KDE 4 Beta 3 "Cicker" Ready for Testing

The KDE Community is happy to release the third beta for KDE 4.0. This beta, aimed at further polishing of the KDE codebase, also marks the freeze of the KDE Development Platform. We are joined in this release by the KOffice project which releases its 4th alpha release, bringing many improvements in OpenDocument support, a KChart Flake shape and much more to those willing to test. Read on for more.

Since the last beta, most of KDE has been frozen for new features, instead receiving the necessary polish and bugfixing. The components which were exempt from this freeze saw significant improvements as planned, and Aaron Seigo notes, "It is amazing to see the Plasma community growing. The pace of development is amazing, and we're getting really close to having all the features we want for KDE 4.0 available. After that, we have a solid foundation for implementing new and exciting user interface concepts for the Free Desktop".

KDE 4 is the next generation of the popular KDE Desktop Environment which seeks to fulfil the need for a powerful yet easy to use desktop for both personal and enterprise computing. The aim of the KDE project for the 4.0 release is to put the foundations in place for future innovations on the Free Desktop. The many newly introduced technologies incorporated in the KDE libraries will make it easier for developers to add rich functionality to their applications, combining and connecting different components in any way they want.

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by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

Well said.
Too many people act as spoiled children here. It's not that much a question of making some remarks than the way these remarks are made.

by Jonathan (not verified)

You summed up my feelings quite well.
Do the people expect completely new apps each major release?

I know that when I read the release announcement on kde.org the changes were very exciting (especially in Plasma <3). Keep up the good work, guys. Don't let the n00bs burn you out. ;)

by Peter Thompson (not verified)

One of the most stupid remarks. Where are people bashing the developpers? On the contrary, most people here seem to be looking forward to the new and shiny KDE 4.

There are, however, some people, including me, who are a bit dissatisfied with the fact that things don't quite feel "beta", rather "alpha". This is not bashing, this is criticism. Maybe even constructive criticism.

If you don't like that, you should forbid all kinds of user feedback which are not enthusiastic. Maybe even bugzilla, where per definition only "negative feedback" is posted?

Countering such postings with "if you don't code, don't complain" or disqualifying them as "trolls" disqualifys yourself. In fact, I remember that the KDE developers, unlike the Gnome developpers, tend to react receptive to user feedback, even if it's not only positive, and integrate it in their plans.

But in order to improve a product, you must be free to point out shortcomings.

by Luis (not verified)

There's a big difference between feedback and bashing.
I didn't, in any way, tried to said that everyone in dot make this, but there quite some that does it, and If you can't see them, well my friend, you're maybe one of them ;)

by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

No, feedback is : "you have made that particular choice, when I use this particular app. I think it's not the good one because of this, and this, and this". Or "I tried this in this app, it crashed repeatedly".
But what I see roughly is "nothing works, you must not release anything because nothing is ready, you should have done this instead of that, you lost a lot of time because of this, KDE4 just cannot be released that way", etc.

It's NOT constructive feedback, it's nowhere close to be useful, it's just completely depressing and negative at a moment when the developpers need support and positive feelings to get it out in time in the best possible shape.
Many of them have worked for years on this and when you work on such a large project, you need to have it out at some point to get some new impulse. Otherwise, if it gets postponed all the time, you just get worn out and leave. If the devs were listening to the constant moaning we see here, KDE4 would never get out because there would always be something to fix/change/adjust.

Exactly what do you expect by saying "this is alpha, not beta" or things like that? What do you think you're contributing? It's not being a genius to imagine that KDE devs do not want the final release to be unstable or completely useless, so it's easy to consider that they will use the remaining months to iron out everything as much as possible. So again, what is the point, the "constructive behaviour", in complaining that something is more "alpha" than "beta"?

BTW, I believe that not providing a single line of code or a single second of work to a project should force anyone to use a certain amount of humility when asking for features or making a critic. And my opinion is that most of the critics I see here completely lack this humble tone I would expect. There is the excuse, of course, of being fond of KDE and wanting it the best possible, but I think the devs want it too, so noone should be afraid.

by dave null (not verified)

> No, feedback is : "you have made that particular choice, when I use this particular app. I think it's not the good one because of this, and this, and this". Or "I tried this in this app, it crashed repeatedly".

