- The KDE Project has announced the release of KDE Plasma 5.26 beta, which is expected to reach its final state in October.
- KDE Plasma 5.26 beta comes with improvements toward TV-focused usage with a new Bigscreen interface and Aura Browser, Plank Player.
- The beta version of the desktop environment also lands a bunch of improvements in Discover, Kickoff, and System Settings.
The popular desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems, KDE Plasma, is about to receive a new update, which is expected to be released on the 11th of October this year. The KDE Project has made available the beta release of this version, 5.26, which comes with some interesting stuff, for testing and reporting purposes.
Bigscreen for big TVs
KDE Plasma 5.26 beta introduces Plasma Bigscreen that aims the use on televisions, which reminds us of Steam’s Big Picture feature. It provides an alternative interface to KDE Plasma that enables users to easily see and navigate through applications without the need for a mouse.
The Bigscreen interface comes with the new Aura browser, which also aims for the same, easy navigation as the Bigscreen. Additionally, KDE Plasma 5.26 beta delivers Plank Player as the default media player that can handle local files. Bigscreen, Aura Browser, and Plank Player are currently only available on Arm releases since they aim for TVs and TV-connected multimedia devices.
KDE Plasma 5.26 beta comes with a bunch of changes in Systems Settings. Plasma 5.26 is now capable of running animated images as wallpapers as well as defining two different wallpapers for dark and light modes. It is now also possible to define your location manually for automatic dark and light mode switching.
Improvements in Discover and Kickoff
There are improvements in Discover, the application store for KDE Plasma as well. It now shows content ratings for applications, lets the user change the name while submitting reviews, grants a setting for update notification frequency, and provides a new Share button on each app’s details pages.
KDE Plasma’s app launcher, Kickoff, has now a Compact mode, and it now allows users to click the letters in the All Applications section to browse all the letters zoomed in for quickly navigating to them. It is now also possible to use text and/or remove the icon of Kickoff while using a horizontal panel.
The Wayland support also received the following improvements:
- In the Plasma Wayland session, it’s now possible to adjust how a graphics tablet’s input area maps to your screen coordinates
- It’s possible to select if apps will be scaled by the compositor or by themselves to avoid having blurry apps on Wayland
- In the Plasma Wayland session, it’s now possible to disable middle-click paste
KDE Plasma 5.26 beta packages are available for downloading and manually installing. Additionally, you can also use the KDE Neon Unstable Edition image to test KDE Plasma 5.26 beta.