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KDE 2.1 Release Announcement

Monday, 26 February 2001


New KDE Desktop Ready for the Enterprise

KDE Ships Leading Desktop with Advanced Web Browser for Linux and Other UNIXes

The KDE Project today announced the release of KDE 2.1, a powerful and easy-to-use Internet-enabled desktop for Linux. KDE features Konqueror, a state-of-the-art web browser, as an integrated component of its user-friendly desktop environment, as well as KDevelop, an advanced IDE, as a central component of KDE's powerful development environment. This release marks a leap forward in Linux desktop stability, usability and maturity and is suitable for enterprise deployment. The KDE Project strongly encourages all users to upgrade to KDE 2.1.

KDE and all its components are available for free under Open Source licenses from the KDE server and its mirrors and can also be obtained on CD-ROM. KDE 2.1 is available in 33 languages and ships with the core KDE libraries, the core desktop environment (including Konqueror), developer packages (including KDevelop), as well as the over 100 applications from the other standard base KDE packages (administration, games, graphics, multimedia, network, PIM and utilities).

"This second major release of the KDE 2 series is a real improvement in terms of stability, performance and features," said David Faure, release manager for KDE 2.1 and KDE Representative at Mandrakesoft. "KDE 2 has now matured into a solid, intuitive and complete desktop for daily use. Konqueror is a full-featured and robust web browser and important applications like the mail client (KMail) have greatly improved. The multimedia architecture has made great strides and this release inaugurates the new media player noatun, which has a modular, plugin design for playing the latest audio and video formats. For development, KDE 2.1 for the first time is bundled with KDevelop, an outstanding IDE/RAD which will be comfortably familiar to developers with Windows development backgrounds. In short, KDE 2.1 is a state-of-the-art desktop and development environment, and positions Linux/Unix to make significant inroads in the home and enterprise."

"KDE 2.1 opens the door to widespread adoption of the Linux desktop and will help provide the success on the desktop that Linux already enjoys in the server space," added Dirk Hohndel, CTO of Suse AG. "With its intuitive interface, code maturity and excellent development tools and environment, I am confident that enterprises and third party developers will realize the enormous potential KDE offers and will migrate their workstations and applications to Linux/KDE."

"KDE boasts an outstanding graphical design and robust functionality," said Sheila Harnett, Senior Technical Staff Member for IBM's Linux Technology Center. "KDE 2.1 significantly raises the bar for Linux desktop functionality, usability and quality in virtually every aspect of the desktop."

KDE 2: The K Desktop Environment. Konqueror is KDE 2's next-generation web browser, file manager and document viewer. The standards-compliant Konqueror has a component-based architecture which combines the features and functionality of Internet Explorer/Netscape Communicator and Windows Explorer. Konqueror supports the full gamut of current Internet technologies, including JavaScript, Java, XML, HTML 4.0, CSS-1 and -2 (Cascading Style Sheets), SSL (Secure Socket Layer for secure communications) and Netscape Communicator plug-ins (for Flash, RealAudio, RealVideo and similar technologies).

In addition, KDE offers seamless network transparency for accessing or browsing files on Linux, NFS shares, MS Windows SMB shares, HTTP pages, FTP directories, LDAP directories and audio CDs. The modular, plug-in nature of KDE's file architecture makes it simple to add additional protocols (such as IPX, WebDAV or digital cameras) to KDE, which would then automatically be available to all KDE applications.

KDE's configurability and customizability touches every aspect of the desktop. KDE offers a unique cascading customization feature where customization settings are inherited through different layers, from global to per-user, permitting enterprise-wide and group-based configurations. KDE's sophisticated theme support starts with Qt's style engine, which permits developers and artists to create their own widget designs. KDE 2.1 ships with over 14 of these styles, some of which emulate the look of various operating systems. Additionally KDE includes a new theme manager and does an excellent job of importing themes from GTK and GNOME. Moreover, KDE 2 fully supports Unicode and KHTML is the only free HTML rendering engine on Linux/X11 that features nascent support for BiDi scripts such as Arabic and Hebrew.

