KDE 4.1 Released, Dedicated to Uwe Thiem

6 months after the release of KDE 4.0, the KDE community today announced the released of the second feature release in the KDE 4 era. Lots of changes have gone into this release and the KDE community hopes to be able to make most early-adopting users happy with this release. Lots of feedback from people trying out KDE 4.0 has gone into KDE 4.1, filling most of the gaps people experienced with the 4.0 releases. Highlights of KDE 4.1 are the KDE PIM suite, which has returned in its KDE 4 incarnation, a more mature Plasma desktop and many, many new features and applications. Make sure to take some time to read through the high-level changelog or even the more detailed feature plan on Techbase. Before you try KDE 4.1, please read the KDE4 End User FAQ and make an educated guess whether KDE 4.1 is for you.

The release is dedicated to KDE's contact in Africa, Uwe Thiem. Uwe passed away after a kidney failure two weeks ago. Africa's new press contact for KDE is AJ Venter, a friend of Uwe's who stepped up on short notice to help with filling the gap Uwe's death leaves in the KDE community.

Meanwhile, KDE's Release Team scheduled a number of bugfix and translation updates. KDE 4.1.1 will be made available on September 3rd, 4.1.2 will be out on October 1st, and 4.1.3 will be there on November 5th. KDE 4.2.0 will in 6 months, the release date is set to January 27th 2009.


let's hack on it. I miss only panel hidding from kde3X, but it is planned for 4.2

Linux is VISUALY better than VISTA or OSX.

By zvonsully at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

That's the beauty of style, it's not limited, but it's quite clear that something must be beautiful in OS X as everyone copies the crap out of it.

I'd get rid of the menu bar, but that's my NeXT preferences showing through.

By Marc Driftmeyer at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

OS X looks nice, but I wouldn't say that everyone copies it.

By T. J. Brumfield at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

Copy may be to big a word, but I do agree OS X sets the pace right now - and has been doing so for a while. They simply have a huge influence because they're ahead of most others, both architecturally and artistically speaking. Having some excellent ppl with a lot of freedom and a flexible architecture does that to a product ;-)

That doesn't mean MS, Gnome and KDE don't have their own unique look & feel, but saying they aren't influenced isn't right. On the other hand OS X doesn't stand entirely on its own either, seen the way they switch users? (they use the cube from Compiz for that)

By Jos Poortvliet at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

I'd completely disagree with you there with no offense to the software developers who have poured their heart and souls into KDE. (As a software developer myself I can appreciate the work that goes into a project this size)

The kicker/start bar/quick launch/clock widget area still needs work. The buttons on almost all the screenshots for all the apps are too big (I guess perhaps a 80px rounded button is really needed for KDE), the open/close/minimize/maximize stylings still look off perhaps due to the strange alignment. Worst of all, the fonts still don't look well chosen. They've come a long way but i'd suggest that the default font shown there still doesn't fit.

Now, with all that "bashing", i've got to say that KDE has come a long way and i've been trying it out almost all the way. I know my complaints are almost all changeable here or there or in this .conf file but to say that the default install looks better then OS X is just crazy talk. OS X has a major advantage; it has a large crew of people that just work on its art. It's not their contribution to an open source project in their free time, it's their job.

That said, thanks to all the developers and people that made this release.

By MikeTV at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

AFAIK some people did work only on KDE 4's art but (in my opinion, but not in that of many people) it did not turn out to be better than the previous defaults.

By Grósz Dániel at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

wow, I disagree. The artwork in KDE 3.5 wasn't that bad, but Oxygen is applied much more pervasively and consistently throughout KDE 4. Whether you like the style or not, I think you must agree on that. The artists have much more influence compared to Everaldo had during 3.x - which makes sense, as there's an official team now ;-)

By Jos Poortvliet at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

Well to each its own, I suppose. But I too find KDE4 look depressing.
It may be more consistently applied, but it's consistently gray (or black... brr!).

