KDE 3.5 Unannounced
Although 3.5.0 is unofficially released as RC2 temporarily while final tagging occurs, it thinks it's final. It states in all the about's and in the control center that it is indeed 3.5.0, as well as in the tarball name and svn directories. It's not announced yet, but it was said that rc2 will be renamed as final if no real showstoppers appear. I've only had one little problem myself, so I suspect an announcement probably next week. Here a little sneak peak.
As stated before, desktop searches were becoming quite the trend lately and KDE has integrated search boxes into about every place they could think of. ...except the menu. SUSE has added their own menu search that I really wish kde would implement. That's the greatest place to have a search I think. They are everywhere from kcontrol to the add applet dialog. Also new to 3.5 is the expanded web search list in konqueror, as if anyone ever uses anything other than google anyway. j/k Actually, I always used the acronym followed by the search string in the address bar for my searches, and many many sources were available using that method. However, the expanded list is a nice, newbie-friendly addition. What we really need is a "search all!"
There are a lot of little features creeping up here and there. One of the most annoying is that the bookmark names are no longer truncated. This makes my bookmark list very wide and as a result it does not fit on my screen. I've had to break my "news" booksmarks into 3 separate folders in order to view them all. Here I've shown an old folder that I haven't edited yet. Why did they do that? In my opinion, that's not an improvement. Another not-so-good feature is the pop-up blocked notification. That's every bit as annoying as the popup it blocked in the first place. I'm sure there must be a way to turn that joker off, even if I haven't found it yet. If anyone knows, please share! Of course there is some wonderful news on the konqueror front. It now passes the AcidTest. It still wasn't passing in my release candidate 1 version, so this is really terrific news. All those sites that claim Safari was the only browser that passes will now have to revise. Another new konqueror goodie is the adblock feature. Although ads are not something that plague my surfing, I can imagine this feature could be a welcome addition for many.
We've talked about the new adding applet to panel method before, but a sneak peek wouldn't be complete if it was left out. This new add applet module a nice visual way to see what's available and a short description. It even includes some cute effects if enabled. If you click on the desired applet, you see an animation of the applet moving from the chooser to the panel, then a bubble popup appears to give the listing. Too cute.
We've also mentioned the file properties previews before. Right clicking a file brings up a menu from which one could select "properties." This old feature listed things like filetype and permissions. But now, under a separate tab one can actually see a preview of it. I can see where this might be handy especially for image files.
Also new is this storage media file preview, handling, and alert configuration. You could probably think of its main feature as an autorun.
Some little improvements to ksnapshot (an app of which I get a lot of use) is a copy to clipboard feature and highlighting of just the file name instead of entire filename + extention when saving. I suppose one might use the copy to clipboard feature if they wanted to use the screenshot in another application like gimp before saving to disk. I'm really enjoying the highlighted filename feature quite a bit. It doesn't sound like much - until you start taking a lot of screenshots. This saves one from having to click with the mouse to position the cursor where to start deleting or, alternatively, typing the filename + extention each save. Handy dandy.
I've also mentioned the wallpaper and splash before I believe. The wallpaper and splash consist of almost familiar shades of blue. It features a nice blue backdrop highlighted by the updated kde blue wavy rainbow and a very discrete, almost undiscerning, overlay of a world atlas. The atlas is more distinguishable in the splash, as it uses more contrasting shades of blue.
There was talk of and even a poll concerning removing some of the old "tile" type background images. That directory does appear to be "thinned-out." In addition, there are a few new backgrounds: a landscape or two, a nature shot and perhaps one abstract. At least I hadn't noticed them before.
Another new feature I've touched on before was the addition of SuperKaramba to the kdeutils package. Everyone must know by now what superkaramba is, but it's an application that allows for easy insertion of useful "applets" they call themes onto your desktop. In the past it was an extra package available from other outlets such as kde-look.org, but it is now included as an integral part of KDE. You can choose themes ranging from system monitoring to weather reporting and even application operation. It's always been a real nice feature and nowadays it seem quite stable and costs little resource overhead. The only problems I had with it was when trying to add liquid weather this time, it did not appear. It was 'checked' in the knewstuff dialog as if it was installed, but I didn't find it in the add-to-desktop dialog or in any of my files. Some others worked fine, even if it did put a lot of similar entries for the same app in the add-to-desktop dialog.
I've been running at least the applications from KDE 3.5 rc1 since it was released, then I upgraded to what will probably be 3.5 a coupla nights ago, and I can report that it is very stable. Moving my old .kde directory and running from within kde itself, the applications are blazing fast and rock solid. The only bug I've experienced is a hanging of "empty trash can." Mine will hang for... ever and take up all the cpu cycles. I can't figure out what could cause this on my system, but it does not occur in SUSE 10.1 alpha 3 featuring 3.5rc1. In any case, the compile was effortless and the performance in unparalleled.
Some other new features this release include:
- Don't preselect file extension when saving files
- "Preview" tab in properties dialog
- Add support for POSIX file access control lists (ACL) to kio_file and the file properties editing interface
- KHTML: Pass the Acid2 test
- Improve handling and better display of manual documentation
- Unzip and untar a file entry without putting the data completely in memory
- Better errors if a file entry cannot be unzipped
- Clock applet uses generic timezone widget
- Added "Description only" menu format
- KControl: Slight interface lifting: remove tabs, add module handbook button
- Middle click on "Clear Location" will clear and paste
- Searchbarplugin: Support more than one searchprovider, add "Focus Searchbar" keyboard shortcut
- Added "Go/Web History" which shows history sidebar
- Added Smooth Blend into kdeartwork module
- KGeography (geography learning program)
- blinKen (retro electronic memory game)
- KHangMan - new design
- Improved NGC/IC catalog
- A GUI Tool for adding custom catalogs
- Highlight objects on the sky which are in the Observing list
- akodelib: Make independent of kdemultimedia
- Improvements to keyboard navigation
- Improvements to album cover art support
- Automatically set the folder icon to album cover
- New toolbar in main window
- Add support for multiples global identities
- Allow select the media player
- Set globally busy or invisible
- Emoticon in the contact list, and in tooltips
- Add filetransfer Support
- Add support for receiving Yahoo webcams
- Port MSN plugin to use MSNP11
- Support sending and receiving of personal messages in MSN plugin
- MSN HTTP support
- MSN webcam support
- KCalc: Enhanced the calculator display
- Use a treeview for showing archive entries
- Support for password-protected archives
- SuperKaramba: Added SuperKaramba into a mainstream module
- Fix sidebar to use other icon sizes
- Add support for OpenXchange
- new importfilter to import from Sylpheed
- lots of improvements and additions to importfilters
- Full namespace support for IMAP
- Offline mode
- SMTP authentication & encryption
- KHTML-based, KMail-like article viewer
- Emoticon support