The Start of Something Amazing with KDE 4.0 Release

Several years of design, development and testing came together today for the release of KDE 4.0. This is our most significant release in our 11 year history and marks both the end of the long and intensive development cycle leading up to KDE 4.0 and the start of the KDE 4 era. Join us now in #kde4-release-party on Freenode to celebrate or come to the release event in person next week. Packages are available for all the major distributions with live CDs available currently from Kubuntu and openSUSE. Read on for details or take the KDE 4.0 Visual Guide to find your way around.

The KDE 4.0 desktop

The KDE 4 Libraries have seen major improvements in almost all areas.
The Phonon multimedia framework provides platform independent multimedia support to all
KDE applications, the Solid hardware integration framework makes interacting with
(removable) devices easier and provides tools for better powermanagement.

The KDE 4 Desktop has gained some major new capabilities. The Plasma desktop shell
offers a new desktop interface, including panel, menu and widgets on the desktop
as well as a dashboard function. KWin, the KDE Window manager, now supports advanced
graphical effects to ease interaction with your windows.

Lots of KDE Applications have seen improvements as well. Visual updates through
vector-based artwork, changes in the underlying libraries, user interface
enhancements, new features, even new applications -- you name it, KDE 4.0 has it.
Okular, the new document viewer and Dolphin, the new filemanager are only two
applications that leverage KDE 4.0's new technologies.

The Oxygen Artwork team provides a breath of fresh air on the desktop.
Nearly all user-visible parts of the KDE desktop and applications have been given a
facelift. Beauty and consistency are two of the basic concepts behind Oxygen.

Distributions known to have packages:

  • An alpha version of KDE4-based Arklinux 2008.1 is expected
    shortly after this release, with an expected final release within 3 or 4 weeks.
  • Debian KDE 4.0 packages are available in the experimental branch.
    The KDE Development Platform will even make it into Lenny. Watch for
    announcements by the Debian KDE Team.
  • Fedora will feature KDE 4.0 in Fedora 9, to be released
    in April, with Alpha releases being available from
    24th of January. KDE 4.0 packages are in the pre-alpha Rawhide repository.
  • Gentoo Linux provides KDE 4.0 builds on
  • Kubuntu packages are included in the upcoming "Hardy Heron"
    (8.04) and also made available as updates for the stable "Gutsy Gibbon" (7.10).
    A Live CD is available for trying out KDE 4.0.
    More details can be found in the
    announcement on
  • Mandriva will provide packages for
    2008.0 and aims
    at producing a Live CD with the latest snapshot of 2008.1.
  • openSUSE packages are available
    openSUSE 10.3 (
    openSUSE Factory (
    and openSUSE 10.2. A KDE
    Four Live CD
    with these packages is also available. KDE 4.0 will be part of the upcoming
    openSUSE 11.0 release.
  • openSUSE based KDE Four Live CD

Thanks to the coders, artists, usability experts, testers, bug triagers and many more who have made this release the start of something amazing. Tell us what you think on this
4.0 feedback page.

Dot Categories: 


Ido agree that a howto is needed. i personally tried a few tips here and with a little luck it worked butr obviously not for everybody.

by Debian User (not verified)


I used the Xorg config from above, but with OpenGL the system is getting near 100% CPU load, only XRender works, which doesn't work with many effects, most notable desktop flip, which is sad.

So +1 to a how to.


by fnord (not verified)

Black - it's the new last year. Nice work guys!

by yman (not verified)

would you be so kind as to explain the intended meaning of your statement, as I do not currently understand it.

by Kevin Kofler (not verified)

Some news from our KDE Live CD maintainer:

WARNING: This comes from our development branch (Rawhide) which is what will become Fedora 9 in about 3.5 months. You may therefore encounter bugs on that live CD which are not necessarily KDE's fault.

by Kevin Kofler (not verified)

PS: If you try out that live CD and encounter issues, we would appreciate if you could report them. We cannot fix issues (nor forward them to the right people to get them fixed) we don't even know about. ;-)

by Sebastian (not verified)

Hi folks,

I like to thank the KDE4 developers for their hard work. I'm using KDE since the first beta (I contributed KBruch) and it was always an exciting journey since that time seeing how the project evolves!!!

