Vendors working to parlay the server room successes of Linux into a spot on the mainstream corporate desktop (see review of SuSE Linux Office Desktop) have a powerful ally in KDE Project developers, whove been hard at work extending the performance, polish and functionality of their namesake K Desktop Environment.
In the latest release—KDE 3.1, which became available late last month—the product has seen significant advances since its 3.0 version, which eWeek Labs reviewed last spring, and represents Linuxs best hope for becoming a viable desktop contender.
In eWeek Labs tests, we were particularly pleased with the improvements to KDEs Konqueror Web browser and file manager application, which now includes support for tabbed browsing. Konqueror also stands to improve significantly in future releases, now that Apple Computer Inc. has selected Konquerors KHTML rendering engine as the foundation for its Safari Web browser.
KDE 3.1 is available for free download in source code or compiled binary form at www.kde.org. A new application called Konstruct makes the process of compiling KDE much simpler than its been (see Pings & Packets), but the best way to get KDE will still be through a Linux distributor.
Given sufficient time and know-how, anyone can tweak KDE into the desktop he or she desires, but using a distributor-packaged and configured KDE release will deliver the most satisfying results for the average user.