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KDE 4.8 adds adaptive power management, new windowing tricks

Jan 26, 2012 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

The KDE community announced version 4.8 of its desktop environment and software bundle for Linux, featuring improved, adaptive power management and new windowing functions. KDE 4.8 is faster and more stable, and offers new features like Qt Quick-based Plasma widgets and the KDE Telepathy real-time communication and collaboration framework, says the community.

KDE 4.8 follows up on KDE 4.7, which arrived in early August around the same time Linus Torvalds called for a fork of GNOME 3.0. We have yet to see evidence that GNOME's troubles, or the flack over Ubuntu's Unity UI layer, have given a major boost to the number two desktop environment. And yet, KDE continues to present itself as a plausible alternative.

The new 4.8 release continues in the KDE tradition of providing appealing visual quality while also adding "new features, improved stability, and increased performance," according to the community.

KDE 4.8

(Click to enlarge)

KDE 4.8 offers an enhanced version of KDE's Plasma Workspaces UI environment, available in desktop and netbook versions. Plasma's Window Switcher now supplies six Alt-Tab shortcut layouts, and the KWin window manager and compositor has been revamped for better performance, says the KDE community.

The other big Plasma enhancement is a redesigned power management function. A revised UI offers three presets, and under the hood, adaptive technology adapts to the user's current activity. For example, power settings can be set to never dim or never turn off the screen in a Photos or Video Activity, says the project.

Other new Plasma features are said to include better integration with KDE Activities, and the arrival of several Qt Quick based Plasma widgets in the default installation of Plasma Desktop.

KDE 4.8 Plasma window switcher (left) and adaptive power management settings
(Click on either to enlarge)

The 4.8 release also updates the desktop's bundle of KDE applications, including a new version of the Dolphin file manager with an updated display engine, says the project. There are also said to be enhanced versions of the Kate text editor and Gwenview image viewer.

The KDE Telepathy real-time communication and collaboration IM framework is now available in a beta version, and the Marble virtual globe adds features like elevation profile, satellite tracking, and integration of the Krunner search/launch tool.

The foundational KDE Platform, meanwhile, offers stability improvements and bug fixes, as well as new tools for building touch-friendly user interfaces, says the KDE community. In addition, the KDE Platform is said to integrate with other systems' password saving mechanisms, and it adds support for the aforementioned KDE Telepathy framework.


KDE 4.8 is available for free download, says the KDE community. More information may be found in this KDE 4.8 announcement and KDE 4.8 download page.

Eric Brown can be reached at [email protected].

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