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6 more KDE Plasma 5 widgets for your Linux desktop

In a past post, we went over some cool widgets for KDE Plasma 5. We covered great ones, like KDE Connect, Redshift Control, Win7 Volume manager and others. Still, there are endless amounts of widgets out there for the Plasma 5 desktop, and it’d be a shame to only talk about a few. So, here are six more KDE Plasma 5 widgets for your Linux desktop to check out.

Note: before attempting to install any of the widgets on this list, be sure to update to the latest version of the KDE desktop. Otherwise, some may not work correctly.

1. Excalibur

Excalibur is an alternative menu system to the default system KickOff launcher for KDE Plasma 5. It sports a favorites column on the left, and an application browsing menu on the right, and is based on the Lancelot menu for KDE 4.

While this menu widget certainly isn’t the first replacement out there, Excalibur manages to stand out with clean design and a decent set of features.

Installing – Excalibur

To install Excalibur on KDE Plasma, head over to the Excalibur OpenDesktop.org page. Then, click on the “Files” tab.

In the files area, download the latest version available (2.7) to your Linux PC. Then, launch a terminal and install the widget with the terminal commands below.

Note: you will need to use version 2.4 of Excalibur if you are on Plasma 5.8.

cd ~/Downloads
plasmapkg -u org.kde.plasma.excalibur_p59+p511.plasmoid

2. Simple System Monitor

Simple System Monitor is a widget for the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment, that can print out a variety of system statistics, including CPU usage, Kernal version, CPU core temperature, memory usage, and even Linux SWAP space.

Installing – Simple System Monitor

Set up Simple System Monitor on your KDE Plasma Desktop by visiting the “Files” tab on this page. Then, download the latest Plasmoid file.

When the Simple System Monitor widget is done downloading to your Linux PC, install it with the commands in a terminal below.

cd ~/Downloads

plasmapkg -u plasma-simpleMonitor-v0.6.plasmoid

3. Places Widget

One thing that’s very annoying about KDE Plasma 5 is that there’s no built-in shortcut on the menu that gives you easy access to your folder bookmarks right from the desktop.

Thankfully, the Places Widget exists, and with it, you’ll be able to quickly access any folder you’d like, as long as it’s added to “Places” in the Dolphin file manager.

Installing – Places Widget

Go to OpenDesktop.org’s Places widget page. Then, click on the “Files” tab and grab version 1.2 of the Places Widget. Then, install the Widget to KDE with:

cd ~/Downloads

plasmapkg -u places-widget-1.2.plasmoid

4. Brighty

Brighty is a simple widget for the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment that lets users quickly adjust the brightness of external HDMI monitors with a couple of clicks, which is extremely useful, especially when you realize just how annoying it is to get your brightness levels perfect.

Installing – Brighty

To get Brighty set up on your KDE Plasma 5 setup, grab the latest version of the widget from here. Then, use the Plasmapkg command to load it up.

cd ~/Downloads

plasmapkg -u brighty-v0.3.plasmoid

5. Arch Linux System Tray Update Notifier and Upgrader

Looking for a way to always be notified for updates on your Arch Linux/KDE setup?  If so, you may want to check out this Arch Linux update notification widget! It can check updates daily, and notify you of pending upgrades. Better yet, it’s possible to install system updates for your Arch system right from the widget!

Installing – Arch Linux System Tray Update Notifier and Upgrader

The Arch Linux update notifier widget isn’t like other ones on this list, and you won’t be able to download the Plasmoid file and load it up. Instead, the developer has an AUR package available. To install it, follow the step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Install the required Git and Base-devel packages to Arch Linux.

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

Step 2: Clone the Arch Updater widget from the AUR using the git command.

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/plasma5-applets-kde-arch-update-notifier-git.git

Step 3: Move the terminal into the code folder with the CD command

cd plasma5-applets-kde-arch-update-notifier-git

Step 4: Run the makepkg command and install the Arch Updater widget into KDE Plasma. Be sure to check the official AUR page if anything goes wrong during the installation process.

makepkg -sri

6. Thermal Monitor

The KDE desktop environment is known to be very graphically intensive, and heavy at times. While not as sluggish as Gnome Shell, it’s not exactly lightweight and fast on computers with minimal resources, so if you insist on using it on a computer that can barely handle it, you’ll need to keep an eye on your temperatures.

A great way to keep track of your Linux PC’s temperatures while using KDE Plasma 5 is by installing the Thermal Monitor widget. It uses the sensors on your computer to accurately display how hot your CPU, GPU and hard drives are while in use.

Installing – Thermal Monitor

To get Thermal Monitor, go to this page on OpenDesktop.org. Once you’re there, you’ll need to click on “Files” and download version 1.2.8 of Thermal Monitor to your Linux PC.

When the widget is done downloading, load it into the KDE Plasma desktop by executing the commands below into a terminal window.

Note: along with installing the Thermal Monitor Plasmoid file, you must install the qt5-graphicaleffects package to your Linux PC.

cd ~/Downloads
plasmapkg -u plasma-applet-thermal-monitor.plasmoid

Activating widgets

Did you download and install one of the Plasma widgets on this list? Are you unsure about how to add it to your panel, or desktop? If so, do yourself a favor and check out our guide on how to customize the KDE Desktop. It goes over how to configure and set up Plasma widgets.

Conclusion

One of KDE’s greatest strengths as a desktop environment is the sheer amount of customization it offers its users in the form of widgets. If you’ve been looking to spice up your Plasma desktop, do yourself a favor and check these widgets out. You won’t regret it!

Do you have a favorite widget for the KDE desktop? Let us know in the comments below!

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