KDE 4.0 Beta 4 and Development Platform RC Released

The KDE Community is happy to release the
fourth Beta for KDE 4.0
. This Beta aimed at further polishing of
the KDE codebase and we would love to start receiving feedback from
testers. At the same time, a Release Candidate for the KDE 4.0 Development Platform is released. This Development Platform contains the bits and pieces needed to run and build applications using KDE 4 technology. The purpose of this Development Platform is to make it easier for third parties to port their applications to KDE 4, without having to wait until the full desktop is polished enough for the final 4.0 release.

As KDE has largely has been in bugfix mode, this last beta aims to
encourage testers to have a look at KDE 4 to help us find and solve
the remaining problems and bugs. Besides the stabilization of the
codebase, some minor features have been added, including but not
limited to much work on Plasma.
Sebastian Kügler notes: "The improvements have been huge, and plasma
is much closer to what it needs to be before the release. I am
confident we will be able to finish it and present a very usable
plasma to the users with KDE 4.0".

KDE 4 is the next generation of the popular KDE Desktop Environment
which seeks to fulfill 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.

The announcement
has more information and download links for packages for
several distributions.

Dot Categories: 


by christoph (not verified)

Thanks to all contributors for this release!

KDE 4.0 is really shaping nicely, and with all the new API additions both in kdelibs4 and Qt4, the future of KDE 4 will shine.

by Diederik van de... (not verified)

Agreed. I'm quite impressed with beta4 here at openSUSE 10.3. The apps are amazing. Start up fast, good graphics, subtle animations everywhere, cleaned up interfaces and all make a good first impression. :-) I'm starting to like the Oxygen style more and more too.

The only two apps which feel a bit behind are kwin and plasma. Plasma still manages to crash now and then. KWin has a performance problems with compositing, which is a major issue for first impressions. If KWin is slow, every app feels slow because they rely on KWin to repaint.

There are still random bugs everywhere, but I haven't had any crashes except for plasma. It's the kind of bug you can expect with a beta. The major stuff is working, feels workable, and makes me really happy :-)

by Don (not verified)

I know the panels are a work-in-progress. Does anyone has any info how the work-in-progress panels will ultimatly look like. Are there mockups?

by chris (not verified)

thats how nuno thinks the panels should look like:

by Bernhard (not verified)

afaik they've disagreed with nuno's vision for the panel. They are aiming for the panel they've got at the moment and just improve the style a bit and add the remaining features (the features from KDE3).

I really hope they get a good panel soon because the one they've got at the moment is just ugly (imo)

Further I hope I'll get my KDE4 pc ready early to help developing KDE (Debian). But I have some problems with starting the applications (I've compiled kdesupport, kdelibs, kdebase and kdegames), but I can't start any of the apps (I've followed the tutorial from techbase). I hope somebody knows what's going wrong here (he can't open the display (I've already tried to export the Display variable)

by jospoortvliet (not verified)

You might try xinit:

xinit startkde -- :1

Will start a KDE desktop in a new screen (ctrl-alt-F8).

If you want to run KDE 4 applications from within your KDE 3, I've done the following:

Install KDE 4 as user 'kde4', including all .bashrc settings of course.
Use 'sux - kde4' to go to the kde4 user from within konsole in KDE 3 and then just start applications...

by LordBernhard (not verified)

first thx for the answer! it hasn't worked out completely but it's a first step.

Here my situation:

I'v got a seperate user (kde-devel), I've edited the .bashrc like stated on techbase. With the sux - kde-devel command I can start kde4 programs (but some programs report errors (e.g. ksysguard (no localhost found)). (if that's important: atm I'm running a gnome session because I didn't want to mix up KDE3 and KDE4 environment so I simply didn't install KDE3 (a fresh debian system)

And I still don't know how to start a seperate X- Session because xinit startkde -- :1 gives me an error that I haven't got the permissions to do that -.-
And I can't start it as root because that he dosn't find the paths.

by Tom Vollerthun (not verified)

You could try to start a new session using sudo - that would give you all the permissions while retaining the paths.

I prefer to use the xephyr-based solution that is described in the wiki as well - that won't let you use composite (afaik), but won't crash your other session if kwin b0rks while switching the sessions (yes, that used to be a known bug). That way I can check if it's already stable enough to be run in a "real" session while keeping me save and warm.

