KDE developers have announced which features they will remove in the upcoming Plasma 6 desktop environment. Here’s what they are!
The KDE development team is gearing up for an exciting milestone as they prepare to unveil the highly anticipated Plasma 6 desktop environment. As the successor to the widely acclaimed Plasma 5, the latest iteration promises to bring a host of new enhancements and optimizations to the KDE ecosystem.
However, with progress often comes change, and to refine the user experience and streamline performance, KDE developers have announced their decision to remove certain features from Plasma 6.
But first and foremost, there is nothing to be concerned about. Unlike GNOME’s approach to what is now known as the GNOME 3 Shell, which went through a metamorphosis in 2011 with an array of still-controversial decisions in terms of functionality and design, KDE’s approach to the new Plasma 6 desktop is far more measured and, above all, grounded.
Here is what is expected to be removed in KDE Plasma 6.
KHotkeys is a utility in the KDE desktop environment that allows users to configure and customize keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys while offering some much-loved users’ mouse gestures.
Unfortunately, many of these options don’t work as expected on Wayland, which will be the default session in Plasma 6. At the same time, KHotkeys is no longer maintained, as the last maintained version is in the current Plasma 5.27 release.
Moreover, the newer KGlobalAccel system provides global shortcuts functionality, so Plasma 6 will rely entirely on it.
In Plasma, windowed widgets are a feature that allows users to convert desktop widgets into movable, resizable, and independent windows. As the KDE’s devs say, this was a “Because we can!” feature.
However, user feedback revealed that it confused some users into thinking those widgets are small independent apps. This has led to them being used as replacements for native Plasma applications, which are far more powerful and purpose-built.
To end this confusion and direct users to use the dedicated applications, this feature will no longer be available in Plasma 6.
Force Font DPI & Adjustable Icon Sizes
In Plasma, users can adapt the user interface (UI) to a specific screen resolution in seven different ways. But, even though this is the desktop environment of unlimited customization possibilities, it’s already a bit much.
In this regard, Force Font DPI in “System Settings” -> “Appearance” -> “Fonts” on Wayland only, and the adjustable icon sizes for many icons in many KDE apps in “System Settings” -> “Appearance” -> “Icons” will be removed.
Little Used Task Switchers
The Alt+Tab task switcher is one of the most used features in any desktop environment (except perhaps tiling window managers). For better or worse, Plasma currently provides as many as eleven different ways in which you can perform this action.
However, some are unpopular, so re-implementing them in the upcoming Plasma 6 is pointless. In this regard, “Grid,” “Informative,” “Small Icons,” “Text Only,” and “Thumbnails” will no longer be available in Plasma 6.
Air Plasma Style & Per-Activity Power Settings
The KDE Air Plasma style, often called “Air,” is a classic visual theme for the KDE Plasma desktop environment. It has been a part of KDE since Plasma 4, and it continued to be used by some users, even in Plasma 5.
However, this style is outdated and does not enjoy any maintenance, so that it will be removed. However, the KDE developers specify that if someone misses it a lot, they are always welcome to take up its maintenance to keep it alive in the future.
Similar is the situation with Per-Activity power settings, which in practice are used by very few users, do not work as expected, and only further burden the Plasma desktop codebase. Because of all this, they will no longer be available in Plasma 6.
System Settings Icons View
This is probably the only one of all the features announced for removal that will be missed by users, especially those coming from non-Linux operating systems.
However, KDE developers have for years relied on the more popular Sidebar view, widely adopted by most users, which will remain the only one available in the upcoming Plasma 6 release.
Icons in Plasma Styles
The icons displayed in various portions of Plasma widgets (but not apps) in Plasma 5 come from one of two places: the active icon theme or the active Plasma style. Unfortunately, determining which icon comes from which of the two places is difficult, resulting in user confusion.
Here’s why, in Plasma 6, this confusion will be eliminated as the icons used in the widgets will always and only come from the system-wide icon theme.
Many Plasma users are used to refreshing their desktops by relying on dynamically applying different wallpapers (picture of the day) from Unsplash. Unfortunately, this option is no longer available owing to a change in Unsplash’s terms of service to fight automated data scrapers for AI training models.
As the release of KDE Plasma 6 draws near, the excitement among KDE enthusiasts is palpable. However, while users can meet these changes with mixed emotions, it is essential to recognize that this process is driven by a commitment to refining the user experience and optimizing performance.
Through careful deliberation and community input, KDE developers have identified specific features that no longer align with the vision for Plasma 6. These choices are not taken lightly but signify a dedication to delivering a more polished and streamlined desktop environment for users to enjoy.
So, as users, it is crucial to understand that the removal of certain features opens the door to new possibilities and enhancements. In this regard, Plasma 6 is poised to be a milestone release, and its feature removals are a strategic step towards building a leaner, more efficient desktop environment for the future.
You can read the full announcement from this link.