I installed the currently release and I came over some problems. I'm not sure if it is related to KDE4 itself or just the kubuntu packages, but I encourage every user to go to the support forums ( and try to help out!



by Uncle Rooster (not verified)

this news made me ejaculate a pine scented semen dragon which crept down my monitor until I licked it off and howled like a wolf

by Marc (not verified)

Eewww ;)

by Brandybuck (not verified)

That's far more information than I needed to know

by yman (not verified)

I was trying to eat something while reading the comments here. thanks to you it seems I'll be saving money of food after all.

by Ryan (not verified)

So, while I think that the release has a few annoying bugs here and there that make me want to wait for 4.1 to use it as my main desktop, I think that 4.0 is an absolutely stupendous achievement. It looks great, except for a few areas of theme polish (has anyone noticed a black line that appears when tabs get those scroll buttons?), has spectacular applications (my jaw dropped when I opened okular), and just seems downright cool.
I thank everyone who worked to bring this great pile of awesomeness to the desktop from the bottom of my heart.
Way to go guys.

by Boyle M. Owl (not verified)

First reactions:

This doesn't suck. Gnome has a lot of catching up to do. LiveCD runs in a VirtualBox VM with 384MB with no swap. That's really...really good.

Knotify4 seems to be a pig. This needs debugging. Sorry, I am only a whiner and my only programming languages are TTL, Assembler, BASIC, Pascal, and GE FANUC G-codes (forget about C and C++).

I am going to have to play with this more. As yet, it is not a replacement for 3.5.x, but this is extremely promising.

I take back my whining about Dolphin, but you will pry Konqueror and kioslaves from my cold dead hands.


by yman (not verified)

"you will pry Konqueror and kioslaves from my cold dead hands."
why should I? I can get my own copies for free.

by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

First, congratulations to everybody who worked on this, I'm looking forward to see it working.
And congratulations for the build system, everything compiled very well on my Slackware-current and I think faster than KDE3, great job! It's so easy to compile everything with KDE (and it has been for quite a while), I thought the people responsible for this should also get the thumbs up!
Now, I get a "Cannot start D-bus" message after startx, while the dbus daemon is running... :-( If anyone has a clue, I'm interested, otherwise, I'll have to dig around. I've already found something in the kde forums, but it didn't help me.

by Hans (not verified)

If you find the solution, could you please write it here? I've had this problme with SVN for a while (currently doing a refresh install).

My temporary workaround is to disable the lines in startkde that checks for dbus. I don't get a fancy splash screen, but otherwise everything works OK.

It's just annoying that when something fails, I don't know if it's because of a bug in KDE or because of my 'hack'.

Running Slackware 12.0 by the way.

by Richard Van Den Boom (not verified)

OK, that was a bit stupid, it's just that the QT4 bin dir was not in the PATH, so qdbus was not found. Just copy the /etc/profile.d/ file to a /etc/profile.d/ and edit it to replace the /usr/lib/qt dirs by /usr/lib/qt4, and it works.
Now I just have to figure out why KDE4 seems to believe the screen resolution is 1024x768 and not 1280x800 to set up the taskbar and the upper icon to add widget. :-)
And install a proper driver for my ATI card (apparently a Radeon XPRESS 200M 5955) to support composite, as the default Xorg driver doesn't seem to work well with it. :-)
The first impression is good though. System settings is much better than I feared and Dolphin seems fast well designed. Everything seems snappier than KDE3. Oxygen looks very good. Very promising indeed!

by Hans (not verified)

Thanks! Works like a charm (although I still don't get a splash screen :P).

by Max (not verified)

I know it might be a bit early to ask this, but it's on my mind, so here goes:

When will the Windows (XP/Vista), Mac OS-X ports of KDE 4.X.Y be released?*
Is there a tentative schedule?

Take your time though. I much rather have a stable, feature rich version of KDE, Amarok, the rest of Compiz fusion's features ported to Kwin, cool add-on's for the 4.X branch. :-)

* Is that actually happening, or was that just an evil rumor?

by Skeith (not verified)

Ports to Windows are still in a early state. I see periodic blogs about it, there is progress but its slow. I haven't heard anything about OS X, but I did see some screenshots of Koffice running on it.

by Mike (not verified)

Yea, I had the same question.

