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KDE's Plasma 5.4: The most advanced and beautiful Linux desktop

Swapnil Bhartiya | Aug. 27, 2015
Plasma 5.4 brings some of the much-awaited improvements to the KDE’s desktop environment.

Awesome!

  • Favorites, which allows you to add application, etc. for quicker access.

  • A component that shows search results or another option you choose from the next component, which is…

  • A list of stuff

  • The fifth component is a set of three buttons to logout of the session, restart the machine and shutdown.

What makes it even better is that it has 'sophisticated scaling to screen size and full spatial keyboard navigation.'

Application Launcher is available as an alternative to the default launcher and you can switch between launchers by simply right clicking on the 'start' button and choosing the launcher you want.

What else?

More polished artwork. With this release Plasma users get over 1,400 new icons that cover not only KDE applications but also third party apps such as Dropbox.

Krunner gets memory. Krunner is one of my favorite tools that is missing from all major DEs  (as far as I know) and now it has some memory. Krunner now remembers your previous searches and automatically completes from history as you type.

Graphical network applet. Once in a while we all need to keep an eye on networked traffic. The Networks applet is now able to display network traffic graphs. It also supports two new VPN plugins for connecting over SSH or SSTP.

Brand new volume applet. Audio management on a Plasma system can be a pleasure or a pain, depending on how you see it. It offers way too many options, which can be tricky if your system has more audio hardware. However, it also comes in handy if you do want to take complete control of audio on your system. With this new release the community has added a new Audio Volume applet that works directly with PulseAudio "to give you full control over volume and output settings in a beautifully designed simple interface."

Wayland. KDE, along with all major communities, are putting their weight behind Wayland, the successor of X Server (the display server for Linux). Plasma 5.4 comes with the first technology preview of a Wayland session for Plasma users.

KDE community said in a press statement, "On systems with free graphics drivers it is possible to run Plasma using KWin, Plasma's Wayland compositor and X11 window manager, through kernel mode settings." However, do keep in mind that "the current state does not yet allow to use it as a replacement for Xorg based desktop, but allows to easily test it, contribute and watch tear free videos." If you want to run Wayland on your Plasma system, check out their WiKi page.

Other notable changes: There is a long list of notable changes, but these are the ones that I cared about: Improved high DPI support, smaller memory footprint, desktop search received improved and faster backend, sticky notes adds drag & drop support and keyboard navigation, system tray gains quicker configurability, ISO date support in Digital clock, easy way to switch 12h/24h clock format in Digital clock, Telepathy contact favorites show the contact photo and a real time presence status badge, monitor configuration tool, etc.

 

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