|Initial release||15 July 2014|
|Stable release||5.22.1 (15 June 2021)|
|Preview release||5.22 Beta (13 May 2021)|
|Written in||C++, QML|
|Platform||FreeBSD and Linux|
|Predecessor||KDE Plasma 4|
|License||GPL 2.0 or later|
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.
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.
Plasma Mobile is a Plasma 5 variant for Linux-based smartphones.
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. Qt 5's QtQuick 2 uses a hardware-accelerated OpenGL(ES) scene graph (canvas) to compose and render graphics on the screen, which allows for the offloading of computationally expensive graphics rendering tasks onto the GPU, freeing up resources on the system's main CPU.
KDE Plasma 5.0 uses the X Window System. Support for Wayland was prepared in the compositor and planned for a later release. It was made initially available in the 5.4 release. Stable support for a basic Wayland session was provided in the 5.5 release (December 2015).
Support for NVIDIA proprietary driver for Plasma on Wayland was added in the 5.16 release (June 2019).
Since the split of the KDE Software Compilation into KDE Plasma, KDE Frameworks and KDE Applications, each subproject can develop at its own pace. KDE Plasma 5 is on its own release schedule, with feature releases every three-to-four months, and bugfix releases in the intervening months.
The first Technology Preview of Plasma 5 (at that time called Plasma 2) was released on 13 December 2013. On 15 July 2014, the first release version – Plasma 5.0 – saw the light of day. In spring 2015, Plasma 5 replaced Plasma 4 in many popular distributions, such as Fedora 22, Kubuntu 15.04, and openSUSE Tumbleweed.
Feature releases are released every four months (up to 5.8 every three months) and bugfix releases in the intervening months. 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.
|Plasma 5 releases|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.0||15 Jul 2014||First release.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.1||15 Oct 2014||Ported missing features from Plasma 4.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.2||27 Jan 2015||New components:
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.3||28 Apr 2015||Tech preview of Plasma Media Center. New Bluetooth and touchpad applets. Enhanced power management.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.4||25 Aug 2015||Initial Wayland session, new QML-based audio volume applet, and alternative full-screen application launcher.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.5||8 Dec 2015||Improved Wayland support.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.6||22 Mar 2016||Increased security.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.7||5 Jul 2016||Wayland: "basic workflows now fully functional". Automatic virtual keyboard.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.8 LTS||4 Oct 2016||Long Term Support version.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.9||31 Jan 2017||Wayland improvements, global menu support.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.10||30 May 2017||Performance improvements.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.11||7 Nov 2017||System Settings redesign. Notification history. Added Plasma Vaults. Wayland improvements.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.12 LTS||6 Feb 2018||Increased stability and speed. Wayland improvements.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.13||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.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.14||9 Oct 2018||GTK global menu integration. Wayland improvements.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.15||12 Feb 2019||Wayland now supports virtual desktops, touch drag-and-drop; and foundations: XdgStable, XdgPopups and XdgDecoration protocols are now fully implemented.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.16||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|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.17||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.|
|Older version, yet still maintained: 5.18 LTS||11 Feb 2020||Easier system settings. Interactive notifications. Emojis. New wallpapers. Improved GTK app integration.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.19||9 Jun 2020||New system monitoring widgets. New Info Center app. Improved System Tray visuals and interaction. Timezones visible in clock pop-up. Inline reply function for notifications from supported apps. Global animation speed setting.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.20||13 Oct 2020||S.M.A.R.T. disk monitoring. "Highlight changed settings" feature in System Settings. Icons-Only Task Manager and clock shows date by default. Redesigned status OSDs. More options and improvements for switching between grouped Task Manager tasks. Window corner-tiling shortcuts. Adjustable per-channel audio balance. Middle-click on notifications icon to enter Do Not Disturb mode. Wayland: support for screencasting, shared clipboard, middle-click paste, window thumbnails, and adjusting the scrolling speed.|
|Old version, no longer maintained: 5.21||16 Feb 2021||New application launcher. Applications theme improvements (unified headerbar). Breeze Twilight, a new variant of Breeze with a mix of dark and light scheme. New Plasma System Monitor. Code refactor for KWin and Wayland with support for virtual keyboard on GTK applications. New Plasma Firewall menu and improved System Settings. Media Player widget's layout has been improved and now includes the list of applications currently playing music in the header as a tab bar.|
|Current stable version: 5.22||8 Jun 2021||Adaptive Transparency to the panel, improved applets and widgets, improvements to KRunner, Plasma Wayland sessions improved.|
|Future release: 5.23|
Plasma 6: According to the official schedule, "Following 5.18 LTS, our next Plasma 5 LTS will likely be at the same time as the first Plasma 6 release, no date has been set yet".