KaOS introduced the new 2018.06 snapshot release today, which features KDE Plasma 5.13 as well as a redesigned first-run wizard that can help to customize a freshly installed instance of the operating system. The newest version of Plasma came out just a few days ago, which makes KaOS one of a handful of distributions that are already offering it to end-users.
Most of the advantages to using this new version of KDE come in the form of performance updates. The distribution put out a release statement, which indicated that the biggest benefit was reduced memory usage. Developers from the project also stated that the new packages allow for much faster load times and even an improved runtime experience.
KDE users have often complained that the desktop has suffered from feature creep and software bloat in the last few years, but data from these developers would suggest that the Qt-based desktop environment is now faster than many of the other popular choices.
Test machines showed that the new environment also seemed to consume less processor power than older versions did. Settings boxes have a different look in this version as well, since developers decided to make full use of KDE’s Kirigami framework.
As with many GNU/Linux distributions, KaOS is in the process of transitioning to Wayland. Some work on this slow process has continued with this release and it marks the return of window rules. Support for higher-priority EGL Contexts and UI sharing should certainly please those who are looking toward a future where Wayland possibly replaces X Windows.
Since KaOS is a rolling release distribution, some commentators have compared it to Gentoo or Arch. While users who like the model these distros use would more than likely warm up to KaOS quite quickly, it should be noted that KaOS is a completely independent distribution that’s supported by it’s own development team.
While KaOS was originally based on Arch, the development team builds all of their own packages. Users can then download these packages from in-house repositories without the need to rely on those of other distributions.
Since KaOS only supports machines using the x86_64 architecture, they can dedicate more time to eliminating bugs as they only have to test their distro on a single platform.