Fedora 22 KDE Delivers A Great Plasma 5 Experience
Written by Eric Griffith in Operating Systems on 7 June 2015. Page 2 of 3. 25 Comments

Once the installation had finished-- about three minutes after I had told it where to install-- and I was rebooted into the new system I was greeted by a much 'cleaner' desktop than the years of KDE4. Gone is the default folder view, the cashew has been replaced by the hamburger, and the default panel seems a bit thinner than before.

The activity menu icon has been removed, though you can still configure them through Desktop Settings. Personally I think the removal of activity manager from the default panel is a good thing.. Activities always seemed like more of an 'advanced user' feature, and not something that the average user might use or even care about. Additionally, the default panel should probably be as barebones as possible, as to not overwhelm new users.

One rather nice addition to the Plasma 5.3 desktop is the "Alternatives" tagging for applets. Applets can declare themselves as menu's, sound applets, task managers, among others and right clicking the existing applet will bring up an "Alternatives" menu of applets that fulfill the same role, but are different in various ways. Coming pre-installed, and shown below, are two different menu systems that Plasma supports.

All of the applets in the default panel received updates of their own. Some, such as the battery monitor, only received minor refinements or modifications. Others, such as the external volumes applet, received small but useful additions such as showing a percentage bar of free vs used space on the volume. The inclusion of a 'search applet', similar to OS X Spotlight, is likewise a very welcome addition.

Plasma 5.3 does add one very nice feature the battery applet, one that is only sometimes visible though. If a program has requested suspend, brightness, or other power management inhibitions-- such as a video player not wanting the screen to dim-- the battery applet will have a note saying what portion of power management is being inhibited and by whom.

System Settings appears to have received a fair bit of consolidation. Almost all of the icons in System Settings have received name-changes, usually to names that are more generic than they were before. No telling how long system settings will remain the way it is given that there is a redesign being tossed around by the Visual Design Group.

If you're coming from KDE4 it might be a little confusing at first where certain things are in System Settings-- for example Desktop Effects is now under "Desktop Behavior" but settings for the Kwin compositor itself are under Display.

Speaking of which, Display, aka Kscreen got a pretty significant update to its own UI. Compared to the KDE4 version which was spartan to the point of being handicapped, the new version is much more intuitive and user friendly.



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