KDE 4.0 Beta 1 will be released soon. This means that the feature freeze hits KDE 4.0, and the development team will focus on bug fixing.
Among other news the last Commit Digest noticed that KDE 4.0 Beta 1 was tagged. I expect the official release of KDE 4.0 Beta 1 very soon.
And this means feature freeze – no more features and of course no more applications will be added. However, since this is KDE 4.0 the rules are not as strict as someone might expect from a Beta release:
it is still
fine to change the API to
make porting from KDE3 applications easier fix major (!) API glitches that cannot be fixed in a binary compatible way later remove parts from the public API that is intended to be added at a later point in the KDE 4.1 release cycle as public API again, when it was matured and fixed.
Basically the rules give the freedom to still change things which are really necessary but ask you to not change if it requires major efforts by others or if it is unnecessary.
A good example in this regard is Ark, KDE’s tool for compressed files and archives: it was reworked lately, but the rework started to late, and the old version in SVN was broken. Therefore, the maintainer of the new version deleted the old version and mentioned that he will continue development and will incorporate Ark again in KDE 4.1:
This version was basically very bug ridden and not maintainable.
I have a rewrite almost ready in a branch, which will go back here when ready. Unfortunately, this will only happen for KDE 4.1, as the feature freeze is today and my code is not ready for it just yet.
however, this would have meant that KDE 4.0 would ship without a handler for compressed archives which would be odd. Therefore the release team mentioned that they could be flexible:
We’re not intransigent. I think we can let you bring it back, as long as you do it soon.
But in general KDE 4.0 Beta 1 will mean that most really new things have to happen outside of the next KDE release. An example for that are animations in the new Oxygen style: the mentioned rewrite is going on and will be ready in time, but without animations. These were to resource intensive and were delayed till KDE 4.1 because there is simply not enough time yet.
Also some new plasmoids which are written in C++ might not make it into the main KDE tree, but these could also be released as an KDE Extragear package.
Speaking about Plasmoids: I’m really wondering where the kicker replacement is. At the moment KDE 4 SVN still has kicker activated, and I really hope it will die pretty soon! If kicker stays for any time longer it has to be supported over the entire KDE 4 life cycle which would be pretty bad, I think. And I certainly don’t want to continue to use kicker, not after Aaron Seigo said so much bad things bout it 😉
But to replace it there are quite some components missing: a systray, the taskbar (a first try is available in this case) and an application launcher. Also the menu must be ready.
However, the Plasma people haven’t disappointed so far, quite the opposite is the case, so I’m confident we will see something nice quite soon.
As a last note, speaking about a new bar and design in general: this blog post features some very impressive mockups worth a look. However, I’m not sure which state or aim these mockups reflect. Also, some of the mockups have been removed because they created too high expectations, so see them as an example of what KDE artists can dream of and can imagine, not of something you will see in KDE 4.0!