Plasma 6, Frameworks 6 and new applications. The revolution comes to KDE

Plasma 6 in KDE neon

Although here in Ubunlog We cover much more of the Linux world, the central topic of the blog is Ubuntu. Ubuntu is all the official flavors and those based on them, and Kubuntu is Ubuntu with a KDE desktop. The launch that occurred yesterday should make users of this flavor happy because of all the new things it brings, but at the same time they may feel some impatience because they will not be able to use plasma 6 nor anything about the Mega-Launch until October of this year... at the very least.

Months ago, KDE started writing about this multiple landing as the Mega-Release, sometimes under that name and other times as the KDE Mega-Release 6 or something similar. The name is not important. The important thing is what it includes, and in addition to a major (very) update to the graphical environment, there is a jump to Frameworks 6 and a new set of applications to complete the package. Many new features that we are going to try to summarize.

Plasma 6.0 arrives with many default changes and preparing the future

A little over a year ago I arrive Plasma 5.27 with new features such as the advanced system for stacking windows, and introduced great improvements. A year after using all that, when it has become everyday, you come to know little and no news was missing. And yes there are.

Many of them will be entered by default. Starting with this Plasma 6.0, the Wayland session will be the one used by default, although it is still possible to boot into X11. Other default changes include the floating bottom panel (header image), the overview has been merged with the grid view and we now have something similar to what is in GNOME and the task switcher now switches to showing cards, leaving behind the side panel that we saw until now. We will not notice other default changes in all Linux distributions, but we will notice them in KDE neon: now a click on Dolphin selects it and does not open.

There are things that are not seen, but are felt or intuited. Performance has improved and the foundations have also been laid for changes that will come in the medium-term future. In that future, KDE considers that Plasma is already mature enough to release fewer versions per year, going from the current 3-4 to releasing only two like GNOME does. That would be when the bad news for Kubuntu users became unbeatable: normal releases every 6 months are likely to always use the latest version of Plasma. But this has nothing to do with the Mega-Launch.

There's still more

The colors have received care:

  • Plasma in Wayland now has partial support for High Dynamic Range (HDR). On supported monitors and software, this will give you richer, deeper colors for your games, videos, and visual creations.
  • Set up an ICC profile for each screen individually and Plasma will adjust the colors accordingly. Apps are still limited to the sRGB color space, but we are working to increase the number of supported color spaces soon.
  • To improve the accessibility of Plasma, we have added support for color blindness correction filters. This helps with protanopia, deuteranopia or tritanopia.

February 2024 Applications

Last December we should have received KDE Gear 23.12.0, but the schedule did not match. If we had released them at that time, this February we would have had to receive KDE Gear 23.12.2, and none of that was prepared for Plasma 6, Frameworks 6 and the Qt6 that already uses KDE neon. Therefore they decided to wait and do a dance of dates that will continue, if I'm not mistaken, until August of this year.

What they gave us in the Mega-Launch was KDE Gear 24.02.0, and new features have been introduced such as:

  • Improvements to Kontact, KMail, KOrganizer and Kleopatra.
  • The interior map of Itinerary now shows all the services of the building or area we are viewing at that moment. This helps you find a place to have a coffee at a large train station or a place to eat near the hotel. This function is based on OpenStreetMap, it works without having to connect to the Internet and the search terms do not leave the device.
  • Several KDE Education applications have moved up to Qt6.
  • Kdenlive has further improved its subtitles feature, allowing you to incorporate multiple subtitles into a single track. This is especially useful for videos that require subtitles in multiple languages. There is also the option to import and export subtitles.
  • Accessibility improvements in Dolphin.
  • Spectacle now displays an icon in the system tray while recording, and allows you to record an area that you previously select.
  • PlasmaTube is also compatible with Piped and PeerTube. In addition, it offers a PiP option.

All of this is already available, but at the moment it can only be installed by compiling the code yourself or in KDE neon.

More information on release note.

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