While Microsoft beats the drum loudly for Vista, the K Desktop Environment open-source community has more quietly been improving its popular desktop interface.
The upcoming version of KDE 3.5 will include many small, but significant, improvements. In addition, the latest edition of the KDE-based office suite, KOffice 1.4.1, has already improved its interoperability with other office programs.
First in KDE's new feature set is Storage Media Notification. With this, when you place any new media, such as a CD, DVD or USB memory stick, on a KDE-enabled Linux or Unix system, it will present you with a dialog asking what you want to do with the content.
This kind of functionality is already present in Windows XP and in some Linux distributions like Mandriva.
KDE's Kicker, the desktop's application-launcher menu bar, is also getting numerous improvements.
Tool-tips, which were introduced for buttons in KDE 3.4, will now be enabled for the virtual desktop changer (aka mini-pager) and taskbar buttons. With this, users will have more information about the various displays and icons at their fingertips.
The desktop changer has also been improved so that you can see what applications are running on each desktop. For those with particularly sharp eyes and mouse fingers, you can even drag and drop applications from one virtual desktop to another.
You can also add your favorite applets to the Kicker. Taken all-in-all, customizing the Kicker to your exact needs should be easier than ever before.
Of course, KDE offers more than just a GUI. It also brings with it a rich assortment of applications that run on KDE.
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