NO. feedback _IS_ "i've used this suite of applications and find things to be unstable"

if you see enough of those, a clue bulb might go off and the next step would be to filter the "nothing works" out from more relevant feedback.

I believe most people are smart enough to filter trollz from a general feeling of "we find thing to be possibly unstable".

what you are looking for and will never get, is "in line 46 of file kde.h, there is a macro referencing a null ptr", etc. NOT going to happen.

> I believe that not providing a single line of code or a single second of work to a project should force anyone to use a certain amount of humility


without users of various degrees of technical enthusiasm, KDE SVN should be a closed portal reserved for those that code in cluster jerks.

Real developers don't ask for humility.

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

well, if it's any help to this discussion: i've found a couple of useful comments here but most of them have been completely unhelpful and very frustrating. yes, i'd rather do without that.

by Anon (not verified)

Well, sorry if you take the comments personally. I really didn't seen any _personal_ criticism and in fact I'm very glad that you KDE developpers keep on doing such a great work (even donated - a few - euro now and then as my only contribution). I'd like to say that, I know, it's hard and often unrewarding work, and you're doing a great job at it.

But without taking it personally, I think it should be taken into account by the devs that there is some dissatisfaction with the current release policy.

I see it for myself: In former KDE betas, starting from pre-1 versions, I could use them for my daily usage at home. A few bugs, but basic desktop working. The KDE4 betas, however, in most cases where missing absolutely fundamental features like starting apps and switching apps.

This drove me off from further beta testing, and this cannot be what you release beta versions for.

by jospoortvliet (not verified)

Aaron didn't say he took it personal, he said most comments weren't very useful. He's simply right about that. 90% of the complaints where based on the non-functional plasma - and that's only 1% of KDE. Most other components are already very very usable.

by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

>Real developers don't ask for humility.

What a peremptory statement. And how much did you contribute to KDE to speak as a "real developer"? How much did you contribute to **any** open source project to make such a statement?
And more importantly, how well do you know all the KDE devs to make any claim on how they take the different broadly general critics done here?
Did you ever consider that when you have spent maybe 20-30 hours a week to work, sometimes besides a full time job, on a project, you may not be very pleased or energized by "it's unstable" comment? Especially when this statement is not coming as well with some positive or encouraging feedback beside it?

Well, my opinion is that KDE devs are real developers who probably want to have some kind of appreciation for all the time they spend freely developing these tools. And to get again and again and again things like "this is unstable, period" is just unrewarding, depressing and counter-productive.

As for your view of feedback and respect, you should go back using software you paid for, your attitude suits the relationship with software companies very well.

by dave null (not verified)


You seem to be taking so much personally while making blanket statements about others when at the most, you can only speak for yourself.

You should take a few hours away from this charged discussion and hopefully come to the conclusion that one can only hope for respect while not asking for such things as humility from others -- it is so very wrong to even think this.

perhaps the connotation of your words was not what you meant it to be?

by Jim (not verified)

> I can't believe how many of you are bashing the developers.

I don't see anybody bashing the developers. I only see people bashing *the release schedule*. The developers are doing a great job. If the same code was released as alphas and the developers weren't being rushed, everybody would be fine with the way things are going. But whoever has decided the release schedule and that these alpha-quality builds should be called betas is screwing things up for everybody.

by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

Well, I guess the release schedule is a concerted agreement by most of the devs, that the dates were more or less set in stone some months ago, even a year, and thus that what's in the alpha/beta is what the devs managed to get in for the day of tagging.

by Jim (not verified)

> the release schedule is a concerted agreement by most of the devs

Do you have any idea just how many developers contribute to KDE? "Most" would be hundreds of people. I don't think the release schedule is "a concerted agreement by most of the devs".

> the dates were more or less set in stone some months ago

They weren't "set in stone". There is nothing forcing the KDE project to conform to that schedule. If the KDE project releases things according to that schedule, it is by *choice*. They could also choose to change the schedule or ignore it entirely if they felt it necessary. From the opinions I see here and elsewhere and the quality of the betas so far, I think a lot of people feel it is necessary.

