The Start of Something Amazing with KDE 4.0 Release

Several years of design, development and testing came together today for the release of KDE 4.0. This is our most significant release in our 11 year history and marks both the end of the long and intensive development cycle leading up to KDE 4.0 and the start of the KDE 4 era. Join us now in #kde4-release-party on Freenode to celebrate or come to the release event in person next week. Packages are available for all the major distributions with live CDs available currently from Kubuntu and openSUSE. Read on for details or take the KDE 4.0 Visual Guide to find your way around.

The KDE 4.0 desktop

The KDE 4 Libraries have seen major improvements in almost all areas.
The Phonon multimedia framework provides platform independent multimedia support to all
KDE applications, the Solid hardware integration framework makes interacting with
(removable) devices easier and provides tools for better powermanagement.

The KDE 4 Desktop has gained some major new capabilities. The Plasma desktop shell
offers a new desktop interface, including panel, menu and widgets on the desktop
as well as a dashboard function. KWin, the KDE Window manager, now supports advanced
graphical effects to ease interaction with your windows.

Lots of KDE Applications have seen improvements as well. Visual updates through
vector-based artwork, changes in the underlying libraries, user interface
enhancements, new features, even new applications -- you name it, KDE 4.0 has it.
Okular, the new document viewer and Dolphin, the new filemanager are only two
applications that leverage KDE 4.0's new technologies.

The Oxygen Artwork team provides a breath of fresh air on the desktop.
Nearly all user-visible parts of the KDE desktop and applications have been given a
facelift. Beauty and consistency are two of the basic concepts behind Oxygen.

Distributions known to have packages:

  • An alpha version of KDE4-based Arklinux 2008.1 is expected
    shortly after this release, with an expected final release within 3 or 4 weeks.
  • Debian KDE 4.0 packages are available in the experimental branch.
    The KDE Development Platform will even make it into Lenny. Watch for
    announcements by the Debian KDE Team.
  • Fedora will feature KDE 4.0 in Fedora 9, to be released
    in April, with Alpha releases being available from
    24th of January. KDE 4.0 packages are in the pre-alpha Rawhide repository.
  • Gentoo Linux provides KDE 4.0 builds on
  • Kubuntu packages are included in the upcoming "Hardy Heron"
    (8.04) and also made available as updates for the stable "Gutsy Gibbon" (7.10).
    A Live CD is available for trying out KDE 4.0.
    More details can be found in the
    announcement on
  • Mandriva will provide packages for
    2008.0 and aims
    at producing a Live CD with the latest snapshot of 2008.1.
  • openSUSE packages are available
    openSUSE 10.3 (
    openSUSE Factory (
    and openSUSE 10.2. A KDE
    Four Live CD
    with these packages is also available. KDE 4.0 will be part of the upcoming
    openSUSE 11.0 release.
  • openSUSE based KDE Four Live CD

Thanks to the coders, artists, usability experts, testers, bug triagers and many more who have made this release the start of something amazing. Tell us what you think on this
4.0 feedback page.

Dot Categories: 


by Danny (not verified)

On the subject of Webkit and memory usage, my brother tells me that Safari on his Macbook can consume an incredible amount of memory after a few hours. I wonder if Konqueror with Webkit will also be very memory hungry.

by Jos Andersen (not verified)

I really do not understand why people claim this release to be so radical new and better. It is not - for me its the the worst ever, and i have used KDE since 97/98. I Am pre 1,0 user.My experience is
* Its choppy and unresponsive compared to KDE 3.5.8 (even to Gnome)- compiz works fine on this machine
* Dialogs are overloaded (Too much stuff). Example Press Alt-F2 and type kate - i get three (3) choices plus 4 buttons i can click on!
*Session chooser dialog - after starting kate and pro. WTF? its just a freaking editor (Koffice opening dialogs suck as well). If i choose kwrite i do not get same dialog. Hmmmm.... where is the consistence?
* Look and feel is horrible. If i wanted Vista i would have bought it.I use Windows (XP)at work and do not want to use Windows at home. Do a fucking study of your users.
* Kickoff. What a joke. SUSE can do all the study's they want but for a experienced KDE user the Launch/Start-button thing is extremely bad. Its bad bad bad bad.. if i choose "applications" i get a freaking scrollbar!!! It looks like Windows XP's default one and anybody that has ever supported end users can tell you that it is too freaking complex. Its irritates me as a experienced user .