Oh, and to get rid of the remainings of any old build you may have installed, you should run rm -rf ~/.kde4/ every now and then.

by Sutoka (not verified)

Xephyr supports composite, and I believe newer versions support using Indirect GLX (instead of doing it entirely in software).

You might need to do +extension composite to get it to work (I don't remember the exact command I used yesterday, but I did have kompmgr (KDE3's old xcompmgr style composite manager) running in it perfectly fine.

by Anon (not verified)

You don't mention running the

xhost +local:kde-devel

command. Run it as a user who is able to startx e.g. your usual user.

by Kompo (not verified)

I would like to see some external Plasmoid which will implement Nuno's vision ;]

by Johann Ollivier... (not verified)

"afaik they've disagreed with nuno's vision for the panel."

If we ask people (i mean users...) to choose between the nuno vision and the ugly actual one, the result should be simple and clear... So, how the disgusting current one can be keept? Who is "they"? (just to know).

Nuno Pinhero developped very innovative and fresh vision for KDE4 (panel, kick ass tabs design http://www.nuno-icons.com/images/estilo/new%20style%20tabs.png , kwin buttons, tables...) and i'm really sad to see these ideas are not here anymore... I tought at first it was just a work in progress issue, but it seems we finaly are going to have an ugly panel, and a conservative look... and not because we are missing talented artists.

by André (not verified)

He who codes, decides. It's that simple. If you don't agree with what's being done, start coding yourself and you can the direction the project is taking.

by Johann Ollivier... (not verified)

"He who codes, decides. It's that simple."

And the artist who do the artwork must just shup ut? and the guy specialized in usability must shut up too? Just because they have to be developpers to be listened? Stupid and explain very well why many OSS projets are ugly and un-usuable like 80's softwares...

Hopefully, KDE coders i worked with [kopete, kdegames..] doesn't have a such giant ego, and this is more the "who know and do the work, decides" rules, in each area, everyone respecting the other's work and expertise.

by Leo S (not verified)

>> And the artist who do the artwork must just shup ut? and the guy specialized in usability must shut up too? Just because they have to be developpers to be listened?

No, but in the end it comes down to who is doing the work. It has nothing to do with not respecting non-developers, but when push comes to shove, a mockup is no use to end users. It requires a developer to put in a hell of a lot of time to implement that mockup (don't get me started on how mockups always cherry pick their displayed content to make it look good).

Mockups are great, and there are a ton of them, but implementation is much harder, and without implementation there is nothing.

by Grósz Dániel (not verified)

"Stupid and explain very well why many OSS projets are ugly and un-usuable like 80's software"

But does not explain why is _every_ X window manager I have ever tried more usable than Windows GUI. :-)

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

"afaik they've disagreed with nuno's vision for the panel"

this just keeps cropping up everywhere, doesn't it?

what we're not going to be doing is putting the panel in the center of the screen with the launcher interface button (e.g. kickoff/kmenu/lancelot/whatever) in the middle of that.

the look is a completely different issue and no we won't be keeping the look of the current panel. it's ... ugly. and we all know that. it was a quick hack to get a panel there to get the rest of the stuff needed for proper panels in place.

and yes, if you don't like what we come up with you can always write your own Containment plugins.

by Johann Ollivier... (not verified)

"the look is a completely different issue and no we won't be keeping the look of the current panel. it's ... ugly."

Happy to read that from you. I admit i started to be afraid reading this post ;)

"what we're not going to be doing is putting the panel in the center of the screen with the launcher interface button (e.g. kickoff/kmenu/lancelot/whatever) in the middle of that."

I'm not talking about 4.0 (time...), but with the "Plasma power", this idea, not perfect for now, could be experimented and matured... don't you think?

by Chani (not verified)

if you want to experiment with it, write your own containment.
isn't that the point of plasma? :) everyone has the chance to make their own stuff and play with it. which things end up being the defaults depends on what actually ends up being usable.
or, y'know, you could help make the existing panel suck less for 4.0... whatever.

by Johann Ollivier... (not verified)

"isn't that the point of plasma? :)"

In part yes, this is why Plasma is a great piece of software :D

"which things end up being the defaults depends on what actually ends up being usable."