> and thus that what's in the alpha/beta is

So if the release schedule is responsible for producing the worst betas in the history of the KDE project (IMHO, been using it since the betas of 1.0 and have never seen a beta utterly fail to operate, let alone three betas in a row), perhaps that indicates that the release schedule is a bad idea.

by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

I'm not familiar with all the process that led to this schedule, but I can imagine that if most of the devs had found that the schedule was completely insane, it would have been changed. If it stayed that way, I suppose that most devs actually were happy with it or at least considered it to be an achievable target. It has actually been postponed, remember?
I've been involved in some projects before and there's nothing more depressing than having the feeling that everything is always postponed and that nobody will ever use your work. I understand that at some point, people want to see their work out and have others using it. This is probably even stronger in open source. So having a schedule is not a bad thing, and post-ponning it again and again can actually be bad. Better release in the best possible shape then prepare a second release with fixes.
As for the betas, it doesn't matter if they're the worst in the history of KDE, what's important is the final result, whether you like it or not. When you make a movie, it doesn't matter if the first cut is slow and too long : the final cut is what counts. But you need the first cut to find your way to the final one.

by Jim (not verified)

> I've been involved in some projects before and there's nothing more depressing than having the feeling that everything is always postponed and that nobody will ever use your work.

That is not an argument for releasing something that is not ready. You know what's worse than something of yours not being released? Something of yours being released and then finding out that it's full of bugs.

What this *is* an argument for is an earlier feature-freeze.

> having a schedule is not a bad thing

I didn't say that schedules were bad. I said *this* schedule was bad. I agree that having a schedule is a good thing. But that doesn't mean any particular schedule is good just because it's a schedule.

> As for the betas, it doesn't matter if they're the worst in the history of KDE, what's important is the final result

Of course. But where is this stability going to come from? Stability doesn't magically come about from calling something the final release.

Unless you think they weren't trying very hard with previous releases, they are only going to do as well at fixing bugs as they have done with previous releases. So if the betas are far buggier, then either it will take far longer to get the final release out, or the final release will be far buggier than previous releases.

by Prom (not verified)

Wonderful! Hope that we have beautiful and stable KDE 4 in January.

I have one request though. Is there any chance that the background picture of Konqueror's start page could be changed? (see http://kde.org/announcements/announce_4.0-beta3/konqueror.png)
I know it's a mater of taste, but I think that colour and design could be much better. ;)


by boemer (not verified)

I would say, do your best and make a suggestion...

If you have a good one that a lot of people like I could be taken...

And those developers have a little more time, pollishing KDE 4.0...

by logixoul (not verified)

First off, this background is exactly the same as in KDE3, except for the new Oxygen icons. Yes, they indeed don't fit well with this old background... and some of them are missing, displayed as "?" which looks bad of course...
Somebody attempted a redesign:
If you would go ahead and propose other designs, that would be terrific.

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

note that design proposals should come in the form of working html, as that is what is used for that particular screen.

by Dawid Ci&#281;&... (not verified)

Thank you KDE Team.

by another expert (not verified)

Can't all those "experts" please stop posting the same bollox time after time again?
I'm so tired reading posts about wrong release plans, betas being alphas, icons being too large etc. all over the dot.

Congrats to all the Devs!

"The usability people need to usabil harder."

by pete (not verified)

where can i get that beautiful flower background or in what package is he included . thx :-)

by logixoul (not verified)

It's one of the thousands of submissions to the Oxygen wallpaper contest. Once the winners are chosen, all the submissions are going to be uploaded somewhere (the archive is huge but somebody already offered to host it).
On that note: great choice for a wallpaper! Signifies how KDE4 is a flower slowly unfolding and growing :)

by Bobby (not verified)

Breathtaking, my wife loves it a lot. Really nice art work :)

by - (not verified)

I guess the developers might get the wrong impression from all the bashing posts.

Please note that most people only post to complaint or give their suggestions, everyone else just thinks "wow!".

