Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages - Debian

This is a discussion on Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages - Debian ; Hi, I just finished fighting with installing KDE4 on my laptop. As I've got quite a few issues, here's a short (or not so short) write-up: 1. Debian packaging issues First, let me thank the Debian KDE maintainers for doing ...

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  1. Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages

    Hi,

    I just finished fighting with installing KDE4 on my laptop. As I've got
    quite a few issues, here's a short (or not so short) write-up:

    1. Debian packaging issues

    First, let me thank the Debian KDE maintainers for doing such an
    enormous amount of work! Although below you will find mainly criticism,
    I really do think that you did a great job. It's not an easy task you're
    working on!

    So, here's some notes:

    1.1 KDevelop (Show stopper for me!)

    What's really keeping me from using KDE4 is a result of the package
    maintainer's decision not to let KDE3 and KDE4 be installed completely
    in parallel. One of the side effects is that you can't install KDevelop
    together with KDE4! For me this means I can't use KDE4 at the moment!
    Other packages will surely suffer from the very same decision.

    1.2 Metapackages are often useless (everytime I tried!)

    I tried to do a simple 'sudo aptitude -t experimental install kde4'
    several times before. Never, really never, could the pacakge
    dependencies be resolved: At the time of this writing, e.g. kdebase
    (4:4.0.72-1) depends on several packages (>= 4:4.0.72-1). But they are
    not there. Everything but the metapackage itself is still stuck at
    4:4.0.68+svn794641-1 or so. I had to pick all those packages manually.

    Sure, that's maybe just my bad timing, but I tried approximately 20
    times in the last 2 months, it never worked!


    1.3 Bookmarks

    Where are my konqueror bookmarks? Shouldn't they get imported from KDE3?

    I'm not sure if this is a problem with the packaging (maybe .kde/ vs.
    ..kde4) or an upstream problem.

    1.4 Menu entries - what's the name of the app?

    I tend to know the name of the application I'd like to start. If I like
    to find e.g. Amarok in the "Applications" menu I have to look for "Audio
    Player". Only when I move the mouse pointer over the "Audio Player"
    entry I see, that it's actually Amarok. The same holds for lots of other
    applications.

    1.5 KDE3 vs. KDE4 in general

    Although already mentioned above, I don't think the decision not to make
    KDE3 and KDE4 co-installable was right: As long as there is a single
    KDE3 application that's not installable if KDE4 is installed, someone
    might be hindered to use KDE4 at all. See my case with KDevelop. It
    should be easy to switch to KDE4. A missing application might be a
    complete show-stopper.

    Furthermore, testing KDE4 is made so very complicated by this decision:
    KDE4 doesn't install easily, and it's even worse to get back to your
    KDE3 environment. In essence, I strongly doubt I'll try again before
    KDE4 gets in by a dist-upgrade.

    And there's another problem based on KDE3/KDE4 concurrence: Now that
    I've tested KDE4, and saw it's neither stable nor usable for me, how am
    I supposed to switch to KDE4 with good faith when it is supposed to be
    production stable? I can't. I'll really be afraid the day aptitude pulls
    in KDE4.

    If I would not loose my KDE3 environment, I would gladly switch to KDE4,
    knowing that I've still got KDE3 as a working fallback!


    2. Upstream (probably) issues

    2.1 Bookmarks (minor issue)

    See 1.3 above, but there isn't even a simple way to import bookmarks!
    Not from Konqueror 3.x, not from Iceweasel/Firefox/Opera...

    2.2 Files and icons on the desktop (a real nuisance!!!)

    Why the f... do we need all the ...?

    I've got a couple of similar named files/directories/links on the
    desktop. They all look the same now: "2006..." or "http:..." or "DSC..."
    or "test_...", "NFS...". They are indistinguishable now!!!

    In my eyes, it was the worst decision ever in KDE development to
    introduce such abbreviations in konqueror (file manager mode with icon
    view) back somewhere in the development of the KDE3 series. Now they
    did the same on the desktop...

