Under the "Regional and Accessibility" section, the number of countries has been expanded. There was a time when you had an option for "Palestinian Territory" but none for "Pakistan"! If India's and Pakistan's regional settings are almost identical, include an option that goes like "India/Pakistan" or something like that. I'm sure this applies to a lot of other instances, too. As for "Keyboard Shortcuts", there is a need to have a pan-KDE context menu (right-click menu) shortcut.
A hugely welcomed feature is the new Font Installer. This neat feature reduces the painful, multi-step, command-line method of installing fonts to a single drag-and-drop sequence. With this feature, I've added more fonts from kde-look.org's "Fonts" section in a day than I have in my entire time with KDE 2.x and 3.(0|1). You can even get instant previews, like in Gnome's Nautilus and Window's "Fonts" folder.
A word about the Control Centre's Welcome Screen on the right. The text area indicating the user name, the KDE version, kernel version and so on, adapts and re-sizes itself when the window is re-sized, but the background image does not. This is a problem that's been festering since the 2.x series, and I'm shocked that it hasn't been dealt with yet.
All hail the Konqueror, the proverbial "Swiss-army knife" of the KDE desktop! It's a file manager, an internet browser, a network browser, a PDF viewer... it's all that and more, and it does all of that with aplomb! Of course, this magnitude of functionality also brings with it the horror of configuring it all. Let's see how it shapes up in this beta...
It would probably be fair to say that Konqueror has finally arrived as a browser. The guys over at Apple considered its rendering engine KHTML good enough to use in Safari. After a little fine-tuning of the fonts, Konqueror renders most sites as well as Mozilla.
File management as well as browsing now offers much smoother support for tabs. You can now right-click on a folder and "Open in New Window" or "Open in New Tab". In previous versions, this was limited to the "Web Browsing" profile, that is, for hyperlinks. I kind of like the idea of a file manager which supports tabs as well as split views. (Nautilus, Explorer.exe, are you listening?) There is a "New tab" and a "Remove current tab" button to the left and right of the tabs (a la Mozilla). Tabs are now loaded by default in the background. In KDE 3.1, there was no such default, and every time you right-clicked on a link, you ended up with 3 options: "Open in New Window", "Open in New Tab", and "Open in Background Tab". No more. Whether or not to open tabs in the background can be selected in the settings quite easily. In addition, you can choose to have new tabs open up immediately after the current tab, rather than at the end of all tabs, as is the default in Epiphany. This is very convenient when I'm reading multiple, multi-page articles on the Internet.
The "Settings" window for Konqueror is the most comprehensive and well-designed I've come across, and that includes Mozilla, Firebird, Opera, Epiphany and Galeon. I just wish they'd have a clearer demarcation between the settings for the file manager and the browser. There is a nice option now that makes Konqueror open up faster (in whichever profile): Under the "Performance" tab in Konqueror's Settings window, there is an option to preload an instance of Konqueror at KDE startup. You can also specify the maximum number of instances kept preloaded. This results in a noticeable decrease in Konqueror's startup time.
The "Actions" submenu on the context menu is an extremely useful feature to have. By default, there are options to compress files and folders/uncompress archives, and to open a terminal window (Konsole) in that folder. This "Open Terminal Here" function has drawn rave reviews from almost everyone since it was introduced in KDE 3.1. Applications can add their own custom options to the "Actions" menu. For instance, K3B adds an option to burn a folder to a CD, when installed. Think of the functionality you could add on your own here, with better support available now for adding your own custom-built service menus.
This little change shows that the KDE guys are indeed paying attention to detail: the "Edit file type" option in the context menu has now been changed to an unobtrusive small button on the "Properties" window for the file.
Also, after changing the application with which to open that file type, instead of a brief freezing of the window, we now have a message box with progress bar that says "Updating System Configuration".
Very nice. Those freezes would put off any new user.