My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

Tag: beta (Page 2 of 2)

Starting with KDE 4.6

Hi folks!

It took a while, because I have been fighting with properly packaging the LibreOffice software for so long, and playing with slackware-current to find bugs and areas of improvement.

But I finally found time to work on a set of Slackware packages for the second beta of the KDE 4.6 Software Compilation. The release of version 4.5.85, otherwise known as “4.6-beta2” was a few days ago. I had been following the issues which were reported in the days before making the sources public, so it was not too difficult to prepare the dependencies and update Slackware’s KDE build scripts.

Note #1: running Slackware-current (32-bit or 64-bit) is a requirement! Slackware 13.1 is simply too old for my packages.

Note #2: this is beta software, some things will not work reliable or are broken. Do not use this on machines you depend on for your daily work unless you know what you are doing! Use at your own risk!

Apart from the new KDE packages, there are several Slackware packages that need upgrading if you decide you want to test KDE 4.6-beta2. Also, four new non-KDE packages have entered the arena: these are libatasmart,sg3-utils, udisks and upower. The new packages are required because KDE 4.6 no longer depends on HAL. Instead, it uses udisks and upower (born out of the DeviceKit family). The reason is simple: HAL is no longer developed. The X.Org developers took this step away from HAL earlier during the development of X11R7.6 (the version of X in slackware-current does not use HAL anymore). This happened for the same reasons, however X.Org talks to udev directly and does not need udisks and upower. I wish KDE would have done the same… it seems we are now stuck with these DeviceKit offsprings…

Where are the packages?

Packages are available as usual in my “ktown” repository: which is mirrored to and

I have added a nice README with instructions on how to install or upgrade to this beta2 of KDE 4.6.

What are my experiences so far with this new software?

  • Of course, the first thing I tried was disabling HAL entirely by running “chmod -x /etc/rc.d/rc.hald” and rebooting.. That went well enough, apart from a piece of audio hardware that was no longer recognized: “HDA Intel (CONEXANT analog)” but I still have proper sound anyway. KDE will complain about hardware that goes missing and will ask you if it should forget about that hardware altogether, or ask again next time.
  • I found that k3b and kaudiocreator no longer worked. I have built new packages for both, with the latest sources checked out from the repositories, and that fixed k3b. Unfortunately, kaudiocreator still crashes on startup, complaining about “QSocketNotifier: Invalid socket 10 and type ‘Read’“. This is caused by the same change in the Solid API which made k3b crash initially, but that team fixed it. If you find a patch for kaudiocreator, tell me!
  • After the upgrade, I had big issues with akonadi. As you may know, akonadi is the storage service for PIM data (kmail wants to store its emails there) and meta data indexed by Strigi and Nepomuk. The upgrade from 4.5.4 to 4.5.85 caused disruption here. On login to KDE, I found that several instances of akonadi_control were being started as well multiple instances of mysqld (akonadi uses MySQL as the database backend) and every time I started KDE, more of these processes would run and all of them would complain about their brethren.  I have not found a decent troubleshooting and repair guide for Akonadi, and out of despair I deleted the akonadi directories “~/.local/share/akonadi” and “~/.config/akonadi” entirely… now that solved the issues!  However, you really do not want to end up with this scenario, especially if all your emails are stored in an akonadi database. Akonadi developers, please provide better documentation on how to fix a broken service!
  • I found that the guidance-power-manager package is no longer needed, because KDE’s own power-devil does a good job of managing the power. I simply removepkg-ed the guidance-power-manager.  There is a widget with a l battery gauge if you need one – it is not added to the system tray by default.
  • I added a package for “kwebkitpart” so that you can now switch konqueror’s rendering engine from KHTML to Webkit (which is a descendant of KHTML).

To sum it all up: if you are adventurous, get my packages and upgrade your Slackware computer with them. It’s a lot of fun trying to find the quirks and bugs in new software, especially if you find fixes for them. And generally, this software works well, even if it is still e beta. But like I said before, you should not use this beta software on a computer that you depend on for your daily business… unless you know what you are doing and are confident that you can overcome any hurdles.

