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: 


by Bobby (not verified)

I read that KDE 4.1 will be included in openSuse 11 which should be released on the 19 of June.

by Anon (not verified)

That's speculative, to say the least. Most estimates of a KDE 4.1 release date are targetted at 6-9 months from now.

by YAC {yet anothe... (not verified)

Yes, it is the public Beta. Considering that that is what it actually is, it represents a lot of good work and I look forward to seeing the actual release candidate.

by panzi (not verified)

At least SuSE's live CD is crap. There are no HDs displayed in dolphin or konqueror, even though you can mount it from a root shell. And SuSES network config tool is crap, too. It is slow and it wants to download packages from SuSEs Server, but it cant, because the network isn't configured right yet (chicken egg problem). I had do do "sudo route add default gw" so I could access the internet. With guidance's python tools this isn't a problem at all. Why isn't this tool installed?

And there are some things that clearly are lacks of KDE (that hopefully will be fixed in 4.1), like I could not find a way to make that ridiculous big taskbar smaller and display only the windows from the current desktop. It is beyond me why anyone would ever like to have all windows displayed.

And if there would have been a gcc + the kernel headers on the image (it has enough space left!) I could have installed the nvidia drivers to test KDE 4.0 with composite enabled.

But it did work with my sisters iMac! Only in stretched 800x600, though (it's a widescreen). It's the first Linux I tried that didn't just display corrupt graphics on it. Sound worked, too.

I'm really looking forward to KDE 4.1, but KDE 4.0 is not the least bit usable for day to days work right now. But it looks promising.

by yman (not verified)

"And there are some things that clearly are lacks of KDE (that hopefully will be fixed in 4.1), like I could not find a way to make that ridiculous big taskbar smaller and display only the windows from the current desktop. It is beyond me why anyone would ever like to have all windows displayed."

why do people post this over and over again? on this page alone I must have read a few complaint threads that mention this, with answers.

the answer is that while KDE 4.0 is a functioning, largely stable environment, the desktop is not feature complete. as time goes by, more and more missing features from Kicker will be added to Plasma (yes, Plasma is the new, redesigned desktop and replaces Kicker).

by user (not verified)

There are some issues with distros as far I know. In Kubuntu kde4.0 live cd there is no sound at all. In suse live cd i have sound but i don't know where is sound system settings to check new sounds.

And on both live cd I couldn't use kwin effects. Maybe because I have ati 9200 se graphic card.

But unfortunatly there is no debian live cd, because I think there are no so much distro issues.

by Bille (not verified)

Sounds like you have an issue finding stuff in distros. Either way, on both Kubuntu and openSUSE, look in System Settings-> Notifications-> System notifications.

by Wheely (not verified)

As a kde user and advocate since the original series, KDE BETA 3 i think was the first one I used, I have been here for each of the .0 releases. They were all good polished releases with a few hiccups to be had. The 3.0 release caused much trouble due to breaking binary compatibility but it was still a good release.

Here we have a KDE 4.0 release which has much to commend it. However, even the developers admit it is not complete. When a new user suddenly gets an interest in the KDE desktop now he or she will go to the website, click on download "Stable version" and start building KDE 4.0. They will find a desktop environment that does not actually do much apart from weird desktop effects and in all likely hood go back to whatever they used before. Imagine, if you will, that KDE 4.0 was the first time you had ever used a KDE desktop.

I think it would have been prudent to keep KDE 3.5.8 as an alternative, mature, full featured stable release alongside KDE 4.0

I further hope that KDE does not go along the politically correct, "interface expert" marketing driven road that so much software is going down these days as indicated by some of the design decisions we see in this release. These people have no idea what users actually want. I dont want to list some of the issues I find as it is time to thank the developers, not moan at them but it is worth mentioning that I have never met a developer who thought OSX was in any way a design you want to emulate (writing this on a macbook pro by the way as the hardware is great!)

I think KDE 4.0 shows enormous promise due to the underlying technology but I think some of the design decisions need looking at.

I hate bitching about KDE because I admire the people who work so tirelessly on the system but I urge them to keep away from the marketing people and to put KDE 3.5.8 back up on the website as an alternative stable version.


by yman (not verified)

"When a new user suddenly gets an interest in the KDE desktop now he or she will go to the website, click on download "Stable version" and start building KDE 4.0."

in all likelihood, new users will see KDE as presented by their distribution of choice, not build it themselves.

