KDE Plasma 5

What is Plasma 5

Plasma 5 is the new KDE desktop, which is the standard desktop on my Linux distro of choice, Kubuntu. Like any major upgrade, there are good points and there are bad points.

The Good

First, the good. Installing Kubuntu and Plasma 5 was a breeze, there were no installation issues at all and my hardware seems to work fine. I decided to start with a clean `~/.kde` configuration and so had to reconfigure my preferences, but this actually took much less time than I expected. Everything in System Settings was easy to find with the exception of Sticky Keys which was moved to the `Desktop Behaviour` section. This was easy to find, though, with the Search feature.

Note however that Plasma 5 is not really an upgrade from the user perspective, much as KDE 4 was not an upgrade from KDE 3 for the user. No new features were added, and no major bugs were fixed in this version. Therefore it is not expected that anything good other than "it works" is to be reported.

Here is a list of issues that I do see resolved from previous versions:

  • The KSnapShot "Send To..." dialogue is much shorter and opens quickly.

The Bad

The real reason why I'm writing this page! Here is a list of the issues that I'm having with Plasma 5 for my use case:

  • Maximized windows do not have thier scrollbars flush against the screen edge. Thus, Fitt's law cannot be used to quickly put the mouse cursor on the scrollbar.
  • Vertical panel does not auto-hide with second monitor attached. KDE Forum discussion
  • No System Monitor widget. Apparently being worked on.
  • Volume Up cannot be set. Volume Down and mute work fine.
  • Krunner no longer accepts Bash commands. I have a bash command that I run periodically, this would work in Krunner in KDE 4 but does not work in KDE 5.
  • The panel app freezes often. I can intermittently freeze the panel by clicking on More Settings in the panel configuration toolbar.
  • Lots of crashes, most of which are not reproducible. I'm installing debug symbols to report them. I've had the Plasma Panel crash, System Settings, and other applications.
  • Keyboard Layout indicator missing KDE Forum discussion
  • No Keyboard State widget. KDE Forum discussion Resolved!

As I get around to finding solutions or filing bugs, I'll update this page.

The Ugly

Though I find the default Plasma 5 widget set and colours to be not to my taste, it was very easy to configure the widgets and colours that I prefer. In less than 60 seconds I had proper deep blue window chrome and the Plasmoid window decorations with the Oxygen widgets. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder.

Other Issues

Here is a list of other issues that I'm having with Kubuntu 15.10, which are probably not related to Plasma 5.

  • When resuming from suspend the "Swap CapsLock and Escape" feature is disabled. Bug report
  • Sticky Keys becomes disabled spontaneously. This problem I also had in Kubuntu 14.10 on the same hardware.
  • Missing letters in all applications after Plasma crash. Bug report

Date Published: 2015-10-25


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