KDE 2 features an advanced, network-transparent multimedia architecture based on aRts, the Analog Realtime Synthesizer. ARts is a full-featured sound system which includes a number of effects and filters, a modular analog synthesizer and a mixer. The aRts sound server provides network transparent sound support for both input and output using MCOP, a CORBA-like network design, enabling applications running on remote computers to output sound and receive input from the local workstation. This architecture provides a much-needed complement to the network transparency provided by X and for the first time permits users to run their applications remotely with sound enabled. Moreover, aRts enables multiple applications (local or remote) to output sound and/or video concurrently. Video support is available for MPEG versions 1, 2 and 4 (experimental), as well as the AVI and DivX formats. Using the aRts component technology, it is very easy to develop multimedia applications.

Besides the exceptional compliance with Internet and file-sharing standards mentioned above, KDE 2 is a leader in compliance with the available Linux desktop standards. KWin, KDE's new re-engineered window manager, complies to the new Window Manager Specification. Konqueror and KDE comply with the Desktop Entry Standard. Konqueror uses the XBEL standard for its bookmarks. KDE 2 largely complies with the X Drag-and-Drop (XDND) protocol as well as with the X11R6 session management protocol (XSMP).

KDE 2: The K Development Environment. KDE 2.1 offers developers a sophisticated IDE as well as a rich set of major technological improvements over the critically acclaimed KDE 1 series. Chief among the technologies are the Desktop COmmunication Protocol (DCOP), the I/O libraries (KIO), the component object model (KParts), an XML-based GUI class, and a standards-compliant HTML rendering engine (KHTML).

KDevelop is a leading Linux IDE with numerous features for rapid application development, including a GUI dialog builder, integrated debugging, project management, documentation and translation facilities, built-in concurrent development support, and much more.

KParts, KDE 2's proven component object model, handles all aspects of application embedding, such as positioning toolbars and inserting the proper menus when the embedded component is activated or deactivated. KParts can also interface with the KIO trader to locate available handlers for specific mimetypes or services/protocols. This technology is used extensively by the KOffice suite and Konqueror.

KIO implements application I/O in a separate process to enable a non-blocking GUI without the use of threads. The class is network and protocol transparent and hence can be used seamlessly to access HTTP, FTP, POP, IMAP, NFS, SMB, LDAP and local files. Moreover, its modular and extensible design permits developers to "drop in" additional protocols, such as WebDAV, which will then automatically be available to all KDE applications. KIO also implements a trader which can locate handlers for specified mimetypes; these handlers can then be embedded within the requesting application using the KParts technology.

The XML GUI employs XML to create and position menus, toolbars and possibly other aspects of the GUI. This technology offers developers and users the advantage of simplified configurability of these user interface elements across applications and automatic compliance with the KDE Standards and Style Guide irrespective of modifications to the standards.

DCOP is a client-to-client communications protocol intermediated by a server over the standard X11 ICE library. The protocol supports both message passing and remote procedure calls using an XML-RPC to DCOP "gateway". Bindings for C, C++ and Python, as well as experimental Java bindings, are available.

KHTML is an HTML 4.0 compliant rendering and drawing engine. The class will support the full gamut of current Internet technologies, including JavaScript, Java, HTML 4.0, CSS-2 (Cascading Style Sheets), SSL (Secure Socket Layer for secure communications) and Netscape Communicator plugins (for viewing Flash, RealAudio, RealVideo and similar technologies). The KHTML class can easily be used by an application as either a widget (using normal window parenting) or as a component (using the KParts technology). KHTML, in turn, has the capacity to embed components within itself using the KParts technology.

Downloading and Compiling KDE 2.1

The source packages for KDE 2.1 are available for free download at or in the equivalent directory at one of the many KDE ftp server mirrors. KDE 2.1 requires qt-2.2.4, which is available in source code from Trolltech as qt-x11-2.2.4.tar.gz. KDE 2.1 should work with Qt-2.2.3 but Qt-2.2.4 is recommended.

