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Linux KDE 4.2 RC1: Photos

The latest version of the KDE desktop environment, mostly used on Linux, arrived last week (4.2 RC1), with the final product due on 22 January. We had a peek inside to see what this overhaul offers.
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By Alex Serpo, Contributor on
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1 of 9 Alex Serpo/ZDNet.com.au

First things first, here you can see we have installed KDE 4.1.96 (RC2). We did so by installing Kubuntu 8.10, adding the developer repository, updating and then restarting.

Kubuntu is simply the Ubuntu OS with the KDE desktop rather than the GNOME desktop — which normally comes with the Ubuntu distro.

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The KDE desktop interface is called "Plasma", a term roughly equivalent to the "Aero" interface in Windows Vista. This is what it looks like.

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With 4.2, the KDE desktop has seen a number of improvements, including upgrading the taskbar to include multiple rows, and the taskbar can now auto hide. It can also be made huge and ugly, as you see here.

What struck us about the new KDE desktop environment is its remarkable similarity to the Windows 7 beta taskbar. Convergent evolution?

As you can see RC1 is still not bug-free, we presume this grey box is meant to be a preview window. Interestingly, we saw a similar bug when looking at the Windows 7 beta.

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Dolphin, the file explorer, now allows you to zoom and supports previews of files in toolbars.

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Need to pop away from your desk briefly, and happen to be working on something sensitive? In KDE you can lock your desktop with just a single click.

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6 of 9 Alex Serpo/ZDNet.com.au

Konqueror, KDE's default web browser, is now faster in 4.2 RC1. We still prefer Firefox 3, and we are still waiting for the official version of Chrome for Linux due in the middle of this year.

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KDE offers a range of great desktop widgets, which can be installed with a few clicks. We're particularly fond of the calculator and dictionary widgets.

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The KDE "K Menu" (the equivalent of the Windows Start Bar) is intuitive and easy to use, we always found it handy that the search bar will search both locally installed programs and the web.

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KDE makes managing USB devices easy. This view allows you to view and manage devices with only a few clicks.

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