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KDE gets an update with improvements to file formats, accessibility features

Apr 19, 20062 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsLinux

* KDE gets new project management and scheduling application

The latest K Desktop Environment (KDE) was released recently, with several improvements and changes in the areas of file formats, support for users with disabilities, and the introduction of a new project management and scheduling application, among other upgrades.

One of the major changes is the use of the OpenDocument file format as the default for all Koffice suite applications – KWord, KPresenter, KSpread and KChart (word processing, presentation, spreadsheet, and graphics creation apps, respectively). Support for users with disabilities include “mouseless” operation of KDE applications and windows, and a text-to-speech function.

Both the OpenDocument and accessibility features were partly the result of feedback coming out of the controversy of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ decision to move to OpenDocument formats. Part of the criticism, by disability advocates and Microsoft, was that accessibility features in OpenDocument were limited, according to KDE developers.

KDE 1.5 also includes two new applications that take aim at some widely-used Microsoft Office components. One is Kexi, a database management application for desktops that is intended to rival Microssoft Access and Filemaker. KPlato is a project management tool for managing project timetables, resources and staff – and takes aim at Microsoft Project.

While the KDE desktop is considered by some to be the Pepsi to GNOME’s Coca-Cola, there are KDE diehards out there. Debates can still be found on mailing lists as to which desktop environment has the most apps, the least bugs and that best … and intangible … look-and-feel quality.

Sick of reading about it and ready to give it a spin? Get the KDE 1.5 source code here.