New Linux desktop aims for government role

KDE's new desktop software is targeted at large businesses and the public sector, which has been showing increasing interest in Linux and open source

KDE developers have released a new version of its desktop software for Linux and Unix operating systems, with a focus on encouraging the recent trend of Linux desktop adoption by businesses and governments.

Version 3.1 of the K Desktop Environment includes some features, including improved security in the KMail email client and integration with enterprise standards that were developed at the request of the German government. Parts of the German government are in the process of shifting their desktop machines to SuSE's Linux, which uses KDE as its default interface.

Other governments have also shown a strong interest in Linux, which is the major competitor to Microsoft's Windows in the operating system market. France, Germany, and the UK are all either evaluating or implementing open-source software in their governments.

"Recent additions to KDE's email security and groupware functionality... will bring KDE a long way towards general use not only on the corporate desktop, but also in governments across the European Union and elsewhere," stated Matthias Kalle Dalheimer, president of KDE eV, the non-profit organisation that represents the KDE Project in legal and financial matters, and head of one of the companies contracted by the German government to implement the new functionality.

KMail now supports the S/MIME, PGP/MIME and X.509v3 security standards. KOrganizer adds support for Exchange 2000, and KDE's personal information management framework has improved LDAP integration.

The new version adds a framework for locking down which features of a PC can be used, allowing it to be used as, for example, an Internet kiosk in a public location. The software also now includes a desktop-sharing technology aimed at technical support staff, similar to the remote desktop features in Microsoft's Windows XP and other operating systems.

The software is available as a free download from KDE's Web site, and will also be included in Linux distributions from Germany's SuSE.

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