Kopernicus: Linux made easy

KDE's latest desktop environment offers browser and tool advancements to Linux and Unix users -- plus a new, integrated open-source office suite.

The KDE Team has released the long-awaited Version 2.0 of the K Desktop Environment.

The K Desktop Environment (KDE) 2.0 product -- aka Kopernicus -- is designed to make Linux and Unix desktops easier to use.

KDE Team officials, in a news release issued Monday, said that the hundreds of open-source developers who worked on Kopernicus basically re-engineered the KDE 1 environment.

Kopernicus includes the Konqueror Web browser and file manager; the first release of KOffice, an integrated office suite; KParts component object tools; and other elements aimed at both developers and end users. Kopernicus also includes more than 100 applications for games, graphics, administration, and utilities.

KOffice consists of a spreadsheet application (KSpread), a vector drawing application (KIllustrator), a frame-based word-processing application (KWord), a presentation program (KPresenter), and a chart and diagram application (KChart).

KDE's Kopernicus is an alternative to GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment).

The Gnome Foundation, a group of open-source and commercial software and hardware vendors, is working to evolve the GNOME Linux/Unix user interface, as well.

Gnome Foundation officials this summer said they did not expect their work to dovetail with that of the KDE Team, citing incompatible underlying toolkits as the primary reason.

The next-generation GNOME environment is slated to include GNOME Office, the open-source components of StarOffice contributed by Sun Microsystems Inc. (sunw); Evolution, a competitor to Microsoft Outlook and Lotus Notes on the groupware/messaging front that is being developed by Helix Code; Nautilus, an open-source graphical file manager developed by Eazel; Mozilla, the open-source version of the Netscape Navigator Web browser; Sash, a development tool recently placed into open source by IBM Corp. (ibm); and GNOME's Bonobo component project and GTK toolkit.

KDE, for its part, is based on the Trolltech Qt graphical user-interface toolkit.

Like Qt, Kopernicus is available for free under two open-source licenses: the Q Public License and the GNU General Public License.

The source packages for Kopernicus are available for free download. Kopernicus requires Qt-2.2.1 and will not work with older versions of Qt, according to KDE Team officials.

Precompiled binaries of Kopernicus are available for a variety of Linux distributions, including Caldera OpenLinux, Debian, Mandrake, Red Hat, and SuSE.