Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 15:49

(Plasma 5.16 with notifications and Do Not Disturb feature enabled)

KDE Plasma Desktop version 5.16 has been released last June with slogan "Now Smoother and More Fun". In this article I present you several nice things on 5.16 according to my opinions as a KDE user, among them are, new Do Not Disturb feature and safely remove multiple partitions. I like this release very much. I present this short review for people who are still using old Plasma today and I'm grateful to all KDE developers for this awesome release. And here we go!

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Do You Want To Test Plasma 5.16?

Simply download current version of KDE Neon operating system and boot it on your computer. It features 5.16.x. However, this review is written using Neon 5.16.4. With this, you do not need to install anything to your current GNU/Linux system just to see what's new on latest Plasma.

1. The Blue Wallpaper

It's Next by Santiago Cezar, an artist from Argentine, who won Plasma wallpaper contest first held ever. You see, the opening words of the contest were very wonderful that winner wallpaper will appear on thousands computers around the world including those in NASA and CERN; and that the winner prize would be SLIMBOOK PC. I really like the wallpaper. Cezar, you did awesome art and congratulations you won the prize!

(His wallpaper and his name appears on Plasma 5.16 on latest KDE Neon operating system)

2. I Notice a New 'Show Desktop' Icon

The first impression I got with 5.16 is the hollow box icon on right end of taskbar panel. It's the Show Desktop button. And since this version Plasma can do show desktop with Super+D shortcut keys just like Microsoft Windows. However, personally I always manually set Super+D to do it on Plasma versions prior to 5.16 so now I'm glad I do not need to do that anymore.

3. I See Brand New Notification

The biggest change on Plasma 5.16 I noticed is the notification system. To make it short, it's all about Do Not Disturb feature. Visually it's different, functionally it got many additional features. Prior to this version, there was no specific settings available for notification behaviours except for the bell sounds. Fortunately, now we got complete control over them with Notification section under KDE System Settings. One thing more I noticed anew is the Broom button to clear all notifications. It's small but cute!

Notification tooltip:

Notification tray with brand new Do Not Disturb switch:


Closer look at DND, Preferences, and the new Broom button:


4. What is 'Do Not Disturb' mode anyway?

DND mode will make all applications mute but save their notifications on tray. DND gives you options how long the mute to apply, either 1 hours, 4 hours, or until computer turned off. This new feature is closely related to the new Notification Settings, as every individual application can be set to respect DND or not. By default, only Spectacle Screenshot Tool set to disrespect DND (always show notification anyway) but you can turn it off as you wish. Oh man, this is amazing.

(Show in do not disturb mode: because of this option turned on by default, Spectacle disrespects DND, but you can turn it off later)

5. New Notification Settings!

Here's the new notification preferences you can find out under KDE System Settings > Personalization > Notifications. The preferences are divided in two, one for global settings, and one for individual applications.

Below's the global settings for notifications.

It allows you to change screen positions of popup, timeout of it, show progress bar or not, and more.

And below's the settings of individual applications with first one is Plasma Discover.

This settings section allows you to enable/disable individual application's notification, enable it in DND mode, and control the sounds with Configure Events button there. You see, there are nearly all applications installed being presented here under our control. Among them are VLC, Bluetooth, Konsole, and more.

6. New Progress Bar

It is now showing both on tray and on notification popup. It looks modern and also cool with the old Oxygen dark them.

(Copying files progress bar is showing on Dolphin's notification popup)

7. Right-Click > Properties on External Drives

Yes, I wanted this feature for a long time and fortunately 5.16 actually brought it out for us. I believe many people will love this instantly.

(Properties of a USB Flash Drive attached: it shows the Properties Dialog with information such as 21GiB total capacity, 5.9GiB free, and 79% used, and ext4 filesystem)

8. Eject All at Once!

I like this feature the most as I work with my external hard disk with multiple partitions so it's hard for me to eject partitions manually one by one every time. Thanks to 5.16, I do not need to do that anymore, as there is Remove All button now.

(Left: Dolphin with a lot of external disk partitions attached; right: Safely Remove All button under cursor)

8. And It Still Looked Very Good with the Old Dark Theme

I like KDE 4 era with Oxygen theme and I like its black variant. Fortunately, Plasma 5.16 brings that theme built-in and I see AppImage Program (Kdenlive Video Editor here) looks very good with it. Try it yourself and let me know your comments.

(Kdenlive running as portable application on GNU/Linux: Plasma theme looks matched with Kdenlive default dark theme)

New Lock/Login Screen

See new '>' button there?

Old lock screen prior to 5.16:

New lock screen on 5.16:

Control Vaults from Dolphin

Dolphin now features "Open This Vault" whenever we right-click a black Vault folder. If you didn't know, Vault is a new Plasma feature to lock folders with password only you could open. You might see Vault similar to Folder Lock on other operating system. Starting at 5.16 version, everything is much more easier as it included right on file manager.

Copy Time/Date

My favorite feature, copy current time to clipboard, still exists on the taskbar's clock. With this, I can simply select and then paste current date on my article or text message in neat format, like Wednesday, 11 September 2019 14.01 for example, so it looks professional. I am grateful this feature doesn't get removed in this version. I like KDE Plasma because it's consistent and this one is just another example of its consistency.

My Commentary

There are a lot of things I don't cover here as you can see yourself in the official video, release notes, and detailed info by KDE Project. But, new features I find in this release are neat and I like them. As KDE user, I am satisfied. I can feel Plasma 5.16 runs so smooth as shown by latest Neon OS performance being real good on an 8-years old 2GB laptop. Not to mention, it also looks great with old desktop theme. In my opinion 5.16 does good and better once again. Kudos to all KDE developers! (and congratulations to Cezar!)

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.