The KDE Project announced today the general availability of the KDE Plasma 5.14 desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems, a major release that brings new features and improvements.
Coming about four months after the release of the KDE Plasma 5.13 desktop environment, which reached end of life last month with the 5.13.5 point release, KDE Plasma 5.14 is here with a lot of goodies for all KDE fans. New features include a Display Configuration widget for screen management during presentations, built-in speaker test feature in the Audio Volume widget, and support for SSH VPN tunnels in the Network widget.
The way users switch between their primary monitor and a secondary one is now smoother in KDE Plasma 5.14, which finally brings support for importing existing encrypted files from a Plasma Vault. Other enhancements include better LibreOffice compatibility for the Task Manager, user-switching in the lock screen for better security and usability, and a new "Tools" menu in the System Monitor with a bunch of handy utilities.
The Plasma Discover graphical package finally received support for updating your computer's firmware, along with support for Snap channels and various UI enhancements, the Kickoff application launcher was improved t instantly switch tabs on hover, the Breeze widget theme received various shadow improvements, the Global Menu now supports GTK+ apps, and Plasma now warns you when other users are logged in if you try to log out.
"For the last three months we have been adding features and fixing bugs and now invite you to test the beta pre-release of Plasma 5.14. A lot of work has gone into improving Discover, Plasma's software manager, and, among other things, we have added a Firmware Update feature and many subtle user interface improvements to give it a smoother feel," reads today's announcement.
Wayland improvements, bug fixes, and upcoming point releases
The KDE Plasma 5.14 desktop environment also adds another layer of improvements to the Wayland support by fixing various issues present in previous releases, including copy/paste between GTK+ and Qt apps, non-centered task switchers, pointer constraints, KWin effects like the Dim Inactive effect and Glide effect, and also brings support for integrating more apps with the desktop through two new interfaces named XdgShell and XdgOutput.
The KWin window and composite manager received a new scale effect, and several bugs were addresses in KDE Plasma 5.14, including corrupted blurred backgrounds behind desktop context menus and an issue that may allow you to drag-and-drop task manager buttons into app windows. The KDE Plasma 5.14 desktop environment will receive a total of five maintenance updates and will reach end of life on January 1, 2019.
The first maintenance update, KDE Plasma 5.14.1, is scheduled for release next week on October 16, and the second one, KDE Plasma 5.14.2, is coming a week later on October 23. The next two point releases, KDE Plasma 5.14.3 and KDE Plasma 5.14.4, are scheduled for release next month, on November 6th and 27th, and the last one, KDE Plasma 5.14.5, is coming on the first day of 2019. KDE Plasma 5.14 is a recommended update for all Plasma users.