Yes, but it depend also of leaders's view like Aaron, even if at end it is usable. If for him, this is a big "never in the center", this could just be a waste of time. Hopefuly, he is not like that, as i know, so i'm confident to have great defaults which fit the users's need.

Anyway, it seems after some talk on IRC there are already some guys working to "make the existing panel suck less for 4.0", so i prefer to continue to make the games suck less ;)

by david (not verified)

"what we're not going to be doing is putting the panel in the center of the screen with the launcher interface button (e.g. kickoff/kmenu/lancelot/whatever) in the middle of that."

why not? the panel in the center is cool, the k-menu in the middle, don't know...

by Deucalion (not verified)

Looks very much like yet-another-CDE-Imitation to me… *sigh*

Definitely not something I'd like as the default look.

by Adrian Baugh (not verified)

That looks very cool. Even if it isn't supplied as default someone should code it (plasma is supposed to be very easy to code, right?) and make it available as a replacement. If it's liked by enough people I expect the distributions will package it up.

by Bobby (not verified)

Nuno's panel looks really beautiful, I hope that something like that will be implemented instead of the present one.

by Lee (not verified)

Glad to hear it's a WIP. I thought for a moment that they were settling on this taskbar style. For me, the main problem is that the icons are too big for the taskbar -- so much so, that they look mis-rendered(!). I'm guessing a lot of functionality is still missing from the task bar too.

That said, KDE4 is shaping up quite nicely now, which I'm very happy to see. They said it couldn't be done guys, but you're making it happen. Nice job :D

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

"a lot of functionality is still missing from the task bar too"

yep. taskbar and systray both.

by Odysseus (not verified)

Hmmm, I really think we should be mentioning stuff like that in the release announcements or on the Dot, with a link to a more detailed "what works / what doesn't / whats coming next" feature list on the Plasma wiki. I see so many comments/blogs/e-mails from people who keep expecting stuff to be there, go in and find it isn't, and walk away loudly complaining about how bad the betas are. We need to try manage those expectations through education.

In fact, that leads into the bigger issue of addressing expectations for 4.0 itself, there's a noisy minority out there that seems to have the expectation that KDE4 will be born fully-grown, and they seem to be getting louder with each beta. I'd love to see a 'Truth in Advertising' series of articles on the Dot explaining what will be in 4.0 and (more importantly) what won't be. It could start with an initial article explaining the whole "4.0 as foundation, 4.1 as realisation" thing, followed by an article for each module highlighting each apps status, what's in and what's out for 4.0, and what's been deferred to 4.1.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

I wished there had been more of a unified artistic vision from the early stages. I assumed with the Oxygen team that such a vision would have been laid down early.

The glass border around the plasmoids looks great, but in turn, the window decorations around the actual Kwin windows look out of place. (I'd love to see a widget style that better complements the glass plasma theme!) The oxygen theme for widgets has lacked contrast, as has been reported repeatedly, but the splash of color that is thrown in is green, which is an odd departure from the traditional KDE blue. Then you get an odd black Krunner look which just stands out, and doesn't seem to mesh with anything else.

The other complaint I've often heard (and mirrored myself) is the white space, or empty space seen all over the place in Oxygen. Oddly, some areas of the KDE 4 desktop seem nice and tight, and aspect's of Nuno's mockups seem nice and tight (though there is plenty of white space used in the mockups in other areas as well). This is also inconsistent.

Individually some of these components look nice, but shouldn't the widgets, plasma borders, window borders, dialogs, and icons all have had a consistent design scheme?

Bugfixes and showstoppers take priority, but I seriously hope 4.1 features a more unified visual theme across KDE, and I'd love it to closely match Nuno's mock-ups.

by Oxygen blows! (not verified)

I totally agree with you!

A decade down the line and KDE doesn't get this yet.

When are we going to move away from hack-n-slash to sleek-n-tight?

by Paul Eggleton (not verified)

> When are we going to move away from hack-n-slash to sleek-n-tight?

Is this the royal "we" perchance?

by KubuntuUser (not verified)

Anyone knows if Kubuntu will provide packages for those willing to play with it ? Will it install side by side ?

