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: http://alien.slackbook.org/ktown/4.5.85/ which is mirrored to http://taper.alienbase.nl/mirrors/alien-kde/ and http://repo.ukdw.ac.id/alien-kde/.

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 linuxquestions.org. Or even better: let me know right here on this blog, and I’ll try to help you out.

Have fun, Eric.