Plasma 5.5 With Beautiful New Artwork

Plasma 5.5

Plasma 5.5

Tuesday, 8 December 2015. Today KDE releases a feature update to its desktop software, Plasma 5.5.

Video of Plasma 5.5 highlights

We have been working hard over the last four months
to smooth off the rough edges, add useful new workflows, make
Plasma even more beautiful and build the foundations for the future.

Breeze Icons

Breeze Icons

Updated Breeze Plasma Theme

The Breeze Plasma widget theme has been updated to make it more consistent.

While the Breeze icons theme adds new icons and updates the existing icon set to improve the visual design.

Plasma Widget Explorer

The Plasma Widget explorer now supports a two column view with new widget icons for Breeze, Breeze Dark and Oxygen

Expanded Feature Set in Application Launcher

Context menus in Application Launcher ('Kickoff') can now list documents recently opened in an application, allow editing the application's menu entry and adding the application to the panel, Task Manager or desktop. Favorites now supports documents, directories and system actions or they can be created from search results. These features (and some others) were previously available only in the alternative Application Menu ('Kicker') and have now become available in the default Application Launcher by sharing the backend between both launchers.

Color Picker Plasma Applet

Color Picker Plasma Applet

New Applets in Plasma Addons

Color Picker

Not only have we restored support for the Color Picker applet, we've given it an entire new UI refresh to fit in with Plasma 5.

The color picker applet lets you pick a color from anywhere on the screen and automatically copies its color code to the clipboard in a variety of formats (RGB, Hex, Qt QML rgba, LaTeX).

User Switcher Plasma Applet

User Switcher Plasma Applet

User Switcher

User switching has been updated and improved and is now accessible from the Application Launcher, the new User Switcher applet and in the lock screen. It shows the user's full name and user set avatar. This is very useful for offices with shared desks. More info in the developer blog.

Disk Quota

Plasma 5.5 sees a new applet designed for business environments or universities. This applet will show you usage assessed not around the real disk usage, but your allowed quota by your system administrator.

Activity Pager

Done for users whose use case of activities partly overlaps with virtual desktops: it looks like a pager, it behaves like a pager but uses activities instead of virtual desktops. This gives a quick glimpse of what activities are running and how many windows are associated to each activity.

Legacy Systray Icons

Legacy System Tray Icons

Restored Legacy Icons in System Tray Support

In response to feedback, we've rewritten support for legacy applications not using the StatusNotifier standard for system tray icons.

Bug Stats

In the run up to the Plasma 5.5 beta an incredible over 1,000 bugs were fixed.

OpenGL ES Support in KWin

Support for switching to OpenGL ES in KWin returns. So far only switching through an environment variable and restarting KWin is supported. Set environment variable KWIN_COMPOSE to 'O2ES' to force the OpenGL ES backend. Please note that OpenGL ES is not supported by all drivers. Because of that it's not exposed through a configuration mechanism. Please consider it as an expert mode.

Screen Locker

Screen Locker

Wayland Progress:

With Plasma 5.5 a basic Wayland session is provided. Wayland is the successor of the dated X11 windowing system providing a modern approach. The system is more secure (e.g. key loggers are no longer trivial to implement) and follows the paradigm of 'every frame perfect' which makes screen tearing very difficult. With Plasma 5.4 the KDE community already provided a technology preview based on the feature set of the Phone project. With Plasma 5.5 this is now extended with more 'desktop style' usages. Important features like move/resize of windows is now supported as well as many integration features for the desktop shell. This allows for usage by early adopters, though we need to point out that it is not yet up to the task of fully replacing an X session. We encourage our more technical users to give it a try and report as many bugs as you can find.

A new screen management protocol has been created for configuring the connected screens of a Wayland session.

Also added are some protocols for controlling KWin effects in Wayland such as window background blur and windows minimize animation

Plasma on Wayland session now features secure screen locking, something never fully achievable with X. Read more about fixing this 11 year old bug on the screenlocker integration developer blog.

Please also see the list of known issues with Wayland on the Errata page.



New Discover design

With the help of the KDE Visual Design Group we came up with a new design that will improve the usability of our software installer.

Noto Font

Noto Font

New Default Font

Our default font has switched to Noto a beautiful and free font which aims to support all languages with a harmonious look and feel.

File Indexer Status

File Indexer Status

Info Center

A status module for the file indexer was added.

Plasma Networkmanager

There have been several improvements to our network manager applet. WPA/WPA2 Enterprise validation was added, it uses a new password field widget and OpenVPN has more options.


We have a new selection of wonderful wallpapers
from RJ Quiralta, Martin Klapetek, Timothée Giet, Dmitri Popov, Maciej Wiklo and Risto Saukonpää for the Plasma 5.5 release.

Full Changelog

Full Plasma 5.5.0 changelog


by Karl Ove Hufthammer (not verified)

The new features are nice, and it’s good that bugs are being fixed, but the announcement severely overstates the number of bugs actually fixed. It says that ‘an incredible over 1,000 bugs were fixed’. So I took at look at list of ‘bugs fixed’. One of them was about text in drop-down menus being almost invisible when using Breeze Dark or other dark themes (bug #352206). I had noticed this bug myself, and thought it was nice that it was finally fixed. But taking a look at the bug report, we see that it has only been closed as a duplicate of another bug report, not actually fixed. (I haven’t actually tested it, but the bug report it was a duplicate of is still open.) Bug #351875 is also listed as one of the ‘over 1,000 bugs fixed’, and is also closed as a duplicate of the same bug report.

Some of the bug reports listed are closed as ‘WONTFIX’, which hardly meets any sensible definition of ‘fixed’. The number of bugs actually closed as fixed, which one can list by appending &resolution=fixed to the URL in the announcement, is 367 (and of course there may be bugs fixed that never had a bug report). Still impressive, but far from ‘an incredible over 1,000 bugs were fixed’.

by Risto S (not verified)

The full name isn't "Risto S" but "Risto Saukonpää"

Morning Risto

Just fixed it. Thanks

Great to see a focus on finishing touches and refining the interface. 100 fixed bugs is very welcome too. Thanks and great work everybody

by Lukas Sommer (not verified)

The choise of Noto fonts is a good one! Proper font design is a lot of work if it is well-done. Differently to the Oxygen font, Noto supports a lot of languages, combining diacritics and some more advanced typografic features. And Noto fonts are typographically well-done. Maybe a little boring, but well-done and solid. This makes KDE typography much better!

by dajomufdkasløfjdal (not verified)


I have noticed a few thing in the GUI I find strange and which makes it more spacious than necessary. It feels strange on a laptop with less than HD resolution.

1. Here and there I find "3D"buttons even though most of the Plasma 5 desktop is flat. Every "OK", "Save" and "Cancel" button is 3D.

ex. - Flat style on the left and all buttons 3D


2. Tile bar is to wide. Too much space above and under text. Just look at the picture of "Discover" above.

3. While looking at the same picture, the row below the title bar is too wide. Search field to wide stealing pixels.


KDE GUI team should not forget that pixels are precious and wasted space is wasted.

by Richard T. (not verified)

This looks awesome and so many new stuff!

Thank you guys a lot!



Apparently my above message looks, like spam, :-/ since this PS.

has it been packaged fro kubuntu?

If so, where is it available from?

Thank you

... by providing a button on hovering an item in Kickoff/Kicker.

That would let activities become more integrated into the users' workflow.While different from the GNOME 'pager' approach, where you have to drag the window into the (new) activity.