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 Morty (not verified)

It should be, Codeine(or Video Player as it's renamed to) are supposedly already ported to Phonon. And according to this http://planet-soc.com/node/514, it was helped along by looking at the Kaffeine4 code :-)

by Ian Monroe (not verified)

Kaffeine is the application driving the development of Phonon's video support. So yea, expect it to be out.

by aha (not verified)

FWIW, I tried SVN of KPlayer a couple of weeks ago, and it is already in pretty good shape as a KDE 4 app. All the usual stuff is there, except there is of course still a couple of bugs here and there.

I personally always preferred KPlayer over Kaffeine, so that is great news to me!

by Richard (not verified)

stupid people download beta, and even alpha software and complain it isn't working. Duh, if you want software that is more reliable why are you trying beta's. Don't go complaining that it doesn't work, that it is slow, buggy, etc, because that is what beta software is like.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

Beta tests by definition are designed to search for bugs, so beta software is often buggy. However, beta software in theory has already passed alpha testing, and is also largely feature complete.

I think the problem is that KDE is a large project consisting of a desktop, window manager, apps, and even fairly low-level hardware support.

The core libraries, and many apps seem to be fairly feature complete for the 4.0 roadmap. The desktop itself is not.

Is KDE on the whole in poor condition? No.
Is the entire KDE 4.0 branch in beta quality? No, because the desktop isn't.

I think the solution is to be clear in terms. If you require a stable desktop, then KDE 4 testing may not be ready just yet, though it seems close.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

I hate to go here again, but I've never really got answer, only flames, so let me dare ask again.

Plasma's website claimed the desktop hasn't really changed in design and concept in decades. It promised a revolution, and on kde-look.org I saw a variety of mockups and concepts on how to shake up the desktop paradigm and do some radical things to hopefully increase productivity.

I know Plasma is barely more than a fetus at this point, and it doesn't even fully replicate all the features of the old desktop. The only new features that I know of are SVG scaling (admittedly a huge plus), built in composite effects (replicating what you could get from Compiz), and built in widgets (what you could get from Karamba).

The built in composite is an advantage in that it is built into KWin, and you don't have to lose the power of KWin to use another window manager. Admittedly that is nice, but I can't imagine that the new and improved KWin can do everything that Compiz can at this point either.

I've never liked widgets, so I don't care a whole lot. I hear there is all kinds of scripting support and it is very easy to make useful widgets. Great, except they are still widgets.

What I really want is to shakeup the desktop paradigm and increase productivity. I can't imagine widgets are going to be that solution. If you told me that there was already a roadmap and a design plan for how to rethink the desktop, and it is going to take another two years to code it, then so be it.

However, I don't think such a design even exists right now. Shouldn't such a design predate coding on Plasma? How do you know what system you need if you don't know what you need it to do?

Where do we move forward with Plasma? What KDE4 mockups should be emulated or implemented? How can we rethink the desktop and do something truly innovative?

The Plasma vision states:

"It is time that the desktop caught up with modern computing practices and once again made our lives easier and more interesting when sitting in front of the computer. Just like those icons did for people back in 1984.

Development of KDE4 has just begun, and it is during these major release cycles that we have the opportunity to retool and rethink our applications and environment at the fundamental level. The fact that the current desktop concepts have lasted this long is a testament to their effectivity, and we should not simply abandon all sense of the familiar and the useful. Yet we can not stay where we are either.

This, then, is the goal and mandate of Plasma: to take the desktop as we know it and make it relevant again. Breathtaking beauty, workflow driven design and fresh ideas are key ingredients and this web site is your portal onto its birth."

