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Plasma 5.27 is released, marking the end of Plasma 5's reign. It's time to hand over the throne!

KDE plasma is one of the top Linux desktop environments. For me, it is the top. Plasma is free, open source, feature-rich, and highly customizable DE. The KDE team develops Plasma extensively and thoughtfully to offer us a fresh and stable desktop experience.
On February 14, the efforts of dozens of KDE developers and contributors in the past months culminated in Plasma 5.27 release.

This article is sponsored by TUXEDOComputers, a German company that produces Linux hardware, notebooks, computers, and more. Always and forever, all ideas and opinions on this website are wholly mine, as my values are not for sale. To learn more, read our Code of Ethics.{alertInfo}

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What is new in KDE Plasma 5.27? 

Plasma 5.27 comes with new features, aesthetic improvements, and productivity enhancements, most notably:
  • New welcome app: The new KDE Welcome application includes eight slides that introduce Plasma's features and help newcomers to set up their system, including adjusting settings, connecting to the network, installing software, and more.
KDE Welcome App
The new welcome app from KDE
  • Brand new tiling system: Verbally, the new tiling system is complex to explain, but practically it is efficient and easy to use. It lets you create a custom tile layout by pressing Super+T and snap windows to it while dragging by holding the Shift key. Also, you can control the gap between areas from the padding setting in the upper right corner.
Plasma 5.27 brand new tiling system
Plasma's brand-new tiling system
  • Improved theme: On the aesthetic front, Plasma 5.27 offers a new classy wallpaper with a dark variant and an improved Breeze theme version that provides a more accurate window outline, which helps prevent dark windows from overlapping visually. Also, to make the visual experience more pleasurable, This release brings a "full-screen blend effect" when manually changing themes.
  • Better settings arrangement: To reduce the number and clean the System Settings pages, the KDE designers moved the "Highlight Changed Settings" option to the hamburger menu, all global volume settings to the Audio page, and the cursor feedback animation (the animation played while an app is launching) to the Cursors page.
Plasma 5.27 system settings arrangement
Better organized system settings
  • More productive Discover: In this release, the Plasma app store, aka Discover, got a new homepage design that offers dynamically updated popular and featured apps. It also got the feature (button) of expanding the search to all application categories in case it can not find a match in the current one.
  • Enhanced KRunner: Now, KRunner returns better-filtered results, suggests a web search if it doesn't find a match, and shows the current time in other locations. It is a great tool that deserves a separate article (I'm working on it).
More powerful KRunner
More powerful KRunner
  • Cleverer widgets: Honestly, Plasma widgets are the number one reason why Plasma is my favorite desktop, and fortunately, they got a lot of improvements in this version, including more color preview circles on Color Picker, offer to install missing support packages when setting up a VPN, display of battery status of connected devices when hovering the cursor over Bluetooth widget, and detection of monitor power usage for NVIDIA GPUs by System Monitor widget.
  • Smoother Wayland: Plasma 5.27 offers a way better Wayland experience with plenty of bug fixes and new features, such as pen tilt and rotation recognization on drawing tablets, high-resolution scroll wheels support, and better automatic screen scaling.
  • Multi-monitor renovation: If you used previous versions of Plasma, your experience with multi-monitor must not have been excellent because this feature suffered from some bugs. The case has changed in Plasma 5.27, as the multi-monitor feature has benefitted from a major renovation to provide a problem-free and smooth experience.
Not only that but Plasma 5.27 also comes with a new module to control Flatpak permissions straight from the system settings and improved support for touchscreens.
Plasma's new module to control Flatpak permissions
Plasma's new module to control Flatpak permissions

Who is the heir to the throne?

Plasma 5.27 is a long-term support (LTS) release, which means it will receive considerable stability improvements and bug fixes during its life cycle, which extends to 2024.
However, it is worth noting that this version is the last of the Plasma 5 series because, as you might have guessed, the next series will be the Plasma 6.

How to get Plasma 5.27 LTS?

Users of rolling distros such as Arch and Fedora are already enjoying the new Plasma experience. That is if they do not forget to update their system!
Ubuntu fans can use the Kubuntu Backports PPA (beta version) to upgrade or wait for Ubuntu 23.04 release in April.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that Plasma 5.27 is now available for KDE Neon users.

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Djalel Oukid

Science teacher, PhD student, Master degree in Microbial biotechnology , Microbiologist, designer, video editor, podcaster & blogger. linkedin portfolio github

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