The people behind the latest version of the Linux desktop environment, KDE, say the main benefits will be better standards support in its Web browser, Konqueror.
The KDE project team said on Tuesday that the browser in KDE 3.5 has passed the Acid2 test from the Web Standards Project (WaSP). This test examines a browser's support for W3C recommended standards including CSS1, HTML4 and PNG.
The KDE team pointed out that it has passed this test "ahead of Firefox and Internet Explorer".
Microsoft admitted in August that its upcoming IE 7 browser will not pass the Acid2 test. Tristan Nitot, the president of Mozilla Europe, said that a later version of Firefox will be Acid2 compliant.
"We want to pass the Acid2 test in the future, but our work in this direction was not ready to be included in the Firefox 1.5 version," said Nitot. "The work in progress to pass Acid2 is summarised in the Bugzilla Bug report #289480. Some versions in the labs are actually quite close to passing Acid2, but these are not ready to be used by consumers, for many reasons, including stability and ease of use. We are confident that a future version of Firefox will succeed in passing Acid2."
KDE developers also claim to have caught up with Firefox in other features of the Konqueror browser.
"Hot on the tail of Firefox, Konqueror now also has the much-requested adblock feature, allowing you to filter out advertisements on Web pages. Not to be outdone on any front by the fox, Konqueror's new search bar provides a flexible and powerful way of searching any Web site by using the existing Web shortcut technology," states the KDE Web site.
Other improvements in KDE 3.5 include the addition of MSN and Yahoo Webcam support to the Kopete instant messenger application and a new tool called SuperKaramba, which allows users to add functionality such as weather or news updates to their desktop.
Although KDE 3.5 is considered a major release, the next release, KDE 4, is eagerly awaited by KDE fans as it will include a number of important changes. For example, KDE 4 is expected to run up to 30 percent faster thanks to changes that have been made to Qt, the graphical framework that KDE is built on.
A more detailed list of changes in KDE 3.5 can be viewed here.