff, which you will be able to replace with Lancelot, Raptor or the simple KDE 3.5x menu that so many people are clinging to.
Just wait and see Mr. Brumfield...


By Bobby at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

I think you will find Novell will keep updating 3.5 for a few years as a lot of their businesses they work with will continue using that version if they use KDE

But I tend to view kde 4 in the light of windows xp. Using XP was a habit, and moving from that piece of shit to linux was a learning experience, but one full of rewards once I got the hang of it. KDE 4 appears to me the same. It looks like a monster (no offence). so many different and new aspects to it, that it will once again be a learning curve to get used to and fall back in love with it. Of course it is better than moving from XP to Vista, which is like taking a computer and wrecking it, lol

I'm looking forward to the release so I can update to it, I decided after RC1 to wait until the final release. Now if someone here can just hack into Aaron's computer, and change his calender to saying Jan 11, then maybe we can trick them into releasing it now ;)


By Richard Bollinger at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

In the screenshot, kicker (or whatever it's now called) doesn't stretch out to the left and right edges of the screen. Can someone confirm whether this can be changed? If I can't throw the mouse pointer down to the bottom edges and have it 'hit' the kicker, my head will explode.


By foo at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Queue head exploding then.

The panel is still in really sorry state at this point--I'm fairly sure its going to be one of the bigger disappointments of 4.0, it should be much better for 4.1 however.


By THIBOLOT at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Ehm, Aaron said it can cover all...

It's just showing round borders as far as I remember, even more important, it's 100% themeable.


By Luis at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Uhe most disappointed thing about it is that it can't be configured. I am getting no response when I click on it with my right mouse button. Not typical for KDE.


By Bobby at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Apparently much of the configuration is there; it's even got some stuff kicker is missing, but maybe not everything kicker had. Unforunately, there's no gui to configure it yet.


By Soap at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

that's because i'm trying to piss you off. and i do mean you. specifically, you, "Bobby". i hope that makes you feel special.


By Aaron J. Seigo at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

It's not the final plasma theme (or maybe just not the final panel theme, I don't remember what has been said about it)

Basically they just need (and from what I understand, they will) replace the SVG used for the background and border.

I also believe that they will make it easily user-configurable in the future but maybe not in 4.0.


By Antoine Chavasse at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

i think its strange that kde4 is released with the notion that basicly one of the most important aspects of the desktop (kicker) will suck.


By Peter V at Mon, 2007/12/17 - 6:00am

I threw the mouse to the bottom edge of my system, and ended up with a shattered mouse and cracked monitor. Maybe we should stop throwing mice...mouses.


By Henry S. at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

What a pain this kicker is... I use kde4live image, and it is very slow to use. It's making me go crazy. It also uses like 1/4th of a high-res monitor. Its 50pixel-wide edges are about the size of the old panel.

All the other stuff is cool, but this is such a show-stopper. Give me back the old panel (with all of its errors) and I will switch to 4.0 as soon as it arrives.

Cheers,

Mate


By Another PhD student at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

I second that request! I want to have the kicker looks like the old KDE 3 one! Same size (small!), changable, full row (so start is in the bottom left corner and you don't have to search for it with the mouse).


By Michael at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

I third this! On my Laptop I've only a 1280x800 screen resolution and the Panel wastes a lot of space! But Aaron already mentioned that the Kicker Applet is higly configurable. The question is: Is it highly configurable for Applet Designers or also for the normal user with a neat configuration dialog?

But anyway: Plasma rocks!!


By kiwiki4e at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

guys, give it some time...SOME TIME!!!!


By Emil Sedgh at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Don't you think that two weeks before the final release of kde4.0 is a bit past the point where "give it some time" is valid?


By THIBOLOT at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Two weeks? Isn't KDE 4.0 tagged on Jan 4th?


By Luca Beltrame at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

ehm
the support for resising, multiple panel, etc is there, it just needs UI to do it.
also, please do not forget that KDE 4.0.0 is just, just the begining.


By Emil Sedgh at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Why so?

A release is simply a snapshot in development time. This is the state of KDE4 as it is right now.

Derek


By D Kite at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

> What a pain this kicker is

it's not kicker.

> Give me back the old panel (with all of its errors) and
> I will switch to 4.0 as soon as it arrives.

here's how to do it:

1) kquitapp plasma
2) open $KDEHOME/share/config/plasma-appletsrc
3) look for a [Containments] group (probably [1]) that has plugin=panel
4) delete that group
5) save the file
6) start plasma
7) start kicker.

happy?


By Aaron J. Seigo at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

Dear Aaron,

First off, thanks for the reply. Secondly, please do not get upset: the plasma kickoff-replacement is probably good for many people, simply, it is not made for me (or some other geek-minded people). As for the solution for starting the old kicker, it's a nice one - I would be really happy to have it as an option in system settings so that I(and many others) don't need use a text editor to do it.

Cheers,

Mate


By Another PhD student at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

Any geek-minded person would not mind opening a text editor to change a config option


By JackieBrown at Sat, 2007/12/15 - 6:00am

"Any" I suppose you've talked to all geek-minded people to allow you to throw a blanket statement out there. Careful when you say 'any', 'every', 'all', etc..


By Mike at Sun, 2007/12/16 - 6:00am

All you guys, relax! You obviously haven't been following Segio's blog.

The panel code is much more powerful and configurable than the old Kicker code. It's just being written at the last minute, so Segio hasn't gotten any configuration dialogs made yet. When he's got the panel mostly working, it'll only take a day or two at most for him to write the config dialogs. The current theme is also not the final one; he is just reusing the one used by the applets for testing purposes. I am confident that in a month, the Plasma Panel will have all the functionality and configurability that Kicker did, plus more.


By kwilliam at Wed, 2007/12/12 - 6:00am

Thank God.


By Bobby at Thu, 2007/12/13 - 6:00am

Only xy days until the dream becomes a nightmare. :-D

I really doubt that Plasma can be fixed in less than 30 days.


By KSU at Sat, 2007/12/15 - 6:00am

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