Kde 4.7 Released And In The Wild

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July saw the release of KDE SC 4.7. Like all recent KDE releases, this is a combination of updates to the bundled applications, underlying desktop and associated technologies. Canonical have already pushed 4.7 through to Kubuntu desktops.

 
If you are a 4.6 user who has just upgraded, don’t expect to be aware of major changes the first time you reboot. Some of the core applications have been updated, but most of the work has gone into improving the underlying frameworks. The applications themselves have been shifted to a greater reliance on Akonadi, the PIM storage framework and NEPOMUK, the semantic information database.

Kontact is the KDE PIM suite that includes email, contacts and appointments. Again, don’t expect to see many apparent differences when using the applications as most of the changes take the form of a switch to Anakondi for data storage. The mail component, Kmail is an example of this as it has been rechristened Kmail 2, although it looks almost identical to the previous version.

Of course, the the usual caveats about relying on a database rather than standard file formats have to be considered. On the one hand, it’s not quite clear what happens if you have to recover a broken system as you can’t simply peer inside a set of standard files. On the other, a unified approach looks set to pay off in the future, and it was always part of the over-arching plan for KDE4.

Increasingly, if you update contact or scheduling information in one application, that information will be updated in every KDE application, and this will include all of your synchronized devices and services. However, if you’re the type of user who prefers to use a suite of independent applications that utilize industry standard methods of storing their data, the KDE of the future isn’t going to be for you.

Photo manager, digKam is once again a core application, and it’s an example of an application that does have improvements that are visible on the surface. As for the application itself, it will probably continue to be divisive. On the one hand, it harks back to the KDE3 era in that it is a complicated application with loads of features. On the other hand, it’s at odds with the KDE4 aim to simplify user interfaces wherever possible. I’d challenge anyone who has not used it before to be able to figure it out at first glance, in contrast to the intuitive layout of F-Spot or Picasa. It’s a techy application application rather than a pure photo browser, and some people will want to see it stay that way.

digiKam - it's complicated.

File manager Dolphin is an application that has had its user interface simplified slightly and can now operate without a menu bar. Looking at the screenshots that demo a few different configurations, I have to say that I’m still not much of a fan. All files are still locked to a grid and the icons are uniform in size. Its predecessor, Konqueror managed to mix icons of varying sizes with larger icons for media that could be previewed as a thumbnail.

Dolphin. The way it handles previews still hasn't won me over.

I wonder if I’m the only long-term KDE user who hasn’t delved into what task orientated workspaces have to offer? For one thing, I want to be sure that it all works flawlessly before digging in. Perhaps I’m just getting old.


Conclusion

On the surface, KDE4.7 might seem like a minor upgrade, however, a lot of work has been carried out improve the frameworks such as Phonon, NEPOMUK and Anakondi. This release leverages the power of those frameworks to take KDE4 closer to what it was always intended to be, a closely integrated set of applications and services tied together with a user interface that it is easy to use. What KDE4 represents won’t, therefore, please all Linux users or even all desktop Linux users.

Having overcome the difficult birth of the initial release, KDE4 is now a powerful and mature desktop. In the future, in some respects, it will pull further away from what traditionalist Linux users expect from a desktop experience, and on the other hand, KDE4 will soon begin to offer integrated approaches and ways of working that make it stand out against all of the other desktops that are available.

The complete overview of changes on the KDE website seems to be split onto three main pages: applications, Plasma Workplace and the underlying platform changes.

______________________

UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.

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KDE4.7

storage's picture

KDE4.7 is a great desktop that integrates frameworks such as Phonon, NEPOMUK and Anakondi. It's a perfect fit for Linux and one of the most advanced desktop out there.

I'm running KDE 4.7.0 on

Anonymous's picture

I'm running KDE 4.7.0 on Fedora 15 and I absolutely love it :)

KDE PCLINUXOS

Anonymous's picture

I'm using KDE 4.6.5 on PCLINUXOS, rock solid. I love it. This is coming from someone who used Gnome 2 from 2006 till this year.

I don't think I'll ever go to Gnome 3 now that I've found KDE.