By Luciano at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

I upgraded my kubuntu to KDE 4.1 yesterday and when I looked at it it was amazing. Beautiful even. The wonderful bright blue swirling background was the perfect highlight for Plasma and Oxygen. I do have a slightly custom colour scheme in that the window decorations are blue instead of white, but I'm not taking credit - it simply looks absolutely incredible.

When I get home I'll post a screenshot.

By matt at Thu, 2008/07/31 - 5:00am

Well, to me it seems that KDE is doing a good job to implement default styles that are - technically seen - competing with the current MS Windows release. Plastik was the first KDE theme that was polished in the sense that the design of buttons fitted to lines, borders, boxes, tabs etc. But it was behind of OSX in the way that animations were limited to animated progress bars and that antialiasing of widgets not existing. Lines and 3d-borders were still RGB-(No-A) bitmaps.

Oxygen improves that. The philosophy of the style is different from Vista, the colors are OSX alike. The style is well thought in the sense that the Windeco, buttons, lines, boxes and tabs (and evene icons) fit well together. But still the number of animations is very limited and there are many unpolished non-antialiased widgets.

To me, the theme Skulpture is really nice. Its artistic philosophy is simple (maybe a bit old-school), but it offers at least a few smooth animations and is polished even in the sense that widgets are antialiased.

Just take, for example a sunken ListView. The 3d frame is sunken and has a gray "shadow" on the white interior. An item of the listview is selected using blue color. In Skulpture the frame's "shadow" fades into blue around the selection. This is what I call "polished" and where I believe KDE reaches the quality of OSX/Vista. I hope the Oxygen guys can keep with Skulpture. The basic ideas of the style are awesome, though I am afraid the implementation is finished when KDE5 is already around the corner.

By Sebastian at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

I am afraid of that too...

The problem is there aren't many developers to do so (I think there are 3 or so). Draw the widgets can be a hard task since you have to make it on C++. Nuno's mockups are incredible, and I think that is the way we all (including the developers) want KDE to look like, but "draw" everything in C++... :/

I would help if I know how to code, but...

There was a project named Cokoon that the main objective was to make it easier to artist draw their own theme... but I don't know what happened to that project.

By SVG Crazy at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

Looking at some mockups at http://nuno-icons.com/images/estilo/ it seems to me that (as far as the widget style is concerned) it is nearly achieved and that's what I don't like, mainly because the lack of contrast. No problem, Plastik is fine for me (and even Plastique even though I like Plastik scrollbars better than Plastique).

By Grósz Dániel at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

Erm, maybe you are mixing up things here, but there are no animations in Skulpture yet. Are you talking about Bespin?

Regarding shadows, Skulpture uses overlay widgets to get them, so performance suffers. I doubt KDE developers would implement them this way, but future KDE/Qt versions could offer "native" shadows. I think there were some ideas floating around on Trolltech Labs. The whole RGBA and shadow situation is a mess anyway. X11 and X window managers need a major redesign. Try ARGB/shaped windows with shadows... OSX and Vista are ahead in respect to that.

Anyway, I think KDE developers should not put much energy into Oxygen's widget style, but instead lay a solid foundation on which theme designers can build there own styles. Creating Plasma themes is already quite easy, that's why you see so many of them popping up at KDE-Look.org, and nearly all of them of very high quality. But creating a widget style is a very tedious task.

I remember someone saying the reason there are next to no third-party widget styles available for KDE 4 is that with Oxygen there is no need to find a better style. I doubt it. The real reason is that they are not easy to create. Imagine creating a widget style would be nearly as simple as creating a Plasma theme or an Emerald window decoration. KDE-Look.org would get flooded with new ideas, and encourage others to pick them up and improve upon.

Nuno's dream: Paint it in Inkscape and save it! He wouldn't stop drooling, if this suddenly came true...

By christoph at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

"Nuno's dream: Paint it in Inkscape and save it! He wouldn't stop drooling, if this suddenly came true..."

That would be the perfect situation... We can dream, can't we?

I think that was the object of Cokoon... do not know what happened...

By SVG Crazy at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

Qt 4.x supports SVG, so theoretically you could do things in inkscape, but the problem is; you need to derive all classes and implement your own paint engine, which will do SVG rendering, and it is Hell amount of work, and it is not a job for few afternoons.

