KDE Plasma 5.6 Beta Release

Plasma 5.6


Wednesday, 02 March 2016. KDE released a beta update to its desktop software, Plasma 5.6.

This release of Plasma brings many improvements to the task manager, KRunner, activities, and Wayland support as well as a much more refined look and feel.

Slicker Plasma Theme

The default Plasma theme, Breeze, now follows the application color scheme allowing for a more personalized experience. A new ‘Breeze Light’ together with ‘Breeze Dark’ theme can be used to bring back the previous behavior. Additionally, tooltip animations have become more subtle.

Supercharged Task Manager

Copy Progress

Copy Progress

Multitasking has just become easier. The much improved task manager in Plasma 5.6 now displays progress of tasks, such as downloading or copying files.

Media Controls in Panel and Tooltips

Media Controls Media Controls

Smoother Widgets

KRunner Folderview in Panel

Moreover, hovering a music or video player shows beautiful album art and media controls, so you never have to leave the application you’re currently working with. Our media controller applet that shows up during playback also received some updates, notably support for multiple players running simultaneously.

Not only did we improve interacting with running applications, starting applications gets in your way less, too. Using Jump Lists you can launch an application and jump, hence the name, to a specific task right away. This feature is also present in the application launchers.


Weather Widget

Weather Widget

Another feature returns from the old days, the weather widget.






On the road to Wayland


Plasma Using Wayland

With Plasma 5.5 for the first time we shipped a Wayland session for you to try out. While we still do not recommend using Wayland as a daily driver, we’ve made some significant advances:

  • Window decorations are now supported for Wayland clients giving you a beautiful and unified user experience
  • Input handling gained all features you’ve come to know and love from the X11 world, including ‘Focus follows mouse’, Alt + mouse button to move and resize windows, etc
  • Different keyboard layouts and layout switching

Live Images

The easiest way to try it out is with a live image booted off a USB disk. You can find a list of Live Images with Plasma 5 on the KDE Community Wiki.

Package Downloads

Distributions have created, or are in the process of creating, packages listed on our wiki page.

Source Downloads

You can install Plasma 5 directly from source. KDE’s community wiki has instructions to compile it. Note that Plasma 5 does not co-install with Plasma 4, you will need to uninstall older versions or install into a separate prefix.

About Deepak Devanand

Seeker of knowledge
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