I wonder if I’m the only

Pawel's picture

I wonder if I’m the only long-term KDE user who hasn’t delved into what task orientated workspaces have to offer? For one thing, I want to be sure that it all works flawlessly before digging in.

I fully agree and you're not getting old. First of all the desktop has to work reliably, then I am interested in new features ... indeed, what is the task oriented workspaces about?

Pawel

Like KDE but...

Rodrigo's picture

I have a lan house running gnu-linux-debian-kde for 6 years now. The only trouble with kde is that is impossible to protect the desktop configurations. I would like to see systemconfig and the toolbox at least with a password execution option. I hate found someones picture on desktop :( . Dolphin is much better now, but you always keep using konqueror. By the way, why so many sites, like yahoo, keep konqueror or rekonq as unsupported browsers? Is there a way to bypass this trouble?

Gnome İs Better Than Kde

digitall's picture

Gnome İs Better Than Kde :)
Halit Alptekin

Dolphin

SuperVPN's picture

http://www.supervpn.net/

I didn'use Dolphin, but it doesn't sound to me that is something great!
KDE is so good! I like it! So better than all before!

Dolphin

SuperVPN's picture

http://www.supervpn.net/

I am didn'use Dolphin, but it doesn't sound to me that is something great!
KDE is so good! I like it! So better than all before!

kde 4.7

edt's picture

I am a long time kde user, started in 1999. With 4.7 I may be forced to stop using it. Why? kmail2. I have about 350K emails in archives in Maildir format. Kmail2 wants to convert everything to its new format. So far the kmailcvt program (kmigrate gave up) has been running 3 days and is now using 15G and still has 100K message to go...
I shutter to think what is going to happen when akondi's DB gets corrupted... I've been supporting software for 30+ year and _really_ wonder if akondi and friends are a good idea?

No need to worry

Kevin Krammer's picture

The mails are not stored in a database, the most common backend is still maildir.

Instead of importing you can either use a maildir ("Local Folders") backend handler or one specialized for KMail1's mail tree (which can contain mbox folders and index files for metadata such as flags). This one is called "KMail Folders"

Kmail dilemma..

Ozgur's picture

Im happy with kde 4.6.5 ( of course old releases to :-) ). PIM is great tool but... Kmail.. Kmail is great but you cannot send html emails. We are in 2011 we cannot send html mails. What a silliness :-(

It's a valid concern and I'm

Michael Reed's picture

It's a valid concern and I'm going to get into it in a future article.

UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.

dolphin

ndbecker2@gmail.com's picture

I'm not a big fan of dolphin. The thing that really bugs me from a UI design, is that by default, an editable location bar is not shown. I have to do view/location bar/editable location bar to activate it.

That's ridiculous!! I could only guess that a newb would simply give up on dolphin before figuring that out.

No need to panic

Lado's picture

It's much much easier to make it editable. You just click at the end of currently sown location and it becomes editable. Yes as simple as that.

Digikam

Anonymous's picture

Digikam is complicated? I don't think so. Something like f-spot doesn't even try to compete with Digikam. It's a far different level. If you want something for viewing photos just use Gwenview which is much more robust and powerful than f-spot while more comfortable same time (hence it's Qt, not mono...). Digikam is for the professional photo editing not just for browsing.

Just to clarify, I'm not

Michael Reed's picture

Just to clarify, I'm not criticising Digikam when I say that it's a complicated application. I like complicated, and I'm wary of the KDE mission to simplify everything.

UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.

Love KDE

Lado's picture

Switched to KDE two weeks ago and I love it. Better than any other desktop I've used before. Looks awesome works even better and it is nice to see it is so configurable.

It's a great desktop and

Michael Reed's picture

It's a great desktop and before long it looks like it may grow features that aren't available anywhere else.

UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.

Dolphin previews

Matt Williams's picture

Its predecessor, Konqueror managed to mix icons of varying sizes with larger icons for media that could be previewed as a thumbnail.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean but does

  Dolphin → Settings → Configure Dolphin... → View Modes

and then the "Default" and "Preview" size sliders not do what you want? The sizes can be set separately for grid, details and column modes.

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