The new KDE Plasma 5.23 release offers users a more beautiful Plasma desktop and immersive experience for its 25th Anniversary.
Let’s start with some clarification: KDE Plasma 5.23 desktop environment has just been released, but if you were expecting a revolution in how you use your desktop, that is not the release for you.
This release is mainly focused on small but very useful features and incremental improvements. And to be honest, it has done a brilliant job with this task. So let’s go through the updates.
KDE Plasma 5.23 Highlights
One of the big innovations in this release is the Accent colors. That is possibly the biggest update of the whole release and it’s a very nice addition.
There are some desktops that had this already like Zorin OS or elementary OS, and now Plasma has it too. It means that you can just hit “System Settings”, go to the “Colors” section and then just change the accent from blue to whatever you like.
The next big thing in KDE Plasma 5.23 is the Breeze theme redesign. Not for the Plasma desktop and its widgets, but for the applications themselves.
The new theme has been long in the making and was released in small increments, notably with the unified title bars and tollbars or the small rounded corners in the menus. And now the rest of the interface gets changed as well.
At first glance probably most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference, but there really is. Everything has a more polished edge to it. Now the Breeze theme is less flat with more gradients and shadows. The highlights and depth are more pronounced and the elements feel more tactile.
The changes also affect the Breeze dark theme, which received a lot more contrast and depth as well.
In addition, the scrollbars have been made a bit bigger to make them easier to interact with. There is also a new spinning gear when you are waiting for something to happen.
In KDE Plasma 5.23, the right click menu now uses a nicer highlight for elements on hover, not just a solid color, and looks really pretty good.
The Kickoff menu also received a lot of improvements. On top of the code base receiving a major overhaul to fix many bugs it also performs better and opens faster.
The menu gets a few new features. First, you can view apps in a grid or a list in the favorites and all categories of the menu. Moreover you can also pin the menu to the screen if you want to have it always up.
As for the network widget, Plasma now shows more details about the currently-connected network, including the speed. In addition, the audio volume applets now will differentiate between apps that are playing audio and apps that are recording audio.
In terms of the system settings there also have been a lot of smaller improvements. The most important change is in the search feature of the settings. Previously you could only search for the name of the categories and some elements like the tab names or the entries in the desktop effects lists. KDE Plasma 5.23 adds a lot of keywords to make that search more useful.
For more information about all changes in the new version, you can refer to the official announcement.
How to Get KDE Plasma 5.23
The easiest way to try it out is via KDE Neon Linux distro. Just navigate to the download page and get the User Edition ISO file. You can try on a virtual machine or install it as a fresh system.
Yeah but it still looks very 90s and behave very desktop-y! Not like Gnome which is getting its very own personality and fits both desktop and touch needs IMO. But KDE is great for customization for sure and unfortunately its toolkit relies on a mixed license (QT) which prevent from selling any software: even if it’s not the Linux philosophy, it forbids any company to push more advanced software to this platform.