Hopefully this mess will be resolved someday. Im on Kubuntu - thats probably not the best KDE distor out there but my guess is that lots Ubuntu/kubuntu KDE users will be using Gnome as desktop and KDE apps underneath. Its a shame since I never really could get used to Gnome - unfortunately KDE4,0 is extremely bad usability wise so one may get forced to it.

by Phil (not verified)

Why don't you do the fucking study then, seeing as you have all the answers?

If you don't like it, go back to 3.5.8, have a coke and a smile. Quit the negativity and talk about some good stuff too.

There's nothing wrong with Kickoff. Play with it, get used to it and stop being such a jackass.

by Jos Andersen (not verified)

You're the jackass. Kickoff sucks and no talking is going to make it better. This release is an embarrassment and i will keep on using 3.5.8 and dont drink coke. So will many others - i dont see anything positive yet - maybe in 4.1 - let's see.

by Sepp (not verified)

> Kickoff sucks and no talking is going to make it better.

Crying "it sucks, it sucks" won't improve things, either. As I said in my above post: I'm quite happy with Kickoff. Just because you don't like it, doesn't automatically mean that everybody hates it.

by Jos Andersen (not verified)

You're right - it does not help to say "it sucks". Others have pointed out long ago that Kickoff (and XP style menus) are a bad idea, because they introduce complexity to simple tasks. Especially Seigo has had very agressive answers to those critics. I can guarantee you, based on longtime experience with end-users, that "they" will not understand kickoff - they do understand the original kicoff - the XP menu - and certainly not the copy. Off course unless its intended for experienced users and they are probably satisfied with the traditional one ...... unless hte "study" forget to define what the users of kickoff should be.

by Bobby (not verified)

There is no start menu presently that I like as much as Kickoff. I can't understand the complains about Kickoff in KDE 4.0. They complained and said that they wanted the old menu back so the devs gave them the choice. There are Kickoff, Lancelot and the traditional start menu to choose from. They are mere plasmoids (widgets), if one doesn't like Kickoff then delete it from the taskbar and drag and drop another start menu in it's place. It's that easy :)

by Morty (not verified)

Why don't you just switch to the traditional menu then, instead of showing of your ignorance and embarrass yourself in writing. It's right there you know, for people like you.

by Richard (not verified)

he doesn't like it, he's allowed to express that, but I am sure some of you people would prefer only posts that kiss the kde ass.

by Thomas (not verified)

Critics? ... yeah.. it shows..
Get the facts: There have been complaints by people not liking Kickoff and prefering the old-style menu. The devs listened to these voices and delivered KDE4.0.0 with the choice of both menus (again.. got it? KDE4.0.0 includes _both_ menus.. you can actually _choose_, which one you want to use) Now... you're free to ask how to switch to the old-style menu, but insultive bahaviour is not tolerated.

by Bobby (not verified)


by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

There two things :

- Aspects that objectively need improvement, like bugs and faulty behaviour.
- Personal taste, like Kickoff.

Mixing both is not the most efficient way to make a point, and adding insulting words and "freaking" all the time, because you don't want to write "fucking" is not only insulting but completely ridiculous. People should try not to write as they talk.
On top of that, making personal taste critics, while alternatives probably more compliant with the expressed taste are already available (like for Kickoff), is either dishonnest or just plain lazy, but there's no wonder they are not welcomed, especially when expressed with rudeness. It looks like the spoiled child who didn't get the toy he expected for Christmas and then make a fuss of it, instead of trying to look positively to what it got.

It has nothing to do with kissing KDE ass, but everything to do with good behaviour, politeness and taking into account people's feelings. If you don't understand the difference, there's no way I can explain it to make you do.

by Phil (not verified)

To be honest, I'm just tired of constantly reading that people don't like Kickoff. Some do, most don't. In that case, fine - switch back to the old style. If you hate it so much, then you go ahead and design something - even just a mockup - showing what you think an application list/chooser/panel/dock whatever should look like. Don't start throwing "f" words in there just because you don't like something.