    BTW, what's the use of the dark squares around the desktop icons? It
    just looks cluttered.

    2.3 KDM (very minor issue)

    There's a cursor blinking in the password field, but I can only type in
    it after clicking into it.

    2.4 Stability (show stopper)

    It simply isn't stable. I lost the application panel (What is it called
    now? It used to be kicker.) and didn't get it back (even after
    re-login), complete desktop freezes occurred several times, all of it in
    about 1 hour of testing.


    3. Summary

    Although KDE4 sure looks nice (apart from issue 2.2), it's not usable
    for me at the moment. I strongly hope, it *really* is ready when it hits
    unstable.

    Kind regards,

    Felix


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  2. Re: Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages

    On Fri, May 16, 2008 at 02:47:52PM +0200, Felix Homann wrote:
    > 3. Summary
    >
    > Although KDE4 sure looks nice (apart from issue 2.2), it's not usable
    > for me at the moment. I strongly hope, it *really* is ready when it hits
    > unstable.
    >


    Nobody said it was usable... :-) I have personally never encouranged people to
    migrate or try it yet.
    OTOH, we are talking here about software that has not been released yet.

    It is obvious, and in case it is not I am saying it here, we are not uploading
    KDE 4.1 to unstable as replacement for KDE 4 until we do not consider it a
    fully and stable replacement....

    I would love answer the rest of your mail, but no time here

    Ana


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  3. Re: Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages

    Hi Ana,

    Ana Guerrero wrote:
    > Nobody said it was usable... :-) I have personally never encouranged people to
    > migrate or try it yet.


    Yes, I know. You made it very clear when you wrote "it is not still
    completely functional, so you are warned." :-)

    I didn't even expect it to be completely usable or stable at the moment:
    It's in experimental for a reason!

    > It is obvious, and in case it is not I am saying it here, we are not uploading
    > KDE 4.1 to unstable as replacement for KDE 4 until we do not consider it a
    > fully and stable replacement....


    I'm concerned with the amount of feedback. I strongly believe that you
    would get much more valuable feedback if testing was a little easier.

    > I would love answer the rest of your mail, but no time here


    Just take your time. We're not in a hurry, are we?


    Kind regards,

    Felix



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  4. Re: Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages

    Hi,

    2008 m. May 16 d., Friday, Felix Homann rašė:
    > 1.1 KDevelop (Show stopper for me!)
    >
    > What's really keeping me from using KDE4 is a result of the package
    > maintainer's decision not to let KDE3 and KDE4 be installed completely
    > in parallel. One of the side effects is that you can't install KDevelop
    > together with KDE4! For me this means I can't use KDE4 at the moment!
    > Other packages will surely suffer from the very same decision.

    Only very KDE3 desktop specific packages are not installable. kdevelop is not
    one of them.

    $ dpkg -l kdevelop* | grep ii
    ii kdevelop 4:3.5.1-1 An IDE for Unix/X11
    ii kdevelop-data 4:3.5.1-1 An IDE for Unix/X11-
    data

    > 1.2 Metapackages are often useless (everytime I tried!)
    >
    > I tried to do a simple 'sudo aptitude -t experimental install kde4'
    > several times before. Never, really never, could the pacakge
    > dependencies be resolved: At the time of this writing, e.g. kdebase
    > (4:4.0.72-1) depends on several packages (>= 4:4.0.72-1). But they are
    > not there. Everything but the metapackage itself is still stuck at
    > 4:4.0.68+svn794641-1 or so. I had to pick all those packages manually.

    Metapackages are hard to keep up to date. However, they will be when stuff
    hits testing or soon afterwards. What's is more, neither are binary packages
    in sync, unfortunately

    > 1.3 Bookmarks
    >
    > Where are my konqueror bookmarks? Shouldn't they get imported from KDE3?
    >
    > I'm not sure if this is a problem with the packaging (maybe .kde/ vs.
    > .kde4) or an upstream problem.

    That's exactly one of the reasons KDE4 is in experimental, many things have
    simply not been taken care of just yet.

