KDE 3.5.5, a maintenance and bugfix release of the popular desktop environment, is now available for download and features several enhancements since its last update in August, 2006. The new release includes an update of Kopete 0.12.3, with support for Adium themes, and improved support Yahoo! and Jabber IM protocols.
The KDE project has also included support for sudo in kdesu as well as speed improvements for KHTML, the rendering engine of KDE's Web browser, Konqueror. For a complete list of what's new in version 3.5.5, see the KDE Changelog.
According to Sebastian KÃ¼gler, a developer with the KDE Project, "1,222 changes have gone into the release between 3.5.4 and 3.5.5 and 333 bugs have been marked as closed." KÃ¼gler says more than 100 people worked on the the code during this release cycle and they are most proud of its improved stability and numerous bugfixes in KHTML. "The KDE browser component is being used by Apple and Nokia as well, and in fact, it shows the significance of KDE technology in the wider software industry."
KDE ships the desktop and 15 packages including games, multimedia, and Web development tools. It is also supports 65 languages, many of which saw tremendous improvement with the 3.5.5 release. "During this release cycle, some teams have done a tremendous job in translating the KDE software," says KÃ¼gler.
"The Farsi team, for example, has translated 60% of the User Interfaces during the last months. The Chinese translation has increased by 20% and is now at 93%. That means that most of the user-visible parts of the user interface is localised already. Other highlights in this translation frenzy are the Khmer language, the Slovak one, and the Low Saxon (which is a dialect used in some parts of Germany)."
Although most Linux distributions will not include the new version immediately, the KDE Project has provided a list of distributors that will ship 3.5.5 with their next releases. By that time, however, KÃ¼gler says the KDE developer team will be hard at work on KDE 4. "[It] will bring major improvements to the rendering of widgets through the Qt4 library (double-buffering and antialiasing everywhere)."
KÃ¼gler also says that KDE 4 will boast improvements in multimedia, hardware integration, and more. "It will make multimedia integration in applications a breeze through the Multimedia API Phonon, likewise hardware integration through Solid. The whole desktop experience will be tackled by Plasma, which replaces the desktop and panel components and will enable new ways of application interaction. The Oxygen icons which will be integral part of the KDE4 user experience have been the major effort of the KDE artists team during the last months."