KDE 4 Will Be Awesome

I know, you’ve heard that before. You probably heard that KDE 3 would be awesome, too. But seriously, KDE 4 is going to have major UI/usability/candy/feature improvements. The codebase is now being worked on in SVN.

In the works:

  • Plasma – a unified desktop, kicker panel, system tray, and widget framework. The existing SuperKaramba code will be integrated. Icons and widgets can be seamlessly dragged between the kicker panel and the desktop. They can be made to float above windows or below. In general, this is going to be eyecandy heaven. Hopefully it will run circles around Mac OS X’s Dashboard (which was an indirect ripoff of SuperKaramba).
  • Tenor – a systemwide contextual linkage engine. This goes beyond standard “find” and “locate” frontends, which most desktop search tools are based on. Beagle for GNOME and Spotlight for Mac OS X create an active index of files with existing meta information. Tenor, on the other hand, will be integrated into each KDE application, and will store contextual information never yet seen on any desktop OS. For example, when you receive an email attachment, the following information will follow that file: who sent it, whether they are in your address book, when you received the email, when you first opened the attachment, how you responded to the email (did you send a reply?), and much more. I can’t even think of everything it could do. In addition to the Tenor engine, a content browser (possibly within Konqueror) will provide an easy way to view context-based content. (Think Longhorn, minus the SQL-based WinFS, and add the fact that this will actually have a release date).
  • APPEAL – this project isn’t specific to KDE 4, but will play a major part in getting KDE 4 out the door. APPEAL is a team and collaboration of KDE hackers, artists, and documentation writers, all with the intent of planning the direction of KDE and supporting innovative ideas. APPEAL is planning to support the Tenor and Plasma technologies. Other topics discussed at the first meeting were artwork, human interface guidelines, and groupware applications. It seems like the goal of APPEAL is “to restructure KDE into eye catching, usable interfaces.”
  • Qt-Firefox / KFirefox / KGecko – whatever it will be called, Zack Rusin will be porting Firefox and Gecko to Qt4 by the time KDE 4 rolls around (hopefully sooner). This will enable a lot of fun possibilities, including Konqueror with a Gecko engine, Firefox with a KHTML engine, and full KDE integration in Firefox. Integration means KDE dialogues, KPrinter integration, KGet integration, minimal KIO slave support (not all are appropriate for a web browser), full QT-theme support, and *hopefully* integratation with Konqueror bookmarks/cache/cookies.