Also I'm not a KDE kiss-ass, I can see plenty of areas for improvement but at least I'll try to be objective about it and offer constructive criticism.

As for the idea of a usability study, sounds good, if you can find someone who has the time (and the inclination to do it all for free) to get 50 people together for days to provide a detailed spec to aseigo et al as to how "the people" want to have on the bottom corner of their desktop. Good luck with that.

by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

... as my own post was to contradict the poster who dared to have the same first name as me! ;-)

Yep, Richard VDB - I was answering the guy who criticized my post about the first post and agreeing with you ;-)

by Segedunum (not verified)

"Its choppy and unresponsive compared to KDE 3.5.8 (even to Gnome)- compiz works fine on this machine"

In what way is it choppy and unresponsive? Specific tasks?

"Session chooser dialog - after starting kate and pro. WTF? its just a freaking editor (Koffice opening dialogs suck as well). If i choose kwrite i do not get same dialog. Hmmmm.... where is the consistence?"

Probably because they're different applications that do different things?

"Look and feel is horrible. If i wanted Vista i would have bought it."

What makes you think it looks like Vista? Oh, yer, right. It has a black taskbar.......

"Kickoff. What a joke. SUSE can do all the study's they want but for a experienced KDE user the Launch/Start-button thing is extremely bad."

I have to agree really. Kickoff is shite. The sooner Raptor gets rolling and we have something different the better, because both the SLAB and Kickoff menus have been embarrassing considering they were supposed to be the result of extensive usability studies.

by Velvet Elvis (not verified)

It's garish gradients.

Aesthetically, the default KDE look and feel has always been too "in your face" for a lot of people. I really a prefer a classic, flat grey, win9x or motif look and feel.

People use KDE in spite of how it looks, not because of it.

by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

Don't generalize : many people actually like KDE also because of how it looks (I do) and are actually pleased by the new looks.
On the other hand, most people I know find Motif apps completely old-fashion and hideous.
I don't know on the whole what people prefer in the majority, but trend is going on all desktop OS more in the current KDE looks way than Motif's, so I don't think we should blame KDE devs for that. I find the news looks actually a lot sober than Keramik was, for instance, so you should actually be pleased by the taken direction.

by Velvet Elvis (not verified)

I'd blacked out the memory that was Keramik. Thanks. I'm going to need therapy now.

I'm presently using serenity with one of the Amber/Beige color schemes, Buuf icons and a Geiger background. I like minimalistic, low contrast, earth tones and as organic a look and feel as possible. If my UI must look like something out of a sci-fi movie, make it Cronenberg.

by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

Some deeply-buried troubles must come out at some point anyway. ;-)
Actually, I'm sure that Oxygen will be OK for you with some tuning. It is not very flashy after all. I guess Plasma will be themable in the future and you can always avoid to put plasmoid everywhere if you like minimalistic desktop.
And I seem to remember a comment that the Oxygen style worked well with different colour sets (didn't try it myself yet).

by Max (not verified)

yea.. I love the new look..

Still haven't customized it.
KDE 3.5.8 I changed everything the first day, because it looked so dated. That's the beauty of open source though. I CAN DO THAT!!!

by Beat Wolf (not verified)

"In what way is it choppy and unresponsive? Specific tasks?"

i like kde 4.0, but i still want to answer that question.
Everything that has todo with scrolling is VERY slow, to the point where i just quit kde 4.0.0 after a few minutes because my computer feels so slow. But i heard that this could be a problem with my nvidia driver, but i'm not sure, so i will wait for kubuntu 8.04 to see what the real problem is

by Robert Knight (not verified)

> But i heard that this could be a problem with my nvidia driver,

I strongly suspect so. Apparently the very latest driver from NVidia's website improves things somewhat.

by Robert Knight (not verified)

> But i heard that this could be a problem with my nvidia driver,

I strongly suspect so. Apparently the very latest driver from NVidia's website improves things somewhat.

I get good performance from my four-year old laptop with an old Mobility Radeon.

by Bobby (not verified)

It is a driver problem. I had the same problem before using a few tips here and doing a few adjustments to the xorg.conf file. The effects and everything are really smooth now.
I have only one ptovlem and that is that the taskbar flickers and sometimes become transparent when I am writing in Firefox.

