KDE Plasma 5.21 is here, "something nice" and most importantly: powerful

Original note from: MuyLinux
To read the original in Spanish by J Pomeyrol, click here

Complying as always with the expected release date, KDE Plasma 5.21 is here, a new version of the desktop whose main purpose is to “improve the appearance and usability of Plasma” … That said so may sound a little, but nothing more far from reality: as is usual in this project, the changes are counted in the hundreds, although there are larger and smaller ones.

Thus, in the official announcement of KDE Plasma 5.21 they are reduced to presenting the highlights, while many of the improvements that this release contains are under the hood, which is where they belong. But among the highlights there are very interesting news and I am going to focus on them, as I did with the previous version: with a little criticism, which never hurts.

Why? For two reasons: the first, because the official announcement is already translated and repeating the same with other words is not very interesting, I think; and the second, because I am using KDE neon, where Plasma 5.21 is already available and as I describe the news, I can give a point of view that makes this article more attractive. Go for it.

KDE Plasma 5.21

The motto of this version is “we have done something nice” and I agree: Plasma 5.21 is a step in the right direction and there is nothing wrong with focusing on aesthetics, as they already offer an environment full of functionalities and very polished by the general. But everything has room for improvement.

The first thing that catches your attention when you log into Plasma 5.21 - assuming you have not updated and you have already configured it to your liking, in which case you will find it exactly the same - is the new wallpaper, with a somewhat hackneyed style, but really nice, at the level of Plasma 5.19. If you like it, you can download it in all its resolutions on this page.


The next thing that jumps out in Plasma 5.21 is the new default applications menu, which we already gave you a preview of last month. In short, Kickoff (that’s its name) is renewed adopting a more panoramic double-pane layout, with the list of categories on the left and applications on the right; perhaps a minor detail, but that is not and that differentiates it from the majority of menus that can be seen on the Linux desktop.

The menu has a favorites section in which the applications are shown in grid mode, although they can be configured in list mode from the widget preferences, which is how the rest are seen. It allows to exchange between applications and places, including the history of applications and files and recently used applications and the shutdown options are in the lower strip; and allows you to sort all items alphabetically.

As noted in the announcement, this menu improves support for right-to-left languages, and since its introduction, they have fixed most of the bugs reported by users. I hope that among what remains to be solved is the possibility of scrolling through the categories panel with the mouse wheel; and we could ask for an option to remove the shutdown options from view, which would not be bad, because it is a bit overloaded.

Personally I consider -except for the aforementioned details- the design of this new menu to be correct and I am already using it, but whoever thinks otherwise, don’t worry, because this is KDE and by default the desktop offers three other menus pre-installed by default as well as a bunch of other clicks that can be installed from the KDE Store, including the old Kickoff.

Breeze Twilight

Another refreshing new to Plasma 5.21 is the new global theme Breeze Twilight, even though it is actually a slightly modified mix of existing themes.

Trying to explain it quickly: the default theme for Plasma is still Breeze, which is distinguished by being a light theme, with the exception of using a darker color for the window bar. To this theme are added Dark Breeze and Light Breeze, which is like the first, but without the dark color in the window bar … Or rather it was, because in this version the coloring has been subtly modified and now it is something stronger.

Well, Breeze Twilight consists of Dark Breeze for Plasma and Light Breeze for applications. This is how it looks:

System monitor

If you liked the menu change, that of the new system monitor is not far behind, because compared to KSysGuard, the application that it has replaced, it is much more attractive to the eye, more easily modifiable and extensible. But not everything is good.

Simply called System Monitor, it is made up of a summary view that shows data such as memory, disk, CPU, network and system and applications in a very visual way, all accessible in much more detail in different sections. And almost everything is editable and extensible based on widgets. This app is indeed a world unto itself, so let me get to grips with it before I speak further, because there is plenty to say.

The big problem with this system monitor, however, is its consumption, which can be three times that of KSysGuard with just a couple of options. It was already warned about it during its development and it does not seem to have improved the matter much. We will have to wait for them to improve it, because having a resource control application sucking your resources does not sound very good. Perhaps this is why KSysGuard has not moved from your site.

So let’s give it time. This is how it looks:

Other novelties

KDE Plasma 5.21 comes with more news, although they are not as striking as those we have already seen. Highlight:

  • The System Preferences, which continues to refine its different sections -sometimes, getting a bit dizzy with the changes- and which adds a new firewall configuration module compatible with UFW and firewalld.
  • New look for the Plasma media player, that is, the widget that is anchored in the system tray.
  • Discover adds the option of unattended updates, very useful for managing third-party computers.
  • KRunner adds a button to keep it open even if the focus goes the other way, in the style of widgets like the calendar and others.
  • Sound applet (systray widget) now shows live microphone volume

Finally, KDE Plasma 5.21 also represents a significant advance in the support of Wayland, both in terms of desktop components, as through options to calibrate latency and animations, support for configurations with multiple monitors at different rates of soda and others. This, of course, will have to be tested to assess it.

We close the note with the official KDE Plasma 5.21 presentation video.


Durante mucho tiempo fui de Gnome o Deepin porque KDE me recordaba a Windows y me daba problemas de tearing. Actualmente con un nuevo pc (sin problemas de tearing) y las continuas mejoras de KDE le considero el más completo y productivo escritorio.

Ahora estoy utilizando KDE también.


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