By doc_ds at Thu, 2008/07/31 - 5:00am

:) yeah then the animations :P

By nuno Pinheiro at Thu, 2008/07/31 - 5:00am

That depends. Oxygen not recognizing system colors, and presenting this overt white interface while Plasma displays an overt black interface, combined with a krunner that looked really out of place in 4.0 led me to believe there wasn't much in consistent design or application of Oxygen. The desktop had some polish and shine here and there, but it looked rather disjointed.

It is coming more together, but thick, dark Plasma themes still don't seem to mesh with Oxygen. Some of the thin, very transparent themes seem to compliment the white Oxygen look.

That being said, I really love Nuno Pinheiro's mockups, and the closer KDE 4 looks to his designs, the happier I will be. Many of his early mock-ups featured quite a bit of contrast and some rather innovative takes on tabs, scrollbars, etc. I'm not sure why the actual early Oxygen implementations were so different from the mock-ups.

I'm also still hoping that someday someone will combine some of the nice effects of the Oxygen widgets with some of the wonderful elements of the KDE 3 Domino widgets. I loved the Domino scrollbars and custom gradients especially. Domino wasn't overtly minimal, yet it didn't scream wasted space either. I'm glad to see Oxygen eliminate some of the excess white space, but it could still trim down a bit.

By T. J. Brumfield at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

Yep, OsX is real purdy.
Imagine how faaaaantastic it'll be as soon as it has:
- a text editor worthy of the name
- a usable console
- multiple desktops
- a file manager that lets me get some work done
- a task bar which lets me see what I have open
- a mouse that is usable as a 3-button x style mouse
- stops converting my ps to pdf just so I can view them
- has a front and back end that use the same line-ending
- stops using hidden resource files that get lost during transfer and render the file unopenable on a mac (cool, they still work under windows!?)
etc etc

By A.M. Benson at Fri, 2008/08/01 - 5:00am

Obvious Troll....
Not saying OS X is perfect (jus yet...), but you're blowing issues entirely out of proportion.
- Text Editor: Text Edit.app fully capable for most thigns, plus guess what? Vim included too..
- Multiple Desktop? 10.5 has Spaces
- etc
- etc

By Johann at Fri, 2008/08/01 - 5:00am

Compared to KDE, OSX is just not ready for the desktop... I mean, they are trying, but they sure have a long way to go.

By hmmm at Sat, 2008/08/02 - 5:00am

Hmm I thought by visually you meant it comes with sub pixel font rendering working and not stuck with everything at 96dpi, is that fixed to a usable degree? It drives me batty across my dual boot desktop and mac and pc laptops for work.

as far as the visual design is there usability/eye tracking testing and what not for kde? just curious I'd love to get involved

By quik77 at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am


Perhaps you mean that KDE is visually better than Windows Vista or the OS/X desktop (or does Apple have a better term for it?). IAC Linux is an OS like PC-DOS and OS/370 are OSes. Linux is not a desktop and it does not have a GUI. IAC, you need to compare KDE to Windows -- in both cases the underlying OS is not the issue.

By JRT at Tue, 2008/08/05 - 5:00am

Congrats and thanks to everyone who helped make this release!

Already looking forward to KDE 4.2. The improvements in 4.1 are impressive, but I think with 4.2, KDE4 will really start to shine :)

By Joergen Ramskov at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

Uwe has an excellent release dedicated to him!

By Jos at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

And Thank You so much. Been using the development versions for a while now and it's already amazing. Can't wait for 4.2!

By Jens Uhlenbrock at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

A big thank you to all the people involved, especially the developers!
I use 4.1 since beta2 and really really like it. Please don't listen to all the whiners - you do a great job.

KDE rocks!

By Sepp at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

I'd like to thank the folks who put together these announcements pages too. This one is particulary well done I thought.

Congrats all guys and gals!

By air at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

Thanks Jane, encouraging words are always welcomed :)

By Sebastian Kügler at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

Sebas has outdone himself once again, that's for sure :D

By Jos Poortvliet at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

I'll second that. I really appreciate that the announcement is more honest and up-front about the state of KDE and who it is suitable for.

