KDE 4 Beta 3, codename Cicker, was released some days ago. This release features a new panel and of course various bug fixes.
The Beta 3 release is the last release which introduced larger new features to the still in development KDE 4.0. With this release the new Plasma based panel was finally integrated and a new Menu is also almost ready.
Other notable improvements happened in the KDE EDU field: Parley, the vocabulary trainer and Marble, the desktop globe are shaping up more and more to become impressive educational programs. Together with the already introduced Step and the existing but massively improved programs like Kalzium, KStars and kmplot KDE EDU might become a real blockbuster itself.
It is interesting how KDE EDU shapes up: with its impressive collection of really helpful programs it will draw quite a lot of attention to KDE 4.0. On the other hand it already played an important role in designing the KDE 4.0 APIs and smoothing out the rough edges during the development since the KDE EDU apps (and the KDE Games, btw.) are naturally early adopters of the new KDE technologies. They are probably also the most demanding apps, btw.
Besides the improvements and new technologies the last abandoned bits of the KDE 3 era have also been removed: say good bye to kicker. It has been removed.
However, the current release is still in Beta state – and for this KDE release this means you should definitely not try to run it in a productive environment. Especially the workspace needs still quite some polishing and bug fixing. As an example, I wasn’t able to run a proper KDE 4.0 Beta 3 session on a spare (but also quite old) Kubuntu machine I have although there are packages provided. Therefore this article doesn’t contain any fancy screenshots
But as already said, this is Beta. And while there is no fixed definition for Alpha or Beta – a ktorrent Beta is usually ready to release while Flickr changed the entire interface from Flash to Ajax in their switch from Beta to Gamma – you should keep in mind that there is still a lot of bugfixing going on. After all, there is still quite some time until Christmas.
A last word about the name of the new version, Cicker:
It sounds like “kicker”, so it could be a tribute to the now dead kicker. But in German it also sounds like the male form of “Zicke” which means she-goat but is also used as the colloquial term for bitch or drama queen. And that can be a tribute to almost everything: from the recent trolls in the dot to the difficulties some people have to get the KDE 4 development version up and running.
I’m looking forward to the next release – there is still a polished and fully flexed menu missing in this release.