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The future has arrived - KDE Plasma 6 desktop released

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The KDE team announced "MegaRelease 6", a big upgrade that includes Plasma 6, Frameworks 6 and Gear 24.02 with tons of improvements to this popular desktop environment that's used on the Steam Deck for Desktop Mode. Hopefully we will see Valve give it an update in the next major SteamOS release.

Bringing the future to a desktop near you, the tech under the hood has gone through some major upgrades with updates to Qt and Wayland support (with Wayland also now the default). The developers say "We have done our best to ensure that these changes are as smooth and unnoticeable to the users as possible, so when you install this update, you will see the same familiar desktop environment that you know and love" and that the upgrades "benefit Plasma's security, efficiency, and performance, and improve support for modern hardware".

There's a lot of big stuff on top of Qt and Wayland upgrades including:

  • New Desktop Overview effect that combines the Overview and Desktop Grid.
  • Partial support for High Dynamic Range (HDR).
  • Refreshed Breeze theme.
  • Improved system settings app to make it more user friendly.
  • Improved fingerprint unlock from lockscreen.
  • Plasma Search now lets you customize the ordering of search results. Plus it's faster and performs better.
  • Lots of improvements to various apps like the popular video editor Kdenlive.

Oh and my favourite, the Cube has returned! All hail hypnocube!

Lots of smaller but still useful changes have made it in too, like the controversial single-click to open files and folders has been moved to a double-click which better matches Windows and other desktop environments.

Probably one of the most exciting Plasma updates I've ever seen, and I can't wait to get my Kubuntu install on my desktop upgraded. I'm really keen to see how much Wayland support has improved, and should hopefully properly make it my own default now too.

See the full release page for all the info. There's simply far too many goodies to list here.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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51 comments
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I'm hoping there's some way to have X11 as a backup as, while I always use Wayland, being able to log in with an X11 session really saved my ass after an update. Other than that, I'm stoked!
kokoko3k Feb 28
My big concerns are:

Did they ported oxygen?
Does older plasma themes still work?
Wayland: hardware cursor like in X11 or back to win95 days, where when the gpu is under stress it lags too?
Wayland: general performance, last time i tried my haswell was either laggier or slower than the x11 counterpart on my aging haswell.
Nocifer Feb 28
Quoting: StalePopcornI'm hoping there's some way to have X11 as a backup as, while I always use Wayland, being able to log in with an X11 session really saved my ass after an update. Other than that, I'm stoked!

There is still an official KDE X11 session just like before, changing the default session (distro's choice) or changing the development focus and declaring the X11 parts as essentially feature-frozen (KDE's choice) doesn't mean the packages themselves are going away, at worst you'll simply have to install them manually (e.g. this will be the case for Fedora 40 AFAIU).

OT: Many kudos for the new release, it's been a tough year to endure for us impatient people!

I still remember how just a couple of years ago, KDE's Wayland support was still a relative bugfest and people considered GNOME & Mutter as the pinnacle of Wayland development. How things can change :)
tmtvl Feb 28
Well, if they break too many settings I'm gonna switch back to Awesome. I don't need double click RSI, and I definitely don't need the 'log out' keyboard shortcut to default to 'shut down'.
I've always been a GTK guy myself, my favourite desktop still is Xfce. But when I got myself a new laptop I went with all the new stuff, including Wayland. So far I've been running Gnome and while it isn't bad, I'm not entirely happy with it either. But what annoys me most with Gnome is that it still has no proper fractional scaling out of the box.

I will give KDE Plasma 6.0 a try on this new laptop just for the fractional scaling alone and am really looking forward to this new release. I have to admit, I also really like Plasma's standard Breeze theme. Who knows, maybe I'll learn to like a new desktop environment after all these years I've been using Linux now.
Relsre Feb 28
Quoting: whizseThe future:
• Flying car

Oh speaking of, really like the wallpaper for Plasma 6! Reminds me of the fantastic art by Amanda Cha, made for the Rocket League x Monstercat Vol. 3 album.

(EDIT: Here's the original 3000x3000 album art, with text )


Last edited by Relsre on 28 February 2024 at 8:54 pm UTC
Quoting: tmtvlWell, if they break too many settings I'm gonna switch back to Awesome. I don't need double click RSI, and I definitely don't need the 'log out' keyboard shortcut to default to 'shut down'.
If you've already selected Single-Click behavior, it will remain that way. It's only for new installs.
Quoting: PlintslîchoI've always been a GTK guy myself, my favourite desktop still is Xfce. But when I got myself a new laptop I went with all the new stuff, including Wayland. So far I've been running Gnome and while it isn't bad, I'm not entirely happy with it either. But what annoys me most with Gnome is that it still has no proper fractional scaling out of the box.

I just moved to a laptop with 1440p screen, and now I see some first world problems ;) that I never had on 1080p screen. For the most part it works on Plasma Wayland, much better than on X11, but I still noticed some issues:

- some apps don't scale (Steam - need to use manually variable to scale it, VLC doesn't scale at all)
- on multimonitors with various resolutions, some apps won't re-scale when moving through screens, like LibreOffice, so it looks good on 1440p, while on the 1080P monitor UI is oversized
- some pop-up windows are oversized on the secondary 1080p screen, even when the app is scaled correctly

Still, those things will pass with time. It's surprising that despite so many years have passed and most modern laptops and screens are hi-dpi, many popular apps still have poor high-res support (Steam, LibreOffice, VLC)

And it's not like you can just switch to 1080p so smoothly. No. If you do, you will get blurry experience and I will promise you, you will change back to high-resolution.

However, I'm happy that Plasma has fractional scaling, because I was able to set it to 130% which is the best scaling for 1440p screens. The default 150% is too much, while 125% is too little. 130% looks for the most part as it was on 1080p.

Interesting, that the same Plasma on system with Ubuntu 22 base, has more problems, and it doesn't scale so nicely, so it's not just Plasma, but the whole package stack that makes the difference. So on Manjaro it is very smooth experience, on Ubuntu 22 it's pretty bad, with the same Plasma version.
rustigsmed Feb 28
So it seems snappier in desktop - until its not but that could have been when I was fooling around with launching steam w/HDR).
Managed to get HDR going on Ori / ratchet and clank in steam. No luck with Jedi fallen order / survivor / star wars battlefront 2 in steam. No luck with Alan wake 2 (epic), cyberpunk 2077 (GoG) or BF2 (EA app - lutris).
Shmerl Feb 28
Quoting: hardpenguinEh I am not in a rush, my Debian Sid can stay on version 5 for as long as maintainers want to :P

I'd rather that to happen soon. Plasma 5 isn't working well with Wine Wayland and I don't want to spend time debugging it if it's fixed in Plasma 6.
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