The KDE Project announced today the release and general availability of the KDE Plasma 5.23 desktop environment, a major update that brings new features and improvements, and also commemorates 25 years of KDE.
On October 14th, 2021, the KDE Project turns 25 years, and what better way to celebrate than with a new Plasma desktop release. KDE Plasma 5.23 is out now and brings over 120 changes to make the beloved desktop environment more stable, reliable, and enjoyable than ever.
“Plasma 25th Anniversary Edition is a leap forward in the quest for a more performant and usable desktop. We have improved the speed and stability of Plasma, while including changes that make it easier to use both on desktop and touch-enabled devices,” said KDE.
Wayland is becoming more and more mature and popular, used by default by many acclaimed GNU/Linux distributions like Fedora Linux or Ubuntu, so the KDE Plasma 5.23 release brings numerous improvements to its Plasma Wayland session.
These include the ability to drag and drop and middle-click paste stuff between native Wayland and XWayland apps, the ability to adjust the Broadcast RGB settings of the Intel graphics driver, more intuitive touchpad gestures, as well as support for remembering virtual desktops on a per-activity basis.
There’s also a new screen rotation animation, faster user switching, animated feedback icons when launching apps, a new notification in the system tray area to tell you when something is recording your screen and to allow you to cancel it, as well as the ability to change the screen resolution when running Plasma in a virtual machine.
Furthermore, the text copied from within the Plasma desktop will now appears in the global clipboard, re-opening an app with a maximized window state will now open it on the screen with the mouse cursor on it, and Plasma now retains multi-screen layouts across X11 and Wayland sessions. Of course, many other pesky bugs and crashes were squashed to make Plasma Wayland more usable as a daily driver.
In addition to the Plasma Wayland improvements, KDE Plasma 5.23 makes the Plasma Discover graphical package manager faster to load and more transparent by showing you a source’s name in the app install button, and adds a pin button to the Kickoff application menu so you can pin the menu on the screen, along with the ability to configure the Power/Session action button.
Plasma is known as one of the best looking Linux desktop environments out there, so the 25th Anniversary Edition introduces new options to make Plasma even more pleasant to use. These include an updated Breeze theme with redesigned buttons, checkboxes, menu items, radio buttons, scrollbars, sliders, and spinboxes, as well as support for overriding a color scheme’s accent color in System Setting’ Colors page.
But wait, there’s more! Plasma 5.23 also improves System Settings to make it easier for users to find various options with a much-improved search functionality, change the screen refresh rates, set the status of their Bluetooth adapter on login, revert unwanted display settings, prevent geolocation using third-party services in the Night Color page, as well as to sync your screen arrangements in the Login Screen page.
Widgets and Applets enrich your Plasma desktop experience, so this release adds more details about the currently connected network and lets you disable IPv6 in Plasma NetworkManager, shows load averages on System Monitor and sensor widgets, makes it possible for the Audio Volume applet to distinguish between apps that play or record audio, and lets you delete selected items in the Clipboard applet’s popup.
Other noteworthy changes include three power profiles, including “power-saver,” “balanced” and “performance,” improves to the tablet mode to make Plasma easier to use on touch screens, a more “menu-like” appearance for the Global Menu applet, better support for Flatpak and Snap apps, improved support for multi-monitor setups, and better support for Bluetooth drawing tablets.
The KDE Plasma 5.23 desktop environment is out today and it will be available shortly in the software repositories of various popular rolling-release distributions like KDE neon, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and Arch Linux. In combination with the recent KDE Frameworks 5.87 and KDE Gear 21.08.2 software suite releases, Plasma is probably one of the best, modern, and complex desktop environments you can use on your Linux distro.
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