Today, the KDE Project announced the beta release of the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.14 desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems, a major release that adds new features and lots of improvements across several core components.
Now that the KDE Plasma 5.13 desktop environment series reached end of life, it's time for a new major release, KDE Plasma 5.14, which promises a plethora of new features, including a much-improved Plasma Discover graphical package manager that now features firmware update capabilities, support for accessing channels for Snap apps, and the ability to see an app's package dependencies.
It also now lets users display and sort apps by release date, notifies users when a new software update replaces existing packages with others, and offers users to the install the Flatpak backend when attempting to install a Flatpak app. Moreover, Plasma Discover received numerous minor user interface enhancements, as well as reliability and stability improvements.
"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," said the KDE Project in today's announcement. "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."
Better Wayland support, other new features
KDE Plasma 5.14 also comes with much-improved Wayland support as this release fixes copy-paste operations between GTK+ and non-GTK+ apps, non-centered task switchers, and pointer constraints. It also adds two new interfaces, XdgOutput and XdgShell, for supporting more apps on Wayland, and improves the desktop effects of the KWin window and composite manager.
Among other features arriving in the KDE Plasma 5.14 desktop environment, we can mention support for SSH VPN tunnels in the network widget, better LibreOffice compatibility in the Task Manager, smoother multi-monitor switching, the ability to export existing encrypted files from the Plasma Vault, and user-switching handling in the lock screen for better security and usability.
KDE Plasma 5.14 also ships with a brand-new Display Configuration widget that users can use for managing their screens for presentations, as well as a revamped Audio Volume widget that now features a built-in speaker test feature. KDE Plasma 5.14 beta is now available for testing from the official website as a live image or source packages, and the final release will be hitting the streets next month on October 9, 2018.