The KDE team has announced the release of KDE 4.9 Beta1. This release brings renewed Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the KDE team's focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing new and old functionality.
I am a new KDE users, as Ubuntu Unity doesn't work for me so I am excited about the future of KDE. I found KDE to be one of the most advanced DEs as it has different UIs for different category of devices - tablets, netbooks and desktops. So, while supports traditional desktop is it already future ready with Plasma Active.
As you can see the UI of Dolphin has improved. The 'settings' have become more obvious as it has moved to the tool bar as 'Control', earlier a new user may not know how to change settings. In the side panel it also shows places, recently accessed items with time stamp and you can also search by content type.
It brings better integration of Activities for files, windows and other resources. Users can now more easily associate files and windows with an Activity, and enjoy a more properly organized workspace. Folderview can now show files related to an Activity, making it easier to organize files into meaningful contexts.
I found KDE 4.9 to be more responsive and faster. I can't comment much on it as I have not used it for a decent period and this is only a beta release.
Problems With Dolphin
Only gripe I have with KDE's Dolphin is it's failure to mount external devices like cameras or Android Phones, Tablets. KDE team should make it easy for users to access their devices without any problem. I am forced to us Nautilus in KDE so that I can easily access my Nikon D7000 camera. I have filed bug report but have not seen much progress. Check out the screenshots below while Nautilus mounts/shows my Nikon camera, Dolphin has no clue about it. KDE developers, please get it fixed. Make KDE more useful for average users like me.
Test This Beta: Install KDE 4.9 Beta1 In Ubuntu
This beta is intended for KDE users to further improve the DE. So, if you are a KDE user you can safely test it. You can easily install KDE 4.9 in Ubuntu/Kubuntu. First add the project neon repository:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:neon/ppa
Then upgrade apts list of packages
sudo apt-get update
Install the minimal set of packages required to run Neon:
sudo apt-get install project-neon-base
Now, log out and from the login screen select "Project Neon". To revert back to your original stable KDE setup, select "KDE Plasma Workspace" at the login screen.
openSUSE, Fedora, Arch and Gentoo users can check this page to get KDE 4.9 Beta1 for their distro.