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KDE Plasma Workspaces Improve User Experience

Plasma Netbook's Search and Launch interface offers applications, contacts and desktop search

KDE, an international Free Software community, is happy to announce the immediate availability of the Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces in version 4.5. The Plasma Workspaces see both refinement and innovation towards semantic, task-driven workflows. In addition to thousands of bugs that have been fixed in order to make the user experience more complete, more usable and more attractive, some interesting changes are included in this release:

Clicking on the clock reveals the calendar, which displays holidays in your region

A variety of other improvements span changes to KRunner’s display of results, configurable panel icon sizes, easy panel configuration using JavaScript templates and shadows, better drag and drop in the Quick Launch widget, which now allows favorite applications to be arranged in multiple columns and rows, improvements in Dolphin, Konsole, and much more. It has also been made possible to start Plasma applets as separate applications through the plasma-windowed application. The Removable Device Notifier now shows errors more clearly.

Workspace Setup Restructured

The configuration for the workspace has been restructured and is now offered through a category in System Settings. The new Workspace section provides control over the Look and Feel of your Plasma workspace. Here you can set the theming to your liking, enable or disable the Semantic Desktop & Desktop Search features, and enable many settings that make your workspace work the way you want it to, be it hot corners, visual helpers used for managing windows, the new window tiling feature, and many more.

The Workspace section in System Settings gives you full control over the look and feel of your workspace.

Workspace effects enhance the user experience in many ways. These include the usage of OpenGL-rendered window previews in the taskbar, and a desktop grid effect which enables you to zoom in and out of virtual desktops. If your hardware or graphics driver does not support these graphical effects properly, Plasma falls back gracefully to traditional 2D rendering. We recommend using the latest version of the graphics driver and underlying XOrg stack for the best performance. In 4.5, it is now possible for administrators and distributors to gain finer control over graphics hardware and drivers used through the use of per-effect blacklists. This makes it easier to enable and disable certain features based on their availability and stability on certain systems. It also makes it easier to provide a smoother experience out of the box to many users.

More Screenshots...

The Desktop Settings user interface has seen some nice usability enhancements

Running jobs are visualized by Plasma, ...

... multiple jobs are grouped and notifications are remembered for a while.

Plans and Work in Progress

The Plasma team is working on further performance improvements in window management. Also on the agenda is extending the concepts of Activities, the intentional and automatic grouping of related windows and supporting desktop furniture, making the workspace and applications more context-aware, including the use of geolocation. Effects such as blurring transparent window backgrounds are being employed to increase ergonomics while looking good, by making text and user interface elements more readable.
New Plasma Workspaces for Media Center use-cases and mobile phones are also on their way. During the recent Akademy conference, the first phone call was made using the new Plasma Mobile shell.

Installing Plasma

KDE software, including all its libraries and its applications, is available for free under Open Source licenses. KDE software runs on various hardware configurations, operating systems and works with any kind of window manager or desktop environment. Besides Linux and other UNIX based operating systems you can find Microsoft Windows versions of most KDE applications on the KDE software on Windows site and Apple Mac OS X versions on the KDE software on Mac site. Experimental builds of KDE applications for various mobile platforms like MeeGo, MS Windows Mobile and Symbian can be found on the web but are currently unsupported.
KDE software can be obtained in source and various binary formats from and can also be obtained on CD-ROM or with any of the major GNU/Linux and UNIX systems shipping today.

Packages. Some Linux/UNIX OS vendors have kindly provided binary packages of 4.5.0 for some versions of their distribution, and in other cases community volunteers have done so.
Some of these binary packages are available for free download from KDE's Additional binary packages, as well as updates to the packages now available, will become available over the coming weeks.

Package Locations. For a current list of available binary packages of which the KDE's Release Team has been informed, please visit the 4.5 Info Page.

Compiling 4.5.0

The complete source code for 4.5.0 may be freely downloaded. Instructions on compiling and installing KDE software 4.5.0 are available from the 4.5.0Info Page.

System Requirements

In order to get the most out of these releases, we strongly recommend to use the latest version of Qt, as of today 4.6.3. This is necessary in order to assure a stable experience, as some improvements made to KDE software have actually been done in the underlying Qt framework.
Graphics drivers may under certain conditions fall back to XRender rather than OpenGL for compositing. If you have issues with notably slow graphics performance, switching off desktop effects is likely to help, depending on the graphics driver and setup used. In order to make full use of the capabilities of KDE's software, we also recommend to use the latest graphics drivers for your system, as this can improve the user experience substantially, both in optional functionality, and in overall performance and stability.

Also Released Today:

The KDE Development Platform 4.5.0

KDE Development Platform 4.5.0 gains performance, stability, new high-speed cache and support for WebKit

KDE today releases the KDE Development Platform 4.5.0. This release brings many performance and stability improvements. The new KSharedDataCache is optimized for fast access to resources stored on disk, such as icons. The new WebKit library provides integration with network settings, password-storage and many other features found in Konqueror. Read The Full Announcement

The KDE Applications 4.5.0

KDE Applications 4.5.0 enhance usability and bring routing

The KDE team today releases a new version of the KDE Applications. Many educational titles, tools, games and graphical utilities have seen further enhancement and usability improvements. Routing backed by OpenRouteService has made its entry in Marble, the virtual globe. Konqueror, KDE's webbrowser can now be configured to use WebKit with the KWebKit component available in the Extragear repository. Read The Full Announcement

About KDE

KDE is an international technology team that creates free and open source software for desktop and portable computing. Among KDE's products are a modern desktop system for Linux and UNIX platforms, comprehensive office productivity and groupware suites and hundreds of software titles in many categories including Internet and web applications, multimedia, entertainment, educational, graphics and software development. KDE software is translated into more than 60 languages and is built with ease of use and modern accessibility principles in mind. KDE's full-featured applications run natively on Linux, BSD, Windows, Haiku, and macOS.

Trademark Notices.

KDE® and the K Desktop Environment® logo are registered trademarks of KDE e.V..
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries.
All other trademarks and copyrights referred to in this announcement are the property of their respective owners.

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