KDE Plasma 5.13 Is Here

Jun 13, 2018

The desktop environment is designed to be more resource efficient.

The KDE Project has announced the release of Plasma 5.13, the latest version of its desktop environment. KDE is known for its modular design and under-the-hood customization. However, at times these benefits come at the cost of resource efficiency. But as KDE is targeting mobile devices, this release takes advantage of that work and has been optimized to run smoothly on under-powered ARM laptops, high-end gaming PCs, and everything in between. Resource efficiency also means that on powerful machines, more resources will be free for applications instead of being consumed by the desktop itself.

Web browsers are the gateway to the Internet; Plasma 5.13 comes with browser integration that allows users to monitor and control supported browsers, including Chrome/Chromium and Firefox, from the desktop widget. Users will be able to play and pause media playing in web browsers, offering users better control over not only their own entertainment, but also to control annoying autoplaying videos embedded on websites.

The community has also improved the KDE Connect experience; users can now send links directly to phone using KDE Connect. The Media Control Widget has been redesigned with added support for the MPRIS specification, which means media players can now be controlled from the media controls in the desktop tray or from a phone using KDE Connect.

On the security side, Vaults, Plasma's storage encryption utility, includes a new CryFS backend,
better error reporting, a more polished interface, and the ability to remotely open and close vaults via KDE Connect.

KDE already had good multi-monitor support, where you could even choose a customized layout for each monitor. The 5.13 release makes it easier to connect external monitors. When a new external monitor is connected, a dialog pops up offering the option to control the position of the additional monitor in correlation to the primary monitor.

The desktop has also received some visual upgrades, from the login screen to icons. Plasma 5.13 will appear in different distributions depending on their own release cycle, but users can test the latest release with KDE’s own distribution called “neon”. openSUSE Tumbleweed and Arch Linux will be among the first to offer this release.

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