Where do I find out about the Windows version?

by skierpage (not verified)

You can build KDE-win and there's an installer, but it's very early.
I had fun playing several games and some utilities worked, but had no luck with Dolphin and Konqui. Your experience will vary.

Similarly, you can build KDE on Mac OS X and Ranger Rick provided Mac packages, but he wrote "Let's just say this stuff is still very alpha".

The last KDE4Daily Virtual Image works pretty well in qemu on Windows XP for me.

by Smiths (not verified)

Cool... Always wanted to use KDE on Windows... Especially INSTEAD of the Vista manager.

How come nobody ever hears about this? There is no link on the main page, nothing?

Is this being developed in secret, or what?

And when is AmaroK 2 coming out?

by KDE User (not verified)

It doesn't seem like a lot of peolpe would skip the Vista manager/whatever.

Using KDE software like KOffice etc should be a really good idea though.

by John Stanley (not verified)

For personal/home use I use a modified semi-automated lfs/blfs environment. Currently I have kde 3.5.8 on all systems (never really thought much of gnome). I've been building and trying kde4 since v3.94, and v4.0 is almost there... One thing nice is that its much easier to build than kde3, and MUCH faster to build (1/3-1/2 the build time). Of this could simply be due to missing features. The first thing I do with after installing kde is change the Desktop theme to something that doesn't look as much like windows.. "Platinum" is my first choice .. but still, in kde4.0, attempting a Desktop theme change crashes after the progress bar, without changing... Also, kde4.0 is quite sluggish. Various internal apps like konsole/dolphin/konqueror appear to be working ok (although I've hardly tested them thoroughly), and external apps like mozilla thunderbird/firefox/seamonkey, mplayer, vlc are working as well, so I'm happy. All in all, very impressive... If the marked sluggishness can be reduced (perhaps due to my builds being debug builds? Qt 4.3.3 is also a debug build), it'd be fantastic.

by Robert Knight (not verified)

> If the marked sluggishness can be reduced
> (perhaps due to my builds being debug builds? Qt 4.3.3 is also a debug build)

That depends whether by "Debug build" you mean "Debug only" (eg. cmake ... -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Debug) or "Release with debug info".

If you built Qt and KDE without any optimizations then yes, that will have a noticeable effect on performance, but it shouldn't be uncomfortably slow even so (I use debug builds of everything). If that is the case then something else is up. For example, apparently there are some problems with NVidia graphics cards on a composited KDE 4 desktop.

by lordbios (not verified)


i wasn't KDE user since 1.0!
But with 4.0 KDE gets interesting again.

Now my workstation is gone to compile the whole using kdesvn under Fedora 8.
I hope it will be successfully!!!!!

Congratulations to the KDE team! A huge amount of work has been achieved. I am sure this is the beginning of a successful series.

Anyway I have a few comments, that should not offend the developers as they are just issues I faced with on this very first release. I am sure other people more or less noticed the same problems.

I have used KDE 4.0.0 under Kubuntu 7.10. IMHO, there is some work in order to make it a competitive desktop, considering the current standards. I have noticed several problems (maybe related to Kubuntu packages sometimes?):
1) The windows manager is slow (resizing a window is not smooth).
2) The desktop is too "rigid", like the K menu that cannot be resized (on the vertical) with the mouse.
3) Browsing the applications in the K menu is inefficient (large mouse movements, loss of visual "information" as only one level in the menu tree can be seen, ...).
4) A click on "Add widget" (Plasma, top right) does not work all the time: you need luck to open the widget window. The applets seem useless. BTW, this would be my main criticism on KDE4 vision: I don't understand all the buzz on Plasma since one uses windows, not a desktop with the outdoor temperature hidden behind the windows... Maybe next applets will get me wrong.
5) Konqueror sometimes pops up strange empty windows that disappear very quickly.
6) The Oxygen theme does not seem to be finished. The icons and buttons are very good, but the windows and colors should be improved. In particular, it is not obvious to find the window that has the focus because it is very similar to the background windows: isn't it a usuability issue? I finally switched to Keramik which is more convenient.
7) Obviously, there is no more kcontrol and the basic configuration panel is limited (but this is maybe Kubuntu work?). I could not find a way to move the task bar on the left (instead of at the bottom): at least, I could not do it with the mouse, which makes the desktop "rigid" again.
8) The fonts of my KDE3 applications are very small; but this is maybe related to Kubuntu management too.
9) There is something strange with some windows or menus style (like after a right click on the taskbar): there are very rounded, flat and with no frame. This reminds me of the smooth appearance of Gnome (or maybe MacOS actually), and it does not seem really consistent with the usual "tech" style of KDE.