For further instructions on compiling and installing KDE 2.1, please consult the installation instructions and, if you encounter problems, the compilation FAQ.

Installing Binary Packages

Some distributors choose to provide binary packages of KDE for certain versions of their distribution. Some of these binary packages for KDE 2.1 will be available for free download under or under the equivalent directory at one of the many KDE ftp server mirrors. Please note that the KDE team is not responsible for these packages as they are provided by third parties -- typically, but not always, the distributor of the relevant distribution.

KDE 2.1 requires qt-2.2.4, the free version of which is available from the above locations usually under the name qt-x11-2.2.4. KDE 2.1 should work with Qt-2.2.3 but Qt-2.2.4 is recommended.

At the time of this release, pre-compiled packages are available for:

Please check the servers periodically for pre-compiled packages for other distributions. More binary packages will become available over the coming days and weeks.

What Others Are Saying

KDE 2.1 has already earned accolades from industry leaders worldwide. A sampling of comments follows.

"We welcome the release of KDE 2.1," stated Dr. Markus Draeger, Senior Manager for Partner Relations at Fujitsu Siemens Computers. "The release introduces several important new components, like KDevelop and the media player noatun, and overall is a major step forward for this leading GUI on Linux."

"We are very excited about the enhancements in KDE 2.1 and we are pleased to be able to contribute to the project," said Rene Schmidt, Corel's Executive Vice-President, Linux Products. "KDE continues to improve with each release, and these enhancements will make our easy-to-use Linux distribution for the desktop even better."

"A greater number and availability of Linux applications is an important factor that will determine if Linux permeates the enterprise desktop," said Drew Spencer, Chief Technology Officer for Caldera Systems, Inc. "KDE 2.1 addresses this issue with the integration of the Konqueror browser and KDevelop, a tool that allows developers to create applications in C++ for all kinds of environments. Together with the existing tools available for KDE, KDevelop is a one-stop solution for developers."

"With the 2.1 release, KDE again demonstrates its capacity to offer rich software and provide a complete and stable environment for everyday use", added Gaël Duval, co-founder of Mandrakesoft. "This latest release has paved the way for KDE on user's desktops in the enterprise as well as at home. From the full-featured web browser to the friendly configuration center, it provides all the common facilities many computers users need to abandon Windows® entirely."

About KDE

KDE is an independent, collaborative project by hundreds of developers worldwide to create a sophisticated, customizable and stable desktop environment employing a component-based, network-transparent architecture. KDE is working proof of the power of the Open Source "Bazaar-style" software development model to create first-rate technologies on par with and superior to even the most complex commercial software.

For more information about KDE, please visit KDE's web site. More information about KDE 2 is available in two (1, 2) slideshow presentations and on KDE's web site, including an evolving FAQ to answer questions about migrating to KDE 2.1 from KDE 1.x, a number of screenshots, developer information and a developer's KDE 1 - KDE 2 porting guide.

Trademarks Notices. KDE and K Desktop Environment are trademarks of KDE e.V. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. Unix is a registered trademark of The Open Group. Trolltech and Qt are trademarks of Trolltech AS. MS Windows, Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Netscape and Netscape Communicator are trademarks or registered trademarks of Netscape Communications Corporation in the United States and other countries and JavaScript is a trademark of Netscape Communications Corporation. Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc. Flash is a trademark or registered trademark of Macromedia, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. RealAudio and RealVideo are trademarks or registered trademarks of RealNetworks, Inc. All other trademarks and copyrights referred to in this announcement are the property of their respective owners.

Press Contacts:
United States:Kurt Granroth
(1) 480 732 1752
Andreas Pour
(1) 718-456-1165

Europe (French and English):David Faure
(44) 1225 837409

Europe (English and German):Martin Konold
(49) 179 2252249