The Many Features of the KDE Plasma 5.20 Desktop Environment

Plasma 5.20 Desktop


While many of us are enjoying the many new features and improvements of the KDE Plasma 5.19 desktop environment, the KDE Project is already working on the next major release, Plasma 5.20 desktop.

As usual, KDE developer Nate Graham is keeping us up to date with what’s going on in the Plasma world, and it looks like the KDE Plasma 5.20 desktop environment is already shaping up to be a great release with lots of new additions, as well as countless bug fixes and improvements.

The most prominent new features included so far in Plasma 5.20 include a new icon-only task manager as default Plasma layout that’s more modern and touch-friendly, middle-click paste support on Wayland, re-written System Settings Users page, as well as the ability to unplug screens on Wayland.

The Free Space notifier makes a comeback in Plasma 5.20 as a critical notification and supporting monitoring of the root file system. Moreover, it’s now possible to adjust the balance of individual elements of your speakers and perform more private searches using KRunner’s web shortcuts.

Plasma 5.20 will also make it easier to adjust the thickness of the panel, makes the system tray’s expanded view of hidden items more touch friendly with a new grid view, work better on 21:9 ultra wide screens, and allows users to more quickly tile a window to a corner via a two edge tiling shortcut like Meta+Right arrow and Meta+Up arrow.

Entering and exiting the Do Not Disturb mode is faster in Plasma 5.20 thanks to a middle-click action on the System Tray Notifications icon, you can finally view “Picture of The Day” wallpapers on the lock screen, and there’s now a user-configurable zoom setting for the Web Browser widget.

Plasma 5.20 should also perform better on low-end systems making desktop files and folders always visible, no longer asks users for the Wi-Fi password twice when entering it in the PlasmaNetworkmanager applet, no longer displays the Plasma panel on top of full-screen apps and views on Wayland, and lets users explicitly set the size of system tray icons.

Among other noteworthy changes, the activities database received backup and self-repair mechanisms to fix corrupt favorites and recent items, you can no longer view recent documents in KRunner search results if they’ve been accessed in private Activities, and there’s better support for Flatpak apps.

There’s a new Meta+click gesture for moving windows so it won’t conflict with Blender, Inkscape or Krita, but users can change it back to Alt+click if they don’t use these apps. The Dolphin file manager now correctly shows the amount of free space in the status bar when using the desktop:/ URL and better handles dragging of files.

The Battery and Brightness applet now shows you which apps are preventing sleep and screen locking and lets you take action against it, there’s more granular configuration of the touchpad pointer acceleration, and the animation when changing the screen brightness is now much smoother.

KRunner’s recent documents feature is now more consistent and relevant and its window is now displayed properly on Wayland when using a top panel. Also, the system tray items now respect Fitts’ Law and the Plasma audio applet and System Settings page now filter out unused audio devices by default.

Screen recording and screencasting will work on Wayland, but with a very limited number of apps, such as OBS Studio. Moreover, Klipper now supports the Wayland clipboard and work as expected under a Wayland session, and the last-used keyboard layout is now remembered on Wayland.

Smaller improvements are also present in Breeze’s style tabs to make them more consistent with the height of buttons and text fields, to menu’s titles and section headers, to Global Menu applet’s mouse hover behavior, to Discover’s “Still looking” label, and to the volume and brightness OSDs, which are now more compact and show the percentage.

Same goes for the layout of the Digital Clock widget’s calendar pop-up, which has been refined and streamlined, the Web Shortcuts window, which now has the same size when it’s opened from the System Settings KRunner page, and the shadows of pop-ups in GTK3 apps when using the Breeze GTK theme, which now match the ones in Qt-based apps.

While the Plasma 5.20 desktop environment will be available for public beta testing on September 17th, the final release is expected to hit the stable repositories of the most popular GNU/Linux distributions in mid-October. Plasma 5.20 will be supported until January 2021.

Last updated 4 months ago

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