Anyway, again, congratulations! The future is bright (but it is the future!). The current state of KDE is interesting but the desktop surely needs to mature.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

Kickoff (the new KMenu) is perfect. A usability study said it was perfect and that everyone loved it. All the people who don't like it are wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! You're not allowed to not like the menu.

Didn't you get the memo?

Why do people always have to resort to hyperbole when thy can't make a valid point?

You are perfectly entitled to not like Kickoff for whatever reasons. There are also people who dislike graphical desktop environments, word processors and other things and use CLI and vi instead. That's in their right and nobody is trying to take it away from them. But we are talking about the *default* menu here and in my opinion it's important that you use something that has been usability tested instead of listening to armchair usability experts on the internet. Someone once described an interesting phenomenon (I forgot the name unfortunately): When building a laboratory nobody really comments its design. Try the same with a barn and somehow everybody thinks he's suddenly an expert in barn construction.

You are perfectly free to chose any other menu once they are implemented and realeased (for instance, the classic menu which is part of 4.0.0). But don't try to impose your skewed notions about usability on other people.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

I was being facetious, and you in turn argued my point for me.


I agree with T.J. Kickoff is pretty annoying in it's present state.
If it could be made to be full screen it would be much better.
asiego have promised this will be implemented in 4.1.

I use the official openSuse version of Kickoff for KDE 3.5. It is just perfect, though sometimes I do not understand how to activate the tabs with/without click. The KDE4.0 version of Kickoff is a rewrite which is not nearly as smooth as the original of openSuse. I wonder why it has been rewritten for Kde4 and not just ported. Else it would have been functional. In its present state it indeed behaves like a left hand.

by chris (not verified)

Wow. I'm seriously impressed.

I installed KDE4 right after I got home last night, and I must say: simply great. The overall responsiveness of the system is a huge improvement over KDE3, and I just love the new looks.

To everyone who contributed to KDE4; you all did a wonderful job here.

Hats off!

by Matthias (not verified)

I'm very much wondering what all this praise is about. When I installed KDE4 (openSUSE 10.3 packages) my first thought was "nice", my next thought was "Did I forget to install something?". Really, there aren't even the most basic configuration tools available. For example, it doesn't seem to be possible to configure the application launcher, the panel, ... A quick look into some "Emergency FAQ" reveals that, sorry, the configuration programs "didn't make it in time". Oh boy...

Also, the looks are not great at all, the default color set cannot decide if it wants to be dull gray without contrast or look like a zebra with hard black and white contrast. Hit Alt-F2 to see what I mean: A light grey border, then a thick, black border, then all white boxes - it more or less exactly fails to please the eye, as Douglas Adams puts it. The "Run Command" has useless buttons: Why would I want to launch a task monitor tool from here? And why is the main action just one amongst many buttons. Really, there should be just two buttons, "Run" and "Cancel". Yet this is, according to surveys, the most used element on a KDE desktop. It deserved a more loving hand, for sure.

The application launcher, the second thing after the desktop itself people look at, has a very unpolished look. The margin between content and border on all elements is too small, the degree of detail between the icons varies too much, the icons for the different categories (Favorites, Applications, ...) vary in size, ...

I really do hope that this is just "the start of something".

by Stefan L (not verified)

I completely agree with you.

The look is what disappointed me most. I can imagine what may be possible with Plasma and use of SVG, but after all I have read about Oxygen in the last years I was really disappointed of the default window theme. The dull grey of the default color schemes reminds me of the early times of graphical desktops, but maybe a retro look was intended. The grey color is eben more annoying as in many applications there is a large amount of blank space in this color. I hope that soon there will be more appealing themes for KDE 4.

