Plasma 5.22 includes many small tweaks that make the experience just a little bit better. The release focuses on usability, stability, and flexibility improvements.
The first one is the Adaptive Transparency for panels and their widgets. This feature will let you have your panel be transparent when you just have open windows floating around and have those panels turn opaque when you have a maximized window. Transparent panels do look pretty weird when you have a solid window occupying the whole screen. If you prefer you can elect to make panels completely transparent or completely opaque.
The new menu introduces in Plasma 5.21 is great, but it had a issue. It took ages for it to move to another application category when you hovered over it. And now, in Plasma 5.22 this annoying delay is now gone and the menu is a lot more responsive.
The audio applet now lets you select a profile for each of your audio peripherals right from the applet instead of having to dig into the settings.
Now you can also change the text size in the sticky note widgets.
In the task manager when you hover over an apps icon you currently get a thumbnail of the app. Previously you had an optional feature that you highlight the apps window when you were hovering over its icon. Now that feature has been changed and the highlight will only happen when you hover over the thumbnail itself.
In the notification area notifications about files will now show which app will be used when you click the Open button. That’s really useful.
Now finally when you’re broadcasting or sharing your screen “Do not disturb” mode will automatically enable itself.
In terms of applications, Plasma 5.21 introduces a new System Monitor. It’s now the default in Plasma 5.22 and replace KSysGuard which is a really good thing. The new app is a lot more user friendly and looks a lot nicer.
In the System Settings the first page you’ll see is a quick settings page that shows some of the frequently accessed settings. Namely switching from a light to a dark theme, changing the animation speed, changing the wallpaper or the single/double click behavior in the file manager. It’s a really nice touch and it’s way more useful than just having a few modules that you frequently access, just like in the previous version of KDE Plasma.
Plasma 5.22 Wayland Improvements
Activities are now supported on Wayland. In addition, exclusively on Wayland as well when you’re using the Global Menu applet you’ll see a “Search” item on the right site of the menu. It lets you search through all items in the apps menu. This is something you could do in the Unity desktop environment or on MacOS. It’s a really super useful feature especially in apps that have tons of menu items.
KWin also has received tons of improvements on Wayland. First, full screen windows should now have way better performance on non-NVidia GPUs. Second, Plasma 5.22 now supports variable refresh rates and free sync on Wayland. And third, you can now hot-plug GPUs and KWin and Plasma on Wayland will adapt to that automatically. And finally by default on multi-screen setups, applications windows will open on the screen where the mouse cursor is located.
You can refer to the official announcement page to learn more about the Plasma 5.22 update.