New Plasma brings a cleaner interface on top of a new graphics stack
Major changes in this new version include:
The new Breeze theme is a high-contrast, flat theme for the workspace. It is available in light and dark variants. Simpler and more monochromatic graphics assets and typography-centered layouts offer a clean and visually clear user experience.
Plasma's user interfaces are rendered on top of an OpenGL or OpenGL ES scenegraph, offloading many of the computational-intensive rendering tasks. This allows for higher framerates and smoother graphics display while freeing up resources of the main system processor.
Other user-visible changes are:
- Converged shell
The "converged Plasma shell" that loads up the desktop in Plasma 5.0 can be extended with other user experiences. This lays the base for a converged user experience bringing up a suitable UI for a given target device. User experiences can be switched dynamically at runtime, allowing, based on hardware events such as plugging in a keyboard and a mouse.
The application launchers' user interfaces have been reworked. Among the changes are a visually redesigned Kickoff application launcher, a newly included, more menu-like launcher, called Kicker and a new, QtQuick-based interface for KRunner.
Workflow improvements in the notification area
The notification area has been cleaned up, and sports a more integrated look now. Less popup windows and quicker transitions between for example power management and networks settings lead to a more distraction-free interaction pattern and greater visual coherence.
Better support for high-density (high-DPI) displays
Support for high-density displays has been improved. Many parts of the UI now take the physical size of the display into account. This leads to better usability and display on screens with very small pixels, such as Retina displays.
The Plasma 5.0 Visual Feature Guide provides a tour around the updated desktop.
Breeze Artwork Improves Visual clarity
Plasma 5 brings a greater level of flexibility and consistency to core components of the desktop. The widget explorer, window and activity switcher now share a common interaction scheme. More reliance on vertical instead of horizontal lists provides better usability. Moving the window switcher to the side of the screen shifts the user's focus towards the applications and documents, clearing the stage for the task at hand.
Converging User Experience
On top of that, the Plasma 5 shell is able to load and switch between user experiences for a given target device, introducing a truly convergent workspace shell. The workspace demonstrated in this release is Plasma Desktop. It represents an evolution of known desktop and laptop paradigms. A tablet-centric and mediacenter user experience are under development as alternatives. While Plasma 5.0 will feel familiar, users will notice a more modern and consistent, cleaner workspace experience.
Fully Hardware-Accelerated Graphics Stack
Internal changes in the graphics compositor and underlying Frameworks prepare support for running on Wayland, which is planned for an upcoming release.
Suitability and Updatesknown issues. Users can expect monthly bugfix updates, and a release bringing new features and more old ones back in the autumn 2014.
With a substantial new toolkit stack below some exciting new crashes and problems that need time to be shaken out are to be expected in a first stable release. Especially graphics performance is heavily dependent on specific hardware and software configurations and usage patterns. While it has great potential, it takes time to wrangle this out of it. The underlying stack may not be entirely ready for this either. In many scenarios, Plasma 5.0 will display the buttery smooth performance it is capable of - while at other times, it may be hampered by various shortcomings. These can and will be addressed, however, much is dependent on components like Qt, Mesa and hardware drivers lower in the stack.
Installing and providing feedback
Before installation, it is recommended to read the list of known issues.Neon 5 ISO, a live OS image updated with the latest builds straight from source.
Some distributions have created, or are in the process of creating, packages; for an overview of 5.0 packages, see our distribution packages wiki page
Source download. You can install Plasma 5.0 directly from source. KDE's community wiki has instructions for compiling it. Note that Plasma 5 does not co-install with Plasma 4.x, you will need to uninstall older versions or install into a separate prefix.
You can provide feedback either via the #Plasma IRC channel, Plasma-devel mailing list or report issues via bugzilla. Plasma 5 is also discussed on the KDE Forums. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. If you like what the team is doing, please let them know!
KDE is a Free Software community that exists and grows only because of the help of many volunteers that donate their time and effort. KDE is always looking for new volunteers and contributions, whether it is help with coding, bug fixing or reporting, writing documentation, translations, promotion, money, etc. All contributions are gratefully appreciated and eagerly accepted. Please read through the Supporting KDE page for further information or become a KDE e.V. supporting member through our Join the Game initiative.
KDE is an international technology team that creates free and open source software for desktop and portable computing. Among KDE's products are a modern desktop system for Linux and UNIX platforms, comprehensive office productivity and groupware suites and hundreds of software titles in many categories including Internet and web applications, multimedia, entertainment, educational, graphics and software development. KDE software is translated into more than 60 languages and is built with ease of use and modern accessibility principles in mind. KDE's full-featured applications run natively on Linux, BSD, Solaris, Windows and Mac OS X.
Trademark Notices. KDE® and the K Desktop Environment® logo are registered trademarks of KDE e.V. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks and copyrights referred to in this announcement are the property of their respective owners.
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