The next thing that disappointed me was usabilty. You mentioned two exellent examples: KRunner and Kickoff. There are other examples two.

I don't know why "System Settings" should be easier to use kcontrol. The best solution IMHO would have been to keep the navigation sidebar on the left as in kcontrol and to show an overview in the main window like in system settings at the start.

A simple thing I have noticed in Okular. There is an icon list at the left and I needed some time to recognize that it serves to determine the contents of the sidebar. A more obvious way to achieve this would be to have tabs at the top of the sidebar itself, such as e.g. in the sidebar of Kalcium. This would not only be more obvious, but also save space that could be used for the main window.

As a long time KDE user I have also difficulties with the switch to Dolphin as default file manager. Developpers say that I can keep using Konqueror for file management, but there are already things that don't seem to work anymore with Konqueror, e.g. what happened to media:/ and how can I manage devices with Konqueror?

What annoys me is that I have the impression that a piece of software I use daily is evolving in the wrong direction - at least from my point of view. Perceptions of appealing looks, elegance and usability are very different. For me KDE 4 lacks appeal, elegance and usability - and remains below its possibilities with regard to the fundamental conceptual changes in the background like Plasma.

That KDE 4 still lacks many features is not my problem, but that concepts of style and usability that seem strange to me will shape ist further development.

by 3vi1 (not verified)

I cannot say I disagree with the two parent posts.

I really appreciate the hard work that the KDE folks are putting into this one, but the release looked... well... "alpha". Mostly because of the missing configuration tools and other things that should have been in before it went beta, but also because I was able to crash KWin the first time I threw something hard at it (a full screen app under Wine).

Though I'm looking forward to further updates, and 4.1 in particular, about three hours of 4.0 was all I could take before I went back to 3.5 for all my "normal user" type activities.


by Leiteiro (not verified)

Congrats to all, nicely done.

One question: is it possible to make the run command (ALT-F2) to work using the search entry in the kickoff menu?

by mkrs (not verified)

All right... You may kill me, you may curse me, do whatever you want.

I *DO* appreciate a great piece of work from KDE dev team. I really do. But the problem is that KDE has been released despite the fact it's still no more usable than a beta version. I do understand that KDE 4.0 is not a "full" version of KDE4... However if I lose Kickoff and can't launch it again even after reboot, if I have no possibility to find room for all icons because of great distances between icons which I can't change, if KDE hangs at random - if all this happens, this should not be called an official release. I know it's been looked forward, I know everyone was expecting it, but wouldn't it be better to wait for another month or two and release a fully usable product? Right now I theoretically have KDE 4.0 in my hands but I can't use it anyway - how's an environment working like this going to be a true alternative for Vista or Leopard? I just don't get it.

Once again: this is no offence to the work of devel team - I understand you work for free, that it's just your free will to work for KDE and all - but I don't really understand why a product with such a number of errors has been released. Anyway, I get back to using KDE 3 again and I'll wait to see what future brings. Good luck!

by panzi (not verified)

Hmm. I would have named it different. Maybe "KDE 4 Phase 0 aka API Freeze" and then release a "KDE 4 Phase 1 aka First Steps" at the end of summer and a "KDE 4 Phase 2 aka Final" in December or something like that.

by mkrs (not verified)

OK, may it be, if you like it. Anyway, this should NOT be an official release. The reason is simple: people will download "the new, polished KDE" and see it's not working. The next BIG chance for KDE laymen to try a new product is KDE 5.0 (because transformation from 4.0 to 4.1 is never as impressive as 3.0 -> 4.0) . A great chance for a dramatic increase of KDE popularity has just been wasted and I'm very sorry to say that.

by Anon (not verified)

"The next BIG chance for KDE laymen to try a new product is KDE 5.0"

No, the next big chance is the mass of KDE software pre-installed on the wildly popular EEE PC.

"A great chance for a dramatic increase of KDE popularity has just been wasted and I'm very sorry to say that."

Don't be so melodramatic.

by Anon (not verified)

"A great chance for a dramatic increase of KDE popularity has just been wasted and I'm very sorry to say that."

"Don't be so melodramatic."