Having explicit target release dates for the next minor and major releases is a great help too.

By Robert Knight at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

Couldn't agree more.

I really loved the screenshots with short summaries below them. It gave a nice "feel good" feeling. In fact, I'd suggest to mix the bullet items above more with the screenshots below.

And the added honest notes about NVidia performance and "is 4.1 for you" is also a plus IMHO!

By Diederik van de... at Thu, 2008/07/31 - 5:00am

Many thanks for the great work, I used KDE 4.1 RC and I liked it, I am sure I will love 4.1.x even more.

I have a request for KDE veterans, for new Linux/KDE in general we have little knowledge about KDE history and progress over the years. I would like to see a paper with screenshots showing the progress of KDE from version 1 beta to the amazing KDE4 platform. I think KDE project started around 10 years ago, at that time Win98 was out. So it will be great to see how things progressed.

By Kais Hassan at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

By Jonathan Thomas at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

Thanks, some of the earlier version screenshots look like they came out of an old SCI-FI movie :)

By Kais Hassan at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am


I've also seen a "visual changelog" somewere.
With Screenschots from early 0.x -> 4.0.x
But at the moment I can't remember where, sorry.
I guess somewere on the opensuse-pages related to KDE...

Ps.: from me CONGRATZ too, great release :)
Already using 4.x for a while ;)

By kalle at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

II just want to say I love you !!!

By BogDan at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

Been playing around with kde4.1 since beta and i must say it's one smooth experience now.
Sounds silly but KPatience really got me ;-)

By adrian at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

Games in KDE have come a long way, but they do rock. I would like to say thank you especially to our artists who have done a great job in tailoring new suits for the KDE games.

By Stefan Majewsky at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

The screenshots look wonderful. Just imagine how good KDE would be if it had the support of RedHat... It's sad that these supposedly FOSS-friendly corporation is choosing to develop an inferior product (GTK/GNOME) simply so that unscrupulous ISVs can use their LGPL'ed framework without sharing anything back. Any developer who cares about software freedom should work on KDE because it is protected from proprietary leeches, but alas few are aware of this subtle point. The KDE community should really raise awareness about this more in order to attract FOSS-conscious developers.

By Bill at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

Now now, please be professional. That sort of talk makes us look bad

By John Tapsell at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

Yeah. No need to create a flamewar. I thought Linux was all about choice.


By KIm Timothy Engh at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

Red Hat supporting GTK/Gnome is actually a good thing for KDE. Without Gnome, KDE wouldn't of had any immediate competition on the *nix platforms, as most other environments fill a different niche (more minimalist/lighter). Without the immediate competition there would have been less motivation to innovate, less opportunities to try different methods, less ability to try something big.

Gnome is good for KDE, just as KDE is for Gnome. Neither would be close to where they are today without the other, and theres no way to 'combine' them (the environments or the development teams) without destroying exactly what has got them this far.

KDE 4.1 is already an *extremely* nice desktop environment (I've been using SuSE's snapshots for a while), but at this point I have high hopes for Gnome/GTK 3 being nearly as innovative as KDE 3 -> KDE 4 is showing to be, not because I use Gnome (or like using it) but because I know it'll help drive KDE forward.

By Kit at Tue, 2008/07/29 - 5:00am

On principle I'd say competition is good, yet at the same time both projects seem to be hurting for developers. Both projects have a laundry list of features for a myriad of apps, and developers claiming that they don't have time to finish them.

Is it completely necessary for developers to duplicate gedit with kwrite (or kwrite with gedit)?

Neither koepete nor pidgin can finish voice and video support, yet that is one of the most highly requested features for either IM client, and has been for years and years.

Competition is great, when there is market enough for all these projects. I remember reading that Gnome started largely because people were upset that QT "wasn't free" back in the day, so Gnome was created as a "free" desktop. Yet today, QT is GPLed, and some might contend that Gnome is considerably less "free" today (integration with Mono, LGPL all over the place, etc.)