Btw. KDE 4 is surprisingly stable no crashes so far :)

by Grósz Dániel (not verified)

"The sooner Raptor gets rolling and we have something different the better, because both the SLAB and Kickoff menus have been embarrassing"

If you prefer the traditional menu over Kickoff, I don't think you will like Raptor. From the mockups and plans I saw it goes even further to make starting of most used apps faster and to make browsing all apps slower.

by Anonymous (not verified)

I would say that this is maybe best KDE release ever. It has needed so much long-sighted work and vision. It's great to see that even open-source projects like KDE can work like this.

I think that most complainers are seeing only the minor problems that kde4 has and they don't see the whole picture. It's much more easy to notice problems in ui than ie. conceptually better ways to do things. And most complainers don't have the patience to test kde4 for more that few minutes and after that they think that they know everything about it.

For example, I just used the new "New Device Notifier" for the first time and it's just great. It is much better way to handle new devices than those popups in kde3.5. If one tests kde4 for just few minutes, he/she won't discover things like that.

I myself use kde4 from svn and I just love it. It has some rough edges, but it sure feels better and better all the time when I use it and I just keep noticing great improvements over kde3.5.

by Jos Andersen (not verified)

Choppy : Dragging windows around, Dialogs opening.
There are some claims that this is due to nvidia drivers. I do in fact use a old nvidia card. Nevertheless things work fine in Gnome and before that with compiz and beryl with exactly the same card and same xorg.conf. So it must be a KDE issue.

Session chooser dialog: So you think that writing kate-kde4 in konsole should give me a choice about choosing "default session" or buttons New Session or Open Session ot whatever? This is at least confusind and unnecessary.

Like vista: Well...i think it looks like Vista. I dont want it to look like Vista or behave like Vista or whatever; I want KDE!

Kickoff: As someone that has done enduser support for years i find it pathetic that Seigo pulls some SUSE/Novell study that shows that kickoff is *the answer". Get real - real people dont even know how to right-click and now they have to use a menu system with a freaking scrollbar. ITs very very sad.

by Jos Andersen (not verified)

I forget the logout dialog. Why should a user confirm twice that he wants to logoff/shutdown/... ? First in Kickoff and then and a second confirmation dialog after choosing "leave/exit". This does not make sense and proves that someone has not been thinking but just coding.
I hope this crap is resolved in 4.1

by Luis (not verified)

Little troll didn't have anything to do?

You have no idea what are you talking about, you may don't like Kickoff, but normal people, not you nor me, a hell lot more than the Classical Menu, which, just by it looks, make them feel in 1995.

The dialog is known issue, thanks.

The NVidia driver issue, is that, a issue in the driver, NVidia people, instead of bashing and saying: GNOME didn't say anything, it most be your problem, tried to get a solution.

Kate my bro, isn't made for you, there it's kwrite if you only want to do .txt

by Max (not verified)

I personally love the look of KDE 4.0

It looks hip and modern.

I wish it were more cutting edge, and even more modern, but there were too many crybabies I guess that can't adjust to change. Hence only the small evolutionary change, instead of the great revolution KDE 4.X could have been.

Reasons like this made Microsoft make Microsoft Bob. Turns out people were just TOO LAZY to learn how to use a computer and adjust to change. Msft Bob proved to a failure and unnecessary. The crybabies were just a vocal minority, and were just too lazy to learn new things..

For people who don't like the 4.0 branch. Keep using 3.5.8 it will be maintained for a couple more years, so there is no need to fear.. Then when you are ready to join us in the present we will welcome you to the KDE 4.X.Y branch. By then you might have adjusted to the change.

I hate it when people cry about wanting innovation, and then are just too scared to use it. They should just say "I want more of the same" It would sure make life easier for designers, product engineers/developers, product managers, CEO's...

by Bobby (not verified)

Creatures of habits. The most people hate to think and even more to research :)

by T.J. (not verified)

Jos, and everyone, you should read Please read this before everyone just flies off the handle.

KDE 4 is intended as a technology release. Yes, it is incomplete. Even the developers acknowledge that. KDE 4.0 is the base platform for new KDE development. It is not intended to replace KDE 3.5.x until it has matured significantly.