Those aren't my words. Can anyone say that Plasma today is meeting the GOAL AND MANDATE set forth by the Plasma team? I'm not demanding immediate results. I'd just like to see a plan.

by The Vicar (not verified)

Well stated. That is exactly my questions as well. Like Brumfield, I don't expect anything radical in 4.0 but how exactly is Plasma going to redefine the desktop in future releases such as 4.1, 4.2 and so on? Are design plans available?

by Thomas (not verified)

wait, simply wait.
It's not all visible yet (some parts will never be visible anyway, as it's mostly stuff "under the hood"). Plasma is not going to throw away every bit of known "usage habits" we have with our desktops atm. It'll add some nice yet mostly unknown features (you'll be surprised ;-), but what counts more is imo a shift in terms of flexibility and an API which for the first time gets close to putting together a working environment like using "LEGO bricks". It's so damn straightforward, you'd be stunned. Once you have taken a look what's inside Plasma your mind starts to juggle with all the different combinations and possibilities to put the different pieces together (in the long run this might eventually really change our way of using Computers as Plasma is like paving the road, the actual walking down that road has still to be left to the users)

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

Again, I said if you told me it would take two years, I'll happily wait.

However I don't believe there is even a plan or design.

It was the stated goal and mandate of the team to redesign how we use the desktop. Several suggestions were made, and KDE 4 has been in planning for a long time, but I don't believe a proper plan/roadmap for Plasma was ever developed. What we ended up getting is a new implementation largely of existing concepts.

If I'm wrong, then please educate me. How will scriptable widgets really completely alter how I use my computer? I've tried varying forms of widgets since the old Win95 app called Corkboard, and they've never really helped productivity. In the end, they just waste resources and clutter my desktop.

by Thomas (not verified)

I'll try it this way:
The current solutions are reaching the boundaries due to the underlying design of nowadays desktops.

Plasma is not only about, it actually _is_ a new desgin, stretching the boundaries of "doable" vs. "not doable"/"not doable without ugly hacks" beyond the limits we have atm.

Take e.g. the new LED-light-bulbs. At first they resemble nowadays usage of light. But in the long run, this new technique will open the way to completely new and exciting possibilities which have simply not been doable before (due to the limitations of the underlying 100 year-old design of light-bulbs)

Well, you can try not to get excited about it (be it Plasma or LEDs) and yawn with ostentation every time you meet somebody who is excited... but that's your choice.

by Hans (not verified)

You say that you hate widgets; sure, I don't like putting lots of Superkaramba widgets on my desktop either, but this is not only what Plasma is about.

Taskbars, system trays, pagers, clocks... all those things will become what you call widgets with Plasma. You'll be able to put them on the desktop like Karamba widgets, as expected, but also in panels etc. thus replacing Kicker.

Yes, Plasma is not only about the standard "desktop" where you currently place icons and karamba widget.

If you like Mac OS X' "Dashboard", you'll be able to do the same in KDE4 (note: it doesn't have to mean "KDE 4.0). You heard right - you can show the desktop over the windows.

You also asked about which mockups will become reality. For example, this mockup (http://kde-look.org/content/show.php/Tasks+Info+in+Less+Windows+%28mocku...) is already, as far as I know, already implanted; not we just need a nice plasmoid version.

I have faith in the Plasma developers (and the rest of the KDE team, of course) and follows the development in SVN and on the dot/planet. I've written everything here as a regular user, so no guarantee that everything is correct.

About 'KDE4 being a revolution', I suggest you to read Aaron's post here: http://aseigo.blogspot.com/2007/08/on-success-of-kde4.html

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

So the revolution of how we use the desktop is to replace a system tray with a new system tray, a clock with a new clock, etc?

Except the old system worked, and the new system doesn't yet.

How does any of this revolutionize how we use the desktop? Can anyone even point to the plan and design for how this revolution will take place?

by Luca Beltrame (not verified)

Right now, as others said, just wait. I've already said it to you: your observations are without "bad" intentions but your insistence may just have a bad effect on the developers *right now*, since a lot of other people are bashing them for no reason.

by Kevin Krammer (not verified)

> So the revolution of how we use the desktop is to replace a system tray with a new system tray, a clock with a new clock, etc?

No, compare the situations. Old style desktop elements, like the desktop (background, icons), panel, and probably widgets are all separate things.

Plasma replaces them all together, which means you can e.g. choose where to put a certain data monitor and move it later on.