It might be melodramatic, but it's also true. One thing KDE4 managed to do in the build up to release was create a "buzz". People were actually excited about it. That buzz/excitement is not going to come along for 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 or whatever. All that's happened is that 'when it's ready' has turned from a definite 4.0 into 'sometime around .2 .3 .4'. Is there even a roadmap?

The 'KDE4' buzz has been wasted on a unusable release. Yes, that's just marketing, politics, whatever, but it's a fact that non-developers who have been waiting for KDE4 want it to work. More than that, they expect it to work. If it doesn't, it fails.

The 'release early, release often' argument?: it was perfectly possible to release this as a pre-4.0 release (Release Candidate, as in REAL Release Candidate, as in it works) and carry on working on it until it was ready. When is it ready? When there are no regressions.

The argument that somehow a full release was needed to get developers to focus on tidying up the experience is the best of the bunch. That's a management problem. Again, where's the roadmap?

So, yeh, it's politics, marketing and management. But success is not just about keeping developers happy. 'We'll get more bug reports' only works if people can use the thing. You'd have to be a masochist to do that now.

by Ben (not verified)

>The argument that somehow a full release was needed to get developers to focus on tidying up >the experience is the best of the bunch.

Its not a management problem, its a management solution.

(its also increasing the amount of vital bug reports, and encouraging 3rd party app teams to get porting)

by Blah (not verified)

"Its not a management problem, its a management solution."

It's a solution to a management problem. But not a particularly good one.

"(its also increasing the amount of vital bug reports, and encouraging 3rd party app teams to get porting)"

a. Do you have numbers to confirm that?
b. Can you confirm that the change is because of the .0 on the end, or the fact that it finally compiles?

by Anon (not verified)

"b. Can you confirm that the change is because of the .0 on the end, or the fact that it finally compiles?"

I've been compiling nearly all of KDE SVN very nearly every day for a *year*, now. These snide and uninformed jabs aren't helping your case.

by Anon (not verified)

The argument for releasing this as 4.0 was that doing so would increase the number of bug reports. That's an easy thing to say, but I've not seen anyone back it up with figures. Secondly, even if there *is* an increase there is a good chance that is simply because this is the first version that actually runs for some people... (unsuprisingly, including me.)

Fair point on the "compiles" bit, I take it back.

I like KDE, I really do. I have even bothered to contribute in the past. I can see the work put into this release has been clearly phenomenal. But "KDE4" as an entity an event has wasted a huge opportunity. You don't get this amount of buzz for new releases very often, and this is a damp squib.

Arguments about releasing now as 4.0 are all developer focused: getting them to bug fix, getting them focused. Of course, those things should be done for a release, but it's a pretty dumb reason to release of itself. A plan might help with this, and maybe then we'd know for definite when KDE4 is going to be usable... is it .1 .2 .3 .4 .5?

As an aside: For all the talk about "developers only!!" even the KDE homepage points to this as a stable release. As a first impression for anyone of KDE4 this would suck. So we find ourselves in the situation of wishing people not to download the latest version. That's weird whichever way you try to spin it.

by mkrs (not verified)

" One thing KDE4 managed to do in the build up to release was create a "buzz". People were actually excited about it. That buzz/excitement is not going to come along for 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 or whatever. All that's happened is that 'when it's ready' has turned from a definite 4.0 into 'sometime around .2 .3 .4'. Is there even a roadmap?

The 'KDE4' buzz has been wasted on a unusable release. Yes, that's just marketing, politics, whatever, but it's a fact that non-developers who have been waiting for KDE4 want it to work. More than that, they expect it to work. If it doesn't, it fails.

The 'release early, release often' argument?: it was perfectly possible to release this as a pre-4.0 release (Release Candidate, as in REAL Release Candidate, as in it works) and carry on working on it until it was ready. When is it ready? When there are no regressions."


That's exactly what I think. This "buzz" was something I've never seen before in the Open Source world (maybe I'm not a Linux dinosaur but I've been into it for about 5 years now). And now I think that it has been wasted. And that's very sad because the reason for this is not bad quality of the program itself but some unreasonable haste while trying to release it.

by Smiths (not verified)

I would love to have KDE 4.0 on an eeePC. =)

When will that happen?

What will be the first distro that will be released with KDE 4.0 out of the box? I've read Fedora, any others?