KDE Plasma 5

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KDE Plasma 5
The KDE Plasma 5 desktop
The KDE Plasma 5 desktop
Initial release15 July 2014; 5 years ago (2014-07-15)[1]
Stable release5.17.1 (22 October 2019; 1 day ago (2019-10-22)) [±][2]
Preview release5.17 Beta (19 September 2019; 34 days ago (2019-09-19)) [±][3]
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inC++, QML
Operating systemUnix-like
TypeDesktop environment

KDE Plasma 5 is the fifth and current generation of the graphical workspaces environment created by KDE primarily for Linux systems. KDE Plasma 5 is the successor of KDE Plasma 4 and was first released on 15 July 2014.[1][4][5] It includes a new default theme, known as "Breeze", as well as increased convergence across different devices. The graphical interface was fully migrated to QML, which uses OpenGL for hardware acceleration, which resulted in better performance and reduced power consumption.[1][4]


KDE's mascot Konqi and Plasma desktop

Software architecture[edit]

KDE Plasma 5 is built using Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5,[6] predominantly plasma-framework.[7]

It improves support for HiDPI displays and ships a convergable graphical shell, which can adjust itself according to the device in use. 5.0 also includes a new default theme, dubbed Breeze. Changes under the hood include the migration to a new, fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack centered on an OpenGL(ES)-based scene graph (canvas). Plasma 5 completes the migration of KDE Plasma 4 to QtQuick. Qt 5's QtQuick 2 uses a hardware-accelerated OpenGL(ES) scenegraph to compose and render graphics on the screen, which allows for the offloading of computationally expensive graphics rendering tasks onto the GPU, which frees up resources on the system's main CPU, and is faster and more power efficient.[1]

Windowing systems[edit]

KDE Plasma 5 uses the X Window System, but support for Wayland is under development.[1] Initial support for Wayland was made available in the 5.4 release.[8] Stable support for a basic Wayland session was provided in the 5.5 release (December 2015).[9]


Since the split of the KDE Software Compilation into KDE Plasma, KDE Frameworks and KDE Applications, each subproject can develop at its own pace.[10] KDE Plasma 5 is on its own release schedule, with feature releases every three-to-four months, and bugfix releases in the intervening months.

Desktop features[edit]

KDE Plasma running on Arch Linux, with Konsole and Dolphin
  • Krunner – Search feature with several available plugins. In addition to quick launching apps, it searches files and folders, and performs numerous other tasks such as foreign currency conversion and measurement conversion. It also functions as a calculator.[11]
  • Activities – "virtual desktops", which have their own layouts and wallpapers. They can be named and navigated through the Activities menu.
  • Customize desktops, layouts and panels on multiple monitors
  • Widgets, called "Plasmoids", can be added to the panel or desktop
  • Dolphin file manager – bulk rename files, can be customized through "service menus" that add new functions to the context menu[12]
  • Session Management
  • Spectacle – for making screenshots

Plasma Mobile[edit]

Plasma Mobile
Plasma Mobile logo.svg
Developer(s)KDE, Blue Systems
Preview release
2016-10-25 / 25 October 2016; 2 years ago (2016-10-25)[13]
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inC++, QML
Operating systemLinux

Plasma Mobile is a Plasma variant for smartphones.[14]

After Plasma Active sponsor Coherent Theory (under the Make·Play·Live brand)[15][16] had given up their ambitions to release a tablet computer,[17] Blue Systems emerged as new sponsor and shifted the focus of Plasma's handheld work towards smartphones.[18][19]

The official announcement of the new form-factor interface was on 25 July 2015 at Akademy, accompanied by a working prototype running on a Nexus 5.[14] Plasma Mobile runs on Wayland and it is compatible with Ubuntu Touch applications[18] and eventually Android applications[20] via KDE's Shashlik project – also sponsored by Blue Systems,[21][22] or Anbox.

It is also available for the Nexus 5 and Nexus 5X,[23] as well as supported devices on postmarketOS.


