KDE Plasma 5.21.3 Is Released

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KDE Plasma 5.21.3 contains a long list of smaller fixes for the KDE Plasma desktop environment version 5.21 released in February. The Plasma update comes a week after the KDE Frameworks libraries version 5.80 was released with a wide range of improvements to the various libraries the KDE Plasma desktop uses to build its various components.

written by 권유리 (Kwon Yu-ri)  2021-03-18 - last edited 2021-03-23. © CC BY

The KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment. Video by Niccoló, Áron and Skye, Music by Fluxoid — Solitude. Licensed under CC-BY.

KDE Plasma 5.23.3 comes on the heels of KDE Frameworks 5.80.0 released on March 13th. The KDE Frameworks is a collection of libraries, KDE Plasma is a desktop environment based on those libraries.

KDE Frameworks 5.80.0 had a lot of smaller fixes in a wide range of areas and some really big updates to KTextEditor, KIO, Kirigami, the Plasma Framework, QQC2StyleBridge and the Syntax Highlighting support. It added support for document IDs, like Red Star OS has, to the Baloo file indexing daemon, new icons for the double-entry bookkeeping program KMyMoney to the Breeze icon theme, new CMake modules, cuteHMI support to the KDE Doxygen Tools, some bug-fixes to KCoreAddons and some new Islamic holidays to KHolidays and KImageFormats got a fix for loading non-square Radiance/RGBE/.hdr images correctly.

KIO (KDE Input/Output) is a rather big API the KDE Plasma desktop and applications built on the KDE Frameworks use to access files over a broad range of websites. It is why text editors like KWrite and Kate can magically open remote files over ssh, samba and many other protocols. KDE Frameworks 5.80.0 added KIO support for the mailto: protocol, file previews were improved in several areas, FreeBSD support was improved, it fixed a potential buffer overflow in the rename dialog and MIME types are now shown as tooltips in file dialogs.

The Kirigami user interface framework for phones, TVs and "everything in between" got a very long list of improvements in KDE Frameworks 5.80.0. It's not exclusively used by mobile devices, it is also used by a few multi-platform applications with Linux desktop versions. Kirigami now supports toolbars on standalone pages, better sheet contents resizing, tooltips for drawer handles and it has a new completely re-worked basic theme. It also got a long list of touch and Android-specific improvements.

KWrite showing arch/x86/kvm/kvm-amd.mod.c from Linux Kernel 5.11.6. KWrite itself is a very tiny program, all the heavy lifting is done by the KDE Frameworks library. It provides the text editor itself, the spell checking functionality, the syntax highlighting, the file picker and as good as all of the rest of the functionality KWrite has.

The KTextEditor element was also improved in KDE Frameworks 5.80.0. Trailing spaces on unmodified lines are now removed by default, there's a new regression test for matching adjacent brackets ([]) and several improvements to the Vim mode. KTextEditor is used by all kinds of KDE-based editors like KWrite and Kate. Syntax highlighting was also improved.

KDE Frameworks 5.80.0 improved the Plasma Framework libraries as well. Many of the elements that make up the KDE Plasma desktop environment use those libraries. Those libraries got support for adaptive transparency, better support for the ancient .ico icon format and a lot of adjustment to make them match what the Kirigami libraries do. The adaptive transparency support did not make it into KDE Plasma 5.21.3, those changes are scheduled for KDE Plasma 5.22 which will be released at a later date.

The KDE teams full announcement for the KDE Frameworks 5.80.0, with more details, can be read at kde.org/announcements/frameworks/5/5.80.0/.

The KDE Plasma Desktop version 5.21.2 showing the Dolphin file manager, the SMPlayer video player playing 2NE1s wonderful hit "Come Back Home" and the KDE Plasma desktop environment itself. The calculator in the background is a Plasma Widget on the desktop, not a separate application.

KDE Plasma 5.21.3, released on March 16th, contained a long list of box-fixes for the many individual components that make up the KDE Plasma desktop environment. The Plasma Workspace got the "Force Font DPI" box, which was removed by accident, back in the Wayland edition, proper form factor filtering and a better positioned image wallpaper combo-box. The system system module got a fix for the icons in the sidebar, the plasma desktop got a small change that allows faster keyboard repeat rates and a fix for a memory leak when a joystick input device is used and the Info Center got a fix for how columns are shown under Wayland.

The complete changelog for KDE Plasma 5.21.3 is available at https://kde.org/announcements/changelogs/plasma/5/5.21.2-5.21.3/.

GNU/Linux distributions focusing KDE Plasma will likely get both the KDE Frameworks 5.80.0 update and the KDE Plasma 5.21.3 update within a week or so. It is possible to compile it all if you want it right away, but it is probably not worth the hassle. Compiling all of KDE takes so long that there will probably be distribution-made packages available by the time you are done - unless you have a top-notch Threadripper or something like that.

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