I’m primarily a GNOME user, but I was interested and followed along with the development of KDE 4.0. It’s time to start testing again now the KDE 4.1 Beta 1 has been released.

KDE 4.1 is the first major feature-update to the KDE desktop environment since 4.0. The Plasma desktop shell has been greatly improved and can now be easily configured. The KWin window manager supports more fancy features, including wobbly windows. More KDE applications, including the KDE PIM apps, have been ported to KDE 4.

KDE 4.1 Beta 1

The KDE 4.1 packages for Ubuntu are not ready yet. Until they are, you can run it in a virtual machine. The KDE4Daily virtual machine image can keep itself up to date with the very latest KDE every day. You can download the VM on BitTorrent. The download size is 700 MB.

[update] You can now download a VirtualBox hard drive image directly from the KDE4Daily site.

Extract the download (be warned: it extracts to a 4 GB file) and you’ll have a hard disk image that you can run using QEMU emulator. I prefer VirtualBox, but it’s possible to convert the file to a compatible format. Note that you’ll need a lot of disk space (~45 GB) for the conversion because in the intermediate stages the disk image will be completely uncompressed. You’ll need to install QEMU to do the conversion:
sudo apt-get install qemu

Use QEMU to convert the image to a BIN file (this could take a minute or two):
qemu-img convert kde4daily_4_1-final-qcow.img kde4daily_4_1-final.bin

And convert that file to VirtualBox’s VDI hard disk format using one of VirtualBox’s tools (this will take several minutes):
VBoxManage convertdd kde4daily_4_1-final.bin kde4daily_4_1-final.vdi

Compact the VDI to a more reasonable size (you need to give the full path to the VDI):
VBoxManage modifyvdi ~/VirtualMachines/kde4daily_4_1-final.vdi compact

My final VDI file was 6.3 GB. Don’t forget to delete all of the kde4daily files except the VDI to free up your disk space again!

Now you can create a new virtual machine and add the VDI file as a hard drive. To update your VM to the latest KDE, select the KDE4DailyUpdater session on the login screen.

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