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Plasma 5.21 rolls out as one of the best looking Linux desktops available

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Love your PC to look flashy? The KDE team put in a lot of effort to be both beautiful and functional with the latest Plasma 5.21 release which is out now. Part of the ongoing work to make KDE Plasma look as good as possible, with lots of work big and small going into many areas in this release.

Plasma 5.21 from KDE brings in the brand new application launcher, featuring two panes to make it simple to find the programs you want to launch long with improved navigation for different input types. The older Kickoff launcher is still available too for anyone who prefers it. Plenty of improvements to the default Plasma theme with a refreshed colour scheme and header style, a new Breeze Twilight theme combining dark and light together, there's a brand new Plasma System Monitor for keeping an eye on your system, huge progress towards great KWin and Wayland support as part of their mission to have first class support for Wayland and much more.

Check out their release video:

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The team dedicated this release to Gustavo Carneiro, a KDE contributor from Brazil that died in January of COVID-19.

See the full announcement here.

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38 comments
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thibaultmol 16 Feb
So is this page still up to date? https://community.kde.org/Plasma/Wayland_Showstoppers
or what are the major showstoppers still?
kokoko3k 16 Feb
Something pretty flat, i'd say.
Luckilly for my taste, oxygen is still available and there are other icon themes out there!
axredneck 16 Feb
Quoting: kokoko3kSomething pretty flat, i'd say.
Luckilly for my taste, oxygen is still available and there are other icon themes out there!
You can also try QtCurve or Kvantum.
scaine 16 Feb
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I might have to give this another shot. Two things put me off last time:

1. The shoe-horning of the letter K into just about everything. On the few occasions Gnome devs do the same with G (e.g. gThumb), it annoys me there too. But in KDE, it's like a game of "every app is a bad pun". Thank goodness for Dolphin. Maybe others will help buck the trend.

2. Dolphin and Kate can't be run as sudo. I get the reasons why they did this, but absolutely screw any DE or app which takes the law into its own hands.

In the grand scheme of things, neither are show stoppers, but there were enough other paper cuts 18 months ago to put me off overall (one of which was that I used an Nvidia GPU). So yeah, ding ding, round 2, hopefully.

But I'll probably try Budgie too which might be a better fit for me.
Izaic 16 Feb
Quoting: thibaultmolSo is this page still up to date? https://community.kde.org/Plasma/Wayland_Showstoppers
or what are the major showstoppers still?

"This page was last edited on 11 February 2021, at 04:06"

At least two things mentioned here might be solved in 5.22 afaik. And of course more improvements may come before 5.22 is released.


Last edited by Izaic on 16 February 2021 at 4:38 pm UTC
slaapliedje 16 Feb
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I decided over the weekend to swap out my aging Arch Linux install (I've had it for years, and only boot to it occasionally, as it's now 'slow' since it is on a spinning drive) with a SSD and Garuda Linux. I decided to also give KDE a try, and went with their 'Dragonized' version.

Well, I'm hoping the instability was due to having some old KDE config files sitting around, but it would randomly just crash (the Latte dock) and the video playing through Firefox would stop, while the audio kept going. So I wasn't very impressed. I think after I did a reboot this morning, maybe it's working better, but I'll probably do a review on it soon (a mix of Garuda Linux and KDE).

I'm usually a Gnome guy and not used to the dock causing issues like this for sure. But wobbly windows do make me smile still ha!
slaapliedje 16 Feb
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Quoting: scaineI might have to give this another shot. Two things put me off last time:

1. The shoe-horning of the letter K into just about everything. On the few occasions Gnome devs do the same with G (e.g. gThumb), it annoys me there too. But in KDE, it's like a game of "every app is a bad pun". Thank goodness for Dolphin. Maybe others will help buck the trend.

2. Dolphin and Kate can't be run as sudo. I get the reasons why they did this, but absolutely screw any DE or app which takes the law into its own hands.

In the grand scheme of things, neither are show stoppers, but there were enough other paper cuts 18 months ago to put me off overall (one of which was that I used an Nvidia GPU). So yeah, ding ding, round 2, hopefully.

But I'll probably try Budgie too which might be a better fit for me.
Yeah I'm trying to like KDE again, but I'll probably return to Gnome again. There is usually something that irritates me just enough in KDE that I won't use it for a year or two to see if they've fixed it. Beyond the stability issues I've ran into so far, I'll say Garuda is pretty decent. Though I'm getting the feeling that much like most 'based on' distributions, I may end up going back to a strictly Arch Linux install, as it was nice and stable, until I didn't keep it updated for a while.. :P Last time I tried booting into it, things were crashing all over the place, and I had to chroot from my Debian install to get it updated.
kokoko3k 16 Feb
Quoting: axredneck
Quoting: kokoko3kSomething pretty flat, i'd say.
Luckilly for my taste, oxygen is still available and there are other icon themes out there!
You can also try QtCurve or Kvantum.
I gave kvantum a shot in the past, maybe i can see it again how it performs.
I'd prefer qtcurve, but as far as i know the visual configuration tools are no more, so it is a bit hard to craft a new theme.
In the kde4 era i've had a lot of fun making themes with it :)
https://store.kde.org/p/1005548


Last edited by kokoko3k on 16 February 2021 at 5:41 pm UTC
kokoko3k 16 Feb
Quoting: scaine2. Dolphin and Kate can't be run as sudo. I get the reasons why they did this, but absolutely screw any DE or app which takes the law into its own hands.
Out of curiosity, is it allowed at least under Wayland?
slaapliedje 16 Feb
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Quoting: kokoko3k
Quoting: scaine2. Dolphin and Kate can't be run as sudo. I get the reasons why they did this, but absolutely screw any DE or app which takes the law into its own hands.
Out of curiosity, is it allowed at least under Wayland?
I wouldn't think so. But I ran into the 'no kate as sudo' issue yesterday as I was trying to edit the mirrorlist on garuda linux as the installer kept messing up something. Vim wasn't installed, Nano wasn't installed... tried kate, but it wouldn't let me open it with sudo... talk about annoying.

Finally managed to get something working.
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