Feren OS
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Feren OS

Plasma 5.24 is now available in Feren OS

It has been a long time since the last Plasma update made its way to Feren OS, for reasons I’ll delve into in the upcoming snapshot’s announcement, but… it’s good to be back to announcing to you that I’m happy to announce the release of KDE Plasma 5.24 to Feren OS’s latest release, now available from Update Manager!

You can see what the changes to KDE Plasma upstream are at https://kde.org/announcements/plasma/5/5.24.3.

New Feren OS specific patches

Global Theme has been redesigned

Currently in the works as an upstream merge request, Feren OS now sports its own redesign of the Global Theme page in System Settings. From here, you can now apply Global Themes, Desktop Layouts, or both at once.

Now manage both Global Themes and Desktop Layouts from one page in Settings

Colours now has its Plasma 5.25 Accent Colour improvements

Speaking of upstream merge requests, the Colours page in System Settings now sports its upstreamed (originally for a Feren OS Plasma 5.23 update) accent colours improvements, including the option for colour scheme makers to dictate accent colours being applied to titlebars as well.

Additionally, you’ll also find Feren OS’s accent colours now available as added accent colour options below the KDE Plasma accent colours, giving you more choice than ever.

Notice the accent colour options up-top, and Feren OS (Coloured Titlebars) using the accent colour on its titlebar as well

New changes to Feren OS

Accent Colours

A feature that debuted in KDE Plasma 5.23, you can now apply accent colours directly from System Settings -> Appearance -> Colours! Pick any colour scheme you would like, choose your accent colour to use, and just like that you’ve got an accent colour of your own picking on that colour scheme.

Feren OS’s default layout: Overview button

Feren OS’s default layout has gotten a minor change, being the addition of a button to enter the Overview at any time. The Overview, which will be mentioned later in this announcement, allows you to switch between windows and workspaces fast. You can now find it next to the Applications Menu on the panel.

Feren OS Tablet Mode: Complete panel revamp

Feren OS’s Tablet Mode layout has also gotten a big change, being a complete revamp of the panel layout it sports, being way closer now to mockups for an actual Feren OS Tablet Mode style. In this, you can expect a left-aligned Show Desktop button, a new Overview button, and a new full-screen Applications Menu variation. Speaking of which…

Tablet Mode’s new panel

Applications Menu and Clock are now modernised

The Applications Menu and Feren OS Clock have both been rebased on their latest base widgets, being Kickoff and Digital Clock respectively.

For the Feren OS Clock, this means a slightly redesigned clock popout, single-line mode for the clock on smaller panels if you enable date-display, and fixes for settings.

For the Applications Menu, however, this means a minor facelift, the restoration of the ‘triangle-filter anti-hover protection’ feature from Kickoff, and a newly introduced full-screen variant of the Applications Menu for touchscreen users called the Applications Screen.

The new Applications Screen

Desktop Effects changes, including the new Overview

Alright, now to explain what the Overview is. This release of KDE Plasma debuts the new “Overview” Desktop Effect, which is a replacement for Desktop Grid and Present Windows, effectively, that combines both of them functionality-wise and adds a search bar for KRunner access as well. Effectively, it’s the new workspaces management interface.

To accompany this Desktop Effect being enabled, however, a few more Desktop Effects changes occurred, such as the window open and close animations being changed to just use Scale only (Scale also fades now), as well as an effect or two being enabled or disabled due to miniscule visual difference.

Feren OS theme: New titlebar buttons

Feren OS’s theme, Inspire, has now got restyled titlebar buttons, now made to look like the styling of standard buttons for consistency while still retaining their symbols, close also retaining its red colour (however, said red colour is no longer hardcoded and now respects the colour scheme). The theme does not look any different otherwise, however, and the GTK theme has been updated to match this change.

General misc. tweaks

Finally, other miscellaneous tweaks were also done to Feren OS as part of this update, such as the Tour getting minor adjustments for Plasma 5.24, KWrite now being the text editor instead of Kate (just like KDE has), the Desktop Icons now being organised in rows by default rather than columns, and more.

