Image: KDE

Short Bytes: The Plasma 5.8 LTS release has been announced by KDE . The release celebrates the 20 years of existence of the KDE Project started by Mattias Ettirch. The latest release welcomes improvements to the Wayland server, support for the right to left languages, and some visual features.

KDE is going to turn 20 on October 14. It was founded in 1996 by Mattias Ettrich. Plasma desktop is a popular and one of the most used desktop environments for Linux and BSD distributions. In order to celebrate their 20-year milestone, the KDE project has launched the Plasma 5.8 desktop.

A noteworthy addition to the Plasma 5.8 desktop is the Long Term Support which would be available till 2018. The release of Plasma 5.8 LTS also marks an end of support for the 5.7.5 release.

The Plasma desktop currently offers desktop widgets. You can choose between a plethora of widgets for various needs like monitoring CPU load, sticking with time, weather, etc. Furthermore, there is the KDE Store where you can find desktop wallpapers, more widgets, desktop effect add-ons for your Plasma desktop.

New Features in Plasma 5.8 LTS

KDE has worked hard to delight you with their new Plasma desktop. And the change is visible as soon as boot into your machine after upgrading. A new login screen, a part of the Breeze theme, welcomes you upon login. The Breeze theme is crafted to give a unified look to the whole desktop. Since it is Plasma which stands for customizability, you can now put animated wallpapers and slideshows on the lock screen also.

Image: KDE

The Pager desktop switcher in Plasma 5.8 LTS has been improved to use the same dataset used by the task manager backend. The jump list and global shortcuts can be used in combination to jump to specific tasks within an application.

Modifier-only shortcuts, a highly requested functionality for the Plasma desktop, has been added. This allows you to launch an application by pressing a Meta key. The inclusion of Wayland to the Plasma desktop has facilitated the addition of this feature which has also been backported the X11.

Another notable feature is the support for right-to-left scripts like Urdu, Hebrew, etc. The widget explorer, window switcher, activity manager can be seen on the right side of the screen for such languages.

Wayland debuted on Plasma with 5.4 release. Since then, it has been continuously improved for stability and features. In the Plasma 5.8 LTS, a lot of work has been done on Wayland which now supports the GTK+ toolkit. The support for multitouch gestures and touchscreen devices has been enhanced, although, no default gestures are actually present as of now. The X11 and Wayland-based applications can now have a shared clipboard.

Bugfix updates to Plasma 5.8 LTS will be shipped in nine releases starting with 5.8.1 LTS on October 11 and the last 5.8.9 LTS on April 10, 2018.

You can read the official changelog to know about all the changes in the Plasma 5.8 LTS. To try the new Plasma Desktop, you can download the live images from KDE’s website.

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