Not long now until the long anticipated release of KDE4, a major update to the K Desktop Environment (KDE). Kubuntu users and users of many other Linux distributions will be familiar with KDE as powers the desktop environment of their machine. Even the Asus EEE in its 'Advanced Mode' uses a KDE desktop. January 11th is the big day with a launch event at the headquarters of Google.
I've been experimenting with the second release candidate on my Kubuntu machine and have grown to like the new look and feel of KDE, as you can see it is very different to KDE3 providing support for SuperKaramba style desktop widgets "out of the box" and having 3D effects such as exploding windows, animations and fuzzy window edges, which all help create a thoroughly modern desktop experience. The changes to KDE have been quite radical, Ars Technica did a good rundown of what is changing at: http://arstechnica.com/journals/linux.ars/2007/08/06/the-first-kde-4-0-beta-hits-the-streets. Interestingly work is under way to make KDE4 available for both MS Windows(tm) machines and Apple Macs(tm) as well making it possible to run KDE applications such as the wonderful Amarok on these platforms for the first time.
It looks like KDE4 will be made available for the current release of Kubuntu and will be an option in the next release, Hardy Heron, having already been packaged in the alpha release but KDE3 will still be available for the time being if users wish to stick with that while KDE4 settles down.