Thoughts on kde-4.2.0

Ken Moffat zarniwhoop at
Mon Mar 2 16:22:03 PST 2009

 If anybody cares, these are my views on kde-4.2.0.  Note that I
have no use for a graphical mail client, so I don't use kmail
(anyway, who needs mySQL for a desktop ? - it's a runtime
requirement for akonadi).

1. fixes not related to 4.2.0

 I'd had trouble with okular occupying all of my screen.  Turns out
4.1.3 had written a width of 1601 and a height of 1201 into
 .kde4/share/config/okularrc - I think earlier versions also did
that, but I was using .kde/ in those days.  That's for a 1600x1200
physical screen.  Removing that file fixed the problem, so 4.2.0 is

2. thoughts on cmake

 For people who build from source on linux, this continues to be
horrible.  At best you will get meaningful error messages, at worst
it picks up variable names which are semi-meaningful and not
defined: SOPRANO_LIBRARIES (ADVANCED) : yes, I didn't install
Soprano, but which part, and in particular what does advanced
mean here ?

 It will also hurt your eyes with all of the capitalization,
particularly if you have to grep after it fails.

3. akonadi

 As suggested earlier, as far as Boost is concerned this only looks
for static libraries.  I have Boost, but none of the static libs -
it seemed quite happy to build like that, but maybe it's broken.  I
had similar cmake reports (Boost, but no libs) from kdelibs,
kdebase-workspace, and kdepimlibs.

4. QTUITOOLS_LIBRARY (ADVANCED) : Qt builds libQtUiTools as a static
library.  Only people who mistrust static libs in their build will
encounter this.  I've been pointed to a patch for Qt, but I haven't
built a system with it.  Noted because if you have to upgrade Qt
you'll need to rebuild kdelibs and kdebase-workspace.  I suppose
there is a possibility that they only get pulled in if akonadi is

5. kdebindings

 built without any problems (probably only Python bindings).  It
makes no attempt to determine if runtime dependencies are met - see
previous post on system-config-printer (which needs a lot of gnome).

6. added dependencies

 Kdepimlibs now requires libical as well as gpgme, my previous notes
suggest libical is a new requirement.

 Kdegraphics requires the notorious SOPRANO_LIBRARIES (ADVANCED) for
gwenview, but only because I've built libexiv2.  I didn't like
gwenview when I tried it in the past, so I edited CMakeLists.txt to
do without it (looks as if gwenview is not built if libexiv2 is not

7. Further thoughts

 Increasingly, I get the impression that kde4 is likely to fail to
build unless everything possible is present (no --disable-foo
options in cmake to build with reduced functionality).  I'm also
disturbed that QImageBlitz appears not to be officially released as
a tarball - I grabbed 0.5, which has apparently been tagged in kde
svn, from an Arch mirror.

 Because I'm intending to give up gdm, I tried kdm.  It worked to an
extent - create /etc/shells with bash listed ; note that my choice
of UID for fcron causes it to be listed among the users ; after
logging in to the default session I got a blank text screen with two
inverse '?' [ presumably, invalid UTF-8 ] until xorg started ;
desktop ok but not to my taste ; couldn't log out - used
Ctrl-Alt-Del.  Oh well, runlevel 3 for me in future.

 Got back to the login screen (I think I had to restart kdm).
Noticed I could change the session type, selected icewm which is
what I normally use.  This was nasty, .Xresources was ignored
(although it seemed to be used for the default session) so urxvt was
tiny and black on white.  Logout took me out of X, but gave me a
text screen with 2 rows of mostly inverse '?' at the top.  I was
lost, used MagicSysRQ to sync, umount, reboot.  For many people, it
will probably be ok with a little tweaking.

 For myself, I'll probably scale back to kdebase (konqueror4 is a
lot nicer for font usage than 3, but still as slow as a dog),
kdegraphics (okular works ok, although sometimes it produces very
thin fonts that are hard to read), kdemultimedia (dragon, which is
usable, and kmix - the only graphical mixer I've found that works on


 previous threads on kde4:

 my thoughts on 4.1.0

 Cliff McDiarmid's problems with kdeutils in 4.1.3

 on strigidaemon:

 on system-config-printer:
das eine Mal als Tragödie, das andere Mal als Farce

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