The KDE Project announced today the release and general availability of KDE Plasma 5.24 as the next LTS (Long-Term Support) series of this powerful and modern desktop environment for GNU/Linux distributions.
The biggest new features in KDE Plasma 5.24 include support for fingerprint readers, which you’ll use to unlock the screen, authenticate in apps that require administration password, or authenticate with
sudo on the command-line, as well as a brand-new Overview effect that lets you control your virtual workspaces and also find search results from KRunner.
The Overview effect is not enabled by default so you’ll have to activate it from the Workspace Behavior page in System Settings. Then, you can enable it using the Super+W keyboard shortcut. Two layout modes are available, Natural (default) and Closest, and you can also enable or disable blur background from its settings.
Talking about effects, the “Cover Switch” and “Flip Switch” effects are back for the task switcher (Alt+Tab), QtQuick-based effects saw a major performance boost for NVIDIA GPU users, and the “Scale” effect replaces the “Fade” effect as default when opening and closing windows.
Down to the system tray area, most of the widgets received new features and improvements, including the Audio Volume, Battery & Brightness, Media Player, and Weather widgets. Also, the panel and task manager received various changes with more customization options and new options to make your life easier.
Other noteworthy UI changes include the opening of new windows in the center of the screen by default, support for windows to remember the last display they were on in multi-monitor setups, the ability to put your computer to sleep/hibernate directly from the lock screen, support for notifications when sending or receiving files via Bluetooth, as well as support for folders to respect the accent color or the color scheme of your system.
Fans of the Plasma Wayland session will be happy to see support for colors greater than 8-bit, support for the “Minimize All Windows” widget, “DRM leasing” support to better support VR headsets, a new drawing tablet page in System Settings, support for the Spectacle screenshot utility to access to the “Active Window” mode, X11-like “primary monitor” concept, improved stylus support, support for minimized or maximized windows to remember the virtual desktop they were on when restoring them, as well as support for cycling through more than two activities at a time using the Super+Tab hotkey.
Other interesting changes in KDE Plasma 5.24 include support for Global Themes to specify and change Latte Dock layouts, a more modern design for the “Plasma Pass” password manager, full keyboard navigation for the Clipboard and Network system tray widgets, KWrite as default text editor instead of Kate, much-improved Breeze theme and color scheme, as well as improved KRunner and Task Manager components.
But wait, that’s not all, as KDE Plasma 5.24 also improves System Settings to let you choose your own custom accent colors in the Colors page, add the “Highlight Changed Settings” option in Night Color, support more batteries in the battery charge limit feature, revamp the Formats page, respect the “Show Changed Settings” feature and support more than 8 spare layouts in the Keyboard page, and show the scale factor used for each screen in the Display & Monitor page.
If you use Flatpak apps, you should know that the Plasma Discover graphical package manager in KDE Plasma 5.24 makes it easier to manage Flatpak repositories on your GNU/Linux distribution, as well as to open and install locally downloaded Flatpak apps, also adding their repository to your system.
Apart from all these neat enhancements that will probably make you more productive in the long run, KDE Plasma 5.24 also ships with under-the-hood improvements that, for example, will shut down the desktop environment faster than ever before. You should probably also notice a much snappier response time.
Best of all, since it’s a long-term supported (LTS) series, KDE Plasma 5.24 will be supported for the next 18 months with point releases (a.k.a. maintenance updates) that bring more bug fixes to keep the desktop environment as stable and reliable as possible.
You’ll get KDE Plasma 5.24 from your distribution’s stable repositories in the coming days or weeks, depending on how fast your distro’s maintainers package the new version. If you want to use it right now, your best bet is to get a rolling-release distribution like KDE neon, Arch Linux, or openSUSE Tumbleweed.
Last updated 8 months ago