The list of impressive features and enhancements of the KDE Plasma 5.27 desktop is arriving in February.
In a way, KDE Plasma 5.27 is a milestone release.
Firstly, it is the final LTS release of the Plasma 5 version and the last instalment of the Plasma 5 series. Initial porting work has already started for Plasma 6 series, which would be based on Qt 6 version.
Release number-wise, it is the 29th version of the KDE Plasma desktop, followed by the prior plasma 5.26 release.
Visible feature-wise, it’s of moderate size. However, the bug fixes, code refactoring, cleanup, and optimization are significant. Most are not visible on the deck, but you can feel the changes when using this fluid desktop.
Before I walk you through the key features, here’s the schedule.
- Beta: Jan 19, 2023
- KDE Plasma 5.27 Final release: Feb 14, 2023
Table of Contents
KDE Plasma 5.27: Best New Features
A brand new app welcomes you to Plasma desktop from now on. It was a good idea to add this app to Plasma. It will give you some initial information about Plasma, setting up online accounts and so on.
The media controller applet introduces two new layouts in this release. A vertical layout showing album art, song title and artist name. And an icon-only display showing only album art. MR 2176
The icon size settings slide in the Appearance is moved under the preview with more descriptive text. Also, the window size is slightly larger to accommodate the overall items. MR 2213
KDE Plasma battery monitor will now show the charging, discharging, and fully charged status for non-power supply batteries such as a wireless mouse, and mobile phones when connected to the Plasma desktop. MR 2210
Also, the battery monitor stops showing 100% when the battery is fully charged. You can only see the power icon without any text. MR 2306
In another change, the battery monitor shows “Estimating…” text when the remaining time is 0. Also, the remaining time calculation is changed to give you accurate hours and minutes remaining to full charge.
The middle click features are now exposed in the applet UI when available. The features existed for some apps, but the discovery was difficult unless tried. MR 2205
In the upcoming Qt6, the GaussianBlur is not available. Hence it has been removed in this version, and FastBlur is now incorporated. This is part of the initial Qt6 porting of the future Plasma 6 release. MR 2083
The “do not disturb” applet now shows a clearer message for the duration. Earlier it used to show “Until today”, and it has been changed to “Automatically ends: Today at ….”. MR 1412
In KDE Plasma 5.27, you can directly drag the wallpaper from the image list to any other application which accepts images. For example, you can directly drag and drop an image from the wallpaper window to the Gwenview image viewer. This definitely eases up many workflows and should save hassles from going to the folder and opening them. However, the feature is not working in my test, so I can’t show you a demo. MR 2284
We all love Krunner, the most excellent launcher ever! In this release, Krunner now searches for the key in any part of the file name in the recent document list. It sorts the result from the best match, starting with the search key in the file name to the bottom. MR 2273
Also, when there is no match in any documents in your system, Krunner now prompts a web search with the search key. MR 2311
The developers can now prioritise the applet notification by assigning a notification value of 256. Once it is a high priority, the notification becomes part of the top header instead of the menu. MR 2245
The Users settings page, fingerprint register, and authentication selection are much more visually attractive with an actual hand image. MR 2347
The accessibility of KDE Plasma is now more robust because the Orca screenreader app can read the notifications. It includes the app name and the notification description. MR 2295
Wayland, Kwin and Plasma desktop
KDE Plasma 5.27 now supports high-resolution scrolling in Wayland, thanks to libinput 1.9 version changes. With this change, you should experience smooth scrolling performance in Chrome and Firefox browsers. I hope this makes it on par with the Windows experience. To this day, I still feel Windows scrolling in the popular browser is very smooth. MR 3034
Another Wayland fix in this release is the inclusion of the Wayland implementation of idle notification protocol. In the Wayland session, if you become idle, the data can now be consumed by various apps and modules to save power, change the status in messaging apps, etc. MR 2959
Wayland session in Plasma desktop also brings content type. This allows Kwin to tweak the display behaviour (direct scanout, variable refresh rate, etc.) based on the content displayed on the screen. So, you should get an optimized session based on whether you are watching a movie, playing games or casually browsing the web. MR 2467
KDE Plasma Wayland session now supports fractional scaling natively. The upstream Wayland change for this was merged a few months back in 2022. You should get native resolution options in Wayland sessions. MR 2598
If you are a multi-monitor user, you should be glad to know that the settings to manage multiple displays are now easily accessible via the system tray display configuration.
Discover now shows a proper message when you are offline that it cannot fetch software information from servers instead of showing a progress bar. MR 383
For the past few releases, Discover has been improved for Flatpak management. This release also gets some goodies for Flatpak apps. Firstly, the Flatpak application view now shows more permissions entries that an app needs. A new settings page lists all the installed Flatpak and its permissions. MR 372
Secondly, Discover now waits a few moments before checking updates for Flatpak. While it waits, it shows the locally cached Flatpak data. MR 421
Thirdly, the Discover home is revamped. Honestly, it was due for a long time. Now it looks far better with the popular apps, editor’s choice and other categories. MR 398
Other key change includes:
- Plasma 5.27 is based on KDE Framework 5.102 and Qt 5.15.2.
- Transition animation when changing wallpaper.
- The weather applet now shows weather info in overlay mode.
- The location picker in the weather applet now gives you a possible list of locations.
- The network applet now shows 5G connection label and icons when used.
- And hopefully, a new wallpaper as always!
Detailed changelog (5.26.5-5.27.0)
KDE Plasma 5.27 was released on Feb 14, 2023. You can download the KDE Neon edition to experience this new version.
If you are running KDE Neon stable edition, you can run the following command to upgrade. A detailed upgrade guide to this version is available here.
sudo pkcon update
Overall, the change list is enormous and impossible to cover in one article. It’s amazing to see so many changes pulled up in each release by the KDE team. The KDE Framework and app changes are not part of this article which is also significant.
Distro-wise, KDE Plasma 5.27 should be available in Fedora 38 and Ubuntu 23.04 Lunar Lobster within the March-April timeframe.
So, which one of the features do you choose as your favourite? Let me know in the comment box below.