The first Technology Preview of Plasma 5 (at that time called Plasma 2) was released on 13 December 2013.[24] On 15 July 2014, the first release version – Plasma 5.0 – saw the light of day.[1] In spring 2015, Plasma 5 replaced Plasma 4 in many popular distributions, such as Fedora 22,[25] Kubuntu 15.04,[26] and openSUSE Tumbleweed.[27]


Feature releases are released every four months (up to 5.8 every three months) and bugfix releases in the intervening months.[10] Following version 5.8 LTS KDE plans to support each new LTS version for 18 months with bug fixes, while new regular releases will see feature improvements.[28]

Plasma 5 releases
Version Date Key features
Old version, no longer supported: 5.0[1] 15 Jul 2014 First release.
Old version, no longer supported: 5.1[29] 15 Oct 2014 Ported missing features from Plasma 4.
Old version, no longer supported: 5.2[30] 27 Jan 2015 New components:
  • BlueDevil: intends to integrate the Bluetooth technology within Plasma and KDE Applications.
  • KSSHAskPass: front-end for ssh-add which stores the password of the ssh key in KWallet
  • Muon: A collection of package management tools for Debian-based systems, using the apt-xapian index and the Synaptic search algorithm
  • sddm-kcm.git: config module for SDDM themes
  • KScreen: KDE's most current screen management software[31] Well integrated, hooks into KDE System Settings, makes use of KDE Daemon and KGlobalAccel; there is libkscreen.git for it.
  • kde-gtk-config.git GTK+ 2 and 3 style configuration
  • KDecoration: KDecoration2 is a plugin-based library to create window decorations. These window decorations can be used by for example an X11 based window manager which re-parents a client window to a window decoration frame.
Old version, no longer supported: 5.3[32] 28 Apr 2015 Tech preview of Plasma Media Center. New Bluetooth and touchpad applets. Enhanced power management.
Old version, no longer supported: 5.4[33] 25 Aug 2015 Initial Wayland session,[8] new QML-based audio volume applet, and alternative full-screen application launcher.[34]
Old version, no longer supported: 5.5[35] 8 Dec 2015 Improved Wayland support.[36][37]
Old version, no longer supported: 5.6[38] 22 Mar 2016 Increased security.[39]
Old version, no longer supported: 5.7[40] 5 Jul 2016 Wayland: "basic workflows now fully functional". Automatic virtual keyboard.[40]
Old version, no longer supported: 5.8 LTS[41] 4 Oct 2016 Long Term Support version.[42][43]
Old version, no longer supported: 5.9[44] 31 Jan 2017 Wayland improvements,[45] global menu support.[46]
Old version, no longer supported: 5.10[47] 30 May 2017 Performance improvements.[48]
Old version, no longer supported: 5.11[49] 7 Nov 2017 System Settings redesign.[49] Notification history.[49] Added Plasma Vaults.[50] Wayland improvements.[51]
Older version, yet still supported: 5.12 LTS[52] 6 Feb 2018 Increased stability and speed. Wayland improvements.[52]
Old version, no longer supported: 5.13[53] 12 Jun 2018 Integration with non-KDE web browsers; new lock and login screens; improved Discover appearance; new screen layout selection dialog upon connection of a new screen.[54]
Old version, no longer supported: 5.14[55] 9 Oct 2018 GTK global menu integration. Wayland improvements.[55]
Old version, no longer supported: 5.15[56] 12 Feb 2019 Wayland now supports virtual desktops, touch drag-and-drop; and foundations: XdgStable, XdgPopups and XdgDecoration protocols are now fully implemented.[56]
Old version, no longer supported: 5.16[57] 11 Jun 2019 Revamped notification system with Do Not Disturb, grouping in history, critical notifications in fullscreen apps, and better file transfer progress notifications; support for the NVIDIA proprietary driver on Wayland; full support for WireGuard VPNs; full touchpad configurability on X11 with Libinput; modernized login, lock, and logout screens; UI improvements throughout Plasma and Discover[57]
Current stable version: 5.17[58] 15 Oct 2019 Night Color available for X11. Plasma now recognizes when a program is running in full-screen mode and prevents pop-ups. Wayland: Plasma now comes with fractional scaling.[58]
5.18 LTS[59] 11 Feb 2020 Currently in development.
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release



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External links[edit]