An update to my KDE 5 packages was overdue. Ever since the “big upgrade” in Slackware-current a week ago on 21 April 2015, there have been some stability issues in the Plasma 5 desktop. The instability was caused by the version bumps of various libraries that the KDE software is depending on – you can not dynamically link to a software library that’s no longer there because it has been replaced with a library bearing a new version number. I felt I had to recompile everything just to be sure there was no hidden “breakage” left, and so I took the opportunity to wait for the newest Plasna release and present you wilth all-new packages.
My April release of KDE 5_15.04 consists of Frameworks 5.9.0, Plasma 5.3.0 and Applications 15.04.0 plus the latest updates of the KDE 4 Long Term Support (LTS) packages kdelibs, kdepimlibs, kdepim, kdepim-runtime and kde-workplace. Also there’s been a bit of a shake-up in the “deps” directory containing the direct dependencies for this release.
About Plasma 5
Slackware-current will stick with KDE 4.14.3 plus the latest LTS updates. KDE 5, or Plasma 5 as many people like to call it, is not yet fit for the average user. It is fairly stable, has some nice new concepts but if you are not the curious or tinkering kind, you will be better off with Slackware’s KDE 4.14.3.
If you are curious and like to tinker, and don’t care if some functionality is temporarily missing from Plasma 5 that you were used to in KDE 4, then my Plasma 5 packages will be a nice and interesting update for your Slackware-current computer (32-bit or 64-bit). The KDE 5 matures with every release of its components. In particular, the new Plasma 5.3.0 is a “new features” release working its way towards full Wayland support (no, we do not use that yet, and X.Org is also fully supported). And the April ’15 release of the KDE Applications brings the number of applications that have been ported to KF5 (KDE Frameworks 5) to a grand total of 72.
New to the Applications starting with 15.04 is KDE Telepathy (an Instant Messaging & Voice Over IP client on top of the telepathy communications framework) and Kdenlive, the non-linear video editor. BOth are filling a void in the KDE desktop that has existed for many years. I have to tell you that I have not yet built packages for them, but I will look at them for a future iteration. It would only have delayed the release of my packages at this moment.
Remember, there is no choosing between KDE 4 and Plasma 5 – KDE 4 will be mostly replaced (I say “mostly” because there are still a lot of KDE 4 applications in this release).
What’s new in KDE 5_15.04?
The highlights of this 5_15.04 March release are:
- KDE Frameworks have been updated to 5.9.0 (includes a new Framework: ModemManagerQt which is the former libmm-qt5 which has been promoted from Plasma to Frameworks and renamed)
- KDE Plasma has been updated to 5.3.0 (new features release)
- KDE Applications have been updated to 15.04.0 (increasing the number of KF5 ports to 72)
- KDE Extragear has been emptied: all the extragear packages are now available in slackware-current itself. Report any breakage that you encounter!!
- The “deps” directory for this release contains updates to stock Slackware packages: PyQt, eigen2, phonon, phonon-gstreamer, sip, xapian-core, and there’s three new “deps” packages as well since my previous release: PyQt5, cfitsio and grantlee-qt5. You’ll notice that several other “deps” packages have been upgraded or at least rebuilt.
- Gone from the “deps” because they are now part of Slackware-current: LibRaw, akonadi, attica, cmake, eigen3, exiv2, grantlee, harfbuzz, libfakekey, libodfgen, librevenge, libssh, libwpd, orc, poppler, qt, shared-desktop-ontologies, soprano, strigi.
Installing or upgrading Frameworks 5, Plasma 5 and Applications
The recent mass-update in Slackware-current will make this upgrade to KDE 5_15.04 particularly difficult. Remember: “don’t drink and drive“!
As always, the accompanying README file contains full installation & upgrade instructions. Note that the packages are available in several subdirectories below “kde”, instead of directly in “kde”. This makes it easier for me to do partial updates of packages. The subdirectories are “kde4″, “kde4-extragear”, “frameworks” “plasma”, “plasma-extra” and “applications”.
Upgrading to this KDE 5 is non-trivial. You will have to remove old KDE packages manually. If you do not have KDE installed at all, you will have to install some of Slackware’s own KDE 4 packages manually. I can not guarantee that there will be no deal-breakers for you (missing functionality or persistent crashes).
If you are using slackpkg+, have already moved to KDE 5_15.01 or newer and are adventurous, you can try upgrading using the following set of commands. This should work but feel free to send me improved instructions if needed (assuming in this example that you tagged my KDE 5 repository “ktown_testing”):
# slackpkg update
# slackpkg install ktown_testing (to get the newly added packages from my repo)
# slackpkg install-new (to get the new official Slackware packages that were part of my deps previously)
# slackpkg upgrade ktown_testing (upgrade all existing packages to their latest versions)
# slackpkg upgrade-all (upgrade the remaining dependencies that were part of my repo previously)
# removepkg sddm-theme-breeze (gone after KDE 5_15.01)
# removepkg libmm-qt5 (gone after KDE 5_15.03)
My observations after upgrading
There were a couple of things I had to go through to get the Plasma 5 desktop into an OK state:
- At first start, the screen remained black even though I could see the “wmsystemtray” was visible and the mouse pointer was definitely a KDE pointer. I killed the X server (Ctrl-Alt-BackSpace) and started again. This time the desktop came up as anticipated.
- I had added Konsole to the Favourites menu earlier. Both Konsole and Systemsettings icons in the Favourites were non-functional and missing their icons. I had to remove and re-add them.
- KDEConnect was added to my system tray earlier. After the upgrade to KDE 5_15.04 I could see an empty square where I assume KDEConnect wanted to dock – but it did not respond to clicking. I had to right-click on the system tray and disable KDEConnect from being shown, click Apply, and then make the KDEConnect widget show again.
- The default desktop background and the start/lock screen are quite a bit flashier. I like the changes in the theming.
- Still no suspend/hibernate buttons. And the shutdown/reboot options will only appear if you edit the “/usr/bin/startkde” script – removing the call to “kwrapper” as explained here.
Where to get the new packages for Plasma 5
Download locations are listed below (you will find the sources in ./source/5/ and packages in /current/5/ subdirectories). If you are interested in the development of KDE 5 for Slackware, you can peek at my git repository too.
Using a mirror is preferred because you get more bandwidth from a mirror and it’s friendlier to the owners of the master server!
Have fun! Eric