Announcing KDE 3.4

Posted by dave on Mar 16, 2005 11:24 AM EST
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The KDE Project ships a new major release of their leading Open Source desktop environment.

March 16, 2005 (The Internet) - After more than a half year of development the KDE Project is happy to be able to announce a new major release of the award-winning K Desktop Environment. Among the many new features that have been incorporated, the improvements in accessibility are most remarkable.

One of the milestones in this new release will be the advanced KDE Text-to-speech framework. It integrates into KDE's PDF-viewer, editor, webbrowser and into the new speaker-tool KSayIt. It also allows to read out notifications from all KDE applications. Especially partially-sighted people and speech-impaired users will benefit, but it should also prove a fun desktop experience overall.

For people with low vision, several high contrast themes including a complete monochrome icon set have been added. Other accessibility applications have been improved. KMouseTool which can click the mouse for people with, for example, carpal tunnel syndrome or tendinitis; KMouth to allow the computer to speak for the speech impaired; and KMagnifier to magnify sections of screen for partially-sighted users. Standard accessibility features including "Sticky Keys", "Slow Keys" and "Bounce Keys" are also available and are now more easily accessed via keyboard gestures. All of these features combine to open the world of computing to a much wider audience and to a section of the population that is often overlooked. The KDE project will continue its close cooperation with the accessibility community to reach even more people in the future.

Another milestone will be the improvements of KDE's personal information management suite Kontact and of KDE's instant messenger Kopete. Kontact has improved usability including a new message composer and start screen, and its support for the free software groupware solution

Kolab has been updated to Kolab 2.0. This means that KDE has now a complete groupware solution including an open-source server interoperable with proprietary MS Windows Outlook clients. Other supported groupware servers include eGroupware, GroupWise, and SLOX. Kopete features an improved contact list showing contact photos, improved Kontact integration and supports AIM, Gadu-Gadu, GroupWise, ICQ, IRC, Jabber, Lotus Sametime, MSN, Yahoo, and the sending of SMS.

With KDE being based on an international community there are more than 49 translations available and even more to be expected for future service packs of KDE 3.4. This is why KDE serves best the needs of today's world wide Linux community.

KDE 3.4 is available for free under Open Source licenses and boasts eighteen packages of optional applications including accessibility, development, games, PIM, network, utilities, administration, edutainment, multimedia, graphics and more.

Reactions from the accessibility community

"With each new release, KDE continues to enhance its support for people with disabilities", Janina Sajka, chair of the

Accessibility Workgroup of the Free Standards Group, said. "This is making KDE more and more attractive to more persons with disabilities. And, it's also helping KDE meet various social inclusion objectives worldwide, such as the Sec. 508 requirements of the U.S. Government."

Lars Stetten from the Accessibility User Group Linaccess said about the release: "The new accessibility features in KDE 3.4 are an important step for the future, to enable disabled people to get to know the KDE desktop and to join its community."

Highlights at a glance

  • Text-to-speech system with support built into Konqueror, Kate, KPDF and the standalone application KSayIt
  • Support for text to speech synthesis is integrated with the desktop
  • Completely redesigned, more flexible trash system
  • Kicker with improved look and feel
  • KPDF now enables you to select, copy & paste text and images from PDFs, along with many other improvements

  • Kontact supports now various groupware servers, including eGroupware, GroupWise, Kolab, and SLOX
  • Kopete supports Novell Groupwise and Lotus Sametime and gets integrated into Kontact
  • DBUS/HAL support allows to keep dynamic device icons in media:/ and on the desktop in sync with the state of all devices
  • KHTML has improved standard support and now close to full support for CSS 2.1 and the CSS 3 Selectors module
  • Better synchronization between 2 PCs
  • A new high contrast style and a complete monochrome icon set
  • An icon effect to paint all icons in two chosen colors, converting third party application icons into high contrast monochrome icons
  • Akregator allows you to read news from your favourite RSS-enabled websites in one application
  • Juk has now an album cover management via Google Image Search

  • KMail now stores passwords securely with KWallet
  • SVG files can now be used as wallpapers
  • KHTML plug-ins are now configurable, so the user can selectively disable ones that are not used. This does not include Netscape-style plug-ins. Netscape plug-in in CPU usage can be manually lowered, and plug-ins are more stable.
  • more than 6,500 bugs have been fixed
  • more than 1,700 wishes have been fullfilled
  • more than 80,000 contributions with several million lines of code and documentation added or changed

For a more detailed list of improvements since the KDE 3.3 release, please refer to the KDE 3.4 Feature Plan.

Getting KDE 3.4

Full information on how to download and install KDE 3.4 is available on our official website at Being free and open source software, it is available for download at no cost. If you use a major Linux distribution then precompiled packages may be available from your distributions website or from The source code can also be downloaded from there. Both ArkLinux and Kubuntu have targeted a release including KDE 3.4 right after the 3.4 release. If you prefer to build KDE from source you should consider using

Konstruct, a tool that automatically downloads, configures and builds KDE 3.4 for you.

Many more KDE applications are freely available from and different look and feel improvents can be downloaded from

Supporting KDE

KDE is an open source project that exists and grows only because of the help of many volunteers that donate their time and effort. KDE is always looking for new volunteers and contributions, whether its help with coding, bug fixing or reporting, writing documentation, translations, promotion, money, etc. All contributions are gratefully appreciated and eagerly accepted. Please read through the Supporting KDE page for further information.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!

About KDE

KDE is an independent project of hundreds of developers, translators, artists and other professionals worldwide collaborating over the Internet to create and freely distribute a sophisticated, customizable and stable desktop and office environment employing a flexible, component-based, network-transparent architecture and offering an outstanding development platform. KDE provides a stable, mature desktop, a full, component-based office suite (KOffice), a large set of networking and administration tools and utilities, and an efficient, intuitive development environment featuring the excellent IDE KDevelop. KDE is working proof that the Open Source "Bazaar-style" software development model can yield first-rate technologies on par with and superior to even the most complex commercial software.

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