After years of development and preparation, the KDE open source desktop community celebrated the much-anticipated version 4.0 release this month, but the word among the project's leaders is version 4.1 will only be a further six to nine months away.
According to many of the developers, the 4.0.0 release was never meant to be a final "KDE4" release, but rather a stepping stone to allow Linux distributors and end users to test the fundamental new technologies shipped with it.
Release 4.1, however, is touted as a more polished representation of what the KDE4 paradigm will offer desktop computing as a whole.
While KDE's "TechBase" wiki does not yet have any information about the release schedule or goals for 4.1, the release team is already in discussions.
Core developer Aaron J Seigo likes the idea of a July release of 4.1 as there is "a lot of 90% done stuff", including the Mac OS X and Windows ports, the Akonadi PIM service, and the Decibel real-time communications framework.
"Qt 4.4 is imminent and so would bring our release cycles a bit more into coordination," Seigo wrote to the release team in an e-mail.
"It communicates the right things to downstreams: [sic] it sets a nice pace for our developers, lets our users know with clear action that we're done with feature-based release schedules, etc."
A possible dilemma for the KDE release cycle is the interdependence between the nine-month release cycle of the Qt toolkit it relies on and the release cycles of the distributions, which tend to be six monthly.
Seigo also believes by going for a June-July release of 4.1 the developers can also use it as a learning experience to see how well it works.
Either way, a more improved KDE4 release will be available in 2008.