One of the distinctive features of Debian is its conservative approach to including software in its repositories. Unlike other distributions, Debian does not rush to include the latest software versions, instead preferring to thoroughly test and evaluate each new release before adding it to its repos. This approach has several benefits, including enhanced stability, reliability, and security.
On the other hand, however, this has its drawbacks. For example, if you use the distro as a desktop system, the versions of the applications and the desktop environments are not the most up-to-date. For example, the current stable version of Debian 11 relies on GNOME 3.38 and KDE Plasma 5.20.
Given that these versions are far from the most up-to-date, it is expected that as a new stable release of the distribution approaches, one of the main topics to be how up-to-date the included software will be.
In this regard, there is good news for all Plasma users: Debian 12 (Bookworm) will feature the most recent version of the desktop environment, KDE Plasma 5.27.
Debian’s Devs Moved KDE Plasma 5.27 to the Testing Branch
New Debian releases’ development goes through several stages, such as Before the Freeze, Transition and Toolchain Freeze, Soft Freeze, Hard Freeze, and Full Freeze. Starting February 12, 2023, the upcoming “Bookworm” 12 release is in its Soft Freeze state. This means that only minor, targeted fixes are considered for inclusion.
However, since Plasma 5.26.90, which is the beta version of KDE Plasma 5.27, was accepted for inclusion during Bookworm’s Transition and Toolchain Freeze time window in January, predictably these days came the news that plasma-desktop 5.27 has been moved to Debian’s testing branch – the current development state of the upcoming Debian stable release.
In other words, we can confidently say that the upcoming Debian 12 (Bookworm) release will include the most recent KDE Plasma 5.27 desktop. It comes with all the new features, such as window tiling capabilities, a refined App Store, and some GUI enhancements.
In addition to the Plasma 5.27 desktop, the current Debian 12 testing branch also includes KDE Frameworks 5.103 and KDE Gear 22.12.3 – a collection of software maintained by the KDE community. In the final release, Gear is expected to be bumped to its upcoming v23.04.
Plasma 5.27 is an LTS (Long Term Support) version so it will get bugfix-only releases from upstream for an extended period. At the same time, it is the last one in the Plasma 5 series and will be supported at least until Plasma 6.0 release, for which there is no clear roadmap yet, but it is expected to happen in the coming 2024.
More information about including KDE Plasma 5.27 in Debian 12 (Bookworm) can be found here. The final stable distro’s release is expected around mid-year.