One could also contend that the moment QT became GPL, the driving need/force for Gnome vanished.

Others also insisted that Gnome is necessary because of KDE bloat and poor performance. KDE offers vastly more features, with superior performance these days. Gnome doesn't provide the same level of consistent design (or kpart-type usage) across it's platform.

If Gnome is largely a design philosophy of simple apps, and simple appearance, Gnome could exist today on top of QT. Oh, and Mark Shuttleworth is saying the same things these days.

A more unified underlying shared codebase of basic libs would really bring the freedesktop project together.

Gnome could provide a unique desktop experience that looks like Gnome (QT-Clearlooks engine) with streamlined features, and whatever design they want. It could still be a competing DE. Yet, it both used QT as opposed to the GTK/QT rift, we wouldn't necessarily need two of every project. One simple editor (like kwrite or gedit) would suffice. You wouldn't need to rush out and make a separate one for GTK or QT.

By T. J. Brumfield at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

I think you forget how this stuff works. Fundamentally, people do things in open source because it's fun for them. And for me, doing KDE stuff is fun, while doing Gnome stuff won't be. Doing KHTML stuff is fun, but doing Gecko stuff won't be.... And I am sure that there are many Gnome developers who have the opposite viewpoints. Different projects have different cultures and different technical philosophies, which make them better fit for different contributors.
Chances are that if you got rid of one or the other of the projects, you'd also get rid of a huge percentage of contributors.

And in light of this, it's also not a matter of whether it's necessary to have both gedit and kwrite (which is actually a rather mundane wrapper around katepart, or more accurately the text editor interfaces, which power quite a few things) --- it's a matter of whether there are people who want to make them and enjoy making them the best there is. And competition isn't really necessary for it, either, as if one is having fun making things, one wants to make them rock, though it can help set higher goals.

By SadEagle at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

Nothing to add. Thanks SadEagle :)

By Sebastian Sauer at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

I'm not saying people can't do different projects if they so desire. That would be pretty silly to suggest.

Again look at Pidgin and Kopete. Both are very similar apps, and neither can seem to keep up with crucial features, or finish voice and video. Even if they still existed as two apps, but shared more libraries, and both built upon QT, I think it would make life easier for both projects.

Even many Gnome/GTK devs claim they tire of how GTK themes are handled, and there seems to be discussion about making GTK themes more like QT/CSS themes. Coupled with the Gnome/GTK devs screaming they want to abandon current APIs and start anew, I think if there was ever a time to consider unifying around QT, now would be the time. I really do believe it would be largely beneficial to everyone.

By T. J. Brumfield at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

I did see that interview, but thanks for the link anyway.

I think his comments are pretty interesting.

By T. J. Brumfield at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

> Is it completely necessary for developers to duplicate gedit with kwrite (or kwrite with gedit)?

ask gedit devs and they'll say yes..
ask kwrite/kate devs and they'll say.. yes.

ask mcdonalds and burgerking to merge. or ask all countries to tear down their borders and speak one language.

By cies breijs at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am

> On principle I'd say competition is good, yet at the same time both
> projects seem to be hurting for developers. Both projects have a
> laundry list of features for a myriad of apps, and developers claiming
> that they don't have time to finish them.

The more we develop, the greater our plans and ambitions become. It should not be surprising that the TODO list is alway greater than current capacity. I can't think of any piece of software except perhaps for some of the smallest utilities or libraries that don't have TODO lists which outstrip their developer capacity. This is the nature of software development.

As for KDE I don't think we are "hurting for developers". We have a stead and strong stream of new people joining and helping out. New SVN accounts are being made daily. I can't speak for Gnome, but I get the impression that they are in a more precarious position w.r.t. new developers.

And concerning competition between the two major FOSS DEs. I think the competition aspect and its influence on the progress of both DEs is overrated. Most FOSS people I have met don't appear to be motivated by some drive to "beat" the other guy. Most people just want to create the best software they can, taking inspiration and ideas, (and help!) from many sources. Cooperation not competition, is how progress is made.


By Simon Edwards at Wed, 2008/07/30 - 5:00am