KOffice 2.1 Ready for Testing, Karbon Ready for Use

Nov 25, 2009

About a half year after big technological changes, the KOffice project has released version 2.1 of its office suite, even if it's not quite ready for everyday use.

One aspect of KOffice 2.1 that is ready for prime time is the Karbon vector graphics program. According to Nuno Pinheiro, designer of the Oxygen KDE theme: "I have tested Karbon and it is definitely usable for real work even if [it] lacks a few advanced SVG features."

The remainder of the program package reflects more on its current development state and isn't so much targeted at end users as developers, testers and avid software experimenters. The KOffice 2.x branch, based on new technologies including Qt 4, still doesn't provide all the features of KOffice 1.6 and not all programs are included in the suite. Versions 2.2 and 2.3 should change all that.

The Karbon vector graphics program is currently the most mature of the KOffice applications. Shown is work on the KDE Oxygen icon.

Developers took on some improvement work for 2.1, such as rework of the ODF open document format. One item was fixing list formatting. KOffice, next to Open Office, is the second largest implementation of the ODF standard, which is also used in Maemo to show documents on mobile devices. Through work on Nokia's N900 devices, advances in importing MS Word and Powerpoint files were also made.

The KWord application received a new table design treatment, which unfortunately isn't quite complete. A new function allows users to follow through with changes to documents by color-coding additions, deletions and reformatting. The KPresenter application now provides an unlimited workspace and numbered sheets. The KPlato project management tool also made some marked improvements. Other components got bugfixes and minor enhancements.

KOffice 2.1 source code and binary downloads are available. Project developers urge everyone to report bugs, especially those related to crashes and ODF support. The project is also eager to hear about non-UNIX platform bugs, since developers themselves use Linux and don't as a rule keep track of bugs on other platforms.

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  • Karbon vs Inkscape

    So which does everyone this is the best?

    I've never used Karbon, but I quite like inkscape, sometimes its a little fiddly, when it comes to absolute positioning and sizing, it assures me, i actually want 9.012 not 9. lol.

    And a couple of the dialog windows could probably do with a spring cleaning, as some of them i find a little un-userfriendly.

    But what does everybody else think?

    Does Inkscape have a competitor, or does Karbon control the vector sector? Or perhaps I missed a project out, which will blow both projects away?
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