Thanks in advance ! Cheers!

by student (not verified)

I wonder why not? how long did it take to get beta3 on kubuntu?

This will make a lot more bug-finders...

by Bobby (not verified)

First I would like to say a big thank you to all the developers who are so industrious and creative in this wonderful project.
KDE4 Beta 4 is a very big improvement over the last release. it's much faster and seems to be more stable. I am even getting the desktop effects but there is no desktop background. Beta 3 had a wonderful flower but it's now gone and I don't even know how to add a background picture. Anyone has an idea?
Thanks in advance.

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

> no desktop backgroun

either a setting your plasmarc, a bug in your packages/installation or DesktopContainment isn't working.

> know how to add a background picture

the configuration dialog for this is still pending.

by Bernhard (not verified)

I'm missing a desktop background too (with opensuse packages from yesterday) (although the svn build from today seems to be ok).

I wonder where the desktop plasmoid has gone. Is it going to get replaced so that you >must< have a desktop or will it be a plasmoid in the future (as before)

by Bobby (not verified)

I updated the packages a few hours ago but all I have is the same black background. Just out of curiosity though, what's the background for beta4? The beta3 background was breathtaking.
This realease has improved a lot over the one before. Great job and thanks for your dedication and hard work.

by David Johnson (not verified)

I'm a huge KDE fan, but frankly, calling this a "beta" is a joke. Unless some miracle occurs in the next two months, I'm not expecting a usable KDE4 in January. We may get a damned good development platform, but for a desktop I'll probably be sticking with 3.5.x.

p.s. I expect 4.1 to totally rock, however.

by Odysseus (not verified)

Well, that is the plan actually. KDE 4.0 will have a usable desktop, 4.1 will have the full desktop. We need to ship the dev platform, otherwise the devs will never have a stable platform to target. Remember, the apps only rely on the dev platform, not the desktop. Many apps in 4.0 are only simple ports to the new platform, most of the creative new stuff will come in the 4.1 and 4.2 release cycles. You can actually run KDE4 apps under the KDE3 desktop, and vv, so choose which mix of desktop and apps best suits your personal needs. Me, I have faith that Aaron and the plasma gang will deliver a desktop in 4.0 good enough for my daily use.

by David Johnson (not verified)

I figured that was the case, but everytime I see a KDE press release, it sounds like 4.0 is going to have a fully usable and stable desktop. It may have been better to tag this unconventionally as 3.99.

by Jim (not verified)

I completely agree. I get the impression they want the best of both worlds - getting "4.0" out the door, while being able to respond to any criticism with "it's not finished yet!" You can't have it both ways.

If they want to release an incomplete, unfinished version, it should be labelled 3.9, because no matter how many times they say that 4.1 is the "real" finished version (and they don't seem to be saying that at all in their press releases, but only in response to complaints) everybody is going to expect a feature-complete, stable 4.0.

You can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want to release something early that isn't feature-complete, then don't call it 4.0. If you want to call it 4.0, then deal with all the people who expect it to be feature-complete without telling them that they are wrong for expecting a feature-complete 4.0 when you've been busy with press releases telling everybody how great it's going to be.

At the moment, it seems to be the following:

Are you going to praise KDE? If so, then 4.0 will be an amazing advancement and the best thing ever!

Are you going to complain about missing features and crashes? If so. you are silly for expecting 4.0 to even run, you should wait for 4.1! Everybody knows that 4.0 is not a finished product.

by jospoortvliet (not verified)

KDE 4.0 will be a complete and usable desktop. It will have some regressions compared to KDE 3.5.x, but it won't be any worse than Vista, and ppl pay hundreds of dollars for that ;-)

all in all, it will be the typical 4.0 release, indeed.

by apokryphos (not verified)

In addition to the openSUSE packages, an updated "KDE Four Live" Beta 4 was also released right on time for the release: http://home.kde.org/~binner/kde-four-live

by cbcbcb (not verified)

[reposted from my comment on lwn - maybe people here will find it useful too]

