KDE 4.7: Long-Term Vision, Ongoing Myopia
Three years ago, KDE was the innovative desktop, and GNOME the conservative one. Today, KDE is the conservative desktop, doing incremental releases, while GNOME is divided between GNOME 3 and Unity, each as innovative and as controversial as the other.
Next week's release of KDE 4.7 does nothing to change the current relationships, being -- at least from an end-user's perspective -- full of small changes while failing to address some of KDE's ongoing usability issues.
From a developer's perspective, KDE 4.7 is full of news. In particular, KWin, the KDE window manager now supports OpenGL-ES 2.0, an API for embedded graphics hardware. Although this change is supposed to immediately improve the performance for effects on all KDE installations, its importance is largely long-term, as KDE attempts to expand into mobile devices.