First Look at KDE Plasma’s New Kickoff Applications Menu

New Kickoff Applications Menu

The upcoming KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment series will ship with numerous new features and improvements, including a brand new Kickoff applications menu. Here’s a first look at it!

Already previewed earlier this month by renowned KDE developer Nate Graham in his KDE roadmap for 2021, the brand new Kickoff applications menu is possible thanks to the awesome work contributed by developer Mikel Johnson, and it looks like it resolves two-thirds of the bugs present in the old Kickoff menu.

The new Kickoff menu is rewritten from the ground up and will be enabled by default for all new Plasma installations starting with the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.21 release. And, if you like MATE desktop’s applications menu, you’ll love Plasma’s brand-new applications menu.

I wanted to see the new Kickoff menu in action and share my experience with you now, because we will have to wait more than a month until KDE Plasma 5.21 arrives in a stable form ready to conquer our GNU/Linux desktops.

The first thing you’ll notice, besides the obvious double-pane interface, is the super fast navigation. You no longer have to click on categories to access applications. Simply hover the mouse cursor on the application categories on the left pane and all the available apps will be visible immediately on the right pane.

In addition, you’ll get a grid-style view of your favorite apps, which is also the first thing you will see when opening the new Kickoff menu from the taskbar. This makes it super easy to fire up your most used apps, that if you don’t want to pin them to the taskbar, and you can also pin your favorite folders and files.

The new Kickoff menu also features an “All Applications” view that lists all of your installed apps in alphabetical order to make it easier to find them, that if you don’t want to use the integrated search function.

Another thing I love about the new Kickoff applications menu, compared to the old Kickoff menu, is that the power and session actions (Sleep, Hibernate, Restart, Shutdown and Leave) items are now always visible and separated from the Applications and Places views, so you won’t be able to “accidentally” access them anymore.

If you’re looking for the “History” view, you will find it in the Places view, which also includes a “Frequently Used” view of your frequently used apps and files, as well as the “Computer” view with direct access to your default places, remote places, recent files, and a “search for” function in Documents, Images, Audio and Videos folders.

It’s also worth noting here that the new Kickoff applications menu features better keyboard, mouse, and touch support, improved accessibility, support for more KRunner runners, and RTL (Right-to-Left) support.

Again, the new Kickoff menu will be enabled by default in the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment, due for release in mid-February 2021, but if you don’t like it you can always switch back to the old Kickoff menu by installing “Legacy Kickoff” via the “Get new widgets” button in the “Add Widgets” panel.

Let me know what you think about Plasma’s new Kickoff applications menu in the comments section below!

Last updated 3 years ago

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