The current Kubuntu-KDE-4 LiveCD ships a Konqueror version which uses WebKit as the main HTML engine for Konqueror.
The KDE 4 LiveCD page mentions the new feature:
This CD includes a preview of the Konqueror Webkit engine.
And indeed, if you use the LiveCD to run Konqueror you’ll pretty soon see the difference in the terminal output:
First of all this shows the power of KDE’s kpart technology: you can exchange vital technologies if you want as long as they are provided as a kpart. Second, it also shows the possibilities: while this version had serious problems during my short tests (I was not able to input anything in Google, for example) the WebKit engine is capable of displaying web pages inside of Konqueror. Of course more polishing is needed, but it works.
It is left open if that is just a technical preview or a statement for future development. I haven’t found any further announcement or notice. But in case a statement for future development this step is very brave: WebKit does not seem to be ready yet to be used as the main HTML engine in KDE. It looks like KDE 4.1 would be a better release to ship a KDE version where KHTML is fully replaced by WebKit, also since QtWebKit would be available at that point. Additionally it could also be better to first ship a stand alone browser first and check how the community adopts that move.
However, this step can also be understood as a signal towards the KDE developers: while the situation around KHTML and WebKit is still not cleared Kubuntu now takes a clear position close to WebKit. Since Kubuntu is indeed one of the main KDE distributions out there this is a strong signal – but also might fire up the flame wars again.