KDE releases Plasma 5.6

Also in today's open source roundup: Google will kill its Chrome app launcher for Windows, OS X, and Linux. And Android gets a patch for a critical Linux kernel bug

KDE releases Plasma 5.6

KDE Plasma 5.6 released

KDE is one of the most popular desktop environments for Linux, and now version 5.6 has just been released. KDE Plasma 5.6 offers a slicker Plasma theme, better multitasking, smoother widgets, a weather widget, and other tweaks.

The KDE site has details about version 5.6:

Today KDE releases a feature-packed new version of its desktop user interface, 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.

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.

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.

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.

More at KDE

The release of KDE 5.6 caught the attention of Linux redditors and they shared their thoughts in a long thread:

BeforeTheRobots: "The KDE team really deserves a pat on the back. It's come so far from the initial KDE 4 release. IMO, as far as the "bells and whistles" desktops go, it's the clear winner."

Chrachyrhynchos: "OMGUbuntu reports that it will be available through the kubuntu backports ppa."

Centenary: "The weather widget could really use some work. The dark gray lines makes the widget look out of place and makes it hard to read the text. There is an oddly huge amount of spacing at the bottom. The top of the widget is completely disorganized where all of the important information is in multiple different locations."

Hackfall: "Man, I'm blown away by KDE Connect. Currently using gnome, which is comparatively stagnant in development."

Deathtoferenginar: "I'm still extremely disappointed that theme customization functionality was completely stripped out -- left a lot of us with orphaned theme setups and no simple/sane way to adjust things in the future.

Who the heck would want to go hack-and-paste custom themes as an alternative?

Don't think I've ever followed the suggestions offered post-change, namely, that we hope there's something suitable on KDE-Look (which is itself a dumpster fire) or hope that a pre-existing theme is suitable.

A workaround for a broader and persistent lack of customizability options was "resolved" by removing it; net effect -- you can do even less!

Really wish a compromise where it just warns you about bugs or was broken out into its own manually installable KCM were put into place, or -- y'know -- it'd just been left alone.

Like many others, I had practically zero issues using the tool and understood the minimal risk of theme elements not always playing nice together.

Finally, I'm disappointed that this is the first that I've heard of any changes as a user, and that after the fact.

To find it I not only had to know the KCM had disappeared, but know half the underlying nomenclature to even search for a cause, and with all that ammunition at hand, it still took me 20 minutes on Google and KDE-related pages to discover the reasoning and process.

And that seems to have involved a grand total of three votes, no publicity about the change, and lip service paid as regards to the user; "Well, all us developers agreed!" sounds like…well…Gnome."

Jensreuterberg: "It was broken. What did you want? 'Here have a theme editor that doesn't work at all!' We simply had to either remove it or leave it there like some superfluous third nipple and have people try over and over to change things that simply wouldn't work.

An idea to solve that was, sort of as you propose -- to go and try to make a better theme editor from scratch, which is sorta kinda on the table (check out the plasma-sdk package with some tentative ideas in it concerning that (Plasma theme explorer)) -- but reality comes a-knocking pretty quick and the fact is that there is a tiny tiny amount of devs doing the work of a HUGE number of devs and the theme settings where the least problematic issue to cut of all the things that had to go under the Massive Bonesaw (tm).

It will make a reappearance in some form I am sure -- until then check out Plasma-Sdk, play with the color theme edits available (where you can edit the entire theme using the color edits) and hack on the SVG's if possible.

As for the 'sounds like Gnome' quip: yeah what we have in KDE land is 'those who do the work, define it' -- what "doing the work" means is broader than just programming, it can be bug testing, designing, hell even accounting is part of the work -- but we will be a community of creators doing stuff and sometimes that will show when we have to avoid the bike shedding and simply take the cold, hard and pragmatic choices and sometimes that will hurt a user (like you). But as much as we try to include EVERYONE in KDE in the design process - some things are simply no brainers where a prolonged debate wouldn't lead to much; this was one of them.

There have been a ton of these choices before and … to be totally frank, there will be more in the future -- it simply isn't possible to avoid."

CaptPikel: "I really like xfce but this does look nice. Maybe I'll give it a try."

Swordxh: "While breeze is miles better than oxygen, I feel that the plasma theme is not as good as it could be, for example the Taskbar, app menu, etc use a glossy looking semi transparent white, while the breeze theme for qt/gtk windows is flat and with solid colors; and that's a shame for me because it mines the consistency. "

More at Reddit

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