KDE Ships Plasma 5.6 Beta Release

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Thursday, 19 November 2015. Today KDE releases a beta of next month's new feature update, Plasma 5.5.

We have been working hard over the last four months to smooth off the rough edges, add useful new workflows, make Plasma even more beautiful and build the foundations for the future.


Breeze IconsBreeze Icons

Updated Breeze Plasma Theme

The Breeze Plasma widget theme has been updated to make it more consistent.


While the Breeze icons theme adds new icons and updates the existing icon set to improve the visual design.


Plasma Widget Explorer

The Plasma Widget explorer now supports a two column view with new widget icons for Breeze, Breeze Dark and Oxygen


Expanded Feature Set in Application Launcher

Context menus in Application Launcher ('Kickoff') can now list documents recently opened in an application, allow editing the application's menu entry and adding the application to the panel, Task Manager or desktop. Favorites now supports documents, directories and system actions or they can be created from search results. These features (and some others) were previously available only in the alternative Application Menu ('Kicker') and have now become available in the default Application Launcher by sharing the backend between both launchers.



Color Picker Plasma AppletColor Picker Plasma Applet

New Applets in Plasma Addons

Color Picker

Not only have we restored support for the Color Picker applet, we've given it an entire new UI refresh to fit in with Plasma 5.


The color picker applet lets you pick a color from anywhere on the screen and automatically copies its color code to the clipboard in a variety of formats (RGB, Hex, Qt QML rgba, LaTeX).



User Switcher Plasma AppletUser Switcher Plasma Applet

User Switcher

User switching has been updated and improved and is now accessible from the Application Launcher, the new User Switcher applet and in the lock screen. It shows the user's full name and user set avatar. This is very useful for offices with shared desks. More info in the developer blog.

Disk Quota

Plasma 5.5 sees a new applet designed for business environments or universities. This applet will show you usage assessed not around the real disk usage, but your allowed quota by your system administrator.


Activity Pager

Done for users whose use case of activities partly overlaps with virtual desktops: it looks like a pager, it behaves like a pager but uses activities instead of virtual desktops. This gives a quick glimpse of what activities are running and how many windows are associated to each activity.



Legacy Systray IconsLegacy System Tray Icons

Restored Legacy Icons in System Tray Support

In response to feedback, we've rewritten support for legacy applications not using the StatusNotifierstandard for system tray icons.


Bug Stats

In the run up to the Plasma 5.5 beta an incredible over 1,000 bugs were fixed.

OpenGL ES Support in KWin

Support for switching to OpenGL ES in KWin returns. So far only switching through an environment variable and restarting KWin is supported. Set environment variable KWIN_COMPOSE to 'O2ES' to force the OpenGL ES backend. Please note that OpenGL ES is not supported by all drivers. Because of that it's not exposed through a configuration mechanism. Please consider it as an expert mode.



Screen LockerScreen Locker

Wayland Progress:

With Plasma 5.5 a basic Wayland session is provided. Wayland is the successor of the dated X11 windowing system providing a modern approach. The system is more secure (e.g. key loggers are no longer trivial to implement) and follows the paradigm of 'every frame perfect' which makes screen tearing very difficult. With Plasma 5.4 the KDE community already provided a technology preview based on the feature set of the Phone project. With Plasma 5.5 this is now extended with more 'desktop style' usages. Important features like move/resize of windows is now supported as well as many integration features for the desktop shell. This allows for usage by early adopters, though we need to point out that it is not yet up to the task of fully replacing an X session. We encourage our more technical users to give it a try and report as many bugs as you can find.


A new screen management protocol has been created for configuring the connected screens of a Wayland session.

Also added are some protocols for controlling KWin effects in Wayland such as window background blur and windows minimize animation

Plasma on Wayland session now features secure screen locking, something never fully achievable with X. Read more about fixing this 11 year old bug on the screenlocker integration developer blog.

Please also see the list of known issues with Wayland on the Errata page.



New Discover design

With the help of the KDE Visual Design Group we came up with a new design that will improve the usability of our software installer.



File Indexer StatusFile Indexer Status

Info Center

A status module for the file indexer was added.


Plasma Networkmanager

There have been several improvements to our network manager applet. WPA/WPA2 Enterprise validation was added, it uses a new password field widget and OpenVPN has more options.