Post your findings in the Slackware forum of Or even better: let me know right here on this blog, and I’ll try to help you out.

Have fun, Eric.

Beta alert: KDE 4.5 beta2 for the adventurous

I hinted at this in my previous post; I have been building packages for the second beta of KDE SC 4.5.

I was not so sure if I should make them publicly available after I had installed them on my laptop running Slackware64 and very soon, noticed some serious issues:

  • I can not have virtual desktops with separate widget sets for instance.
  • I had some initial problems with KDM which is now configured to run as a non-existing “kdm” user – but I patched “/etc/kde/kdm/kdmrc” and reverted to the old, working, situation.
  • The drop-down menu when you click on the “cashew” in the top-right corner has many double or even triple entries, which is very annoying

However, in the meantime I received positive feedback from people who are eager and willing to test the beta packages. Good, thank you! That made me feel all warm inside!

All the joking aside, I am glad with the reponses to my blog posts. It’s what drives me to create these packages for you.

Here they are (64-bit as well as 32-bit):

You’ll notice that there are a few updated dependencies and one new package, libdbusmenu-qt. Grab those too! There are no pre-compiled language packs for now (I just lacked the time), but I have added the sources and updated the build script for “KDEI” so you can easily build a single package yourself. For example, compile the “nl” language pack with this command:

# PKGLANG=nl  ./kde-l10n.SlackBuild

Good luck! Don’t forget to report the bugs you find at and feel free to discuss them in the comments section of this post.

By the time KDE4.5 sees its first Release Candidate, I will have updated the Qt4 package too. At this moment I did not want to diverge too much from Slackware 13.1.

Cheers, Eric

Fiddling with the KDE 4.5 beta

Although it seems (by looking at the changelog between 4.4.3 and 4.4.4) that there were no spectacular updates in the latest stable KDE Software Compilation, I got some feedback that 4.4.4 does feel “snappier” than the 4.4.3 which is part of Slackware 13.1.

Good news (that people actually use my packages)!

It made me think again about the upcoming KDE SC 4.5 for which the second beta was released very recently (the sources at least). I had not really planned on a Slackware build for KDE 4.5 until I had access to the stable sources, which will not happen all too soon.

But if even a small (bugfix) upgrade is received so positively, some people may find it interesting or challenging enough to get their hands dirty with the new beta release. So I decided to move ahead, locate the updated and new dependencies and start building packages.

At this moment there are no kdepim packages planned for KDE 4.5. The kdepim developers decided that the current quality of their software is not high enough to be included in KDE 4.5 – they expect kdepim to be re-integrated into KDE SC 4.5.1 and will release preview versions on their own in the meantime.

The software requirements for 4.5 are not yet written down like they are for older releases, but after reading through the mailing lists I have a feeling that I will have to upgrade Qt to 4.7 in the end. There is no such Qt release yet… so at some point I will start using source snapshots from the Qt git repository.

Not right now however, because the compilation recognized my already installed Qt 4.6.2 and did not complain about that. Tonight I will finish a 64-bit build of KDE SC 4.4.85 (aka 4.5-beta2) and install that to my laptop. If that does not break everything, I will also build a set of 32-bit packages and release the lot to my “ktown repository“.

Let me know if you are interested in tying out the beta! If there is no interest, I may leave it at just the 64-bit packages and use the time to debug my VLC package (which seems to crash on VAAPI support).

Watch this space for more news, soon (I hope).


Slackware 13.1 BETA1

My shiny new KDE 4.4.3 packages were short-lived… surprising perhaps, but I knew it was going to happen.

Pat Volkerding “grabbed” the sources I have accumulated at (they were mostly his to start with of course) and added KDE SC 4.4.3 officially to Slackware-current. This update marks the first beta release of Slackware 13.1 folks!

This blog gets a nice mention in the “Thu May  6 21:02:02 UTC 2010” ChangeLog entry too 🙂

Do not forget to update your slackpkg blacklist file if you had added my packages there. None of my KDE packages are needed anymore.

Enjoy, Eric

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