    > 1.4 Menu entries - what's the name of the app?
    >
    > I tend to know the name of the application I'd like to start. If I like
    > to find e.g. Amarok in the "Applications" menu I have to look for "Audio
    > Player". Only when I move the mouse pointer over the "Audio Player"
    > entry I see, that it's actually Amarok. The same holds for lots of other
    > applications.

    Search field of the new menu should find you amarok. However, you're right
    about display of the entries. It should be configurable, but it is not
    (upstream issue).

    >
    > 1.5 KDE3 vs. KDE4 in general
    >
    > Although already mentioned above, I don't think the decision not to make
    > KDE3 and KDE4 co-installable was right: As long as there is a single
    > KDE3 application that's not installable if KDE4 is installed, someone
    > might be hindered to use KDE4 at all. See my case with KDevelop. It
    > should be easy to switch to KDE4. A missing application might be a
    > complete show-stopper.

    Out of official KDE3, kdelibs4 is there to stay as some very important bitsof
    kdebase (KDE3) and probably other not yet ported things. Hence, absolute
    majority of third party KDE3 apps should be installable and kdevelop is not
    an expection. I don't know why you ran into a problem with it.

    If Lenny is released with KDE 4.1 desktop, some apps will still be KDE3 based.

    > Furthermore, testing KDE4 is made so very complicated by this decision:
    > KDE4 doesn't install easily, and it's even worse to get back to your
    > KDE3 environment. In essence, I strongly doubt I'll try again before
    > KDE4 gets in by a dist-upgrade.

    That's unfortunately true. There are many reasons for this. At this point, you
    must be really determined to use KDE 4.1 and ignore its current deficiencies
    if you upgrade to it.

    > And there's another problem based on KDE3/KDE4 concurrence: Now that
    > I've tested KDE4, and saw it's neither stable nor usable for me, how am
    > I supposed to switch to KDE4 with good faith when it is supposed to be
    > production stable? I can't. I'll really be afraid the day aptitude pulls
    > in KDE4.

    The version you tested was sort of a mix of KDE 4.1 pre and post Alpha1
    snapshots (that's far far from stable release). So it is still too early to
    judge how stable KDE 4.1 will be. However, we hope it to be stable. Current
    snapshots are pretty stable too expect one thing called plasma, which happens
    to be the most noticeable by the users as it governs desktop, panel,
    plasmoids etc. and when it crashes, it might bring the whole desktop down
    from the user's POV.

    > If I would not loose my KDE3 environment, I would gladly switch to KDE4,
    > knowing that I've still got KDE3 as a working fallback!

    It's too much overhead to maintain both KDE3 and KDE4 desktops. Don't forget
    that KDE3 is almost dead upstream, so no upstream bugs is going to be fixed.
    KDE developers did not want both complete desktops to be installable on
    normal user systems and whatever other distros did to achieve this
    co-installability, will simply cause more pain for them to return "to the
    proper way" later.

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    Modestas Vainius

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  5. Re: Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages

    On 2008-05-16, Felix Homann wrote:
    > 1.1 KDevelop (Show stopper for me!)
    >
    > What's really keeping me from using KDE4 is a result of the package
    > maintainer's decision not to let KDE3 and KDE4 be installed completely
    > in parallel. One of the side effects is that you can't install KDevelop
    > together with KDE4! For me this means I can't use KDE4 at the moment!
    > Other packages will surely suffer from the very same decision.


    If you can track down what exactly causes kdevelop non-installable on
    kde desktop, it would be great.
    It is meant to be possible to run kde3 apps in kde4.

