KDE 4.2 Beta1 Out for Testing

Today, the KDE team invites interested testers and reviewers to give KDE 4.2.0-Beta1 a go. The release announcement lists some significant improvements. The purpose of this release is to get feedback from the community, preferably in the form of bugreports on the new bugtracker.
Beta1 offers critical features like the Eyes applet (an XEyes clone), but also a more streamlined user experience all over the workspace and applications.
With the KDE team being in bug fixing frenzy after the recent hard feature freeze, now is the time to help us smoothing the release for your pleasure starting in January.

So install KDE 4.2-Beta1 and help us make it rock.


You are right Hans. That was really rude what he said.

By Bobby at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

Gents, I think Alex's comment was somewhat constructive, but the second gentleman's comment had an aggressive "flavor" and it's certainly unnecessary. Saying "shut up" isn't nice, especially in this "collaboration community". The KDE devs are doing an excellent job, yes there is still some place for improvements, but let's face the truth, there is still windows and other closed source alternatives out there. The choice is there, I, myself left the windows environment because of several factors, and today, if I have problems with the opensource environment, including KDE or Linux itself, I seek help, I address my problems to knowledgeable people, and I'm extremely thankful for the precious work developers are doing.

That was my 2 cents! :)

By Louis at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

Hasn't the panel been able to be resized vertically for quite a while now? And wouldn't a restriction that is only imposed by using compiz be a compiz restriction? I'm not sure what "keyboard switcher can cycle on 2 layouts" means. You can quick switch between two keyboard layouts?

Can you explain more about what it is you are missing?

By Daskreech at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

Have you even used KDE 4.1? You can resize panel vertically and compiz "uses" as many virtual desktops as you have i believe. Don't know about that layout thing though...

BTW reality is now better than ever.

By lolwut at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

Having the feature, doesn't mean it's really usable. It's really problematic to make a panel vertical in kde 4.1.x and involves usage an 'undocumented' mod-key.

By Chaoswind at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

Now it doesn't, it's drag and drop like we know it for *decades*.

By Sebastian Kuegler at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

But he's right that it's not usable, after every plasma crash the panels are back at the bottom with the default settings.

Which is annoying, especially because the only way I've found to get rows of icons on the panel (my panels relatively wide because my screen's 16:10, the Windows quicklaunch bar has rows of 4 icons each, KDE has icons the size of Texas) is to use a second panel.

By ac at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

Everyone repeat after me. Beta 1.

By cirehawk at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

4.2 comes with a quicklaunch applet. try it.

By Aaron Seigo at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

btw, what crash?

and maybe you're basing this on 4.1? because in 4.2 we also sync plasmarc whenever the Corona syncs its config, meaning that the view configuration is coordinated with the scene configuration. i just tested it in fact by dragging my panel to the top, letting 10 or so seconds pass and then `killall -9 plasma` (the unhappy nasty way to put a knife to its throat), restarted plasma and there it was: still at the top.

we do make progress from release to release ;)

By Aaron Seigo at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

Did you get it to the top or have you been able to move it from the bottom? I wanted to test AWN Dock just yesterday but I just couldn't find a way to move the panel to another position like it's possible with Kicker.

By Bobby at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am


By Chaoswind at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

yes it is.
click on the cashew. drag and drop by clicking on an empty space on the configuration thingie. resize it to make it wider.

where is the problem?

By hias at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

Panel can be resized since KDE 4.1 was released. Icons on desktop are also possible since 4.1 (via folderview plasmoid).

By AdeBe at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

Please, do not mistake the openSuse backports with original 4.1 release. I have seen those features in 4.1 as well, but they started to be introduced with 4.1.1 as openSuse prepared 11.1 release...

By Sebastian at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

So why does it work fine on Intrepid?

By Stefan Majewsky at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

OK I am reading various wrong things on the above posts and I want to put things straight.

At least under Kubuntu 8.10 (KDE 4.1.2+) you can resize the panel in the usual way by dragging. It's kind of hidden (i.e. you have to unlock widgets and click on the small cashew, on the right side of the panel) but I guess users are not stupid and they have the ability to learn such things. Then you simply drag the panel edge you want to move.