Say you have a battery monitor on your panel, but then you are working on something important and you are close to running out of power, you might want to have a more detailed display in an "always-on-top" style window.

In an separated programs situation, you would have to check if the is a stand-alone battery monitoring application and basically run it additionally to the panel applet.

In a Plasma situation you can just drag the applet from the panel itself becomes more detailed.

It's mainly a matter of not needing separate pieces of software for basically the same task just because at one time you give it more attention and at another time you just put it aside.

by mdl (not verified)

so for example, would it be possible to move (or link) my email folders, contacts, files and notes regarding one of my tasks together in to one "plasma directory" on panel?

by Kevin Krammer (not verified)

Well, since we will have the possibility of "linking" data items together based on semantic relations, I imagine that visualising a dynamic set of matching items based on such relations should be doable as well.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

Don't confuse the Semantic Desktop project with Plasma. They were different teams with different goals, and now you are crediting Plasma with the work done by the Nepomuk team.

Again, I never demanded anything of KDE, because you can't demand anything from a free, volunteer-driven project. However, again, it was in the words of the Plasma team that they were delivering a revolution to change we use the desktop.

All I'm asking, is if years later they have even started to design and plan such a thing.

by Kevin Krammer (not verified)

> They were different teams with different goals, and now you are crediting Plasma with the work done by the Nepomuk team.


I am answering a question regarding the possibility of having related items accessible through one panel item.

Since building of relations is something Nepomuk is good at, any solution for displaying it on panel will most likely use it.

Just because a solution means incorporating functionality from more than one parts of the KDE framework does not invalidate the achievement of any of the pieces.

by Peter Thompson (not verified)

I'm getting a bit worried if I hear that marketing speech about "revolution on the desktop". Probably this is because I'm getting too old for radical new concepts, maybe ;) ?

But basically, the desktop paradigm for using a computer, be it Mac, Windows, Unix-Desktops and so on, is nowadays common knowledge. Menus, windows, startmenu, taskbar, trash, this aspects are always there.

Even Apple, usually heralded as the benchmark concerning usablity, has never revolutionized this concept since the first Mac, only evolved it. To be honest, this often concerns more eye candy (which isn't, as fas as I'm concerned, bad!).

But to say "revolution on the desktop" is probably pure marketing speech (which basically isn't bad, too, as it is necessary nowadays, but you also have to live up to the expectations you generate).

As far as I see it, "Plasma" isn't really a radically new concept of using a computer, but a more flexible, more appealing implementation of the well-known "desktop"-concept (that is, if it works some day).

As far as I'm concerned, that's a realistic and valuable goal. I don't know if I'd like a completely revolutionary new desktop concept replacing the one I, and millions of other users, are used to.

by Thomas (not verified)

well said.

Plasma is not reinventing the "desktop"-wheel. With Plasma as the basis the plasmoids will "mimic" the common components like Taskbar, Menus, Trash....

The advantage is that with the Plasma concept you can do much more than just "mimic" the old components, yet still nobody knows where exactly this may lead us.

For me, the "revolutionionary" part is in the Plasma libraries making the future "evolution" of the desktop a lot easier.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

Save for the fact that the Plasma team in their words promised just such a revolution.

They said the revolution would be on par with the advent of icons 20 years ago.

And you can say that no one innovates, and that it is impossible to change the desktop these days, but there were several nifty KDE 4 mock-ups that looked promising.

by Anon (not verified)

"Save for the fact that the Plasma team in their words promised just such a revolution.

They said the revolution would be on par with the advent of icons 20 years ago."

*Marketing speech*, as Peter said.

"And you can say that no one innovates, and that it is impossible to change the desktop these days, but there were several nifty KDE 4 mock-ups that looked promising."

