The new version 5.25 of the desktop environment KDE Plasma simplifies operation. It also offers floating control bars and brings more color into the game.
The updated version of the desktop Environment KDE-Plasma brings, among other things, easier operation, floating control bars and offers pleasing color games. In this way, Plasma 5.25 can adopt the dominant color in the background image as an accent color. For example, if the background shows a red sunset, highlighted menu items, folders in the file manager and some other elements also appear in a red tone.
Plasma adjusts the colors dynamically: if the background image changes, the accent color changes immediately and thus the mood in the program windows. On request, plasma even tints all windows in the accent color. The intensity of this tint can be continuously adjusted in the color settings.
The lock and log-in screens “shake” yourself if you type in an incorrect password. When changing to a different global design, you can now select in detail which components of the design the desktop should adopt. In this way you can only select the symbols from the global theme “Breeze Dark” Get.
Other interesting innovations are hidden in the editing mode, which you can call up by right-clicking on a control bar, for example. The latter can be turned into a floating panel there: Previously, control bars were always stuck to one of the edges of the screen. In Plasma 5.25, control bars automatically keep a little distance if desired.
This creates the impression of a floating bar, which is visually reminiscent of the dock from macOS. As soon as you maximize a window, the panel automatically expands to the edge again. This behavior ensures that the otherwise translucent background does not interfere with concentrated work.
The window for “Management of the control bars and desktops” that can be accessed via the edit mode is also new. (aka Containment Management Window in English). With its help, you can quickly move the contents of an entire desktop to another screen – including the applets, folders and control bars.
Once you switch the screen of a convertible notebook from detaches from the keyboard or folds it 360 degrees behind the keyboard, plasma switches to touch mode. In it, the desktop environment assumes pure touch operation. Plasma 5.25 then automatically enlarges the window bar, the system tray of the panel, the window title bars and the context menus. These adjustments make it easier to hit each element with your fingers. The distance between the icons in the window bar can now also be increased manually in normal operating mode.
The KDE developers had already introduced the overview effect in the previous version (called an overview in the German localization). Similar to the activities view in the competitor Gnome, the effect provides a clear overview of all open windows. In the upper part of this screen, Plasma 5.25 also presents an input field and thumbnails of all existing workspaces. The global search tool KRunner is hidden behind the input field, so that you can search for files and even start programs directly in the overview. The thumbnails can be used to change the workspace in a flash. In addition, additional virtual desktops can be added or existing ones removed and renamed with just a few mouse clicks.
Plasma 5.25 also has some learned useful gestures. If you swipe three fingers across your touchpad, you switch between the virtual workspaces. A four-finger swipe upwards activates the desktop grid, which clearly presents all virtual desktops and their content side by side. If you swipe from the top edge to the middle of a touchscreen, Plasma activates either the overview view, the display with the windows of all workspaces (present window view), the workspace grid or the desktop.
Once you have selected a program in Discover, you can use the relevant links to jump directly to the documentation and the official website. The software management also reveals which resources the corresponding program wants to use. The developers have revised the settings for the KWin scripts, which should make it easier to manage the scripts.
The official announcement for Plasma 5.25 clearly presents all major innovations in short videos. All changes and error corrections are also listed in the detailed changelog.
If you want to try out Plasma 5.25, you can use the current KDE Neon. This distribution is created and maintained by the KDE team, based on Ubuntu. Plasma 5.25 is currently in “Unstable Edition” included, which can be downloaded from the KDE website. The corresponding start medium boots directly into a live system in which all new functions can be tested without obligation.