Feature and patch removals

Finally, removals. This release marks the beginning of an effort to mostly vanilla-fy Feren OS in terms of patches, with patches from now on only being fixes or upstreamed improvements. As consequence of this, and an overall massive rewrite of certain components upstream by KDE Plasma 5.24, the following features and patches were lost in this update:

Theme Colouriser

Theme Colouriser has no relation to the vanilla-fication efforts, however it does have relations in being a feature removed in this update. For context, now KDE Plasma has a means of setting accent colours upstream, there is no reason for Feren OS’s Theme Colouriser to be present anymore, as its only job is now done by KDE Plasma itself.

Therefore, as promised in Theme Colouriser’s last update before this Plasma update, Theme Colouriser is officially no more in Feren OS. Once Feren OS Classic reaches end-of-life in 2023, that’s it for Theme Colouriser, it’ll never be developed ever again and will no longer be available in any supported Feren OS release.

As promised, however, this update also marks the release of a final update to Theme Colouriser in Feren OS that automatically backs up your Theme Colourisations, as colour codes, before deleting your theme colourisations, so that you can now use your backed up colour codes as accents in System Settings -> Appearance -> Colours. You’ll find the backed up theme colourisations at themeColouriserBackups.txt in your Home Folder once they’re backed up and deleted.

Thanks for using Theme Colouriser to colourise themes for all these years, from its debut in 2017 to the final moments it had in Feren OS in 2022, and ultimately 2023 in Feren OS Classic. I hope you’ll enjoy using your backed up colourisations as accents in Plasma 5.24 too.

Features removed because they broke, and having a lack of time/motivation to fix them

Rounded Corners on windows

Since KDE Plasma 5.22, KDE Plasma has undergone a major rewrite of Desktop Effects, thus unfortunately meaning Rounded Corners therefore no longer work as of this update. Sooner or later though it might come back if I have time and motivation to try and bring this effect back, or someone else brings the effect back.

System Settings duplicated items removals

System Settings no longer use /usr/share/kservices5 to decide the order of items, nor their visibility overall, and I haven’t had time to figure out where that is now decided instead (and if it can even be changed without recompiling), so System Settings’s duplicated items like Languages are back for the time being.

Patch removals

Desktop Layout is now a part of Global Theme

The split Desktop Layouts section of System Settings is no more, as part of the Global Theme redesign work, as Global Theme is now where you will find and apply Desktop Layouts.

Panel patch for Status Notch

The panel patch that fixes an issue with the Status Notch having an empty space to the right of it has been removed as it appears to have broken since 5.22. Of course, the Status Notch config has been updated to take this into account by evening out the spacing on the other side.

Okular configurations

Aside the toolbar style, Okular’s configurations are now back on their KDE Plasma defaults.

Kate configurations

Additionally, Kate no longer has custom configurations, since Feren OS now defaults to KWrite instead of Kate, thus the configurations moved to KWrite instead.

Feren OS’s Latte Launcher command is no more

Debuting back when the Feren OS of today was still known as Feren OS Next, as a means of working around Latte mysteriously silently crashing/exiting when in hiding for long periods of time, Feren OS’s Latte Launcher is no more in this update as that issue has seemingly been fixed by now.

If you’re updating, your Latte shortcuts in the Applications Menu and panels should automatically get unpatched to directly point to Latte again.

Known issues and Release notes

When you’ve updated, keep your device on for a few minutes before you choose to power off or restart Feren OS

An upstream issue, due to the fact upstream packages that KDE Plasma depends on in order to run were updated… to versions that the package manager perceives to be ‘older’… is automatically addressed by a Feren OS background process once you have updated your system, so to prevent serious issues from occurring make sure to allow some time for that background process to finish fixing the versions issue automatically (about 1–4 minutes) before you restart or power off your machine.

Your theme will be changed to Breeze if you’ve changed your Global Theme or Appearance settings before on your user account

Due to some upstream changes to Plasma, accompanied by the Inspire Window Decorations theme being renamed to its proper name of “Inspire”, your appearance settings may change to Breeze, after the update occurs, if you have changed appearance settings before on your user account.

Fixing this is as simple as re-applying your current Global Theme once you have updated your system. Those who have never changed their appearance settings before, however, will keep the Inspire theme as their current appearance without any intervention required.

That’s all for this announcement, though watch this space as something much bigger is coming in a day or so. I hope you enjoy Feren OS’s latest updates, and I hope you enjoy the new features in KDE Plasma 5.24!

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