KDE Plasma 6.1 Desktop Environment Released, Here’s What’s New

KDE Plasma 6.1 desktop environment is here as a game-changer for all NVIDIA users, bringing Explicit Sync and Triple Buffering support.

Nearly five months after the Plasma 6 mega-release, following its shift to Qt 6 frameworks, the desktop environment has leaped forward with the release of the much-anticipated version 6.1.

It brings an array of new features designed to enhance performance, productivity, customization, and accessibility. Without further ado, here’s everything significant that this edition offers.

KDE Plasma 6.1 Highlights

The major highlight of this release is that it marks the start of the end of the long-standing issues faced by all NVIDIA GPU users, especially those betting on Wayland. Here’s what it’s all about.

Smooth Wayland Experience

You’ve likely seen the phrase “Explicit Sync” mentioned often in recent articles and publications. But what does it mean? Simply, the software (like your operating system and its display server, Wayland) can better direct when and how the graphics processor should render images and send them to the screen.

This careful coordination helps prevent issues like screen tearing, where parts of your display show different frames of a video or game at once. Now, it’s all part of Plasma 6.1! So, welcome to the smooth gaming experience under Wayland and an end to the piles of artifacts on your desktop.

KDE Plasma 6.1 Desktop Environment

Of course, for this to work, the video driver must support Explicit Sync technology. Luckily, the latest NVIDIA beta driver includes this feature and will be available to everyone very soon.

But the good news doesn’t stop here. The brand-new Plasma 6.1 desktop environment also comes with Triple Buffering support (a technique also used in Ubuntu’s GNOME implementation), ensuring smoother animations and lightning-fast screen rendering. This marks major breakthroughs for stability and visual performance in Plasma.

So, even if those were the only new features in this release, they alone would satisfy and delight many users. Of course, there are many more pleasant surprises.

Enhanced Productivity

Another standout feature in Plasma 6.1 is accessing remote desktops directly from the System Settings app. This enhancement is particularly useful for system administrators and those needing to connect to a Plasma-enabled computer that isn’t immediately accessible.

Users can set up and start using a remote desktop via clients like KRDC, experiencing the full Plasma desktop environment from anywhere with just a few clicks.

Customization at Your Fingertips

Plasma 6.1 desktop customization

Moreover, Plasma 6.1 makes customization more intuitive and visually engaging. The updated Edit Mode is now activated with a slick animation that zooms out the desktop, providing a clear and comprehensive view for users to tweak their settings easily. This visual overhaul not only makes the process smoother but also more enjoyable.

Persistent Apps and Enhanced Accessibility

For those who appreciate continuity, Plasma 6.1 introduces a feature that “remembers” open applications between sessions, similar to the previous behavior on X11. This means if you log off or shut down with multiple applications open, they will automatically reopen upon starting your desktop, saving time and effort.

Plasma 6.1 persistent apps

Accessibility improvements include the new “Shake Cursor” feature, which enlarges the cursor when shaken, helping users locate it on busy or large screens. The “Edge Barrier” also assists those with multi-monitor setups by creating a sticky cursor area at the edges of screens, facilitating easier interaction.

Plasma 6.1 also brings aesthetic updates, such as syncing the LED colors on keyboards with the desktop’s accent color, adding a stylish touch to hardware customization. Note, however, that this feature is currently limited to supported keyboards, with more compatibility expected in future updates.

Streamlining User Experience

But there is even more! Plasma 6.1 also simplifies the user interface during shutdown. Now, users will see fewer options, reducing confusion and streamlining the power-down process.

Shutdown options

Moreover, enhancements to screen locking allow users to configure it akin to a traditional screensaver, optionally eliminating the need for a password upon reentry.

Lastly, the new wallpaper “Reef” could not be shipped with this release due to unforeseen circumstances. Users eager for this addition can download it by clicking here.

For more details on what’s new in Plasma 6.1, visit the release announcement or check out the full changelog.

For those eager to explore the features of the new Plasma 6.1 desktop environment right away, the simplest route is to opt for Linux distros that are heavily focused on Plasma, such as KDE Neon, where Plasma 6.1 is readily available.

Other users, such as those on rolling release distros like Arch and openSUSE Tumbleweed, can expect it as an update to their repositories in the coming weeks.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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