Under KDE 4.1 plasma saves it's configuration when you log out (in fact when plasma itself shuts down), so if you crash after changing the settings then they will get reset. An other way is to force restart it using this command:
kquitapp plasma && plasma &

Keyboard layouts work as well (I am using us/el all the time). If layouts are disabled just enable and configure them in system-settings > Regional & Language. Actually that's the way you did it under KDE 3.5...

Finally someone said that the only way to add more than one row of icons (I guess he meant application launchers/shortcuts) is to stack more panels. hmmm that sounds like an interface abuse to me. All you have to do is install and add to your panel the plasmoid version of QuickLauncher [

To the guy that said shut up... please when you talk online try to think if you would say the same thing to someone face to face. That's an easy tip how to learn netetiquette. "Shut up" is one of the most insulting things you can say!

KDE 4 did something very wrong (as it turned out) for most people. They released 4.0 without making it clear enough that those "most people" shouldn't install it with a ten foot pole(TM). For those guys it was only a preview of what was coming. That confused a lot of them, who in turn confused a lot more with their whining and bad criticism.
Also you have to understand how things work with distributions. I am using Kubuntu which unfortunately is not that great at keeping KDE very stable and bug free (that's a whole different discussion). There are a lot of bugs that make things look bad and for the most people KDE itself is responsible. That's not true but it still adds up to the previously mentioned confusion and a false bad image for our beloved desktop.

Peace and thanks from the bottom of my heart to all people involved in KDE!

By Leonidas at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

Thank you for explaining how to do that! It was something I missed from the 3.5 days, and I hadn't found the option (I was looking for an interface similar to the old one for changing the width). Good to see the functionality's there, although I'd argue from the number of people missing it that the UI change was maybe suboptimal.

By gnb10 at Fri, 2008/12/05 - 6:00am

The panel has always been resize-able vertically, even in KDE 4.0. KDE 4.1 improved resizing the panel even more. So what exactly is the provlem with resizing the panel vertically?

By Anonymous at Fri, 2008/11/28 - 6:00am

Panel resizing is there since 4.1, kthxbuye.

By blueget at Sun, 2008/11/30 - 6:00am

This is so BS. It works better than ever. And, if you're a seasoned KDE user, you'll know about saving sessions. Don't forget about that. ;)

By frozen at Fri, 2008/12/05 - 6:00am

About keyboard: a lot of people using 3 and more languages/layouts. For instance, EN,RU,UK. An old keyboard switcher can cycle on EN/RU and EN/UK. This is very helpful because in most cases EN is for command line and one other for current national language. If you need more than 3 languages then you'll get crazy switching it.

About panel resize. As I see in last Kubuntu (KDE 4.1.3), it resizes vertically only by changing schema or hacking, not by selecting it's size usimg panel preferences. It is very inconvenient for users with wide display. I do not like panel that eats 10% of work[place.

Well, I can explain every "feature" that me and a lot of people like me, who uses KDE for decade, feel inconvenient or even annoying. But who listens? Most of comments are like this one above: "Shut up and be grateful".

BTW, I write with real identities, you may send your "shut up" to my mailbox directly.

By Alex Lukin at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

You can already configure panel height in KDE 4.1. Just drag the edge of the panel configuration bar to set the height. In KDE 4.2 there will be a more self-evident button for you to drag to do this.

By Jonathan Thomas at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

Vertical resize is in the Kubuntu 8.10, at least I used the LiveCD and it was in, just press the plasma button on the panel and place the mouse on the border of the adjuster thingy.

I guess most of the complaints are more a PR problem than lack of features. Since many things changed or are done differently, not all old users will find the new stuff as they will most likely look for them in the old places. Maybe what KDE needs right now is more of tutorial videos or just something that is short and well arranged so to show the new stuff quickly for anyone who's switching.

Most of the "shut up" is because people expect everything from the start, KDE as any OSS project uses a "realease soon, release often" which means it might not have all the feature you took for granted in the old version (just like those old versions where built based on old and incomplete versions). Basically, all those "shup up" are said because no one expectes the Spanish Inquisition when releasing software which is knowingly "incomplete" (in the KDE feature sense).

So if 4.2 isn't there yet for you, just place the bug reports of the missing features (as most should probably be ported to KDE4) instead of just complaining that they are not there yet (they know that and are working on it - and at a quite impressive pace I should say).

By AC at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

You're probably right... but... we're at 4.2 and everything is still simply feeling "beta" to me, both concerning functionality and stability. I fill out bug reports, but there would be lots to fill out, and you don't know whether it's a real bug, something that has been decided to do so because of some obscure reason, and if anybody is interested at all.

