That’s right. You can read all the gory details at the announcement. This new version promises a host of improvements over previous versions.
The fact is, we’ll see. The level of outcry against KDE4 was unprecedented; the ‘nullification’ of KDE in Red Hat 8 was nothing compared to this. Even Linus Torvalds, a long-time known KDE user, is using GNOME now. Perhaps the “change shock” was too much for too many people (there’s also a response from KDE hacker Aaron Seigo and a more balanced evaluation by Bruce Byfield).
When KDE 4.0 was released, I switched back to KDE 3.5 within hours. The fact that the printing system wasn’t quite there yet, together with the absence of critical applications such as Kontact, made clear the fact that the release was not exactly usable for me. KDE 4.1 was something entirely different; here I had a completely usable desktop, even though it wasn’t able to complete with the engineering feat that KDE 3.5 is. But it convinced me enough to prompt me to switch (I hereby state that rumours of KWin 3D desktop effects running at excellent speeds on my old hardware had nothing to do with this decision 😉 ).
Now, I’m pulling sources from the Slackware source tree and I plan to compile them as soon as I can (read: if my wife doesn’t get too upset). I’m curious; it surely looks promising. As said before… we’ll see.