KDE at 20: Plasma 5.8 LTS Beta. Here for the Long Term.

Jonathan Riddell jr at jriddell.org
Thu Sep 15 15:16:53 UTC 2016

Thursday, 15 September 2016. Today KDE releases a beta of its first Long Term
Support edition of its flagship desktop software, Plasma. This marks the point
where the developers and designers are happy to recommend Plasma for the widest
possible audience be they enterprise or non-techy home users. If you tried a
KDE desktop previously and have moved away, now is the time to re-assess,
Plasma is simple by default, powerful when needed.

Plasma's Comprehensive Features

Take a look at what Plasma offers, a comprehensive selection of features
unparalleled in any desktop software.

Desktop Widgets

Desktop Widgets Desktop Widgets

Cover your desktop in useful widgets to keep you up to date with weather,
amused with comics or helping with calculations.

Get Hot New Stuff

Get Hot New Stuff Get Hot New Stuff

Download wallpapers, window style, widgets, desktop effects and dozens of other
resources straight to your desktop. We work with the new KDE Store to bring you
a wide selection of addons for you to install.

Desktop Search

Desktop Search Desktop Search

Plasma will let you easily search your desktop for applications, folders,
music, video, files... everything you have.

Unified Look

Unified Look Unified Look

Plasma's default Breeze theme has a unified look across all the common
programmer toolkits - Qt 4 & 5, GTK 2 & 3, even LibreOffice.

Phone Integration

Phone Integration Phone Integration

Using KDE Connect you'll be notified on your desktop of text message, can
easily transfer files, have your music silenced during calls and even use your
phone as a remote control.

Infinitely Customisable

Infinitely Customisable Infinitely Customisable

Plasma is simple by default but you can customise it however you like with new
widgets, panels, screens and styles.

New in Plasma 5.8

Unified Boot to Shutdown Artwork

Unified Boot to Shutdown Artwork Unified Boot to Shutdown Artwork

This release brings an all-new login screen design giving you a complete Breeze
startup to shutdown experience. The layout has been tidied up and is more
suitable for workstations that are part of a domain or company network. While
it is much more streamlined, it also allows for greater customizability: for
instance, all Plasma wallpaper plugins, such as slideshows and animated
wallpapers, can now be used on the lock screen.

Right-to-Left Language Support

Right-to-Left Language Support Right-to-Left Language Support

Support for Semitic right-to-left written languages, such as Hebrew and Arabic,
has been greatly improved. Contents of panels, the desktop, and configuration
dialogs are mirrored in this configuration. Plasma’s sidebars, such as widget
explorer, window switcher, activity manager, show up on the right side of the

Improved Applets

Context Menu Media Controls Context Menu Media Controls

The virtual desktop switcher (“Pager”) and window list applets have been
rewritten, using the new task manager back-end we introduced in Plasma 5.7.
This allows them to use the same dataset as the task manager and improves their
performance while reducing memory consumption. The virtual desktop switcher
also acquired an option to show only the current screen in multi-screen setups
and now shares most of its code with the activity switcher applet.

Task manager gained further productivity features in this release. Media
controls that were previously available in task manager tooltips only are now
accessible in the context menus as well. In addition to bringing windows to the
front during a drag and drop operation, dropping files onto task manager
entries themselves will now open them in the associated application. Lastly,
the popup for grouped windows can now be navigated using the keyboard and text
rendering of its labels has been improved.

Simplified Global Shortcuts

Global Shortcuts Setup Global Shortcuts Setup

Global shortcuts configuration has been simplified to focus on the most common
task, that is launching applications. Building upon the jump list functionality
added in previous releases, global shortcuts can now be configured to jump to
specific tasks within an application.

Thanks to our Wayland effort, we can finally offer so-called “modifier-only
shortcuts”, enabling you to open the application menu by just pressing the Meta
key. Due to popular demand, this feature also got backported to the X11

Other improvements

Plasma Discover's new UI Plasma Discover's new UI

This release sees many bugfixes in multi-screen support and, together with Qt
5.6.1, should significantly improve your experience with docking stations and

KWin, Plasma’s window manager, now allows compositing through llvmpipe, easing
the deployment on exotic hardware and embedded devices. Now that there is a
standardized and widely-used interface for applications to request turning off
compositing, the “Unredirect Fullscreen” option has been removed. It often lead
to stability issues and because of that was already disabled for many drivers.

Now that Kirigami, our set of versatile cross-platform UI components, has been
released, we’re pleased to bring you a revamped version of Plasma Discover
based on Kirigami.

We have new default fonts, the Noto font from Google covers all scripts
available in the Unicode standard while our new monospace font Hack is perfect
for coders and terminal users.

We’re in Wayland!

Plasma on Wayland Now with GTK+ support Plasma on Wayland Now with GTK+ support

Plasma on Wayland has come a long way in the past months. While our long term
support promise does not apply to the fast-evolving Wayland stack, we think it
is ready to be tested by a broader audience. There will still be minor glitches
and missing features, but we are now at a point where we can ask you to give it
a try and report bugs. Notable improvements in this release include:

  • Support for xdg-shell, i.e. GTK+ applications are now supported
  • Much improved touch screen support
  • Support for touchpad gestures – the infrastructure is there, there aren't
    any gestures by default yet
  • The “Sliding Popups” effect is now supported
  • Clipboard contents are synced between X11 and Wayland applications

Full Plasma 5.7.95 LTS changelog


The easiest way to try it out is with a live image booted off a USB disk. You
can find a list of https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.7.95.php

Package Downloads

Distributions have created, or are in the process of creating, packages listed
on our wiki page.

  • Package download wiki page

Source Downloads

You can install Plasma 5 directly from source. KDE's community wiki has
instructions to compile it. Note that Plasma 5 does not co-install with Plasma
4, you will need to uninstall older versions or install into a separate prefix.

  • Source Info Page


You can give us feedback and get updates on [fac] Facebook or [twi] Twitter or
● Google+.

Discuss Plasma 5 on the KDE Forums Plasma 5 board.

You can provide feedback direct to the developers via the #Plasma IRC channel,
Plasma-devel mailing list or report issues via bugzilla. If you like what the
team is doing, please let them know!

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

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