To test the liveCD with KVM, you need to do some trickery to avoid KVM
aborting at start up. My Core Duo machine runs at a quite acceptable

as root
# mount -o loop /home/user/.../KDE-Four-Live.i686-0.6.iso /mnt/

as normal user
create dummy hda file
$ dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/hda bs=1M count=1
run KVM
$ kvm -hda /tmp/hda -cdrom KDE-Four-Live.i686-0.6.iso -m 512 -boot
d -kernel /mnt/boot/i386/loader/linux -initrd /mnt/boot/i386/loader/initrd

To run the live CD at a nice resolution:
1. load KVM and wait for KDE to load
2. press Ctrl-Alt-2, type "sendkey ctrl-alt-f1", then press Ctrl-Alt-1
3. log in as root and edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf eg with vi
4. in section monitor change HorizSync to 30-90 and delete UseModes line
5. delete Section "Modes"...EndSection
6. Change all Modes "800x600" to Modes "1024x768"
7. Save xorg.conf, then press alt-f7
8. Press Ctrl-Alt-2, type "sendkey ctrl-alt-backspace" then ctrl-alt-1

To get the network working, open a root terminal, and do dhclient eth0

Hopefully you should now have KDE4 in a usable 1024x768

by Darryl Wheatley (not verified)

How will KDE 4 work with Pulse Audio? I know it will be included by default in fedora 8. PulseAudio seems very promising - will it become integrated into Phonon?

by Skeithy (not verified)

To add another question, what is the relation of a sound server and a multimedia framework? Multimedia framework provides an API to play audio/video and a sound server manages audio devices, but what is their relation to each other? Do multimedia frameworks depend on a specific sound server?

by bonybrown (not verified)

Phonon provides an API to applications for playing sound and video.
It in turn has backends that actually do the decoding and playing.
One of the backends that exists uses xine and xine-lib to do the decoding and playing....so when used with this backend, Phonon will support any file type that xine can play.
There's a backend for gStreamer that's in progress. I presume that for KDE apps on Mac and Windows there will need to be an appropriate backend built for those too (perhaps the xine-lib version will just work on those platforms...I don't know)

Each of the backends will have it's own configuration as to how it gets the data to your ears - they will support whatever sound-servers or devices that the backend is built on....so if you want to use pulseaudio, and the backend you're using supports pulseaudio for output, it should be possible.

I know that xine supports pulseaudio (because I use it with an LTSP setup ) so everything should "just work"!

by Thomas (not verified)

Phonon provides an api to standard applications. Then depending on the system, phonon can use a variety of backends to decode the audio e.g. xine,gstreamer... Xine/gstreamrer then output to a soundserver which mixes it and sends to the soundcard.

by Kevin Krammer (not verified)

Sound servers are usually used for either mixing sounds from different source into one, probably applying effects to each source, or for sending the data somewhere else, e.g. over the network to a partner sound server.

Multimedia frameworks do not need a soundserver, i.e. it is not a technical requirement.
The mixing can also be done in the audio driver or the audio hardware itself, things like redirecting sound can also be handled by the framework itself.

Usually multimedia frameworks therefore provide several output options, e.g. directly using the sound device and a couple of sound servers.

by Sutoka (not verified)

Not directly. PulseAudio doesn't do any decoding, but PulseAudio can be used as an output device for things like xinelib, gstreamer, and mplayer (I think gstreamer has a pulseaudio backend, maybe xine, not sure about mplayer).

by Darryl Wheatley (not verified)

I'm confused. If you look at the screenshot of the various pulseaudio config utilities at http://0pointer.de/public/pulse-screenshot.png (warning: biggish image), you see stuff like PulseAudio Manager which lets you "view & modify the Daemon's internals", a device chooser (I guess phonon already covers this?) and Volume Control, which lets you configure "sinks" and have different volume levels for the various applications and computer speakers. I'm guessing Phonon will be doing this anyway?

In an interview with the Fedora man responsible (http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Interviews/LennartPoettering), he talked about it being all about "ear candy" and a "compiz for sound" e.g. active window has sound at 100%, other window's sounds are at 20%; clicking left button makes sound come out of left speaker and same with right. Will Phonon offer similar features or will it need PulseAudio to offer this functionality?

What I don't understand is, if pulseaudio is a sound server, won't KDE 4 need one too? Or is Phonon going to let us choose both the media engines (xine/gstreamer/mplayer/nmm) and sound servers used?