So, instead of just thinking it I'll write:

these guys know where their towel is.
and thanks for all the free (and great) stuff.

by Dolphin-fanatic :) (not verified)

"Please note that most people only post to complaint or give their suggestions, everyone else just thinks "wow!". "

can I say now, wow! :D

by Paul (not verified)

Great work guys! Keep it up and forget about the trolls!

by Dennie (not verified)

Critisism isn't always trolling.

by Leto Atreides (not verified)

Goto the Kubuntu forums and take a look at everyone who has tried KDE4, it has never worked, not one release.

This could very well be the fault of those that compile for the repos, but its where many are getting their bad experience from.

From my experience in Kubuntu with KDE4, its not even Alpha, let alone Beta. _nothing_ except the clock works. No apps, no taskbar, no working desktop, nothing. And its been this way with every release, for everyone I know using Kubuntu. And since 'Beta' 2, the desktop wont even load anymore.

I sincerely hope that there is a major flaw with the Kubuntu packages, and that this isnt purely the fault of KDE itself.

by Luca Beltrame (not verified)

I'm going to try Beta 3 this weekend, and report my findings.
In any case, please spare comments like "it has never worked". Detailed reports, without "oh it's alpha and not beta"-style remarks would be much better.

by Leto Atreides (not verified)

There is not much to detail.

Beta 2 and previous (on Feisty Fawn) boot to the desktop, with 'error bubbles' over the taskbar and _nothing_ (except the clock) works.

Beta 2/3 (on Gutsy Gibson) wont even boot to the desktop.

Not much to give a detailed report on. Its pretty much the same for everyone (as far as I can tell) on the Kubuntu forums. A simple browsing there would give you any info you wanted.

Again, I think, and hope, that its the fault of those who build the Kubuntu packages, and that KDE4 really isnt that messed up. I love KDE, and want nothing more then to use the latest and greatest.

by Poborskiii (not verified)

Kubuntu KDE 4.0 beta 2 packages were broken and incomplete (some modules were still beta 1). For beta 3 you need install also kde4base-dev, in yesterday announcement this information was missing.

by Leto Atreides (not verified)

'dev' packages only contain files needed to manually compile applications against the libs in question.

There is no reason that kde4 binary packages would require this.

The comment on the package even says:

"This package contains all the headers and other related files needed to compile KDE 4 applications, or develop applications which use the core KDE 4 base applications.

This KDE 4 package is for development only, it offers no binary compatibility guarantee and will no help users."

by Reply (not verified)

"There is no reason that kde4 binary packages would require this."

The packaging is a little broken, there's your reason.

by diego (not verified)

this might be kubuntu fault because i compiled latest svn from 4 days ago on slackware and everything works and is so stable, just don't expect it to be feature complete at this point

by Anon (not verified)

I've been testing from SVN every so often, and I find that "what works" on any given day is immensely variable. Case in point - I can't interact with the desktop in any way at the moment, but the taskbar works fine. A while ago, it was the reverse. So all the pieces are there and working, but Plasma is in too much of a state of flux (and Aaron is, unfortunately, required to perform so many other non-Plasma related tasks) for it to be predictable which pieces are working on any given day ;) When it is closer to feature-completeness, the devs will hopefully be able to take the time to make it Work (since all the pieces seem to be in mostly goof working order, this could well take much less time than you'd expect.)

In the meantime, I highly recommend building every few days from SVN (not on Mondays, though). Instructions are here:


by Somebody (not verified)

I tried both Kubuntu's and Opensuse's packages for KDE4 and it seems that OpenSuse is a step forward. Kubuntu's packages seem pretty broken to me. On the other hand, with OpenSuse's packs I was able to try out plasma and its plasmoids almost perfectly, dolphin, konsole, marble and some other apps worked well too, even amarok 2.0 I was able to try out. Of course, sometimes some packages are broken and things "stop" working, but it is just a matter of packages that are being updated. As a suggestion, I think the best way is to compile from SVN weekly (on Tuesday) if you want a real state of the working in progress.

by Leto Atreides (not verified)

I switched from Gentoo/Sabayon because I didnt want to compile major packages for 24 hours. Not going to do so because the Kubuntu guys broke KDE4.

