My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

Tag: kde47

KDE 4.7.4 – last of the 4.7 series

The KDE team has already released two betas of the upcoming KDE 4.8, but I am not so much in a hurry. First things first! There is the last update in the 4.7 series, which was released earlier today. The Slackware KDE 4.7.4 packages are ready and you can grab them if you like.

For those who are trying my 4.7 packages for the first time and wonder why the hell am I offering so many packages, please read my earlier post about KDE 4.7.0 which explains more about splitting KDE for Slackware into many more (and smaller) packages.

My packages have been compiled on Slackware-current. Even though several people had reported that previous KDE 4.7 packages worked fine on Slackware 13.37, there has been an incompatible update to slackware-current recently (the glibc package). As a result, these new KDE 4.7.4 packages will only work on slackware-current (64-bit and 32-bit). If you are running Slackware 13.37, then stick to your currently installed version of KDE, or install my 4.6.5 packages (or upgrade your Slackware to -current).

Read the accompanying README file for installation and upgrade instructions!

Some of the highlights of these KDE packages:

  • Since this is the last edition of KDE 4.7, I decided to add updated versions of KDE related packages that I do not usually include: amarok, skanlite, ktorrent. I have no idea when Slackware-current will start moving again, but this set of packages allows you to have a complete, stable and up to date KDE environment for the time to come.
  • There are several updated dependencies compared to Slackware’s own KDE 4.5.5: PyQt, QScintilla, akonadi, attica, clucene, ebook-tools, hunspell, libdbusmenu-qt, phonon, polkit-qt-1, qt, raptor2, rascal, redland, shared-desktop-ontologies, sip, soprano, strigi, system-config-printer and virtuoso-ose.
  • In comparison with my previous KDE 4.7.3 the number of updated dependencies is a much smaller: attica, libktorrent, libmsn, and soprano. Note that libktorrent is now located in “deps” instead of “kde” directory because it has become a dependency for more than just ktorrent.
  • KDE dpendencies that are not part of Slackware 13.37 at all (yet): grantlee, herqq, libatasmart, libbluedevil, libssh, phonon-gstreamer, phonon-xine, sg3_utils and udisks. Note that I added phonon-gstreamer and phonon-xine only after I had already released KDE 4.7.0 packages because people reported that they no longer had sound. These two packages solve that issue.

Also worth mentioning is some stuff which is not completely new, since I added these to previous releases of KDE 4.7 already (but if you are new to KDE 4.7 this will certainly interest you):

  • You will find some additional useful new applications, which are not part of the KDE core set. They are new, compared to Slackware’s own version of KDE. I already added bluedevil to my 4.6.5 package-set. Bluedevil is the new KDE bluetooth stack with a nice GUI, based on the BlueZ libraries already present in Slackware. And with KDE 4.7.0, I included kplayer, a KDE front-end to MPlayer. With KDE 4.7.2, I added Quanta Plus, which disappeared from KDE4 because that migrated from Qt3 to Qt4. It is now being worked on again, but no longer as a standalone application – instead it is available as a plugin to the Kdevelop Platform. And with KDE 4.7.3, I added a native WICD applet for KDE, called “wicd-kde“. It can replace the GTK based “wicd-client” which is part of the wicd package.
  • I also added oxygen-gtk, which is not really an application, but a theme engine. It (optionally) makes GTK applications visually blend in with KDE’s own Oxygen theme. There is a README in its documentation directory which explains how to enable it.
  • Since KDE 4.7.2, I include a “test” directory. This directory contains Networkmanager, plus some other dependencies, that allow to create a KDE package for “networkmanagement” which is an applet plus a kcontrol (i.e. a plugin for KDE’s systemsettings). This test, which sofar has proved to be quite successful, allows you to switch from WICD to NetworkManager as your basic network management service. The applet plus kcontrol make it quite easy to configure your network in KDE (wired, wireless, vpn, dsl and mobile broadband). No new Gnome libraries had to be added for this (NM itself plus its supporting tools have no dependency on the rest of Gnome). I have added NM installation/configuration instructions to the README.

A small aside I want to mention:

There was one bug that has been plaguing me ever since KDE 4.7.0 (and I may have had this occasionally before 4.7 but I cannot remember for certain). The bug seems to be ALSA related, but unsure is whether the fault is with ALSA or with KDE. The “kde deamon (kded4)” crashes every time when I login to KDE. Surely, it will automatically restart but it is ugly. It was still there in KDE 4.7.3 and it is described in these two bug reports:

There is a workaround though. If you disable “KMixD Mixer Service (kmixd)” from being started at logon, the crash does not occur anymore and so far I have not found any lost functionality. My laptop’s hardware volume keys still work, and the KDE mixer applet is still functional. Go to System Settings > Startup and Shutdown > Service Manager, and remove the check in the checkbox for KMix Daemon.