Currently KDE developpers have a tendency of "not taking the users with them". Many a complaint is currently brushed off by "shut up and code yourself".

This statement is completely justified, as many coders are not paid for their work. However, in "former times" I as a longtime KDE user felt definitely more "respected" by the coders.

Take small examples like the "cashew". BTW, I really don't mind that thing. But some vocal critics disliked it. In former times, KDE devs would have said: "Well, I personally don't understand the need for removing that thing, but what the f**k, some users want it, it's easy to do, so let's make it an option". This discussion always reappears, be it the "old desktop paradigm" stuff or the reimplementation of "good old kicker features" and all that. All critical KDE users - but the fan boys - are dismissed (or feeling like being dismissed) as trolls. At least sometimes distributors like openSUSE listen to their user's feedback.

Take all the plasma hype. I really like the possibilities of plasma. However, I'm really sick of all the crashes, plasmoids taking the desktop with them, difficulties with different gfx cards, and so on.

I'm missing stuff like drag'n'drop in menus and panels, Windows 95 offered this and it only gradually reappears in KDE. Somebody decided it's an outdated desktop paradigm maybe?

To point this out: I'm absolutely in favour of most of the improvements KDE4 offers. I like the possibilites of plasma, it's simply great. But for months now I have the feeling that besides all those shiny things stuff like "integrating user feedback" and "concentrating on a solid, non-crashing desktop base" has simply been abandonded.

By Lars at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

The reason 4.2 feels beta is because it still *is* a beta.

By kubunter at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

I'm not talking about the specific 4.2 beta, but about any release of 4.x - be it beta, rc or release... doesn't seem to make that much difference.

By Lars at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

Sometimes I wonder what you guys are doing with KDE.

I use KDE4 since 4.0.3 just for writing stuff, watching videos, surfing the Internet, listening to music etc., with less words: for normal work.

For that normal purpose I hardly feel any regression compared to KDE3, and at least since release 4.1 I don't have any crashs (up to then it was not optimal, but less than in Windows 9x ;-)).

So maybe KDE4 isn't mature now for Linux power users making I-don't-know-what, but an average user like me just doesn't have these show stoppers, but simply enjoys the wonderful look&feel of KDE and it's apps (e.g. I love Dolphin - I know, power users hate it, but who forces them to use KDE4?) - I feel it every time I have to use WinXP, which got really ugly in comparison to KDE.

By Cyril at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

I dunno, I would consider myself a power user, and I find KDE4 (.1 especially) generally a much nicer experience than 3.5. I do wish Konsole could use the system bell, though; having to have my speakers on in order to hear when I'm hilighted in irssi is kind of annoying at ungodly hours of the night/morning when people are asleep.

I think the main reason people are complaining is because KDE4 is still reimplementing many of the features present in 3.5, features which probably weren't even in the 3.x line *until* 3.5. They'd do better to express themselves in bug reports, though, instead of trolling the Dot.

By Kiyoshi Aman at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

Let me quote you then:

"we're at 4.2 and everything is still simply feeling "beta""

By kubunter at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

I understood his meaning. Typically a .0 release has a few bugs, a .1 is pretty solid, and a .2 release is very solid.

What he's saying is that we're almost to the .2 release on the numerical scale, but we're not yet to the .0 release on the quality scale (i.e. "beta" quality). I definitely agree. I happily used KDE 2.0 and 3.0, but don't really expect to use KDE4 until KDE 4.2. I think you'll find most distros will offer KDE 3 until around that time too, for the same reasons.

Part of this is due to the KDE 4.0 release being a "developer release", which uncoupled version numbers from traditional usability/stability expectations. Those who don't follow KDE closely may still be surprised by the new numbering scheme.

By ac at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

Then happily use KDE 2.0 and 3.0 again please. With the high expectations of today you'll get quite into a huge eye-openers this way.

By anon at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

Actually I got the chance to use an ancient machine with a 2.x install on it (not 2.0 though) and it was quite good, certainly better than 4.1 in my opinion. Not to worry, my expectations are low enough that I expect KDE4.2 to finally surpass the 2.x series. As I said, I expect 4.2 to be usable, just like a .0 release should be.

