KDE 4.0 Release

After countless days of waiting, KDE4.0, the first release of the KDE4 framework was released on Friday, January 11.

Here’s an official announcement from KDE’s site:

The KDE Community is thrilled to announce the immediate availability of KDE 4.0. This significant release marks both the end of the long and intensive development cycle leading up to KDE 4.0 and the beginning of the KDE 4 era.

The KDE 4.0 desktop

The KDE 4 Libraries have seen major improvements in almost all areas. The Phonon multimedia framework provides platform independent multimedia support to all KDE applications, the Solid hardware integration framework makes interacting with (removable) devices easier and provides tools for better power management.

The KDE 4 Desktop has gained some major new capabilities. The Plasma desktop shell offers a new desktop interface, including panel, menu and widgets on the desktop as well as a dashboard function. KWin, the KDE Window manager, now supports advanced graphical effects to ease interaction with your windows.

Lots of KDE Applications have seen improvements as well. Visual updates through vector-based artwork, changes in the underlying libraries, user interface enhancements, new features, even new applications — you name it, KDE 4.0 has it. Okular, the new document viewer and Dolphin, the new file manager are only two applications that leverage KDE 4.0’s new technologies.

The Oxygen Artwork team provides a breath of fresh air on the desktop. Nearly all the user-visible parts of the KDE desktop and applications have been given a facelift. Beauty and consistency are two of the basic concepts behind Oxygen.


  • Plasma is the new desktop shell. Plasma provides a panel, a menu and other intuitive means to interact with the desktop and applications.
  • KWin, KDE’s proven window manager, now supports advanced compositing features. Hardware accelerated painting takes care of a smoother and more intuitive interaction with windows.
  • Oxygen is the KDE 4.0 artwork. Oxygen provides a consistent, easy on the eye and beautiful artwork concept.

Learn more about KDE’s new desktop interface in the KDE 4.0 Visual Guide.


  • Konqueror is KDE’s established web browser. Konqueror is light-weight, well integrated, and supports the newest standards such as CSS 3.
  • Dolphin is KDE’s new file manager. Dolphin has been developed with usability in mind and is an easy-to-use, yet powerful tool.
  • With System Settings, a new control center interface has been introduced. The KSysGuard system monitor makes it easy to monitor and control system resources and activity.
  • Okular, the KDE 4 document viewer, supports many formats. Okular is one of the many KDE 4 applications that has been improved in collaboration with the OpenUsability Project.
  • Educational Applications are among the first applications that have been ported and developed using KDE 4 technology. Kalzium, a graphical periodic table of elements and the Marble Desktop Globe are only two of many gems among the educational applications. Read more about Educational Applications in the Visual Guide.
  • Lots of the KDE Games have been updated. KDE Games such as KMines, a minesweeper game and KPat, a patience game have had facelifts. Thanks to new vector artwork and graphical capabilities, the games have been made more resolution independent.

Some applications are introduced in more detail in the KDE 4.0 Visual Guide.

Filemanager, System Settings and Menu in action


  • Phonon offers applications multimedia capabilities such as playing audio and video. Internally, Phonon makes use of various backends, switchable at runtime. The default backend for KDE 4.0 will be the Xine backend supplying outstanding support for various formats. Phonon also allows the user to choose output devices based on the type of multimedia.
  • The Solid hardware integration framework integrates fixed and removable devices into KDE applications. Solid also interfaces with the underlying system’s power management capabilities, handles network connectivity and integration of Bluetooth devices. Internally, Solid combines the powers of HAL, NetworkManager and the BlueZ bluetooth stack, but those components are replacable without breaking applications to provide maximum portability.
  • KHTML is the webpage rendering engine used by Konqueror, KDE’s web browser. KHTML is light-weight and supports modern standards such as CSS 3. KHTML was also the first engine to pass the famous Acid 2 test.
  • The ThreadWeaver library, which comes with kdelibs, provides a high-level interface to make better use of today’s multi-core systems, making KDE applications feel smoother and more efficiently using resources available on the system.
  • Being built on Trolltech’s Qt 4 library, KDE 4.0 can make use of the advanced visual capabilities and smaller memory footprint of this library. kdelibs provides an outstanding extension of the Qt library, adding large amounts of high-level functionality and convenience to the developer.

KDE’s TechBase knowledge library has more information about the KDE libraries.

Take a guided tour…

The KDE 4.0 Visual Guide provides a quick overview of various new and improved KDE 4.0 technologies. Illustrated with many screenshots, it walks you through the different parts of KDE 4.0 and shows some of the exciting new technologies and improvements for the user. New features of the desktop get you started, applications such as System Settings, Okular the document viewer and Dolphin the file manager are introduced. Educational applications are shown as well as Games.

Give it a spin…

For those interested in getting packages to test and contribute, several distributions have notified us that they will have KDE 4.0 packages available at or soon after the release. The complete and current list can be found on the KDE 4.0 Info Page, where you can also find links to the source code, information about compiling, security and other issues.

The following distributions have notified us of the availability of packages or Live CDs for KDE 4.0:

  • An alpha version of KDE4-based Arklinux 2008.1 is expected shortly after this release, with an expected final release within 3 or 4 weeks.
  • Debian KDE 4.0 packages are available in the experimental branch. The KDE Development Platform will even make it into Lenny. Watch for announcements by the Debian KDE Team. Rumours are that a Live CD is planned as well.
  • Fedora will feature KDE 4.0 in Fedora 9, to be released in April, with Alpha releases being available from 24th of January. KDE 4.0 packages are in the pre-alpha Rawhide repository.
  • Gentoo Linux provides KDE 4.0 builds on
  • Kubuntu packages are included in the upcoming “Hardy Heron” (8.04) and also made available as updates for the stable “Gutsy Gibbon” (7.10). A Live CD is available for trying out KDE 4.0. More details can be found in the announcement on
  • Mandriva will provide packages for 2008.0 and aims at producing a Live CD with the latest snapshot of 2008.1.
  • openSUSE packages are available for openSUSE 10.3 (one-click install), openSUSE Factory (one-click install) and openSUSE 10.2. A KDE Four Live CD with these packages is also available. KDE 4.0 will be part of the upcoming openSUSE 11.0 release.

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