    /Sune


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  6. Re: Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages

    Sune Vuorela wrote:
    > If you can track down what exactly causes kdevelop non-installable on
    > kde desktop, it would be great.
    > It is meant to be possible to run kde3 apps in kde4.
    >
    > /Sune


    Hi,

    this seems to be the essential part of aptitude's output:

    #########################################

    sudo aptitude install kdevelop
    [...]
    The following packages are BROKEN:
    kdebase-runtime-data-common
    The following NEW packages will be installed:
    kdebase-bin{a} kdevelop kdevelop-data{a}
    0 packages upgraded, 3 newly installed, 0 to remove and 25 not upgraded.
    Need to get 0B/12.6MB of archives. After unpacking 37.1MB will be used.
    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    kdebase-runtime-data-common: Conflicts: kdebase-bin (< 4:4.0.0-1) but
    4:3.5.9.dfsg.1-2+b1 is to be installed.
    Resolving dependencies...
    The following actions will resolve these dependencies:

    Remove the following packages:
    kdebase-runtime-data-common
    libkonq5-templates

    Install the following packages:
    kcontrol [4:3.5.9.dfsg.1-2+b1 (unstable, testing, now)]
    kdesktop [4:3.5.9.dfsg.1-2+b1 (unstable, testing, now)]
    kicker [4:3.5.9.dfsg.1-2+b1 (unstable, testing, now)]

    Downgrade the following packages:
    kdebase-data [4:4.0.72-1 (experimental, now) -> 4:3.5.9.dfsg.1-2
    (unstable, testing)]
    kfind [4:4.0.68+svn794641-1 (experimental, now) -> 4:3.5.9.dfsg.1-2+b1
    (unstable, testing)]
    konqueror [4:4.0.68+svn794641-1 (experimental, now) ->
    4:3.5.9.dfsg.1-2+b1 (unstable, testing)]
    [...]
    #########################################


    Hope it helps.

    Kind regards,

    Felix


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  7. Re: Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages

    Hi,

    2008 m. May 16 d., Friday, Felix Homann rašė:
    > kdebase-runtime-data-common: Conflicts: kdebase-bin (< 4:4.0.0-1) but
    > 4:3.5.9.dfsg.1-2+b1 is to be installed.

    Force kdebase-bin to the version in experimental (other another aptitude
    solution or like below), then processed with kdevelop install.

    # aptitude -t experimental install kdebase-bin
    # aptitude install kdevelop

    --
    Modestas Vainius

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  8. Re: Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages

    Modestas Vainius wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > 2008 m. May 16 d., Friday, Felix Homann rašė:
    >> kdebase-runtime-data-common: Conflicts: kdebase-bin (< 4:4.0.0-1) but
    >> 4:3.5.9.dfsg.1-2+b1 is to be installed.

    > Force kdebase-bin to the version in experimental (other another aptitude
    > solution or like below), then processed with kdevelop install.


    OK, then this is the real problem:

    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    kdebase-bin: Depends: kdebase-data (= 4:4.0.68+svn794641-1) but
    4:4.0.72-1 is installed.

    Should be solved when packages are in sync.

    Kind regards,

    Felix


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  9. Re: Impressions of KDE4 and the Debian packages

    You can use both IF you compile one of them. I had to compile kde3 (using
    konstruct) when kde3 was too big of a problem on Sid for an extended period.
    I put it on /opt. Kde4 installed on /usr. (Yes, a pity that stuff did not go
    into separate subdirectories--I think they do it that way for Ubuntu,
    i.e /usr/bin/kde4, /usr/lib/kde4, etc., at least until it is really ready for
    SId.)

    With one of them off /usr, I can have desktop files in sessions to run the
    appropriate startkde. Paths need be set there AND an environment variable
    should be set identifying the session (it used to do just that but I now must
    add it myself, say in my older kde3 startkde which is not getting overwritten
    in upgrades). I then have my bash profile test that and set up appropriate
    paths.

    Rusty-trusty kde3 apps usually run just fine in kde4 so kdevelop can still be
    used. Visa-versa, I can run the new dolphin in kde3, no sweat.

    One big reason why it can be problematic keeping both around is that kde3 uses
    dcop and kde4 is using dbus services for intertask operations and never the
    twain to meet. So ... I have both going. It would be nice (hint-hint) for
    kde4 to have a dcop that tests the session env variable and uses dbus. This
    bit of compatibility would go a long way.


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