KDE has released a first test version of the released that will be out this summer, in August. KDE SC 4.5.0 is targeted at testers and those that would like to have an early look at what's coming to their desktops and netbooks this summer. KDE is now firmly in beta mode, meaning that the primary focus is on fixing bugs and preparing the stable release of the software compilation this summer.
KDE SC 4.5 sports many improvements, among which are:
- A reworked notification area. Thanks to the new, D-Bus-based protocol that replaces the old "system tray", a uniform look and consistent interaction scheme can now be guaranteed across applications and toolkits.
- KWin-Tiling makes it possible to automatically place windows next to each other, employing the window management paradigm also found in window managers such as Ion. Advanced graphical effects, such as blurring the background of translucent windows make for a more pleasurable and usable experience.
- Users that prefer WebKit above the KHTML rendering engine currently used in Konqueror, KDE's web browser now can install the WebKit component and switch Konqueror to use WebKit as rendering engine for web sites. The WebKit component for Konqueror is available from KDE's Extragear repository, is based on the popular KPart component technology and fully integrates with password storage, content-blocking and other features users already know and love in Konqueror.
- A special focus of this release cycle is the stability of the software delivered with KDE SC 4.5. While there are many exciting new features, developers have spent considerable amounts of time finishing off features and polishing those that haven't come to full bloom yet.
Initially planned for KDE SC 4.5.0, the KDE PIM team have decided to delay the released of the Akonadi-based KMail for one month. The new version of KMail will be delivered as part of one of KDE's monthly bugfix updates. In the meantime, the stable version of KMail from KDE SC 4.4 will be maintained. Akonadi will centralize syncing and caching of PIM data, deliver wider support for groupware servers and makes handling PIM data, such as contacts, calendaring and email more efficient by sharing it across applications.
Please test this release, and inform us of issues with the software through bugs.kde.org.