By ac at Sat, 2008/12/06 - 6:00am

"I'm not talking about the specific 4.2 beta, but about any release of 4.x - be it beta, rc or release... doesn't seem to make that much difference."

KDE4 is 10 months old. After 10 months, KDE2 also had "issues" (KDE3 was better, mostly because it wasn't that big of a leap from KDE2).

During that 10 months, KDE4 has progressed A LOT. I admit that that I thought 4.0 to be a mess as well. So I didn't use it. 4.1 felt A LOT more solid.

People keep on comparing KDE4 to KDE3, but they are forgetting that KDE3 is 6.5 years old. It has had A LOT of work done to it. KDE4 is 10 months old. It has had ONE major release after 4.0.

By Janne at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

I both agree and disagree with you. I'm still using 3.5 as I feel KDE4 isn't ready yet for me but that kind of instability is necessary to cut out new bugs like that RGBA or what not problem in some graphics drivers. The devs could take a different approach and make some hacks to get it to work however that's not really a practical solution since they should be solved upstream. Therefore some instability in Plasma in the start was necessary so others could fix their own code (apparently Plasma was the first real world app to use some of their feature and as such they where not properly tested...)

The cashew problems highlights one of the many communication issues of KDE. It's not that we all have to adjust on having it on the desktop it's just that removing it with a simple hack solves nothing. I read somewhere that there are plans to provide different desktop Containments (some without the cashew). When this happens the user can easily switch between them and decide what is best. If they removed the cashew right now you would have problems acessing/testing new features like the "zoom out" etc.

Since there is so much unnecessary "noise" about the changes this will inevitably wear out anyone who tries to explain it to each missinformed user which leads to some unintencionally harsh replies like "shut up" or what not...

The whole point of Plasma isn't deciding what is outdate or new, it's giving the user choice to select anywhere from old to new. Plasma is meant to be flexible at its core, however any dev is probably more motivated to try new things than do the same old stuff...

So peace out... they'll get there, eventually.

By AC at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

"In former times, KDE devs would have said: "Well, I personally don't understand the need for removing that thing"

which is why the interfaces for KDE3 apps tend to look like a dog's breakfast.

compare/contrast gwenview in kde3 vs kde4.

yes, we spoiled users. we also spoiled the software in the process. now that we're taking a much more measure approach, despite adding lots of features (but often in more elegant, powerful ways), the users used to getting their way even if it screwed up the software complain.

this, too, will pass.

By Aaron Seigo at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

While I agree with this in general, picking gwenview as an example is somewhat unfortunate.

Gwenview is one of the few KDE3 apps I still use, not because of functionality or stability but because of the interface (and speed). Unless the interface becomes a lot more configurable, gwenview4 is not for me.

By djf at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

Ask it's developer for the features you're missing - he's very responsive... Personally I don't miss anything and I'm a big fan of the new Gwenview.

By Jos Poortvliet at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

the #1 reason most people we talked to didn't use gwenview was the interface.

gwenview may be an unfortunate example for you, but i maintain that taking the entire user base into consideration it's a great example.

this is, btw, one of the differences in my perspective and many others in these conversations: i am required to keep a broad cross section of users in mind that represent our actual user base. i do wish i could take the simpler "focus set of one" approach most people are afforded; it's so much less complex! =)

By Aaron Seigo at Fri, 2008/11/28 - 6:00am

For me, it's the other way around, I really love the new Gwenview... (as I really love KDE4), you see, all users are different...


By Neil at Sun, 2008/11/30 - 6:00am

Please tell me: What THE F**K is wrong with spoiling end users? Isn't software supposed to give the end users a good feeling? All this crap about "educating users" pisses me off.

By Larx at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

The word spoil can mean two things.
I think Aaron said that the users got the features that they wanted, but the software became bad because features were added uncritically.

By pascal at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

nothing is wrong with spoiling end users, as long as you don't ruin things in the process.

my point was that in kde3 users often "got their way" without anyone asking if it was actually a good idea.

and so a lot of very, very poor ideas made their way into the code base and everyone suffered for it.

as i noted, kde4 has a huge number of features in it, many from user request or by observing users in action.

but we're no longer going to just shove any random idea into the software simply because someone suggests it. it leads to poor results.

"All this crap about "educating users" pisses me off."

where did i say anything about educating users? please, calm down, stop swearing at me and use your brain.