If you're really desperate to hear something good about Plasma: Plasma should make implementing those mockups far, far easier than in KDE3.

by Jason Adams (not verified)

I know both apps are being made for KDE 4. Is there any real difference between them? From what I heard, they both do backup?

by Adrian Baugh (not verified)

I know both apps are being made for GNU/Linux. Is there any real difference between them? From what I heard, they both do text editing? ;-)

by Luca Beltrame (not verified)

I'm trying to compile qt-copy from SVN but I have some compile troubles, where do I look for to solve them? (I have googled for them already without much success.

by Anon (not verified)

Try #kde4-devel on irc.freenode.net :)

by kubuntu-user (not verified)

Just installed the third beta on my Kubuntu Gutsy system. It is barely usable.

There is no taskbar or I could not figure out, how to find it (but it is on the screenshots so there must be one).

Oxygen style looks nice, but tabs in the background are not outlined (there is just text) and drawing is sometimes buggy too). apps are crashing frequently, icons are missing almost everywhere (I installed everything). Plasma crashes frequently as well (but that had to be expected, so I won't complain).

There's nothing wrong with all of that. I still love it and I see the "big picture" behind it, but even if I swore to myself not to get disappointed like some others, frustration crawls in. Not because of KDE4.0 being "bad" but because of being buggy AND called "beta3". I remember using KDE2.0 beta and KDE3.0 beta, they were "rough" but usable. KDE4.0 b3 really should have been called "Alpha 3".

(And yes: I will file bug reports and I will try to make KDE4.0 better within my (albeit limited) possibilies (donating money and filing bugs is the only thing I can do at the moment). And no: I don't want to discourage any of the developers. I'm just concerned about my beloved desktop environment... ;-) ).

by A KDE Advocate (not verified)

I second this, but yesterday I decided to build the beast myself from source (using instructions on techbase) and i found it to be much more stable than pre-packaged stuff.

Anyway, go KDE!

by ac (not verified)

Does anyone have step-by-step instruction how to try this on OpenSUSE 10.3, preferably without borking an insisting installation? Does KDE4 then just show up as an additional session type? Is there any risk of messing with an existing KDE3 setup, like .kde configuration files?

by Grósz Dániel (not verified)
by Bobby (not verified)

The easiest way is to use the openSuse one-click intallation http://software.opensuse.org/search. Install the kde4-meta-base package and then start a KDE4 Session at login. It's better to use a test user. You can create a test user using YaST. You can also add additional KDE4 packages using the YaST software installation tool.
Have a lot of fun!

by Peter Thompson (not verified)

With the openSUSE packages labelled 3.94.1 (NOT 3.94.0) I finally got some basic desktop environment working. Looks definitely better than previous betas, the first beta usable for playing around with KDE (a working panel and a task bar and so on...).

What I really can't get used to is this plasmoid explorer stuff in the upper right corner (formerly upper left corner). Is there already consensus that this will be standard configuration? Or is this just a beta-speciality?

I consider it very annoying. It gets in the way, and basically it presses functionality on you never needed in everyday desktop usage. Plasma is a great thing, but basically it powers the desktop and isn't an app that is configured all the time. The average user will not explore plasmoids all day (probably he shouldn't even be bothered with this technology, if he doesn't want to).

Apart from that, I'm kind of glad that finally there is a KDE4 to play around with. Great!

Hi there!
I've been trying hard to make kwin use Its full compositing powers, but to no avail. Been trying svn, and lately the debian experimental packages on top of a sid install. The hardware is an nVidia 6200 (running nvidia 100.14.19), and the xorg.conf works just fine on a parallel sid install with Compiz fusion.
However, in kwin4, when opening the Desktop Effects tool (you knowaddimean, right-klicking on the title bar->Advanced->bottommost entry), it states "Compositing is not supported on your system".