"I think it would have been prudent to keep KDE 3.5.8 as an alternative, mature, full featured stable release alongside KDE 4.0"

that is exactly what is being done.

by Wheely (not verified)

I don't believe it makes a difference if they build it themselves or get it from the distro of choice. It still is not an ideal introduction to KDE.

The website link for the stable version of KDE is only 4.0. I believe it should mention both. One for the current "stable" version and another for the old mature, full featured stable version.

by yman (not verified)

I meant that users would experience KDE as it is presented to them by the distributions, and that means they would probably not get exposed to KDE4 until their distribution thinks it is ready. and that means that users would probably get their first taste at KDE 4.1 or 4.2.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

Did you read the last digest?

Aaron mentioned that KDE 3.5.x will be supported for some time to come.

by Wheely (not verified)

I did actually. I am not too worried about the people who frequent sites such as this. We know what our options are.

New users, however, will not have a clue and from their point of view, if they download KDE4.0 and find it, shall we say "lacking in a few areas" there will be zero likelyhood of them also thinking "well I didnt like that too much I think I will try one version earlier".

I think having two current stable versions would help to clarify the fact that KDE 4.0 is a new born baby, yet to grow but if you want a kick ass, full featured and now finished desktop, try its mummy, KDE 3.5.8 :)

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

Most distros are keeping KDE 4.0 in the unstable repositories at the moment. They aren't just pushing it out as a system critical update.

In a few months a few distros will go with KDE 4.x by default, and by that time KDE 4 will be improved. I imagine configuration dialogs will be one of the first things fixed.

by Stefan (not verified)

I've upgraded by KDE 3.97 installation from openSUSE RPMs to 4.0 (via online update). In the final release, there is a new sound theme with keyboard chords. There was another one in the RCs which I liked much more; where can I get this one?

Having used Compiz-fusion for a few months now. I've grown to miss the desktop cube, expose, coverflow. Where are those effects hidden under KDE 4.0?

I would like to be able to use all of Compiz-fusion's plugins:
Main Plugins:

* Animation
* Color filter
* Expo
* Enhanced Zoom Desktop
* Negative
* Opacify
* Put
* Resize info
* Ring Switcher
* Shift Switcher
* Scale Addons
* Snapping Windows
* Text
* Window Previews
* Viewport Switcher
* Desktop Wall
* Window Rules
* Workarounds

Extra Plugins:

* ADD Helper
* Benchmark
* Crash handler
* Cube Caps
* Cube Reflection
* Extra WM Actions
* Fade to Desktop
* Firepaint
* Cube Gears
* Group and Tab Windows
* Motion blur
* Reflection
* Scale Window Title Filter
* Show desktop
* Splash
* Trailfocus
* Widget Layer

Unsupported Plugins:

* Fake ARGB
* Snow
* Mouse Switch
* Tile

Experimental Plugins:

* Screensaver
* Compiz-Scheme
* Sound
* Visual Event
* 3D Windows
* Cube Atlantis


Other than that, GREAT JOB!!!! KDE 4.0 finally looks different than Windows. Seems to have some great features.

Stuff is missing though. Where are the great 3rd party apps? Where are the apps that integrate with Plasma? Isn't google going to help out too? We need a great userbase by the time 4.1 comes out. Otherwise interest will fade quickly and the distros will go back to gnome. :(
Please try to make a Killer-App for KDE 4!! Is AmaroK 2.0 going to be it?

by Emmanuel Lepage... (not verified)

KDE4 don't use compiz ;) it use KWIN4. KWIN use it's own set of plugins, not compiz plugin. Originally they planed to use compiz, but the idea was dropped soon in the development of KDE4.

Yea, KDE doesn't use Compiz, but it would be cool if they would work together with the Compiz people and port all of compiz over to Kwin. No need to reinvent the wheel here.. :-)

Compiz has great features, and having them in Kwin would be great. Especially if developers could write effects that work for both systems.

As far as I know it's up to Compiz to port it's plugins to KDE 4 and not the other way around. I am however sure that that will happen very soon.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

No, it is up to the KDE developers (and perhaps new volunteers) to develop composite effects for Kwin. Kwin and Compiz-fusion are two separate beasts and will likely never meet.

