The KDE Project has released today the beta version of the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.26 desktop environment, which will give us an early taste of the new features and enhancements expected in the final version next month.
KDE Plasma 5.26 is packed with a ton of new features, starting with re-bindable mouse buttons for multi-button mice to enable you to assign keystrokes or keyboard shortcuts, full screen reader support for all Plasma widgets, as well as a new Compact mode for the Kickoff applications menu.
KDE Plasma 5.26 introduces several Plasma Wayland modifications, including the ability to persuade the Maliit virtual keyboard to appear in Touch mode, the ability to adjust the input area maps of a graphics tablet to your screen coordinates, and the ability to disable middle-click paste.
A serious issue for HiDPI users is addressed by implementing two methods of scaling apps to look good, namely via the compositor for uniform scaling with blurriness or via the apps themselves, thanks to pre-existing X11 HiDPI capabilities.
The Plasma Discover graphical package manager received quite a few new features, including: support for displaying content ratings of apps, a new feature to enable you to change the name used for submitting an app review, a new Share button on an apps details page, the possibility to check for free space before updating the system, as well as support for changing the frequency of update notifications.
KDE Plasma 5.26 includes the ability to customize the Kickoff applications menu to display text and remove its icon when using a horizontal panel, a new option in the Night Color page to change the day color, help in managing what happens when you activate a window on another workspace, the ability to specify the default paper size when printing, and support for changing the format of addresses, names, and phone numbers.
You may also sort out unminimized tasks in the Task Switcher, query sensors for your CPUs in the same name, as well as to add a keyboard shortcut to activating the Present Windows effect when showing only the windows from the current app on the current workspace.
KDE Plasma 5.26 also includes initial support for Light and Dark wallpapers as well as animated pictures as wallpapers, support for the Array, F5, and Fortinet protocols in the OpenConnect VPN plugin of Plasma Network manager, support for Global themes to change the order and arrangement of titlebar buttons, and support for a broad range of hardware and firmware in this System Settings.
The Formats and Languages pages have been merged in System Settings, and the Digital Clock widget now allows you to customize the font size, styling, and typeface, and it now allows you to create an alternate calendar that will be displayed inside the main calendar. KDE Plasma 5.26 beta release is now available on the Internet.
The final KDE Plasma 5.26 release is expected on October 11th, 2022. Until then, you may provide the openSUSE Krypton, KDE neon, or Fedora Rawhide daily ISO images, but please try to keep in mind that this is a pre-release version, so don''t use it on your production machine.