Any ideas what to look at first? Xorg.0.log doesn't yield anything of interest.

by Lukas Appelhans (not verified)

Have you enabled compositing in xorg.conf, Compiz-Fusion works AFAIR with XGL and without compositing (not for me, but IIRC for some others), too^^

by Lukas Appelhans (not verified)

Have you enabled compositing in xorg.conf, Compiz-Fusion works AFAIR with XGL and without compositing (not for me, but IIRC for some others), too^^

I never really understood this XGL/AIGLX/bla stuff, but AFAIK it's got to do with the type of GPU (not the type of compositing window manager) you're using (I may be wrong though). Anyways, the xorg.conf I'm using (the compiz fusion one) has compositing enabled (and this clearly shows in Xorg.0.log)

I didn't have much luck with that either. I tried to get compositing working but it crashed the desktop. I don't know why because I have Compiz Fusion working fine with my nVidia card and the composite extension in the xorg file is enabled. Could it be that I have to switch from XGL to Xorg in order to get it working? While writing I was just thinking that that might be the problem.
In spite of that KDE4 seems to be shaping up very nicely. I have noticed that a few useful widgets have been added including an application launcher and the photo albut is beautiful.
Startup is quite slow but when the desktop is up and running things seem to be relatively fast and the most application are working very stable.

I just can't wait to see the Desktop of the year 2007 finished.

by Artem S. Tashkinov (not verified)

Right now there's no way of building KDE4 without Qt3Support libraries and headers. I cannot wait till the day when Qt3Support will not be required.

by Anon (not verified)

"Please, get rid of Qt3!"

What the hell do you think the developers are in the process of doing? Jesus, reading dot.kde.org does my head in nowadays.

by Artem S. Tashkinov (not verified)

I remember compiling KDE3 alpha 1 and it didn't require any piece of Qt2.

So your accusations are not legit.

by Boudewijn Rempt (not verified)

The qt3support library is not a part of Qt3; it is a part of Qt4.

by Anon (not verified)

"So your accusations are not legit."

*sigh* - the developers are working on making sure that all apps use Qt4 only, and don't require Qt3Support - keywords being "working on" as in *they haven't finished the task yet*.

So my accusations are perfectly legitimate, thankyou.

by Marc J. Driftmeyer (not verified)

Sorry, but applications like Kile 2.0 are built on Qt3 and that application is a gem. There are many applications that haven't been ported to Qt4, let alone KDE 4.0.

I'd expect them to be porting when KDE 4.1/Qt4.4 is rolling out, but only after KDE 4.1 feature freeze has been announced. At least, that's what I would do if I was developing Kile.

by Leto Atreides (not verified)

I dont think he means applications you install after the fact, he means the base KDE4.

Which, if this were a final release, I could understand his irritation, but its unfounded in a beta because obviously they are still in the proccess of porting the apps over. And as far and I am concerned, this is a very low priority compared to the rest of the system. Chances are you will be using some Qt3 apps for many years to come, not every app will be instantly ported, so this isnt much of an issue, as long as its on the todo list, I am fine with that.

by Bxs (not verified)

Actually, while I don't think it's a huge deal, this is the kind of thing that should NOT be in a Beta. The porting is alpha stage. By the time you reach Beta state everything should be pretty much ported and feature complete, the focus being on polishing and bug fixing during this stage.

by Morty (not verified)

Actally the whole issue are just nonsens, there are no Qt 3.

There is qt3support, but that as stated above, is a part of Qt4. It's a support library to help application developers port from Qt 3 to Qt 4. Making the porting of applications like Kile simpler. If some applications use some qt3support functionality, it does not really matter one way or another. It's what that library is for, and as a part of Qt 4 it's stable and supported by TT.

The KDE libraries does not use this, as they are already ported to Qt 4. In fact the KDE4 libraries are feature complete and frozen, so there are really no good reason too not start porting 3rd party applications to KDE4.

by Artem S. Tashkinov (not verified)

The point is that additional libraries take addition space on your HDD, in your RAM and make your applications start slower.

by jospoortvliet (not verified)

the Qt3support library isn't huge, and the apps which still use it will hopefully be ported once 4.1 comes out. If it's really a huge deal to you, why don't you help porting?

by Artem S. Tashkinov (not verified)

> he means the base KDE4.

Right you are.

by Artem S. Tashkinov (not verified)

grep kde4-libs-beta3 for those who claim that Qt3 (support) is dropped:

(kde3support library is not counted)


And let me clarify that: I'm not blaming anyone, I'm merely asking.