KDE Plasma 5: our review

For some years now the development of KDE Plasma 5 It's started.

But what is KDE?
KDE (or K Desktop Environment) is a set of software that allows you to get a very complete suite of software for our graphical environment, in KDE, among these software there is Plasma, which is the graphical shell, or Desktop Environment. KDE uses the Qt libraries for its own applications but also supports the very used GTK + (both 3 and 2), the Oxygen theme is also available for the latter. The Qt can like how not to like, you can get high quality interfaces with Qt and nice to see with Plasma and the Oxygen theme, with GTK, you can get excellent interfaces (see Firefox), but from the code side (especially the PyGTK , Python) it is possible to better understand the functions it performs, and it is also possible to create graphical interfaces in a very flexible and fast way. I remember that KDE is a project dedicated to ALL Unix-like systems like GNU / Linux, GNU / Hurd, BSD, FreeBSD

What is a graphical shell or desktop environment?
Surely you have heard of Desktop Environment, which is equivalent to the graphical shell, in a nutshell the graphical shell provides a more intuitive interface, with mouse support, images, etc ... Basically performs the same tasks as the text shell (Bash, ZSh, Sh, Csh, Tcsh ...), when in fact we click on an icon to open a program, it executes commands like a text shell would do.
However, however easy a graphical shell is to use, it is not as powerful as a textual one and does not always allow you to choose the arguments and options to use to execute a certain program, except for some things.
A graphical shell needs to:

  • Graphic server: provides a protocol for the functioning of the graphic environment, the most well-known graphic server is Xorg (or X11, X, X.org), however there are also Wayland and Mir, still in development.
  • Window manager: handles window decorations, animations, their position and other specific parameters.

Getting KDE Plasma 5
On Arch Linux just download the package

 # pacman -Sy plasma-meta

It is also possible to obtain KDE applications

 # pacman -S kde-applications

(Xorg) .xinitrc
Edit the .xinitrc file, and from a tty run startx,
then insert the line

exec startkde

and comment or delete those from other X sessions.
If you have SLiM you need to kill your current DE and relocate.
Otherwise you can do all this with the tool ch-xsession
clone the repository, execute the following commands:

git clone https://github.com/StefanoBelli/ch-xsession cd ch-xsession ./chxs kde

New application menu
The new menu is also very changed, mono-color icons, hostname information, user, operating system and profile picture of the current user. Just type to search, there's no fixed bar, I really like it ... 🙂

Plasma 5: New Breeze theme
The new "Breeze" theme replaces Oxygen from the "old" Plasma 4, more elegant and pleasing to the eye.
New icons
Even the theme of the icons has been changed, in fact they adopt a flat style and if used with the KDE suite they are beautiful.

New font, more elegant and fine
The font has also changed, replaced with a much nicer font than the previous one.

New notification area
The notifications area is divided into sections, depending on the resources available ... We have the "Notifications" that can be messages from telepathy or from SELinux, Battery and brightness showing the battery charge level and status, control of the brightness. Then we also have a notifier of the connected devices.
We also have a "notes" area.

New bootsplash, new dialog for stopping and restarting, closing the session, etc ... New lockscreen!
This is also much more appealing and elegant, dark theme, although for now I think due to some animations only showing the dialog cause graphic glitches.

I have never been a lover of KDE, and of plasmoids (I prefer the configuration of a nice conky "widget"), however I must admit that this version is really pleasing to me despite the continuous glitches, I can see that the fluidity compared to KDE 4 has improved, although I have enabled many graphic effects, and mine is an integrated and non-dedicated GPU. I keep it as 3 ° DE, ​​as I use I3 most of the time and Xfce4 for certain things, the animations are really nice, the quality of the project in my opinion has improved compared to before.
Ready for everyday use?
I'm using it every day, but sometimes it also becomes annoying to use it ... It depends on you!

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