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Improved performance, new applications and new bug fixes highlight the changes in Version 3.2 of the KDE Project’s KDE desktop software for Linux, which KDE released Tuesday.

The release, available for free download at KDE’s Web site, has been the default user interface for several Linux distributions, including SuSE Linux, Knoppix, Lindows and Mandrake Linux.

George Staikos, a KDE core developer, told eWEEK via e-mail that a goal of the developers was to integrate the Safari code into KHTML, as well as making general performance improvements including startup times.

“Groupware was also a big focus,” Staikos said. “As you can see from the feature list for KDE 3.2, we have a very wide range of changes and improvements. Given the size of KDE, it’s hard to have a universal focus for any given release. It’s more often the case that developers just continue along developing the components that they feel are most important or most in need of work.”

The distribution adds several new applications: JuK, a media player with support for the Ogg Vorbis standard and MP3; Kopete, an instant messaging application that can connect to the most popular networks; Kontact, which ties together KDE’s office applications into a single personal information manager (PIM); and KGpg, used to secure files and messages with cryptography. In addition, KDE developers added applications such as a means of storing passwords.

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