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KDE 4: The Shiny New Linux (and Windows) Desktop

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KDE

Linux users are as evangelical about desktop environments, the all-encompassing graphical user interface software responsible for providing everything from taskbars to office suites, as they are about operating systems. It shouldn't come as any surprise, then, that the first major release in over five years of the most popular desktop environment available is causing quite a stir. Due to be released on December 11th, KDE 4.0 is bringing exhilarating graphical, usability, and functionality improvements to the Unix-like systems it is designed for—and Windows users will get a taste, too.

If you use a modern Linux distribution, almost everything you see on the screen will probably be a component of KDE or its foremost rival, GNOME. Desktop wallpaper, icons, widgets, panels (flexible applet containers similar to the Windows taskbar), file managers, and configuration utilities are all supplied by the desktop environment—as well as, still, window decorations.

Let's look at KDE 4, including its range of freely available applications that take advantage of its new development framework and the latest version of the Qt GUI toolkit.

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