KDE Plasma 5.6 Review: New Features and Improvements

The beta version of KDE Plasma 5.6 was released on March 2, 2016 and contain many bug fixes, new features and reworked applications. The renew components – the activities, KRunner, task manager, Breeze theme and many others. Wayland support is also better with decoration and input fixes.


The Breeze, default KDE theme, now has the special adaptation for Grub bootloader and Plymouth boot visualization, this can help to get the one style for the major system components.

Renewed design of Breeze with better animations now supports the new color scheme – Breeze Light. You can also select the dark variant – Breeze Dark for a night or evening work. The X-session and Wayland KDE session design is presently unified.

Big changes in task manager

More icons, more visualization, more productivity – all about the task manager in KDE Plasma 5.6. KDE users now can see the progress of most important tasks, such as copying or moving files, media players control (previous and next track, album covers). Media applet can work with multiple multimedia players. Multitasking with Jump Lists can help with effective switching between many numbers of running applications.

New life of Weather widget

Some time ago this widget was deprecated (if I remember correctly – in Plasma 5.4 or 5.3) and now returns with new design. The 6-days forecast now display by default.


KDE has the worst rating in the Wayland Progress in 2016 report, but with new release the situation can change for the better.

The biggest improvements:

  • fixed activities support
  • added drag’n’drop in Wayland session
  • reworked cursor image
  • window decorations in Wayland session now have the same look as X-session
  • input: support layout switching and different layouts, focus on window with mouse, resize and move window with Alt+mouse.

Live images for testing

The most easy way to get the KDE Plasma 5.6 – openSUSE Krypton. Download image, write on USB Flash and create a new partition on unused space (need for broken Krypton logic – openSUSE trying to create the partition for persistence data and boot to infinite loop after first start). Alternative variant is KDE Neon. At this time Neon presented only as a repository for latest Kubuntu and you can’t install it directly from installation image.


Read more:

The Review of Wayland Progress In 2016: Weston, GNOME, KDE, Enlightenment

KDE Plasma and KDE Apps on Wayland Review and Video: The First Plasma Wayland Live Image

19 Years of KDE History: Step by Step

The Best Free And Open Source Photo Managers For Linux – Review And Comparison