Alongside their Plasma Desktop Environment, KDE develops a huge range of other apps collectively named KDE Gear. These range from content creation apps such as Kdenlive and Kwave to utilities such as Dolphin, Discover, and Index.
KDE Gear is something new. It includes heaps of improvements to almost all the KDE apps, which we will be exploring here.
What Is KDE Gear?
For many people, this name will sound unfamiliar. This is because KDE Gear is the new name for the KDE Applications. Previously, they were released individually. The new name aims to unify their marketing and provide greater clarity to users.
According to KDE developer Jonathan Riddell:
KDE Gear is the new name for the app (and libraries and plugins) bundle of projects that want the release faff taken off their hands… It was once called just KDE, then KDE SC, then KDE Applications, then the unbranded release service, and now we’re banding it again as KDE Gear.
This rebrand makes sense, especially as the KDE logo itself is pretty much a glorified gear.
Major KDE App Upgrades
KDE Gear contains many applications, each with its purpose. Here, we will be looking at a few of the key highlights. These include:
We have also covered the new Kate editor release challenging Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code separately, if you are curious.
KDE’s video editor has improved massively over the past few years, with heaps of new features added with this release. It involves:
- Online Resources tool
- New AV1 support
The Online resources tool is a fairly recent addition. The main purpose of this tool is to download free stock footage for use in your videos.
The Speech-To-Text tool is a nifty little tool that will automatically create subtitles for you, with surprising accuracy. It is also effortless to use, with it being launched in just 3 clicks.
Finally, we get to see the main new feature in the 21.04 release: AV1 codec support. This is a relatively new video format with features such as higher compression, and a royalty-free license.
Dolphin, the file manager for Plasma 5, is one of the most advanced file managers existing. Some of its notable features include a built-in terminal emulator and file previews.
With this release, there are a multitude of new features, including the ability to:
- Decompress multiple files at once
- Open a folder in a new tab by holding the control key
- Modify the options in the context menu
While minor, these new features are sure to make using Dolphin an even smoother experience.
Elisa is one of the most exciting additions to KDE Gear. For those who don’t know about it yet, Elisa is a new music player based on Kirigami. The result of this is an app capable of running on both desktop and mobile.
With this release, the list of features offered by this application has grown quite a bit longer. Some of these new features include:
- Support for AAC audio files
- Support for .m3u8 playlists
- Reduced memory usage
As always, the inclusion of support for more formats is welcome. As the KDE release announcement says:
But [the new features] don’t mean Elisa has become clunkier. Quite the contrary: the new version released with KDE Gear today actually consumes less memory when you scroll around the app, making it snappy and a joy to use.
This app is becoming better with each release, and is becoming one of my favorite apps for Linux. At the rate it is improving, we can expect Elisa to become one of the best music players in existence.
Index is the file manager for Plasma Mobile. Based on Kirigami technologies, it adapts to both mobile and desktop screens well.
Alongside this convergence advantage, it has almost reached feature-parity with Dolphin, making it a viable alternative on the desktop as well. Because it is constantly being updated with new features and is an evolving application, there isn’t a set list of new features.
If you want to check out its latest version, feel free to download it from the project website.
Other App Updates
In addition to the above-mentioned app upgrades, you will also find significant improvements for Okular, KMail, and other KDE applications.
To learn more about the app updates, you can check out the official announcement page.
The new KDE Gear 21.04 release includes a wide range of new features and updates all the KDE apps. These promise better performance, usability, and compatibility.
I am really excited about Elisa and Index, especially as they make use of Kirigami.
What do you think about the latest KDE app updates? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!