KDE Plasma 5.21 – Top Features and Release Date

3 min

The upcoming KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment is under development. And the feature updates and other changes are getting visible, slowly. Here are the top upcoming KDE Plasma 5.21 features.

KDE Plasma 5.21 is released on 16 Feb 2021. You can read our release coverage, download details here.

The KDE Plasma team currently is busy working on the bug fix releases for the last major KDE Plasma 5.20 which was an outstanding release with many new features. And it seems the next KDE Plasma 5.21 also going to be another important release.

KDE Plasma 5.21 release date

KDE Plasma 5.21 releases on February 16, 2021.

Before that, the KDE Plasma 5.21 Beta releases between January 14, 2020 and January 21, 2020.

Let’s take a look at the new features and enhancements of KDE Plasma 5.21. I have compiled the below list from various sources and remember, it is still under development. So some may not get through the final release – well, that too depends on various regression tests.

KDE Plasma 5.21 – New Features and Enhancements

  • Plasma 5.21 officially uses Systemd at startup when available. This enhancement comes with various underlying benefits. For general users, they feel the startup time is much faster in KDE Plasma 5.21. Under the hood, this change avoids process race conditions during startup, better session clean up – both eliminates possible system hangs. Also brings better resource management between OS processes using control groups (cgroups).
  • Systemd startup will be turned on by default when available.
  • The system settings shortcut page now shows which shortcuts you have changed since opening up the settings dialog – when clicked on “Highlight changed settings feature”.
  • VPN-related notifications and network authentication dialogs now use clearer and more consistent terminology
  • It is possible to choose one Accent color for the current color scheme in the Plasma desktop.
Accent Color - Plasma 5.21
Accent Color – Plasma 5.21
  • KRunner now allows you to pin a command (probably something which you use frequently) – so that you can be faster in your workflow. This is a super handy feature.
Sticky Commands KRunner - Plasma 5.21
Sticky Commands KRunner – Plasma 5.21
  • KDE Plasma 5.21 shows the frequently used system settings option under the context menu of the settings itself. This allows you to quickly go back to your favorite settings.
  • The media controller in the notification now has shuffle and loop controls directly for your media player.
Shuffle and Loop controls - Plasma 5.21
Shuffle and Loop controls – Plasma 5.21
  • Plasma 5.21 allows you to choose the first day of the week – Sunday, Monday, Friday, Saturday, or region defaults. This is very useful for people using different timezones.
Change First day of week - Plasma 5.21
Change First day of week – Plasma 5.21
  • The main window manager and compositor of KDE – Kwin sees a major uplift. The compositor now provides an option for you to choose between more ‘smooth animation’ or a ‘lower latency‘ experience. This major work also brings the mixed-refresh-rate display setups on Wayland. If you have a multimonitor setup with a variable refresh rate then you get better performance while running Plasma under Wayland.
  • The default Kickoff menu is completely changed. The UI now consists of two panels. The left panel contains the transition menu items and the right panel shows the sub-menu items from the left panel. Also, the power options are visible at the bottom and not hidden under the “Leave” option as it is in Plasma 5.20. Here is how it looks.
New Kickoff menu in Plasma 5.21
New Kickoff menu in Plasma 5.21
  • Brand new wallpaper land in KDE Plasma 5.21 – named “Milky Way”. It’s a KDE version of the Milky Way galaxy. A “Kool” wallpaper indeed. Here’s how it looks.
Plasma 5.21 Milky Way Wallpaper
Plasma 5.21 Milky Way Wallpaper
  • A Native fingerprint manager lands in KDE Plasma 5.21 as well. If your device contains a fingerprint scanner and if the current kernel supports it, then you can assign, register your fingerprints using this native dialog.
KDE Plasma 5.21 - Fingerprint Manager
KDE Plasma 5.21 – Fingerprint Manager (image credit: KDE)
  • The Audio volume applet includes a visualizer and it is dynamic. For example, the mic control shows the recording volume with a visualizer.
Audio Applet in Plasma 5.21
Audio Applet in Plasma 5.21

These are the features that are known at the moment for KDE Plasma 5.21. I will keep this post updated as more features are getting visible.

Image credits: invent.kde.org


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