By Aaron Seigo at Fri, 2008/11/28 - 6:00am

Yes, your guess is quite precise. It is PR problem. It is project management problem. PR people represented KDE4.0 as finished work. Project management guys followed M$ paradigm that says: "we are gods, user will eat everything we offer".
And yes, some guys take "release early" part more seriously then it should.

I do not complain. I'm trying to explain. Yes I do not use KDE4 now because it is inconvenient for me. I do not want to change my old bad work habits. I'd like it better, not quite different. Yes, it is free world and developers are free to be creative. Users are free to choose.

I work in quite different field (java servers) and do not know what independent developers say about porting to KDE4. But I guess ('cos a lot of apps still not ported) porting is not trivial and they say a lot of harsh words.

I write those postings just to say that in my humble opinion entire KDE4 thing got a lot of PR and management mistakes. Hope things will go better in 4.2 and 4.3. Hope thing never go such way in 5.x

By Alex Lukin at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

@Alex Lukin:

I think that kind of the point of 4.2 is that you don't have to change your habits if you don't want to. I mean you can change panel height pretty easily from a long time now, for example just look at this video:

As other people said you can have as many workspaces as you want with compiz, I haven't completely understood what is what you want to do with your keyboard layout...

KDE developers are actually listening to their users, that's why you can have icons in your desktop now, and in OpenSuse you can choose a containment without the cashew. If you look at the developers blogs you will see that they are very receptive to user input and they are really interested in reintroducing the missing features.

Unfortunaly during the KDE 4.0 days there were a lot of confusion about the state of KDE 4 and some people got really angered and started to attack some of the developers. I suppose that's why a lot of people is suspicious and intolerant at post like yours (where you stated that you like KDE, but you also said it was lacking some features that it actually has had since some time ago).

I really hope we can all calm down and start comunicating better again, I hope that with the release of 4.2 a lot of people is going to realize that their complains are being listened and solved and can start appreciating all the work that has gone into KDE 4. In the meantime maybe you want to take a look at the KDE forums, as you may know they just started a new one at

maybe the features that you are missing are already there and you still don't know :), in any case keep in mind that although not all KDE 3.5 features are in KDE 4 just yet, there are also a lot of features that are exclusive of KDE 4, enjoy them.


Raul Gomez

By Raul at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

"Yes, your guess is quite precise. It is PR problem. It is project management problem. PR people represented KDE4.0 as finished work. Project management guys followed M$ paradigm that says: "we are gods, user will eat everything we offer".
And yes, some guys take "release early" part more seriously then it should."

This was only down to people not reading/understanding the "release early" so app writers could get on and port their software. I'm not a developer and I understood the point of 4.0/4.1. If i could understand it then everyone should have been able to. The thing is that PR can only dumb down a release document a little otherwise you'd be insulting people by treating them like children.

To be honest, this "argument" was very tired and boring after 1 day and its even worse now after nearly a year. Let it rest because it smells of a troll post.

I stick with 3.5 for working and test 4.x for fun as another user. Do the same and you can upgrade when you are happy with changing your bad old habits.

By Ian at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

Ian, don't want to be harsh but you've to consider that people is stupid or trolling (or both) in a large number of cases.
Take Aaron's blog for example... sometimes he explain clearly feature XYZ that is going to be implemented in the immediate future and then suddenly someone ask in a comment "will be XYZ implemented?".
There is for sure positive criticism in the KDE community but there's a lot of noise and negative criticism too.. well, in many cases the latters outnumber the former.

By Vide at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am

I didn't say "shut up and be grateful", I said you have all the right to not like it and use something else instead, but if you're going to stay with it and do nothing but complain and criticize kde PR as out of reality then indeed, you'd better STFU.

By kubunter at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

No one needs to shut up about anything. Perhaps you think that people can be more constructive, but you do a terrible job of getting that across. Your response to non-constructive criticism is no better than the criticism itself.

By KDE User at Wed, 2008/11/26 - 6:00am

Maybe the new STFU should be "think twice what you write"? People always get wordy everywhere over minor issues which were completely non issues if the same amount of people would write the same amount of text in a programming language instead. But not only doesn't this happen, people even move to places like Aaron Seigo's blog and actively hinder programmers to continue doing their work by distracting them with mostly nonsensical complaints. Productivity clearly looks different (unless the end product wanted is indeed nothing more than trolling).

By anon at Thu, 2008/11/27 - 6:00am