KDE Plasma 6's open beta delivers myriad delights - and you can try it now

The team's official release is due in February 2024, but you can test the distro's beta 1 today. Here's how.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer

The KDE team has officially announced the release of beta 1 for KDE Plasma 6. Along with this release will arrive the latest version of Frameworks and Gear. 

It has been nearly a decade since the team has offered a big release like this, so you can bet this new version will have plenty to delight all sorts of users. Although the official release isn't set to be available until February 2024, those who want to get a glimpse of what's coming can finally get their chance.

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Beta 1 introduces several new features to the KDE Plasma 6 desktop, including:

  • Wallpapers are now configured within KDE Settings.
  • Discover (the KDE Plasma app store) now displays a "Newly Published and Recently Updated" section.
  • The "Night Light" system settings subpage has been improved.
  • Active windows are now highlighted by the selected accent color.
  • A new thumbnail grid desktop switcher is the default.

KDE Plasma 6 will also be shifting to the Wayland display server protocol. As well, the new release will use the latest version of the Qt GUI toolkit.

Other features that have already been added to KDE Plasma 6 include:

  • Overview and Desktop Grid effect have been combined into one with improved gesture support.
  • Color management support for sRGB applications has been added for Wayland.
  • HDR support has been added for Wayland.
  • Custom sort ordering for KRunner search results.
  • Desktop Cube effect (similar to that found in Compiz) returns.
  • Floating desktop panel.
  • A redesigned theming system.

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For those who wish to test the KDE Plasma 6 beta 1 release, their best bet is by way of KDE Neon. Make sure to download the Unstable Edition and do not use it for production machines (as there will be issues).

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