KDE Plasma 5.26: Top New Features to Expect

5 min


List of cool features of KDE Plasma 5.26 which is arriving for your favourite desktop.

KDE Plasma 5.26 is the 28th version of the KDE Plasma desktop, followed by the prior plasma 5.25, released in June.

KDE Plasma 5.26 is about improving the desktop experience, a huge set of bug fixes and some very nice, much-needed changes. The majority of the changes in this release revolve around desktop customizations. However, a vast amount of under-the-hood bug fixes and cleanup is a welcome change for the stability of the desktop. This release is based on Qt 5.15.2 and KDE Framework 5.98.

Here’s a tentative schedule.

  • Soft feature freeze: Sep 1, 2022
  • Beta: Sep 15, 2022
  • Final release: Oct 11, 2022

Let’s discuss significant and visible changes impacting your workflow in this release.

KDE Plasma 5.26 (Unstable edition Neon)
KDE Plasma 5.26 (Unstable edition Neon)

KDE Plasma 5.26: New Features

Wallpaper behaviour

  • Wallpaper fans, behold! KDE Plasma now supports animated wallpaper as a background. Now, you don’t need an additional plugin from KDE Store to implement it. You can set those nice animations right from the wallpaper settings dialog. [Caution: This feature works under Wayland, but there is an ongoing bug for this feature for X11]
Animated wallpaper arrives in KDE Plasma (Video Credit: KDE team)
  • You can now set the avif and heif images via the “set as wallpaper” function.
  • Following the GNOME desktop, KDE now supports light and dark wallpaper, which changes based on the default theme. So, if you change from Breeze dark to Breeze light, then your wallpaper also changes!
Dark and light wallpaper automatic transition in Plasma 5.26 (Video Credit: KDE team)
  • The dark wallpapers are kept in /usr/share/wallpapers/contents/images_dark folder from where they would be picked up.

Kickoff menu and Krunner

  • The “All Application” view in the kickoff menu gets a super handy feature. When you click on the letter sections, a new page appears with alphabets for faster navigation of the items.
  • Also, the kickoff menu is now resizable. You can now set it up as per your need. And it keeps the new size for subsequent launches.
  • KRunner, the best launcher ever, presents more relevant results at the top for better accessibility. For example, if you want to find “VPN”, – it would show you the apps that can help you with VPN instead of file names matching with the string VPN.
  • In addition to those above, the kick-off menu now gives you a System monitor as a result when you search for items such as “task”, “manager”, “cpu” or “memory”.
  • If you are using the main horizontal panel, you can now replace the kick-off KDE gear icon with any custom text (like below!).
Application Launcher can have text now
Application Launcher can have text now

Shell changes

  • Opening up a Konsole (terminal) from the default context menu of Plasma is now possible via a downstream existing change which is now merged upstream. This feature has been available in Fedora KDE for years and is now arriving by default.
  • Plasma now asks whether you want to open or execute an executable file instead of directly executing it.
Plasma now asks what to do with an executable
Plasma now asks what to do with an executable

Calendar

  • The Calendar now gives you a nice and smooth animation when the date is changed (like scrolling between weeks, months, etc.). See the video above on the kick-off menu.
  • Also, an alternate date can also be set below the expected date for multi-language and other locale users. It can be set from the Calendar> Alternate calendar option.

System tray, applets and widgets

  • The system tray menus and pop-ups are now resizable, which you can resize via the drag handle. This feature was much needed for a variety of reasons. In addition, the media controller applet now compactly shows the song title.
  • Also, the show desktop applet in the main panel changes its name to “Peek at desktop”.
  • When you change the widgets to their alternative via the “Show Alternatives” option, they now save the settings you used before, making it easier to switch back.
  • Finally, the much-needed change to make the custom font size of the Panel clock widget arrives. You can now manually set the size for clock fonts. Honestly, the clock font in the KDE panel was way tiny, especially for high-resolution displays.
Finally the font of clock can be changed
Finally the font of clock can be changed

Settings

  • You can now configure the daytime colour temperature like nighttime for better clarity and to protect your eyes. A new bar for this feature enables you to do that.
You can now change the day colour temperature
You can now change the day colour temperature
  • Night colour settings also now allow you to select your location on a map instead of typing the latitude and longitude for custom night mode activation.
  • Moreover, the Language and Formats (number, date/time etc.) are now merged together in a single settings page for better usability.
  • KDE Plasma now supports a mouse with more than three buttons, and you can set activities to additional buttons via a new settings window. On top of that, Plasma under Wayland now supports middle-click paste.
  • More information is available on the “About this system” page from various hardware, including Apple M1 silicon devices.
  • In KInfoCenter, the right-click “copy all” option from the information page is removed, and a new “Copy to clipboard” button is added for better discoverability.
  • If you are one of those users who have high DPI screens and prefer Wayland, then you can now choose how you want your XWayland apps would be scaled – a) by the compositor with uniform scaling or b) by the app themselves.

Discover

  • Discover also gets a bunch of updates in this version, mostly in Flatpaks. Firstly, the initial support for Webflow arrives for Flatpaks in Discover. Secondly, a prominent message would display when you find a Flatpak app using user-specific repo. In addition, Discover also shows you a warning message when the Flatpak beta channel app version is older than the stable channel.
  • On top of that, a new system progress notification arrives in the System tray if you close Discover in Plasma 5.26 while you are in the middle of installation, uninstallation or update.
If you close Discover during operation - it becomes a pop up in tray
If you close Discover during operation – it becomes a pop up in tray
  • Finally, discover now allows animated GIFs in app details page and allows you to share an app via a dedicated button with your friends and co-workers.

So, that’s about the significant changes in Plasma 5.26. However, the list of additional changes, bug fixes, performance updates and code clean up is vast, which you can find out in GitLab.

You can download the beta (via KDE Neon) and try out the above excellent features on September 15, 2022. Finally, you should get this version via Fedora 37 and Ubuntu 22.10 releasing in October.

So, what’s your favourite feature of this Plasma release? Let me know in the comment box.

Credits of two videos: KDE Team


Arindam

Creator of debugpoint.com. All time Linux user and open-source supporter. Connect with me via Telegram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or send us an email.
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