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Plasma 5.21 review - Very slick, just one or five oily patches

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KDE

Can you hear the drums, Fernando? There's a new Plasma release out there, marked 5.21. Which means test I must and see what the future of this typically phenomenal desktop environment brings us. Now, if you've not followed my KDE adventures lately, then I was kind of pleased with the LTS edition, similarly enthused when it comes to Plasma 5.19, and really happy with 5.20, which I felt should have been the LTS. It was everything I could have hoped, and then some. Well, almost.

This makes today's experiment all the more interesting. There's an almost Ancient Greece drama level of tragic heroism in Linux, so any good or decent release must often follow with a disappointment. But hopefully, it ain't going to be the case today. Begin to explore, we shall.

[...]

Plasma 5.21 is pretty nice. Very refined. But it also has problems, including some there weren't there in the previous release. And this kind of thing always alarms and dismays me. Yes, there will be bugs, but I've yet to find a single Linux-associated project that has ultra-robust, detailed, fully defined, mapped and formalized QA procedure that involves 90% of the total software effort. Alas, no one wants to do the boring stuff. Take the System Monitor as an example - no need for it, KSysGuard could do with minor fixes and maybe a rename, the rev counter dashboard and broken functionality add no value. The font issues are also new. The crashes, well.

That said, this is still one dope desktop environment. It is really way ahead of anything else GUI Linux, and it has hallmarks of a pro product. But not quite. There's always a little bit of that open-source hobbyist chaos lurking around, like an old enemy. Still, I am largely pleased and hope to see more awesomeness from the KDE team. Plasma 5.21 is pretty, elegant, cohesive, consistent, fast, and builds on a solid foundation. Shame about the bugs, but let's hope there will be a fundamental, methodological shift in the approach so that every future Plasma release shines, and there never be random regressions. One can hope. As for 5.21, definitely worth testing and enjoying.

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