I apologize if this seems rude, but I for one wish people would actually read developer's notes before they scream.

Best wishes,

by Robert (not verified)

Maybe this is just me (openSuSE 10.3; single-click install of KDE4.0); but when i use KDE4/Konqueror to view (for example), then apparently CSS is disabled and all

s are rendered flat, i.e. vertically.

Am i missing something obvious?

Confused now.

by SadEagle (not verified)

Weird. Someone else also reported something like this in bugzilla. Obviously not the case here. Any chance you have some odd proxy, add blocking, accessibility settings, etc., on?

Hmm, I guess I should do this with the bug report and not here.

by Robert (not verified)

I'm using KDE4 with a test account and default settings in parallel to KDE3, whose Konqueror has CSS enabled as always. I have never used a proxy at home. Now, ad blocking and accessibility settings? Then those would be enabled by default. Are they? How would i switch these off?

by SadEagle (not verified)

They shouldn't be, but perhaps it's some distro tweak (though seems doubtful)
Settings->Configure Konqueror->Stylesheets should have "Use default stylesheet".

The "Web Browsing" item should have "Automatically load images" checked,
"AdBlocK filters" should have "use filters" disabled...

by Stephen (not verified)

I've been a huge fan of KDE since I first installed 2.1 on a PC years ago. There's even a few lines of my code here and there. However, I'm very disappointed with KDE4.

I know, I know, it's a starting point. But it's not just bugs and missing applications that are bothering me, it's the whole design. For example, I can't find any way to shrink the taskbar. It's absolutely *huge*. So is the clock. The K Menu replacement makes absolutely no sense at all.

It looks like you've gone down the Gnome path of removing options everywhere, because you know what the user wants better than the user, but at least Gnomes default configuration is usable. This is just a mess. Seriously, what hardware & eyesight do the designers have? Were they sitting 6 feet away from their monitors or something?

I've gone back to 3.5 and uninstalled 4 for now. Hopefully some of the insanity of this release will be fixed for 4.1.

by Bobby (not verified)

I have read complains about the taskbar at least 100 times in this thread and it has been explained at least 1000 times why it's the way it is. People, would you mind doing a little reading before posting the same thing over and over again?

I was expecting people to complain about stability issuse but I haven seen any of those until now, only petty, cry baby things like Kickoff, the size of the taskbar and similar stuff.
It's hard to believe that people reduce a DE to these few functions.

by Wheely (not verified)

I find it hard to believe people define their DE by the composite effects.

I agree that going on about the task bar size is a bit over the top considering it has been explained many times and that it will change. I suspect that currently, plasmoids can't be resized dynamically hence the scroll bar in kickoff and the lack of a resizing task bar but I presume this will change.

I do understand complaints about KickOff though as it is a design issue rather than a functional one and the more people express their views about it the easier it is for the development team to make decisions about its future.

by Stephen (not verified)

You find it hard to believe people reduce a DE to a few functions, like a panel/taksbar, a start menu, a control panel...? Isn't that exactly what a DE is? Those are certainly what I use a DE for, and they simply aren't up to scratch at the moment compared to KDE3.5. Sure, it has a load of bells and whistles, but those aren't core DE functionality.

by Bobby (not verified)

I was referring to the missing functions/features of these components that are complained about. What you have stated is all there, maybe not as it is in KDE 3.5x but it's there and it works fine for me. i am also willing to wait on the missing features while enjoying the new and excited ones in KDE 4.0.

If you are that dissatisfied Stephen then just continue to use KDE 3.5.8 and wait until KDE4 is good enough for you. The developers have given people the same advise. KDE 3.5x is still a wonderful DE :)

by Wheely (not verified)

For all previous KDE releases I have built from source. The results have always been superior to distribution packages. My impression, so far of KDE 4.0 has come from the Kubuntu packages so I decided to build the thing, from scratch on a Slackware 11 box that doesnt even have dbus or HAL on it.

My question: The build instructions on appear to be for svn versions of KDE4.0 and not for the stable release tar balls. Does anybody know if there are up to date build instructions or should I just use what is there without the svn stuff? I really want to build what has been released, not what has been fixed since.

