The official KDE 4.0 release event is going on at the moment. Among the hot topics at that event is the release schedule for KDE 4.1, which now targets July this year.
While the official release schedule and plan for KDE 4.1 is still marked as “Nothing has been decided yet” the first information from the KDE 4.0 release event about the next bigger KDE release already surfaced elsewhere: German IT news Golem.de reported about an e-mail by Sebastian Kügler to the KDE release list about the next release.
In this e-mail Sebastian summarized past discussions regarding the release schedule and mentioned that the majority of developers would like to have a fixed 6 month cycle. Everything which would be ready by freeze time would be included, the rest would go into the next bigger release. This idea was already raised at the last KDE conference but was dismissed at that time due to the difficult situation of KDE 4.0. But the fact is that KDE 3.x already had a more or less stable release cycle anyway, and that such a system has a lot of tempting advantages (but of course also disadvantages which have to be addressed carefully).
Now the discussion was brought up again by Sebastian and most developers had no strong objections against that idea. Of course such a cycle can only be accepted if the major circumstances like a sufficient Qt 4.4 release will be available and integrated, by it was already checked that that would be the case. As a result of that discussion the KDE release team created a KDE 4.1 schedule:
- January – KDE 4.0.1
- February – KDE 4.0.2
- March – KDE 4.0.3
- April – KDE 4.0.4
- May – KDE 4.0.5
- June – KDE 4.0.6
- July – KDE 4.1.0
- August – KDE 4.1.1
In the end the release schedule is not that surprising: if it is enforced reasonable and flexible enough it is a powerful tool regarding the cooperation with other developers and distributions while the negative effects on the development and the releases itself are not too bad. As a side note this release schedule is however not in total sync with GNOME but has the release a month earlier. This is mainly by chance since July seems to be the best option for some KDE strong distributions. Also, it was considered as not too bad if the major desktops would have some spare time in between their releases so that no one steals the show of the other one.
The question is now which big goals will be set for KDE 4.1. One of the main goals – which at the same time depends massively on Qt 4.4 – is an improved and API stable Plasma afaik. But the current KDE 4 is still missing some important components: KDE-PIM, Decibel and KDevelop are still not there yet. Most of these parts were targetting for KDE 4.1 anyway so it can be expected that they will make it in time.
That’s the burden with KDE, I guess: No sooner an amazing release was released, the next is already in sight.