KDE Plasma 6 Desktop Released, Here’s What’s New

Packet with new features and novelties, the just-announced KDE Plasma 6 desktop environment ushers a new chapter in desktop computing.

The KDE development team has officially announced the final stable release of the new Plasma 6.0 desktop environment.

Arriving nearly a decade following the debut of its predecessor, Plasma 5, in June 2014, and after 27 interim versions, Plasma 6.0 is here as one of the major events in the open-source ecosystem for 2024.

Why does this hold such significance? The reason is straightforward: Plasma is one of the top two desktop environments, with a user base spanning millions globally.

Moreover, it serves as the foundation for numerous Linux distributions, shaping the desktop experience for their users. As a result, the Open Source community quite understandably awaited this release with keen anticipation.

Now that it has arrived, let’s waste no time and explore what new features it brings to the table.

Introducing KDE Plasma 6.0

Plasma 6.0 introduces many enhancements and new features, setting a new standard for what users can expect from a modern desktop experience.

Plasma 6.0 Desktop Environment

Leveraging Qt 6 and Frameworks 6 for a Unified Experience

One of the most critical underpinnings of KDE Plasma 6.0 is its reliance on Qt 6.6, the latest iteration of the cross-platform application framework. It brings numerous improvements over its predecessors, including enhanced graphics capabilities and better performance.

At the same time, the other crucial component, KDE Frameworks 6.0, plays a pivotal role in the new release, providing the essential software components, such as libraries, widgets, and icon sets, that enable the desktop’s unique features and functionalities.

Improvements in Frameworks 6.0 include optimizations for speed and efficiency, enabling KDE Plasma 6.0 to run more smoothly on a broader range of hardware, from high-end workstations to more modest computing devices.

Shift to Wayland

The release of Plasma 6 marks a significant milestone, primarily due to its default integration of the Wayland display server protocol at the expense of the traditional X11 system.

While X11 support remains available, this shift allows for a more direct communication path between applications and the display hardware, reducing latency and better resource utilization.

In other words, Plasma 6 users can expect smoother animations, quicker window management, an overall more responsive desktop experience, and enhanced security features.

Floating Panels

KDE Plasma 6.0 is not just about under-the-hood improvements; it also introduces several visible enhancements, as the first thing that immediately catches the eye is the floating panel.

In addition to it, Plasma 6.0 is undergoing a reorganization of its settings to streamline user interactions and improve accessibility. Now, setting the panel’s position has become much more intuitive, eliminating the need to drag it as was required previously.

Floating Panel

We’ll not fail to mention the new “Dodge Windows” feature, enabling panels to intelligently auto-hide whenever windows come into contact with them.

This enhancement aims to provide users with a more streamlined and clutter-free computing experience, automatically adjusting the visibility of panels to ensure that screen real estate is optimized without manual intervention.

Double-Click by Default

For many years, the very first action I took right after installing the Plasma desktop was to change the default settings for opening files and folders from single-click to double-click. I’m convinced many other users follow suit.

Considering this approach aligns with Windows’ default behavior, which is familiar to its users transitioning to Linux and naturally gravitating towards the Plasma desktop, the developers have ultimately opted for this change.

Thus, in Plasma 6.0, double-clicking to open files and directories becomes the default setting. In other words, one-click – select, double-click – open. Lastly, the touchpad’s tap-to-click is also enabled by default on Wayland.

Return of the Desktop Cube Effect

Plasma 6 Desktop Cube Effect
Plasma 6 Desktop Cube Effect

The iconic cube effect, a visual representation of multiple desktops, has made a triumphant return with Plasma 6.0 after a two-year hiatus due to major architectural enhancements in KWin, which initially necessitated the removal of the feature.

However, when considering its practicality, this feature offers little to no real-world applicability. On the other side, one thing is sure – it certainly looks impressive.

New Overview Effect

Plasma 6.0 introduces a new overview effect that seamlessly merges the Overview and Desktop Grid effects, offering a streamlined and more intuitive navigation experience. Notably, it significantly emphasizes enhancing touchpad gestures, promising users a markedly improved interaction with their devices.

Overview Effect

System Sounds

In Plasma 6.0, the System Settings have been updated to include a new page for choosing your preferred sound theme.

Option to select a system's sound theme.
Option to select a system’s sound theme.

Additionally, the interface for configuring notifications for apps within System Settings has been streamlined. The window for per-event configuration has been integrated into the main page, creating a more unified and seamless user experience.

New Default Task Switcher

The Plasma 5.x series default task switcher, known as “Breeze,” has been critiqued for its vertical scrolling issue, which becomes apparent even with relatively few open windows. In response, Plasma 6.0 has set a new direction by adopting the “Thumbnail Grid” task switcher as the default.

Plasma 6.0 Task Switcher
Plasma 6.0 Task Switcher

This switch is designed to improve usability, particularly for users who prefer navigating using a mix of app icons and thumbnails with text. Further streamlining its task management tools, the dev team removed several infrequently used task switchers.

More Relevant Accent Colors

Unfortunately, Plasma 6.0 doesn’t introduce a subtle yet impactful change highly anticipated by many to enhance the user interface’s intuitiveness and aesthetics – an implementation on an accent-color-tinted header area by default. It was postponed to the Plasma 6.1 release, scheduled for mid-June.

This approach is expected to ensure that the active window can be distinguished at a glance, thanks to the subtle infusion of color into the header area. But as a step in this direction, the user interface has made the accent color palette now more uniform.

