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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

KOffice 1.5 Has Been Released

KDE Ships New Release of Major Enhancements to Free Integrated Office Suite
OpenDocument as Default File Format, Accessibility, New Project Planning Tool, Professional Color Support and Adjustment Layers in Krita and Final Kexi 1.0 Version Highlight KOffice Release for Linux and Other UNIXes

April 11, 2006 (The INTERNET). The KDE Project today announced the final release of KOffice 1.5.

KOffice is an integrated office suite for KDE which utilizes free and open standards for its document formats, component communication and component embedding.

This release includes:

a frame-based, full-featured word processor (KWord);
a spreadsheet application (KSpread);
a presentation application (KPresenter);
a flowchart application (Kivio);
an integrated database application (Kexi);
a pixel based image editing and paint application (Krita);
a vector-drawing application (Karbon14).
a technology preview of a new project management application (KPlato).

Additionally, KOffice includes robust embeddable objects:
report generator (Kugar)
Note: Kugar is deprecated in this release will be replaced with another solution. It's only included since there are users that are already using it.
full-featured charting engine (KChart)
mathematical formula handling (KFormula)

as well as a built-in thesaurus (KThesaurus) and support for many different file formats.
KOffice 1.5 is a subproject within KDE, a powerful and easy-to-use Internet-enabled desktop for Linux and other UNIXes. Together, KDE and KOffice constitute the only Free Software project to provide a complete desktop and productivity environment for Linux/UNIX.
KOffice and all its components (including KDE) are available for free under Open Source licenses from the KDE http and ftp mirrors.

The principal improvements over KOffice 1.4 are:


OASIS OpenDocument as the Default File Format
KOffice now uses OASIS OpenDocument as the default file format for the productivity applications KWord, KSpread, and KPresenter. The supporting applications KChart and KFormula also support OpenDocument, although not yet fully.

The spread of the OpenDocument file format is widely regarded as one of the most important developments in the whole IT industry right now. It will give users world-wide the possibility to control their own documents and also ensure that all documents can be read at any time in the future.

KOffice was the first office suite that announced support for OpenDocument and now the second to announce it as the default file format after This makes KOffice a member of a very select group and will lead to new deployment opportunities. Great care has been taken to ensure interoperability with other office software that also use OpenDocument.

Enhanced Accessibility for Users with Disabilities
The decision of the Commonwealth of Massachussetts to base its future document format on open standards started a great debate with many different people and organization taking part. The start of it was Microsoft's assertion that programs using the OpenDocument file format could not be used by handicapped people.

The direct outcome of this debate was that, KOffice and vendors of other office software started to work hard on rectifying this situation. This version of KOffice has support for enhanced accessibility through the means of mouseless operation and text-to-speech functionality.

It is therefore our hope that KOffice can in future be used even by handicapped users, and we are very interested in feedback on this.

Start of a Unified Scripting Approach
This version of KOffice features a start of a unified scripting solution called Kross. Kross provides cross-language support for scripting (thus its name) and at present supports Python and Ruby.

Kross is easy to include into programs previously lacking scripting abilities, and is included in this version as a technology preview. So far, only Krita and Kexi are improved by means of the Kross engine. We would also like to point out that the API might change in the future and expect Kross to be fully integrated into KOffice version 2.0.

First Major Release of Kexi (1.0)
KOffice 1.5 contains the much expected final 1.0 version of Kexi - data management application that is the KOffice counterpart to MS Access or FileMaker. It is designed from the ground up as a standard KDE database application.

Using Kexi, a new database project can be set up in less than one minute as a single efficient file, without a need for administering servers. When needed, MySQL server can be used for storage or existing project can be imported from MySQL server of MS Access file. The final version focuses on the data exchangeability and server support.

Technology Preview of a New Project Management and Planning Application: KPlato
KOffice 1.5 is the first official release to include KPlato. KPlato is a project management application that allows users to control project schedules and resource use. It is included in KOffice 1.5 as a technology preview and full functionality is expected for version 2.0.

With this release, KPlato already offers various charts (gantt, pert), scheduling capabilities, calendars, resources, tasks and subtasks, detecting critical paths and resources as well as generating a work breakdown structure. KPlato can also be embedded into other KOffice applications.

The KPlato team is also involved in the OPMEF project (Open Project Management Exchange Format) which aims at creating a standard file format for project management applications. People from other projects such as TaskJuggler and various individuals are also involved. You are welcome to join, too.

For a list of features supported by KPlato, see the changelog.

Common (All Applications):

a new common startup dialog with better usability than the old one from KOffice 1.4 and before.
a set of common modifiers (shift, meta, ctrl) for scaling, dragging and similar.
accessibility improvements include enhanced keyboard access (mouseless operation) and Text-to-Speech capabilities. See the handbooks for further details.

KWord (Word Processor):
OpenDocument is now the default file format.
new internals that will remove most of the problems with tables from KOffice 1.4.

KSpread (Spreadsheet):
OpenDocument is now the default file format
support for non-contiguous selections
a new faster and better formula engine
a much improved Microsoft Excel import filter.

KPresenter (Presentation Tool):
OpenDocument is now the default file format
New PowerPoint import filter
Export slides as images
automatic guide lines
many, many bugfixes.

Kivio (Flow-charting application):
Automatic guidelines
New dockers, shared with Krita and Karbon (now called palettes)
New object list that can be used to mark objects on the page
New stencils for ER diagrams

Kexi (Database application):
Data-aware forms, more widget types and embedded images
Import data from MS Access projects (packaged separately)
Much improved GUI for database connectivity (MySQL)
Much improved Project Import Wizard
Scripting using Kross in Python and Ruby. (beta). Kross is a cross-language component that makes it easy to add extensive scripting capabilities to KDE applications.
Simple printouts

Krita (Pixel based graphics editor):
8 and 16 bit grayscale, CMYK and RGB colormodels, 16 and 32 bit float RGB colormodels, watercolor colormodel, 16 bit L*a*b colormodel, 32 bit float LMS colormodel. Many colormodels fully support colormanagement using lcms.
Group, object and adjustment layers and a new layerbox with thumbnails and tooltips
Scripting using Kross in Python and Ruby.
Creating and saving of brushes and patterns
Show image in center of window
Show a grid
OpenGL mode that speeds up certain operations a lot.
New filters, e.g. shadow, round corners, wavelet noise reduction, bumpmap, tiles and sobel filter.
Color adjustment dialog works with most colormodels

Karbon (Vector based graphics editor):
OASIS file format support (incomplete)
new color selectors
improved selection handling
improved stability and rendering
improved SVG compatibility
Better toolbox

KChart (Graph and chart drawing tool):
OpenDocument is now the default file format (incomplete)
new chart type: combined bars and lines
support for first row or column as labels

A more complete list of changes is available at the KOffice web site.

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