For years, KDE Plasma has been among the most-used desktop environments. This is due to its seemingly endless customization options, flashy looks, and feature-filled updates.
With KDE Plasma 5.23, the desktop environment marks 25 years of work. Hence, this release is also known as Plasma 25th Anniversary Edition.
It’s just wild to imagine that Matthias Ettrich (founder of KDE) reached out to a newsgroup back on October 14, 1996, to get help from fellow programmers for his “Kool Desktop Environment” project.
And, look, where we are now…
In this update, we get to see some significant UI improvements, both within Plasma and third-party apps.
KDE Plasma 5.23: What’s New?
This update brings many improvements, including:
- Desktop accent colors
- New breeze theme
- New power management quick control
- More customization options for the app launcher
- Hundreds of bugfixes
Here, we will be looking at all these new improvements.
Desktop Accent Colors
In System Settings, you will find an option to change the accent color of your desktop. You can choose a custom color of your choice or blend in with the theme applied by default.
New Breeze Theme
This update brings a brand-new Breeze theme: Breeze – Blue Ocean. The default theme has improved over the years, and this time, it focuses on making the visuals clearer and accessible.
Overall, the new theme provides a glossy look. In addition to the theme, the icons have been made more prominent; a loading gear icon has been added. And, many such subtle differences have made their way to KDE Plasma 5.23 to enhance the look and feel of the desktop.
As developer Nate Graham said during the beta releases:
There is a lot of time left to tweak the final appearance as needed, but overall I think it’s really nice, and I hope you’re as excited about it as I am
Enhanced Search Functionality in System Settings
To make it easier to find what you’re looking for, KDE Plasma 5.23 has added more combinations of keywords that quickly suggests the related settings you look for using the search bar.
System Tray Improvements
While the system tray already offers many controls, you get finer options to monitor your connected networks and access the clipboard.
The system tray has also improved the overall look when displaying the active media being played.
New Power Management Quick Control
With the release of Linux 5.12, a power management feature was added. Now, KDE has introduced an easy way of adjusting this, which comes in new quick control.
It has three options: Power Saver, Balanced, and Performance. All it takes is a single click to save the battery and tweak the performance as needed.
Improvements to Application Launcher
With Plasma 5.21, KDE introduced a new app launcher called Kickoff. While it was generally well-received, some users did complain about the fewer customization options compared to the older launcher.
Fortunately, Plasma 5.23 fixes this, introducing some brand-new customization options for Kickoff. These include the ability to:
- Iconify the Power and User controls
- Choose list or grid view for all items, not just the favourites menu
- New keyboard shortcut to quickly focus on the search bar (CTRL+F)
- A new pin button added to the top-right corner to keep the application launcher active
Overall, I expect these new options to be quite popular among users, especially those using KDE, because of its incredible customization options.
Other usual improvements include:
- Making Wayland sessions better
- Improved data transparency through the Feedback applicatino
- Performance improvements to KDE’s Discover (app center)
While not the biggest release ever, this is a significant release with valuable additions marking its 25th anniversary. As always, you should receive the updates sometime within the next few months, depending on your distribution.
What do you think about the improvements with KDE Plasma 5.23? Let me know in the comments down below.