KDE Plasma 6.1: Coming Home

Linux Musings from the CEO (Eddie Vassallo)

I think it is safe to say that KDE is the reason I fell in love Linux. Well - not Linux the 'concept' or the GNU/Linux approach and philosophy per se - but perhaps the fun factor that made me fall head over heels for the rebel OS. The year was 2015, and for giggles, I thought it may be fun to order a Dell XPS laptop with Ubuntu pre-installed. You see - I was kinda bored. Bored of macOS, bored of Windows...but generally bored with operating system tech in general. Plus, I thought that going to client meetings with a Ubuntu laptop front and centre would make me seem even more 'techy' and mysterious. Bonus!

The trouble was - once I fired up the laptop and played around with Ubuntu for about a day, the boredom crept back with a vengeance. 

Ubuntu (with the Unity desktop at the time) was just so damn bland and unexciting. The archaic icons, the drab colours, the non-existent energy and flair. Thus began my distro-hopping illness - and what better way to start than with Ubuntu's rebellious brother, Kubuntu - the KDE Plasma version of the venerable desktop OS. 

The colours ! The bling ! Those wacky KWIN effects like wobbly windows and 'slide back' effects. Wow! Now this is something you couldn't do in Mac or Windows - and this is why I came to Linux! For the next several months, I proceeded to get comfortable with the command line, Apt (apt-get then!), and various Linux commands and functions. Sure I was tempted to move back to Windows or Mac with successive hardware updates and shiny new Apple toys - but it was KDE Plasma that kept me enamored with GNU/Linux in a way the mainstream Operating Systems could never match. 

Then came Manjaro KDE. Although the sickening amount of 'green'  in the default theme was enough to make an OpenSuse fanatic queezy, the KDE implementation of this upstart Arch-based distro was simply glorious. I was hooked - and thus began my long-lasting love affair with KDE + Arch.

Fast forward to 2024 - and although I have been guilty of straying down the i3, Sway, Awesome, XFCE, Cinnamon, and yes even Gnome desktops for various stints, KDE Plasma has remained my first true DE love. 

So you can imagine my excitement at the release of KDE Plasma 6.0 earlier this year - hitting Arch repos on the last day of February with a serious bang. Even though I hate to admit that at the time I was actually far away from Linux (enjoying a quiet Apple and macOS M2 Max rabbit-hole) I decided to wipe an old PC and see if Plasma 6.0 could pull me back in. 

Sadly, it wasn't exactly smooth sailing. Throughout March and April I ran Plasma 6.0 non-stop on even production machines and although I absolutely LOVED the new features (especially the floating panel options), the bugs - GOOD GOD the bugs (!) were absolutely infuriating. From laptop wake issues to the inability for my desktop to sleep, to the annoying panel bugs and KWIN crashes - this was a labour of love - and believe, it was pure labour! It got so bad, I am embarrassed to say, I switched to Gnome throughout May and June - the Plasma bugs and issues just too pervasive to ignore. 

Slight fast-forward again to the release of Plasma 6.1 a few weeks back - and I can finally say - I am back, baby. Plasma 6.1 has been a MASSIVE improvement on 6.0 in almost every way - and although (as always with KDE) there are some niggling issues around - I can confidently say, I am back on KDE/Arch terra firma. And thank goodness.

And although my distro-hopping nature may only allow me to remain here for a small bit of time, I can honestly say there's really no place like home 🏡 !