Home KDE Plasma KDE Plasma 6.1 Released with Explicit Sync, Triple Buffering, Edit Mode and More

KDE Plasma 6.1 Released with Explicit Sync, Triple Buffering, Edit Mode and More

By sk

The latest KDE Plasma 6.1 stable version is here! As always, the Plasma dev team have done an impressive and commendable work. The latest Plasma 6.1 release brings exciting improvements and powerful new features to every aspect of your desktop experience.

While Plasma 6.0 focused on the monumental task of migrating to the underlying Qt 6 frameworks, version 6.1 marks a significant stride forward, introducing features that will elevate your desktop to new heights.

In this release, you'll discover enhancements that go far beyond subtle changes to themes and animations (although those are present too).

Prepare to interact with desktops on remote machines, boost your productivity with numerous usability and accessibility improvements, and explore customizations that can even affect your computer's hardware.

One of the standout features in Plasma 6.1 is its native support for these cutting-edge capabilities within the Wayland version. This eliminates the need for third-party software or hacky extensions often required by similar solutions implemented in the X Window System.

1. Explicit Sync and Triple Buffering: Two Major Wayland Enhancements

Plasma 6.1 introduced two significant Wayland breakthroughs that will greatly enhance your desktop experience, particularly in terms of visual performance and smoothness.

These advancements address long-standing issues and pave the way for a more polished and enjoyable Plasma environment.

1.1. Eliminating Flickering and Glitches for NVIDIA Users

One of the breakthroughs in Plasma 6.1 is the implementation of "Explicit Sync" for NVIDIA graphics cards.

This feature addresses a common issue faced by NVIDIA users on Wayland, where they experienced flickering, glitches, and visual artifacts during various desktop interactions.

With Explicit Sync, these annoying visual disturbances are now a thing of the past, providing NVIDIA users with a seamless and glitch-free Plasma experience.

1.2. Buttery Smooth Animations and Screen Rendering

The second major enhancement is the introduction of "Triple Buffering" support in Wayland.

Triple Buffering is a technique that improves the smoothness of animations and screen rendering by leveraging an additional buffer, resulting in a more fluid and responsive visual experience.

Whether you're navigating through menus, resizing windows, or enjoying animated transitions, Plasma 6.1 with Triple Buffering support delivers a smooth performance, eliminating any potential choppiness or lag.

2. Access Remote Desktops from System Settings

One of the most impressive and practical additions in Plasma 6.1 is the ability to access remote Plasma desktops directly from the System Settings application.

Once enabled, you can connect to the remote desktop using a client like KRDC (KDE Remote Desktop Connection).

With KRDC, you'll see the remote machine's Plasma desktop displayed in a window on your local computer, allowing you to interact with it as if you were sitting in front of the remote machine itself.

Access Remote Desktops from System Settings in Plasma 6.1
Access Remote Desktops from System Settings in Plasma 6.1

Whether you're a system administrator in need of resolving issues on multiple machines or a user who frequently works across different devices, this remote desktop access functionality offers an efficient solution.

No more hassle with complex setups or third-party tools - Plasma 6.1 puts the power of remote desktop connectivity at your fingertips, right within the familiar System Settings interface.

This powerful feature simplifies the process of troubleshooting users' machines or working on a remote Plasma-enabled computer, making it a breeze to establish a connection with just a few clicks.

With this new functionality, you can quickly and securely connect to remote Plasma desktops, perform necessary tasks, access files, and manage applications remotely. This not only saves time and effort but also enhances your overall productivity, enabling you to work more efficiently in various scenarios.

3. Customization Made Visually Delightful with Edit Mode

One of the most beloved aspects of the Plasma desktop is the ability to personalize it to your liking.

Plasma 6.1 takes this customization experience to the next level by introducing a visually stunning overhaul of the Edit Mode feature.

To access Edit Mode and start customizing your desktop, simply right-click anywhere on the desktop background and select "Enter Edit Mode" from the menu.

Edit Mode in Plasma 6.1
Edit Mode in Plasma 6.1

In version 6.1, you'll be greeted with a slick animation that smoothly zooms out the entire desktop, providing you with a comprehensive overview of your workspace.

This enhanced visual representation not only looks sleek and modern but also offers a more intuitive customization experience.

With the zoomed-out view, you can easily identify and manage the various elements on your desktop, making it easier to rearrange icons, widgets, and other components to your liking.

4. Introducing Persistent Apps

For users of Plasma 6.1 on the modern Wayland display server, a new and highly convenient feature has been introduced: Persistent Apps.

This functionality aims to provide a seamless experience by "remembering" the state of your applications and windows from your previous session, much like it did under the traditional X11 system.

Although still a work in progress, Persistent Apps ensures that if you log off or shut down your computer with multiple windows open, Plasma will automatically restore those applications and their respective windows the next time you power up your desktop. This means you can quickly pick up right where you left off, saving you valuable time and effort.

Imagine having a dozen open windows across various productivity apps, web browsers, and other tools. Instead of manually reopening and rearranging each one, Persistent Apps takes care of this for you, recreating your workspace exactly as you left it.

5. Sync Your Keyboard's LEDs

In each release, Plasma 6.1 introduces a unique and visually striking customization feature that extends beyond the boundaries of your screen.

With this release, you now have the power to synchronize the LED colors of your keyboard's keys to match the accent color of your desktop environment.

