Plasma 5.14 Just Released – Here’s what to discover.

Virtual Desktops Have Changed in Favor of Activities

It doesn’t seem possible to switch virtual desktops with a programmable keyboard shortcut anymore, however, in my pure Archlinux KDE Plasma 5.14 install, it is possible to switch desktops by placing the cursor on a blank area of the screen and using the mouse wheel – if you have one. You can also switch to virtual desktops by pressing Ctrl-F1 / Ctrl-F2 etc.

Activities, on the other hand, can be programmed to switch with your own programmable keystrokes, AKA keyboard shortcuts.

For example, on my computer I set up four virtual desktops and four Activities. I also set up so I can switch to any activity on the left with Ctrl-Alt-Left or on the right with Ctrl-Alt-Right. I used to do that with virtual desktops, however, now activities behave much like virtual desktop switching used to but each activity has it’s own set of virtual desktops completely separate from the other virtual desktops. Therefore, I have 16 virtual desktops! These things are relatively easy to figure out how to do in the new KDE Plasma 5.15 release.

Since each activity can have a diffent keyboard shortcut, unlike KDE Plasma virtual desktops which all share the same wallpaper, it’s more like XFCE in that sense. The default (and perhaps only) animation in switching activities is sliding. I hope they change that. I like the cube.

Every time you set up a new activity you have the same setup of virtual desktops you had in the original. That’s probably a flaw that could be corrected, but who cares? I like four virtual desktops, so I set that up. Then I set up four activities, and each has four virtual desktops, and I can now switch from activity to activity with CTRL-ALT-LEFT (or RIGHT). It gives me 16 virtual desktops, if you follow me. Mind you that configuring how to switch activities is up to you.

I now have a super easy way to switch activities and a super easy way to switch to desktops within that activity. Essentially, I have 4 x 4 desktops, or 16. You can have as many or as few as you want. I think some projects might get buried or lost – like this article. I lost which activity and/or virtual desktop out of my 16 contained my article while I did research. Fortunately, I found it again!

KDE is still under development

KDE is still changing and I’m an old school Linux user. I used to use KDE but then abandoned it in favor of Cinnamon and Mate until years later. I’ve tried, of course, Gnome, XFCE, etcetera, but now I’m back examining Gnome after 21 years of Linux experience.

KDE is improving all the time. It is resource heavy, unlike XFCE which is lighting fast, but it’s prettier and more functional if you don’t mind the lag. Of course, if you’ve got a modern computer, there’s no lag. Go with KDE Plasma 5.14.

Remember, my personal recommendation? Kde Plasma 5.14!