NO, it is up to those, who want to use this plugins! :P

I agree with you. I really love the effects of compiz-fusion but I never got it to run really smoothly on KDE and it always had issues with KDE takes away my beloved system sounds. What Kwin4 does is well done, it can't be compared to compiz for now but the effects are nicely integrated in Kwin itself and that's very important. The rest will come later :)

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

I love compiz-fusion and run it daily on KDE. I will likely continue to do so until Kwin can replicate most of the standard plugins I use all the time. Then again, I'm not sure I'm ready to jump in the KDE 4 pool anyway. Normally I can't wait and I run beta software, but I love everything that KDE 3.5 gives me right now, and I'm not prepared to give it up just yet.

It may be as soon as 4.0.1 or 4.0.2, but I'm hoping to see some new styles, and more configuration. Kwin doesn't need to catch up to compiz-fusion immediately, because I can likely run compiz-fusion on top of KDE 4.

Yea, there is no way I'm giving up the Compiz fusion effects..

Hopefully Kwin will include the rest soon. At the very least "coverflow", and expose, and cube.

Yea, I think I'd be using Compiz fusion under KDE 4.0 too, but I'd rather not give up the rest of Kwin to have gorgeous eye candy...

When is 4.0.1, or 4.0.2 coming out anyways? I haven't seen any announcement, build threads, etc..

shouldn't they all work together to create a common API, standardized by

See compiz is actually useful and not just eye candy.

Now which ones of these features are missing in the KDE 4.0 version of Compiz?
Kwin, right?

Cool link.. :)

It's what I have been sayin' all along!!!!


I would like to request:
An Apple OS-X Leopard style dock that's compatible with KDE 4/Plasma.

Nearly all mac users, myself included, don't particularly like the OSX Leopard dock. Nearly all turn off the icon zooming and many apply a hack that makes it 2D and closer to kicker.

It is representative of most flashy desktop effects i.e. they are great for impressing people who haven't seen them before but generally get in the way when you're actually trying to work.

Could be it. I never owned a Mac. So there is the novelty factor.
Still want to try it at least for a little bit. :-)

I installed a Mac like dock for Win XP (moved the taskbar to the top and autohide'd it.) It's flat, doesn't have the 3d effect, but does have the effect where the icons get big when hovering over them. I like it so far, but I do miss the ability of seeing several firefox windows at once. The doc just lets me know I have firefox running, not how many windows. (so the regular taskbar is still helpful)

I'd like to play with it under KDE 4, at least for a little while :-p

I know several Mac users (was one myself at previous job) and I've never seen any Mac user do any such thing to their dock, and all I asked like the new Leopard style (as do I). I'd love to see Kickoff have the ability to be configured as the OS X dock (3D, reflective, bouncing icons).

Try trawling the apple forums. The majority prefer the old Tiger dock. Personally I quite like reflective icons and the bounce is a good way to show that the application is showing an alert. However, the icon zooming is awful because it really starts getting in the way if your application needs to get mouse events anywhere near the dock e.g for resizing. It would be possible to do a better implementation I guess at the expense of extra mouse clicks to get the work done. However, this would just be another candidate for the new trend of glitz over funtion.

If, it is an option however, why not.

Yeah I don't like the HUGE zoom but zooming from (for example) 32 to 48 pixels is nice.

There was a kde-app called KSmoothDock which did exactly the same thing, it broke from 3.4x to 3.50 (I think, going back a couple of years now) and the author never updated it, which was a shame because it looked really good.

I don't have time to trawl the Apple forums, too busy trolling KDE :-)

"I'd love to see Kickoff have the ability to be configured as the OS X dock (3D, reflective, bouncing icons)"

I would love that too. I have said many times that Kickoff is missing eye-candies apart from that I like it very much.

I agree.. :)

Yes, because eye candy is really the most important aspect one has to consider when designing a frequently used application launcher :-/

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

It is a work in progress, but it is QT 4 based I do believe. It is from the author of KXDocker, but I believe he said the new dock (XQDE) is supposed to be faster with far less code yet provide more features.

Really? That would be awesome..