This seamless integration creates a cohesive and personalized aesthetic, allowing you to achieve a harmonious look that spans from your desktop to your physical keyboard. Whether you prefer vibrant hues or subdued tones, this feature ensures that your keyboard's LED lighting complements the overall color scheme of your Plasma workspace.

For users who prioritize a stylish and fashion-conscious computing experience, this keyboard LED synchronization adds an extra touch of flair and individuality.

Please note that this feature is currently limited to supported keyboards, but support for additional keyboard models is actively being worked on.

6. Enhancing Cursor Visibility and Control

Plasma 6.1 introduces two thoughtful visual accessibility changes that address common challenges faced by users when working with the cursor.

6.1. Shake Cursor: Locate Your Cursor with Ease

Have you ever found yourself struggling to locate the cursor amidst a cluttered screen filled with windows and applications? Well, not anymore!

The "Shake Cursor" feature in Plasma 6.1 provides a simple yet effective solution. By gently shaking your mouse or input device, the cursor will temporarily grow in size, making it easier to spot on large or busy displays.

6.2. Edge Barrier: Precise Control on Multi-Monitor Setups

For users with multi-monitor configurations, Plasma 6.1 introduces the "Edge Barrier" feature.

This feature addresses the common issue of unintentionally moving the cursor across displays when attempting to interact with elements near the edge of a monitor.

The Edge Barrier creates a sticky area near the edge between screens, preventing the cursor from inadvertently crossing over. This intelligent solution provides greater control and precision when working with applications or elements positioned at the very edge of your screens.

7. Removing Unnecessary Options from Shutdown Menu

Plasma 6.1 removed the choices you see when attempting to exit the desktop environment.

Instead of presenting a long list of confusing options, Plasma now displays a concise and straightforward dialog when you initiate a shutdown.

For example, when you press "Shutdown", you'll only see the "Shutdown" and "Cancel" options, eliminating unnecessary clutter and making the process more intuitive.

8. Passwordless Screen Locking Experience

The screen locking feature in Plasma 6.1 now offers greater flexibility and customization. Users have the option to configure the screen locking behavior to mimic a traditional screensaver experience.

With this new setting, you can choose not to require a password when unlocking your screen, providing a convenient experience for those who prioritize convenience over security in certain situations.

9. Built-in Color Profile Support

Plasma 6.1 brings an exciting new feature for users with wide gamut displays - built-in color profile support. This long-awaited addition ensures that your display's colors are accurately represented across the entire Plasma desktop environment and applications.

9.1. Precise Color Rendering for Wide Gamut Displays

If you're the proud owner of a wide gamut display, you can now rejoice!

Plasma 6.1 automatically retrieves the color profile from your display's EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) and applies it system-wide.

This means that the vibrant and accurate colors your display is capable of reproducing will be consistently displayed across KDE/Plasma and all applications, eliminating the issue of oversaturated or inaccurate colors.

9.2. Seamless Color Management

This built-in color profile support essentially achieves the same effect as an sRGB clamp or the "novideo_srgb" feature on Windows, but in a more integrated and seamless manner.

No more struggling with third-party tools or workarounds - Plasma 6.1 handles color management out of the box, ensuring that your wide gamut display's capabilities are fully utilized while maintaining accurate color representation.

10. Automatically Replacing EOL Flatpaks with Updated Versions

Plasma 6.1 brings a significant improvement to the Discover software management application, ensuring a smoother experience when it comes to updating your Flatpak applications.

One of the challenges faced by users has been the need to manually remove and reinstall Flatpak applications that have reached end-of-support. This process can be time-consuming and prone to potential issues, especially when dealing with multiple applications.

With the latest update, Discover now supports replacing end-of-support Flatpak applications with their updated replacements, eliminating the need for manual intervention.

This feature makes the update process easier, and allow you to transition to newer versions of your Flatpak applications seamlessly and with minimal effort.

Plasma 6.1 ships with lots of other features as well. To see the full list of changes, please refer the changelog for Plasma 6.1.

Try the New KDE Plasma 6.1

One of the easiest ways to try out the new Plasma 6.1 is by booting a live image from a USB disk. Docker images also provide a quick and convenient method to test the latest Plasma desktop environment.

Here are the links to download Plasma 6.1:

  1. Live Images: https://community.kde.org/Plasma/Live_Images
  2. Docker Images: https://community.kde.org/Plasma/Docker_Images

Package Downloads

Several Linux distributions have already created packages for the Plasma 6.1 stable release, or are in the process of creating them.

Please note that packages for this release might not be available on all distributions at the time of this announcement. You may have to wait a little longer.

Key Takeaways

  • Smoother rendering and animations with triple buffering in KWin
  • Better NVIDIA GPU support with Wayland Explicit Sync
  • Input Capture portal integration for secure input handling
  • Remote Desktop functionality with RDP client support
  • Revamped Edit Mode with new zoom-out effect
  • Configurable edge barriers between screens
  • Fake session restore on Wayland (full restore in progress)
  • Sync keyboard RGB backlight with Plasma accent color
  • Color profile support for compatible displays
  • Replace end-of-support Flatpak apps in Discover
  • Battery conservation mode for Lenovo laptops
  • Passwordless screen locking option
  • Power & Battery widget enhancements
  • Visual refinements like rounder corners
  • Improved Overview window layout
  • "Shake cursor" effect enabled by default
  • Option to hide inactive mouse pointer
  • Rewritten Keyboard settings page in QML


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