Today, KDE has released a first preview the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC), 4.4 Beta1 The first beta version of KDE SC 4.4 provides a preview and base for helping to stabilize the next version of the KDE Desktop, Applications and Development Platform. The list of changes this time around is especially long. Important changes can be observed all over the place: The Nepomuk Semantic Search framework has made leaps: A new storage backend makes it a lot faster, new user interfaces to interact with the Nepomuk database are first delivered with KDE 4.4.0 and a timeline view of your files makes finding files used in the past easier. The Plasma Desktop has been further polished. Many user interface elements have received attention by developers and designers. The new widget explorer provides a richer experience for managing desktop widgets. Plasma widgets can now be shared with other users over the network and the handling of storage devices in the desktop shell has been streamlined. Also, in 4.4 Plasma's little sibling, the Netbook shell debuts as a technology preview.
New applications on the horizon range from Blogilo, a rich-client blogging tool to Cantor and Rocs, two scientific applications for advanced math and graph theory needs. Many other applications, such as the Gwenview image viewer and the Dolpin file manager have been further improved.
The KDE Development Platform adds the new KAuth authorization framework for easy and secure privilege escalation, printing of odd and even pages, scanner support for the Windows platform and the first pieces of integration of the popular webkit rendering engine. These are only some of the changes one can expect from the new KDE Software Compilation 4.4, there is also a longer list of the changes: http://techbase.kde.org/Schedules/KDE4/4.4_Release_Goals