It would add some color to the KDE 4.0 bar.. :D

A Plasmoid dock will be a lot better, don't you think? ;)

by Ian Monroe (not verified)

Someone just had to write a plasmoid to do it.

by Max (not verified)

Did they do it already?

I'd like to also add my voice to request this feature. KDE4 taskbar feels outdated compared to the rest of the desktop.

by anonymous (not verified)

Congrats. Great release.

I've a small question: What happend to Sonnet?

by Sepp (not verified)

that's something i'd like to know, too.
The last bit of information is from the sonnet mailing list:

I don't know, if some version of sonnet was released with KDE 4.0
I randomly get spellchecking in Konqui, but this could be ispell/aspell, too.

by Roland Kaeser (not verified)

By all the congratulations and respects for the huge work, I have to bring some (i hope) constructive criticism. I was trying the nightly openSuSE builds for the last four months and have installed also the stable build.

I'm very sorry but I think the 4.0 release is not a half as useful than the 3.5.x release is. Some of the points I found:

- The task list can only contain three to four entries before it is full.

- The new start menu (sorry I forgot the internal name) is just useless.
Specially because I have to scroll forward / backward to go through the
programs section. PLEASE, PLEASE add the old style menu in furter releases

- All the additional widgets for the main bar are that huge that its take a lot
of space.

- Where are the option menus for all the main bar widgets such as task list,
pager, clock etc?

- How can I move the main bar widgets? The pager is default located in the
middle of the main bar which lefts space for just one program in the task

- When I add or remove items from the favorites list in new start menu, the
menu is resetted after next startup of kde 4

- Where is the bluetooth integration? In konquerror I just could
add "bluetooth:/" to the addresslist to browse my bluetooth devices.

- Starting up KDE 4 with a installed KDE 3.5.7 creates new kde 4 icons for
existing .desktop files each time it starts up. After several logouts/logins
the whole desktop is filled with that garbage icons

- And at the end: KDE 4 crashes that often, that I cannot work for more than 5
to 10 minutes unless it crashes completely. Sometimes, it freezes the whole

Our local computer club has planned to make a small release party for the new kde 4 release but with that results we cannot show this to anybody because every second time a user clicks somewhere, something is going wrong.

Hey guys,by all respect, but there is a lot of work to become the 4.0 as useful and stable than the 3.5.8.

by Bobby (not verified)

"The new start menu (sorry I forgot the internal name) is just useless.
Specially because I have to scroll forward / backward to go through the
programs section. PLEASE, PLEASE add the old style menu in furter releases

Nobody needs to complain about the new start menu (Kickoff) because one doesn't have to use it. It is a widget just like Lancelot or the traditional start menu. All you have to do is delete it from the taskbar, start your widget window/dialog (what ever it's called), search for the traditional menu and then drag and drop it in the task bar! Make sure that plasma extragear is installed though. I think that some of you are really nerving the developers because you ask for something, get it and then still keep complaining. Just take a little time out to learn KDE 4.0 like you would with a new girlfriend :)

I think that you are having some problems with your installation or packages because I can't relate to a lot of the problems that you are having.
Check you installation brother.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

The new menu (Kickoff) is still the default and it seems to gather a great deal of complaints.

I think I installed Suse once way back in the day, and it had a wizard within KDE to configure it the first time a new user logged in. I would love to see this sort of thing happen again.

When a new user logs in the first time, ask them if they want to use KDE defaults, or configure the system to look and operate like Gnome, OS X, XP or Vista. With QT having a Clearlooks engine built in, and the plethora of OS X, XP and Vista themes, it shouldn't be difficult to pull off. In another step of said wizard, you can ask people to choose the menu they want.

I think such a start-up wizard would make a great deal number of people quite happy.

by Skeith (not verified)

Someone contributed a Simple Menu that works like the old Kmenu but it wasn't ready in time for 4.0, plus Raptor is being worked on but I don't know when its due.

by T. J. Brumfield (not verified)

I'm most definitely looking forward to trying out Raptor.

by Bobby (not verified)

Concerning the crashes: do you have compiz-fusion running with XGL? If you are using XGL then you won't be able to run KDE 4.0 for more than 5 minutes before having a crash because it has an xgl allergy. Set Xorg as default.