KDE Plasma 5.21 Desktop Enters Beta, Here’s How to Test It Right Now

KDE Plasma 5.21 beta

The KDE Project announced today the general availability for public testing of the beta version of the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment series.

Packed with numerous new features and improvements, the KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment promises a brand-new application launcher, a new dark theme for the Plasma desktop and a light theme for applications, a refreshed color scheme for all default KDE apps, as well as the highly-anticipated Plasma System Monitor app.

Of course, there will also be a lot of KWin and Wayland improvements that should reduce latency and smooth animations throughout the entire desktop environment, better compatibility with GTK applications, especially with apps written in GTK 4.

There’s also a new Plasma Firewall page in System Settings to give you full control over the UFW or firewalld firewalls, an improved layout for the Media Player applet, better support for timezones, support for unattended updates, various Sound applet improvements, and the ability to pin KRunner.

On top of that, KDE Plasma 5.21 brings new features for mobile devices, such as KDE Project’s recently announced PinePhone KDE Community Edition. These include specific widgets adapted for the Plasma Mobile shell and the QQC2 Breeze Style style that has been fully optimized for lower RAM and GPU usage.

The final release of the KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment is expected on February 16th, 2021, but you can get a test of the new features and enhancements right now by downloading the Unstable Edition of KDE Project’s KDE neon Ubuntu-based distribution.

However, please keep in mind that this is still a pre-release version, which means that you should not install and use on a production machine. Some bugs may still be present in the beta version, so wait for the final release next month before attempting to upgrade your installations.

Image credits: KDE Project

Last updated 3 years ago

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