KDE Plasma is one of the two leaders in the Linux world when we talk about desktop environments. Because of this, each new version is eagerly anticipated by the Open Source community.
The just released KDE Plasma 5.27 will excite KDE fans and Linux enthusiasts, demonstrating the community’s continued commitment to delivering a top-notch user experience and bringing some exciting new features. So, let’s see what it has for us without further ado.
What’s New in KDE Plasma 5.27?
Plasma 5.27 is an LTS (Long Term Support) release and, simultaneously, the last version in the Plasma 5 series. It will be supported at least until the release of Plasma 6.0, for which there is no clear roadmap yet, but it is expected to happen in the coming 2024.
Revamped Welcome App
The first thing that immediately catches the eye is the revamped Welcome app. The eight easy-to-follow steps guide you through connecting to the Internet, learning about Plasma’s capabilities, how to tweak settings, installing new software, and more.
The new Plasma 5.27 window tiling capability can be considered a game changer. A revolutionary feature that, for the first time, is integrated into this desktop environment and significantly enhances the already almost limitless customization options available to Plasma users.
It will allow you to create custom tile layouts and resize adjacent tiled windows simultaneously.
You can enable it by navigating to “System Settings” -> “Workspace Behavior” -> “Desktop Effects“ and then dragging a window while holding down the “Shift” key to tile it. In addition, hold down the “Windows” key and press “T” to create custom tile layouts.
Discover is the Plasma application that allows you to install apps via convenient GUI. In Plasma 5.27, the app has a brand-new homepage design, with dynamically updated categories showing popular apps.
On top of that, Discover now also makes it easier to find things by offering to search in all categories if it can’t find a match for the search word in the current category.
But wait, there’s more. If you’re a lucky Valve’s Steam Deck gaming console owner, the app allows you to run system updates from within the desktop.
The many components of the Plasma desktop, such as widgets, the system tray area, and the panel, have always been the center of attention because they are the main ones with which the user interacts. And in Plasma 5.27, they have received their due attention.
For example, the Hebrew calendar is now available in the calendar view of the Digital Clock widget. Furthermore, the Media Player widget is now touch-sensitive, allowing you to change the volume and playback position by swiping up and down or left and right.
Moreover, the Bluetooth widget now displays the battery status of linked devices when you hover over it, which is a convenient feature. Finally, the NVIDIA owner will be delighted to learn that now Plasma can detect and monitor GPU power usage.
Other KDE Plasma 5.27 Improvements
KRunner, Plasma’s seek-and-run utility, can display the time in other locations. So how can you use it? First, launch KRunner (Alt+Space), then enter “time,” a space, and the name of a country, city, or even the time zone code.
On the System Settings side, the Highlight Changed Settings button has been moved to the hamburger menu for a cleaner look. At the same time, the System Settings Audio Volume page now has all global volume settings, and the Audio Volume widget no longer has its own settings page.
Finally, we will end our review with something that has long been on the radar of Plasma’s devs & fans: Wayland support. And the good news is that Wayland’s support in Plasma 5.27 is better than ever, with many bug fixes and reliability improvements. For example, the desktop environment is now better about automatically choosing appropriate scale factors for your screens, so you don’t have to.
As always, you can refer to the official announcement for more information about all changes in the new version.
How to Get KDE Plasma 5.27
The easiest way to test it is with KDE Neon. It is a Linux distribution developed by KDE, based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.
In addition, as always, users of rolling-release Linux distributions, such as Arch Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Void Linux, Manjaro, etc., are expected to be among the first to receive the upgrade to KDE Plasma 5.27 in their distro’s repositories in the coming weeks.