Accent Colors
Accent Colors

Gear 24.02: The Latest in KDE Applications

Accompanying the release of KDE Plasma 6.0 is Gear 24.02, the latest collection of KDE applications and utilities ported over to the Qt 6 toolkit. Gear 24.02 introduces updates and new features across the board, from productivity apps to multimedia tools, enhancing the overall user experience on the KDE desktop.

Dolphin File Manager

Dolphin, the renowned file and folder explorer, has undergone a significant transformation, enhancing its design and functionality.

Key to this update is the improvements aimed at accessibility. Toolbar buttons and the display of disk space in the status bar are now accessible via keyboard shortcuts.

Furthermore, an innovative feature introduced in Dolphin is the ability to open a folder in a split view directly from the context menu, a functionality activated by right-clicking on a folder.

Dolphin File Manager
Dolphin File Manager


Plasma’s screenshot utility, Spectacle, also greatly enhanced its screen recording capabilities. Users will now notice a system tray icon that appears during recording sessions, providing a convenient way to monitor the duration of their recordings with a simple hover-over.

Moreover, it has expanded its versatility by allowing users to record the entire screen or specific application windows and any selected screen area.


Kate, the text editor and integrated development environment (IDE), has received significant enhancements to improve its efficiency and functionality. With the integration of a new JSON parser, RapidJSON, Kate’s Language Server Protocol (LSP) now delivers faster autocomplete suggestions and operates with reduced memory usage.

Kate IDE
Kate IDE

Additionally, the LSP support within Kate has been expanded to offer a more complete experience, including the ability to display dialogs in response to server requests, further streamlining the user’s workflow and interaction with the software.

Of course, many other apps that are part of KDE’s Gear collection have received improvements in the Gear 24.02 release coming with Plasma 6.0, including KТorrent, Kdenlive, KAddressBook, NeoChat, Tokodon, etc.

KDE Connect

KDE Connect, the popular tool allowing users to connect and share data between their devices, has introduced Bluetooth connectivity to its features.

This new addition provides an alternative for users when devices are not connected to the same Wi-Fi network or when a firewall impedes connection. Despite Bluetooth being potentially less reliable than the Wi-Fi backend, it offers a viable solution for overcoming connectivity challenges.

Moreover, KDE Connect has enhanced its device discoverability by supporting mDNS (Multicast DNS), improving the detection of devices within the same network, and minimizing issues related to network configurations blocking the service.

Other Plasma 6.0 Improvements

Apart from the ones listed above, Plasma 6.0 introduces a wide array of other improvements aimed at enhancing the user experience, with the most significant ones including:

  • Better Night Light: The Night Light section in Settings has been enhanced and now features a useful graphical display of when it’s active or inactive, including the transition times.
  • Initial HDR support: Plasma 6.0 on Wayland brings partial High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, enhancing visual experiences for users with compatible monitors and software.
  • Improved search functionalities: Plasma Search has introduced new features to enhance user experience, including customizable search result ordering and the ability to convert between timezones. On top of that, now it can trigger “HybridSleep” and allow searching in Codeberg and PyPi directly from KRunner.
  • Disabled scroll to switch desktops: The setting that allows scrolling on the desktop to switch between virtual desktops is now disabled by default.
  • Default application chooser: The interface for choosing default applications has been redesigned to incorporate a wider selection of apps for various file types and organize them into thematic groups for easier access.
  • Refresh Desktop option removed: The “Refresh Desktop” option many users have become accustomed to has been removed from the desktop context menu in Plasma 6.0.
  • Accessibility improvements: Support for color blindness correction filters has been introduced.
  • Ark: Added a new “Extract here and delete archive” option.
  • KClock: Allows it to automatically pause any active media sources whenever an alarm or timer set within the application rings. Then, resume them.
  • New default wallpaper: Following the announcement of a competition to select the default wallpaper for Plasma 6, the new release features the winning entry, “Scarlet Tree.”

For more details on what’s new in Plasma 6.0, visit the release announcement.

How to Get Plasma 6?

For those eager to explore the features of the new Plasma 6.0 desktop environment right away, the simplest route is to opt for Linux distros that are heavily focused on Plasma, such as KDE Neon or KaOS, where Plasma 6 is readily available.

Additionally, users using rolling release Linux distros, such as Arch, openSUSE Tumbleweed, OpenMandriva ROME, etc., can anticipate receiving Plasma 6 as an update in their repositories soon, within the next few days to weeks.

Users on other distributions following the point release model will need to wait for their respective new releases. It’s important to note that the upcoming Kubuntu 24.04 “Noble Numbat,” scheduled for April, will not include the new Plasma 6; this update will debut in the October 24.10 release.

On the other hand, Fedora KDE Spin’s users can look forward to the new Plasma 6 at the end of April, when the Fedora 40 will be released.

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.

Think You're an Ubuntu Expert? Let's Find Out!

Put your knowledge to the test in our lightning-fast Ubuntu quiz!
Ten questions to challenge yourself to see if you're a Linux legend or just a penguin in the making.

1 / 10

Ubuntu is an ancient African word that means:

2 / 10

Who is the Ubuntu's founder?

3 / 10

What year was the first official Ubuntu release?

4 / 10

What does the Ubuntu logo symbolize?

5 / 10

What package format does Ubuntu use for installing software?

6 / 10

When are Ubuntu's LTS versions released?

7 / 10

What is Unity?

8 / 10

What are Ubuntu versions named after?

9 / 10

What's Ubuntu Core?

10 / 10

Which Ubuntu version is Snap introduced?

The average score is 68%