Full Changelog

Full Plasma 5.4.95 changelog

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Distros will update their ppas in the coming days or weeks.

So far KaoS is the only distro with a repo yet. To try:

- Download and install KaoS (http://kaosx.us/)

- Edit your pacman.conf and add on the very top:

Server = http://kaosx.us/repo/kde-next
Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist

Server = http://kaosx.us/repo/build
Include = /etc/pacman.d/mirrorlist


save, exit, enter konsole and run:

sudo pacman -Syu


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  • 4 weeks later...

I see the stable release is out. Any idea when it'll finish up in the Ubuntu repos?

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  • 2 months later...

there are some nice features planned for 5.7 i think:


- remembering where a file was downloaded from: displays info in dolphin and side-panel




- global menu appled (known from kde 4.x) will make a comeback:


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  • 2 weeks later...

we are reaching 5.6 soon guys, and, as always, KDE has integrated some nice gimmicks to improve an already impressive DE even more!


Plasma 5.6 KDE Plasma 5.6

Wednesday, 02 March 2016. Today KDE releases a beta update to its desktop software, Plasma 5.6.

This release of Plasma brings many improvements to the task manager, KRunner, activities, and Wayland support as well as a much more refined look and feel.


Slicker Plasma Theme

Breeze Color Scheme Support Breeze Color Scheme Support

The default Plasma theme, Breeze, now follows the application color scheme allowing for a more personalized experience. A new 'Breeze Light' together with 'Breeze Dark' theme can be used to bring back the previous behavior. Aditionally, tooltip animations have become more subtle.


Supercharged Task Manager

Copy Progress Copy Progress

Multitasking has just become easier. The much improved task manager in Plasma 5.6 now displays progress of tasks, such as downloading or copying files.


Media Controls Media Controls Media Controls in Panel and Tooltips

Moreover, hovering a music or video player shows beautiful album art and media controls, so you never have to leave the application you're currently working with. Our media controller applet that shows up during playback also received some updates, notably support for multiple players running simultaneously.

Not only did we improve interacting with running applications, starting applications gets in your way less, too. Using Jump Lists you can launch an application and jump, hence the name, to a specific task right away. This feature is also present in the application launchers.


Smoother Widgets

KRunner Folderview in Panel KRunner's Smoother look and Folderview in Panel

There are many refinements to the overall visuals of Plasma in this release. KRunner gained support for drag and drop and lost separator lines to look smoother while icons on the desktop traded the solid label background for a chic drop shadow. Users that place a folder applet in their panel can enjoy improved drag and drop, support for the back button on a mouse as well as choosing between list and icon view. On the more technical side, many small fixes to hi-dpi scaling have found their way into this release.



Weather Widget Weather Widget

Another feature returns from the old days, the weather widget.


On the road to Wayland

Wayland Plasma using Wayland

With Plasma 5.5 for the first time we shipped a Wayland session for you to try out. While we still do not recommend using Wayland as a daily driver, we've made some significant advances:

  • Window decorations are now supported for Wayland clients giving you a beautiful and unified user experience
  • Input handling gained all features you've come to know and love from the X11 world, including 'Focus follows mouse', Alt + mouse button to move and resize windows, etc
  • Different keyboard layouts and layout switching

Tech Preview System Integration Themes

We are trialing a tech preview of Breeze themes for Plymouth and Grub, so Plasma can give you a complete system experience from the moment you turn your computer on.



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  • zhangm changed the title to KDE Ships Plasma 5.6 Beta Release
Noir Angel

I see they're doing a "flat and ugly" demolition job on KDE. Shame, I used to consider it to be a gorgeous DE.

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13 minutes ago, Javik said:

I see they're doing a "flat and ugly" demolition job on KDE. Shame, I used to consider it to be a gorgeous DE.

Always thought KDE was fat & ugly anyway. Looks pretty though. ;)

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Played around with it a little in a VM, now the VM is gone. . .Didn't really care for the it. . .just me. . .:)

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  • 4 months later...

by now plasma counts 5.7.2 and the online services in spectacle are working again 





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  • 2 months later...


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  • 3 weeks later...

I find it very beautiful

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