The KDE Project announced today the general availability of the KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment as a massive update featuring a brand-new application launcher and numerous other enhancements.
KDE Plasma 5.21 is here as the next-generation of the Plasma desktop environment for Linux-based distributions on both desktop and mobile. It’s a huge release that brings dozens of improvements, new features, new apps, and whatnot.
The biggest change in KDE Plasma 5.21 is a brand-new application launcher that finally replaces the old Kickoff menu used in the last years. The new app launcher features a double-pane interface to make navigation faster, a grid-style view of favorite apps, alphabetically ordered list of installed apps, better keyboard, mouse, and touch support, improved accessibility, support for more KRunner runners, and RTL (Right-to-Left) support.
Another awesome new feature of the KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment series is a brand-new global theme called Breeze Twilight, which features a Dark mode for the new Kickoff launcher and the taskbar, as well as a Light mode for apps. The theme also comes with more distinct colors for Plasma pop-ups, notifications and windows, smaller shadows for inactive windows, and colorful icons for sidebars in settings windows.
The third major change in KDE Plasma 5.21 is a new System Monitor app that comes as a drop-in replacement for KSysGuard utility with features like more powerful customization options, a simpler way for monitoring system resources, a revamped Overview page, a new Applications page to show you more details statistics and graphs about all running applications, as well as a more fancier and modern user interface.
Among the improvements implemented implemented in KDE Plasma 5.21, the System Settings gained a new page called Plasma Firewall for configuring your firewall’s settings, supporting both UFW and firewalld, the Accessibility, Desktop Session and SDDM pages have been rewritten for better accessibility, as well as an improved layout for the Media Player widget.
Last but not least, Plasma 5.21 brings numerous Wayland improvements in an attempt to provide the Linux community with first class support for the next-generation display system for GNU/Linux distributions. This release brings support for mixed-refresh-rate display setups, initial support for system with multiple GPUs, a much-improved virtual keyboard, improved support for graphical tablets, and support for GTK4 apps.
These are of course the biggest changes in the KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment, which brings many other small improvements and bug fixes to make your Plasma experience more enjoyable, stable, and secure on both desktop and mobile.
For more details, check out the video below, and keep an eye on the stable repositories of your favorite GNU/Linux distribution for the Plasma 5.21 update in the coming days! If you want to try or use KDE Plasma 5.21 right now, you can download the KDE neon User Edition distro.
Last updated 2 years ago