I have a lot of the stuff built OK and am just about to build the first KDe package. However, I notice in the README that building qt4 yourself is discouraged and that building dbus yourself is very much discouraged. I also note the bewildering number of libraries I needed to build too ( I always liked that KDE had few of them and gnome had billions of the little buggers).

I get the impression that from now on, we are being encouraged to install binaries from our distribution of choice. I hope this is not the case and it is not that us techies who have been here from the start are not the target audience any more.

by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

I've built KDE4 from source using Slack-current without too much fuss.
I still recommend you to start using Slack 12 (with Dbus and HAL) instead of 11. These can be a pain to build and honestly, you just hurt yourself trying.
From a Slack 12, here's what to do :

* Compile QT4 of course (see You should add to the package copies of the /etc/profile.d/qt.* files, renamed to and qt4.csh, where the Qt path in the scripts are changed to "/usr/lib/qt4". Otherwise, you'll have nasty surprise at first startx.

* boost : I needed to had a symlink /usr/include/boost to /usr/include/boost_1_34_1/boost, otherwise extragear-plasma would not compile because some "feed" header in "syndication" (from pimlibs) seeks a seemingly hard coded "boost/shared_ptr" there.

* Strigi :
Strigi normally uses Clucene ( but it did not compile for me though I did not try very hard. It's probably useless without it, but right now, I'm essentially interested in getting KDE4 start the quickest way, even if some features are not available.

* Soprano:

* Blitz :

That's all I was asked as mandatory libs. Some others did miss but they provided functionnality I did not need (yet).
To compile the Cmake-based projects, I basically replaced in my Slackbuilds the "configure --prefix='/usr' --sysconfdir='/etc/kde'" by "cmake -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH=/usr -DSYSCONF_INSTALL_DIR:PATH=/etc/kde".

Good luck!

by Wheely (not verified)

Thanks very much for the detailed info.

I will consider a Slack 12 install on the machine. I have a Slacky 12 install here sitting in a vmware VM but as my Kubuntu VM chokes horribly on the whole composite scene I decided I needed to go physical.

On my 11.00 box I found dbus compiled without much fuss though I have not got to Hal yet. Thanks for the qt4 tips, I have qt4 built (twice as I didnt have dbus the fist time :)) but perhaps I will just start again from a slackware 12 install as you suggest and follow your instructions. Two questions though,

1) Did you install your 3.5.* from the Slackware packages? I tend to do a bare bones install and then spend a week building all the stuff I want afterwards. It may be that you already have stuff I havent got.

2) If I have read correctly, the correct order, once everything is in place is kdesupport, libs, base and then the rest (glad arts is no longer required). Is that right?

Thanks again for the reply.

by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

I used to build KDE packages myself but for 3.5.7 and 3.5.8, for some reason, they would not work, while Slackware's ones would, so I used them recently.
I install some personnal packages, like Codeine, transcode or ffmpeg but nothing, I guess, that could be considered a necessity for KDE.
rlworkman, one of the Slackware contributors, has released on his website for testing KDE4 packages and slackbuild, if you want, including all the dependencies :

Maybe it's better to start from his work, he has tried to be much more extensive that I did. :-)
As for the order, yes that's kdesupport, libs, pimlibs, base then the rest.

by Wheely (not verified)

Thanks again. Appreciate it!

by szlam (not verified)

Faster, smoother, but 2/3 of features missing. A great technology demonstrator. As always, I'll switch to it around 4.0.5. Good work.

by hias (not verified)

you are not totally right. you can say 2/3 of kickers features are missing in the plasma panel. a few features from kdesktop are missing. some features from the rest of KDE3.5.8 are missing.

but ... faster, smoother, many new features, better look ...

big thanx to all developers. can't wait for 4.1

by John Stemos (not verified)

Is KDE 4.0 64 bit capable? All the live CD's I found so far are 32 bit.

I have an AMD Athlon 64X2, and part of the reason I switched to Linux is because it genuinely supports my 64 bit processors. (Unlike Vista, which came installed as a 32 bit version) Hopefully my question is not too n00b, but I just started with Linux (Kubuntu, I was told it's popular, but I can use other distros, openSuSE? Whatever works with KDE 4.0 I'm not picky.)

Could someone please help me with a 64 bit live CD? (if there is such an animal)