Tuesday, we reported that the KDE project had released the first beta of KDE 4.1, the release that is supposed to be ready to replace KDE3 on normal users’ desktops. The information and marketing speak in the press release sure was promising, so Ars decided to take the KDE 4.1 beta out for a spin.Ars is quite pleased with the improvements in panel configuration and the new and rather odd resize/move dialog, but did note a regression in that it appears to be impossible to adjust the height of the panel, something which was possible in the previous, more standard dialog. Still, “this is a big improvement over the previous configuration system which consisted of a simple dialog window.” In KDE 4.0, it was impossible to change the size and position of the panel at all.
Another interesting move is the elimination of desktop icons. In previous incarnations of KDE4, Plasma turned any items in your desktop folder into Plasmoid launchers, which Ars noted was rather inconsistent with the Plasma paradigm. The KDE 4.1 beta eliminates desktop icons altogether, favouring a Plasmoid which simply lists and labels the contents of any folder – which raises the question if a specific
~/desktop folder is needed in the first place.
Many of the components in beta 1 are extremely unstable and subject to frequent crashes, but the overall level of polish and functionality in the environment is increasing at an extraordinary pace.