KDE 5.21 is released! This is what's new.


The KDE community has announced the release of new version 5.21 of the popular Linux desktop interface with lots of new features and bug fixes, this release focuses specifically on improving the look and usability of the Plasma desktop environment.



The first highlight of the KDE 5.21 is the completely new Application Launcher (Kickoff) that enables you to find, reach, and run your apps faster and easier. The new launcher features two panes to make it simple to locate your programs and comes with an improved keyboard, mouse, and touch input, the Support for languages with right-to-left writing (such as Japanese and Arabic) has also improved, and the new Application Launcher included an alphabetical “All Applications” view, a grid view for your favorite tools, and placed all the power actions (“Sleep”, “Restart”, “Shut Down”, etc.) at the bottom of the launcher pop-up so that you can find them more easily. The new app launcher comes with a lot of fixes to the bugs that users report during the Beta testing stage and if you prefer the old Kickoff you can download it from KDE's software store.

Continuing with enhancements to the look and feel, applications using Plasma’s default theme now have a refreshed color scheme and sport a new unified header bar style with a new clean and look, as well as a new theme named 'Breeze Twilight' that is a combination of a dark theme for Plasma and a light theme for applications has been added to the default Plasma selection themes.


The Plasma System Monitor app, is a brand-new app for monitoring system resources, and is now an integral part of the Plasma desktop, and it gives an overview page containing information on important core resources, such as memory, disk space, network, and CPU utilization, and also provides a quick view of the applications consuming the most resources which permits you easily locate and zap applications or processes that are slowing your computer down. The Applications page shows you all the running applications along with detailed statistics and graphs, the Process page is also available for per-process information, and the History page shows the evolution of the use of your machine’s resources over time. Finally, you can also create your own new customized pages using the page editor, this lets you tailor the information you get from your system to your needs.

KDE is pushing to have first-class support for Wayland, and Plasma 5.21 makes massive progress towards reaching that goal, more core components getting better support in Wayland like KRunner, the system panel, and the GTK 4 applications are working correctly as well, the compositing code in KWin has been reworked to reduce latency throughout all compositing operations, and you can choose whether you prefer lower latency or smoother animations in a control in the compositing settings, the virtual keyboard in Wayland has been improved and now supports GTK applications using the text-input-v3 protocol, initial support for multiple GPUs has also been added in Wayland, you can also set a per-display different refresh rate, which is very useful when you have a workstation with multiple monitors 



Plasma 5.21 brings a new page to System Settings: the Plasma Firewall settings. This configuration module lets you set up and configure a firewall for your system, and provides a simplified way of configuring both UFW and firewalld, two of the most used firewall systems in Linux.

Multiple pre-existing configuration pages have been completely rewritten like Accessibility, Desktop Session, and SDDM configuration modules, and they are now cleaner and easier to use.

 The Media Player widget’s layout has been improved and now includes the list of applications currently playing music in the header as a tab bar, and the album cover now takes up the whole width of the widget, and Plasma Mobile gains two new components with this release to improve Plasma usability on mobiles and tablets, the Discover app center supports unattended updates now, and you can now pin the KRunner launcher to prevent it to not close automatically, the sound applet now displays the live microphone volume, and the Digital Clock applet gains better support for time zones.

These are the most significant changes in KDE Plasma 5.21, and you can check the complete update change log on this page, or you can try this massive release by downloading the KDE neon Unstable Edition or waiting for some time until it becomes available on your Linux distribution repositories.

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