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

> _nothing_ except the clock works

evidently neither you nor the kubuntu packagers had/have an understanding of how the code is being managed for the desktop then.

features are developed in branches and then merged in. trunk/ has and will remain a place to aggregate changes and work on the core lib in ways that aren't overly disruptive.

i get enough crap from applet and engine writers about shifting targets that i really don't care if you only get a clock in betaX.

btw, in beta3 there was a lot more than that available. sounds like the kubuntu packages are simply a bit stuffed.

by Leto Atreides (not verified)

When I say only the clock I mean _only_ the clock. Task bar doesnt work, no start/K button, no applications will run, only the widget in the top left corner will activate, and since it only has a clock applet, that makes it the only thing that runs. Period.

It has nothing to do with my understanding of how code is being managed.

As I have freely admitted, my experience is based solely on precompiled packages in Kubuntu.

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

repeating what you said doesn't make it more accurate, it just repeats it. ;)

let me try and be a bit more specific now that i've had a couple hours of rest and therefore have a bit more energy (i just flew for 11 hours + aiport time + taxi rides today ... and adjusting to a -8hr tz change. meh.)

the reason that only the clock worked for you is that they apparently only packaged the clock. the rest of the goodies were elsewhere, though hardly hidden. they are being moved into kdebase and extragear/plasma as they become ready.

to kvetch about that isn't very interesting because, well, that's what you get if you use packages from beta2 or earlier that only included kdebase. even in beta3 the menu isn't fully integrated yet; it's being finished up in playground/ first.

there are good reasons for doing it like this (my sanity and the ability for people to freely experiment among them) and i'm not particularly taken by the heartstrings people are plucking here. there are lots of things to test and bump around with in these betas. stop fixating on plasma for the moment; you'll get to play with more of its features as more releases come. in the meantime, we're working in a way that allows us to move forward as quickly as possible even if it doesn't give you instant gratification right this second.

there is exactly one release that counts for plasma, and that'll be 4.0, though the rc's leading up to it will be important as well. there is also exactly one canonical place to gauge the "workingness" (hm. neat word.) of things right now and that's svn.

and of course if the kubuntu packages are screwed up, then there's even less that you or i can do about things. =)

i expect kde4 to be an interesting journey for packagers as it is rather different in several key ways from previous releases. it's a net improvement, but it means changing some things that packagers have probably been doing for *years* now. they'll get it figured out with time though...

by Reply (not verified)

I just built beta3 from source and the menu and window list are indeed not working, so it's not Kubuntu's fault.

If it's working on openSUSE it's likely it's not actually beta3 but a more recent snapshot.

by Leto Atreides (not verified)

I am not talking about lack of Plasma widgets (I didnt really expect it to come with more than a clock), I am talking about the core KDE functionality not working. (Desktop, Taskbar, Startmenu). I dont know how much of that is related to plasma in KD4 4, but none if it should be considered optional, or extra.

I am not complaining, I am simply stating my results and the results many others get as well.

If this is simply the result of bad packaging, then thats what it is and the majority of us wont know until they are properly packaged.

by infopipe (not verified)

"(Desktop, Taskbar, Startmenu)"

are all part of plasma, are developed in separate branches, will be ready for 4.0 (because they are marked as showstoppers) and are surely not considered to be optional.

by Duncan Idaho (not verified)

(Desktop, Taskbar, Startmenu) are all plasma applets.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

Most reports I've read list the desktop/panels as having largely been broken for some time, because Plasma seems to be the system in the most flux right now. However, the apps work fine.

I think you are confusing a lack of an ability to see your apps on a taskbar with the ability to run them.

And now that the panels/taskbar/Kickoff all work, you can now see and start your apps easier.

by Joe (not verified)

I have tried beta1 and beta2. Both do not show a useable desktop. The only app that works is kicker3 (from KDE 3.5). Sad but true Kicker3 is very useful to stop KDE4.
I will try Beta3 for OpenSuse when it is available.

Bye Joe

by Peter Thompson (not verified)

It's available now for openSUSE. Currently you have to search a it for working packages, I was astonished to find the latest KDE packages without unfulflilled dependancies in the "Education:" repository?!?

Unfortunately, at least for me, I still haven't something like a working taskbar. First step therefore still is to start a konsole and type "kicker" ...

by Joe (not verified)

No i have tried Beta3 for OpenSuse. This time Kde4 does not start at all. I only get a message box ("kdeinit could not be started").