Today KDE makes a feature release of Plasma 5, versioned 5.3.
Enhanced Power Management
Power management settings can be configured
differently for certain activities
Laptop will not suspend when closing the lid while an external monitor is
connected ('cinema mode', by default, can be turned off)
Power management inhibitions block lock screen too
Screen brightness changes are now animated on most hardware
No longer suspends when closing the lid while shutting down
Support for keyboard button brightness controls on lock screen
KInfoCenter provides statistics about energy consumption
Battery monitor now shows which applications are currently holding a power management
inhibition for example ('Chrome is currently suppressing PM: Playing video')
Better Bluetooth Capabilities
New Bluetooth applet
Bluedevil was ported to a new library from KDE, BluezQt
Added support for blocking and unblocking Bluetooth
Connected devices with Browse Files (ObexFTP) support are now displayed in the file dialog's Places panel
A touchpad configuration module has been added
Improved Plasma Widgets
Clipboard applet gains support for showing barcodes
The Desktop and Folder View containment codebases were
unified, and have seen performance improvements
The Recent Documents and Recent Applications sections in
Application Menu (Kicker) are now powered by KDE activities
Comics widget returns
System monitor plasmoids return, such as CPU Load Monitor and Hard Disk usage
Plasma Media Center - Tech Preview
Plasma Media Center is added as a tech preview in this release. It is fully stable but misses a few features compared to version 1. You can log directly into a Plasma Media Center session if you want to use it on a media device such as a television or projector or you can run it from Plasma Desktop. It will scan for videos, music and pictures on your computer to let you browse and play them.
Big Steps Towards Wayland Support
Plasma 5.3 makes a huge step towards to supporting the Wayland windowing system in addition to the default X11 windowing system. Plasma's window manager and compositor KWin is now able to start a nested XWayland server, which acts as a bridge between the old (X11) and the new (Wayland) world. X11 windows can connect to this server as if it were a normal X server, for KWin it looks like a Wayland window, though. This means that KWin learned to handle Wayland windows in this release, though full integration is only expected for Plasma 5.4.
In addition KWin gained new output modes for Wayland allowing to start a nested KWin on X11 and to start KWin directly on a framebuffer device, which will be the fallback for the case that OpenGL and/or kernel mode settings are not supported. A rendering backend on kernel mode settings is expected for Plasma 5.4. More information about these new backends and how to test them can be found in the KWin wiki pages. Please keep in mind that this is only a development preview and highly experimental new code.
Desktop Tweaks - Press and Hold
A new Tweaks configuration option in Plasma allows you to enable or disable the desktop settings toolbox and enable a new Press and Hold mode for widget management. In this mode, widgets can be moved after pressing and holding anywhere on the widget, and the widget handle will only be shown after press and hold rather than on hover. When this mode is enabled, unlocking the desktop will show a helpful instruction notification (which can be dismissed forever from the popup).
Bug Fixes Galore
393 bugs were fixed giving fewer crashes and more reliable use.
You can install Plasma 5 directly from source. KDE's community wiki has instructions to compile it. Note that Plasma 5 does not co-install with Plasma 4, you will need to uninstall older versions or install into a separate prefix.