The KDE Community has announced the availability of KDE 3.5.10, a maintenance release of KDE, the free desktop for GNU Linux and other Unix flavors.
The KDE desktop is the system of choice for a broad array of Linux users. And although the KDE community released KDE 4.1 at the end of July, KDE e.V., the nonprofit organization that represents the KDE Project, maintains the KDE 3.5 series for its user base of large organizations that do not migrate to the next major release as quickly as others.
The release of KDE 3.5.10 on Aug. 26 follows the release of KDE 3.5.9 in February. KDE 3.5.10 includes improvements in the KDE Kicker, which is the KDE application starter panel, and KPDF, the desktop’s PDF viewer. The panel improvements include improved visibility on transparent backgrounds, themed arrow buttons in applets that were missing them, and layout and anti-aliasing fixes in various applets.
KDE e.V. officials said KDE 3.5.10 ships with a basic desktop and 15 other packages, including a PIM (personal information management) package and packages for administration, network, “edutainment,” utilities, multimedia, games, art work and Web development. KDE’s tools and applications are available in 65 languages.
KDE officials said users should expect to see the KDE 3.5.10 enhancements in the next release of their Linux products, as most of the Linux distributions and Unix operating systems do not immediately incorporate new KDE releases, but will integrate KDE 3.5.10 packages in their next releases.
KDE officials also announced that the FSFE (Free Software Foundation Europe) has welcomed the adoption of the Fiduciary License Agreement by the KDE project. The FLA is a copyright assignment that allows free software projects to assign their copyrights to a single organization or person.
Adriaan de Groot, vice president of KDE e.V., said KDE e.V. has endorsed the use of a particular FLA as the preferred way to assign copyright to the association. “We recognize that assignment is an option that individuals may wish to exercise; it is in no way pushed upon KDE contributors,” de Groot said. “There are also other avenues of copyright assignment available besides the FLA, but we believe this is the easiest way to get it done, with little fuss.”
Georg Greve, president of Free Software Foundation Europe, said:
“We see the adoption of the FLA by KDE as a positive and important milestone in the maturity of the free software community. The FLA was designed to help projects increase the legal maintainability of their software to ensure long-term protection and reliability. KDE is among the most important Free Software initiatives and it is playing a central role in bringing freedom to the desktop.“
KDE’s adoption of the FLA is the result of cooperation between KDE e.V. and FSFE’s Freedom Task Force over the last 18 months.
The Other JOLIE
“The FLA is a versatile document designed to work across different countries with different perceptions of copyright and authorship,” said Shane Coughlan, FSFE’s Freedom Task Force coordinator. “As a truly international project, KDE provides a great example of how the FLA can provide legal coherency in the mid-to-long term.”
Meanwhile, at the KDE Akademy free software desktop summit, which ran Aug. 9 to 15 in Belgium, Fabrizio Montesi, founder of ItalianaSoftware, demonstrated JOLIE, an open-source language for service-oriented programming. Montesi created JOLIE, which stands for Java Orchestration Language Interpreter Engine, as a research project on service-oriented computing.
At Akademy, Montesi showed how JOLIE brings new ways of interaction through the network to KDE. One of his examples showed the system’s media controller organizing control of the KDE multimedia application-known as Amarok-through Web interfaces, handheld devices and other applications. JOLIE handles the synchronizing of all those different interfaces.
Montesi said another use case would be Vision, a service that distributes presentations over the network. Vision enables the user to show a presentation on different computers or devices and follow what is being browsed and annotated.
In a blog post, Montesi said: “It looks like the whole KDE community (users and developers) is a perfect match to start ‘porting service-oriented computing to the masses.’ There is an incredible need for integration, communication, sharing and service accessibility.”
KDE e.V. officials said JOLIE is being integrated into Plasma, the KDE desktop shell, and will be available in the next KDE 4 series release. Montesi announced the availability of JOLIE in KDE 4.2, slated for January 2009. KDE officials noted that an alleged goal of Montesi is to displace actress Angelina Jolie from her first position in Google’s search results when entering “Jolie.”
Meanwhile, the Amarok team announced the first beta version of Amarok 2, code-named Nerrivik. The highlights of the new beta version are the scripting interface, the AFT (Amarok File Tracking), new artwork and many bug fixes. The scripting interface has matured and enables script to delve more deeply into QtScript. QtScript is a scripting engine that is part of the Qt tool kit. KDE is based on Qt; Qt is a cross-platform application framework for desktop and embedded development produced by Trolltech. The Amarok File Tracking system helps users keep track of their play counts, ratings and other file-related information that Amarok keeps in its database.
Also at Akademy, Qt developers demonstrated improvements in the Web browser engine in Qt and the canvas used by the KDE Plasma desktop shell that will be delivered in Qt 4.5, which is expected to be released by the end of 2008 or early in 2009. The improvements to QtWebKit and QGraphicsView include enhanced support for video, animations and transitions, as well as new graphical effects and optimizations to speed up painting and animations, KDE officials said.