The KDE 4.7.4 packages for Slackware-current are available for download from my “ktown” repository and several mirrors (taper will be in sync when I post this, the other mirrors will have to catch up):

Have fun! Eric

Modular KDE 4.7.0 arrives for Slackware

As you most certainly noticed, there was virtually no movement with regard to building Slackware packages after the announcement of the KDE Software Compilation 4.7.0 …but today that changes. Let me point you to a (huge… it’s triple the old number) set of  KDE 4.7.0 packages for Slackware.

The 4.7.0 release comes in the form of many more tarballs than usual. I needed to find time to re-write the KDE.SlackBuild we use to compile all of the KDE-related packages, and the holiday period was the first time I found some time to think and work on the script. I took the modular X.Org script and modeled the new KDE.SlackBuild after that. The advantage with the new script is that new source tarballs can easily be incorporated into the build framework now, and the new package that would be created from that source takes only a few extra lines of configuration to be added. Unfortunately, writing and testing took a while, and you had to wait for a complete set of packages a little longer.

The obvious advantage to you, the end user of the modular KDE in Slackware, is having more control over what you want to install or leave out if your primary interest lies with KDE’s applications, not with the desktop environment as a whole.

I want to stress the point that you have to be running Slackware 13.37 (32bit or 64bit) or (preferably) slackware-current in order to use these packages. The packages themselves were built on slackware-current. Note that between 13.37 and -current, there was an incompatible Perl upgrade which may cause some of the “language bindings” to fail on Slackware 13.37 (causing for instance plasmoids to break if those were programmed in perl).

Please read the accompanying README file for installation and upgrade instructions! Be prepared for some bumps in the transition from KDE 4.6 to 4.7… I had some crashes but they always occur right after login (kwin, kded, nepomuk-stub) but they disappeared after I quit KDE, deleted the KDE related “*username*” directories in /tmp and /var/tmp, and logged on again.

Some of the highlights of these KDE packages:

  • PIM (kdepim and kdepim-runtime) is finally back in sync with the overall KDE development cycle and is now at version 4.7.0 too.
  • There are several updated dependencies since KDE 4.6.5 if you had that installed already. KDE 4.7.0 is a big stride away from 4.6. You’ll have to update akonadi, phonon, shared-desktop-ontologies, soprano.
  • The list of updated dependencies with regard to the stable Slackware 13.37 is a bit bigger: PyQt, QScintilla, akonadi, attica, ebook-tools, hunspell, libdbusmenu-qt, phonon, shared-desktop-ontologies, sip, soprano, system-config-printer, virtuoso-ose.
  • Not part of Slackware 13.37 at all (yet): grantlee, herqq (added for KDE 4.7.0), libatasmart, libbluedevil, libssh, sg3_utils, udisks.
  • You will find two useful new applications as “KDE extragear”, compared to Slackware’s own version of KDE: I already added bluedevil to my 4.6.5 package-set. Bluedevil is the new KDE bluetooth stack with a nice GUI, based on the BlueZ libraries already present in Slackware. I added its package to the “kde” directory. It integrates a lot better into KDE than the GTK application “blueman” which is now primarily meant to be used with the non-KDE desktop environments. And with KDE 4.7.0 I have included kplayer, a KDE front-end to MPlayer. The ugly “gmplayer” GUI of MPlayer has been abandoned by its own developers, so there was a need for a better GUI. Even though I really like the Qt-based UMPlayer front-end, I think kplayer is a better choice for KDE users, since it integrates properly into KDE.

The KDE 4.7.0 packages for Slackware 13.37 & current are available for download from my “ktown” repository and several mirrors. The Indonesian mirror may need a bit of time to sync up but Willy is usually very fast with that:

Have fun! Eric

Progressing with KDE 4.7.0

Quick teaser… I am progrressing well with my modular KDE SlackBuild script as you can see if you examine the screenshot closely.

I am currently rebuilding the 32-bit package-set to verify that everything can be built in one command and without further interaction. I am running the 64-bit version of KDE 4.7.0 on this laptop while I am posting the article, and the package count has gone up to 75… which includes 6 packages of “extragear”, where kplayer is a new package to provide us with a decent KDE front-end to mplayer. All is looking good so far! I hope to get these packages out in time for the Slackers who will be attending the Desktop Summit in Berlin, next weekend.

Cheers, Eric

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