KDE Plasma 5.26 is out, serving as the latest update to this hugely popular free and open source desktop environment.
And make no bones about it: Plasma 5.26 is a bountiful bug-fix bonanza of a release. There are, as always, a few “blingy” new additions to peruse, prod, or play with, but also a bucketload of refinements that touch nearly every part of the Plasma desktop experience.
Quality matters, and with the KDE user base ballooning in size (thanks to devices like Valve’s Steamdeck) taking some time out to double-down on improving what’s already been built is healthy in the grand scheme.
So let’s recap the changes.
KDE Plasma 5.26 Changes
I’ll kick off this run through with Kickoff, the KDE Plasma desktop’s default app menu.
You can now click any letter header in Kickoff’s “All Applications” view to access a letter picker. From here, you can click on a letter to quickly jump to all installed apps beginning with that it. KickOff also has a new Compact mode which, when enabled, shows more items at-a-glance in list view, and the option to show a custom text label.
Avid fans of Plasmoids will appreciate that panel pop-ups are now resizeable. Just pop your mouse at the edge or corner and pull out. Additionally, resized panel widgets remember whatever size they were previously stretched to. Additionally, KDE say “quite a lot” of Plasma widgets can now be used with a screen reader.
There’s a new Timer widget you can drop on to the desktop to quickly time whatever you need to. The timer widget also supports running a command or action on completion, which is handy way to force yourself to take notice!
The Settings app picks up some wallpaper-related enhancements. You can now preview wallpapers before applying them (click on a wallpaper and the preview updates); you can use different wallpapers based on your colour scheme preference; and set animated images as wallpaper — something I tweeted about recently:
You can also pick from a map when setting a location in the System Settings’ Night Color page, from where you can also now set a day colour/temperature too.
KDE Plasma’s software tool Discover now lets you choose how often you’re notified about new updates; now displays content ratings for apps; and has a new ‘share’ button to make it easier to share cool software you find with other people.
Finally, KDE Plasma 5.26 intros some notable changes to Wayland support, with Plasma Wayland sessions now able to handle graphics tablet configuration, middle-click paste preferences, and beautifully scale apps running on XWayland.
KDE Plasma 5.26 will be rolling out from today on rolling-release distros, but may take a little longer to reach fixed-released distros like Ubuntu (Kubuntu 22.10 is set to ship with Plasma 5.25).