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KDE 4.2.... so close

I tried KDE 4 (again) on Gentoo last night. It's unmasked in the tree so it was simple enough to install (if you're willing to use a masked Portage so you can use sets).

You can easily see improvement in KDE 4.2 compared to older versions of KDE 4. Everything generally works now, which is itself a change. Performance issues are almost gone; I can at least move and resize windows now without my system freezing. Delays in rendering popup menus are gone. All the shiny desktop effects worked right away with no hassle and everything looked great. A lot of the little nooks and crannies of previous missing features are filled in.

Some things are still not quite right though. I experienced massive stuttering in mplayer when I tried to watch a movie and do some other things at the same time. I managed to crash plasma once or twice just by resizing the main panel. I'm using two monitors and one monitor went totally blank for no reason I can determine, with only a one-inch strip of blue wallpaper at the top which was still right-clickable, while the other monitor kept working fine.

And other things are still broken beyond belief. All my system tray icons were invisible (reading the Gentoo MB apparently I'm not alone with that problem). Icons were a problem in general; random parts of the kmenu still had question-mark icons. Trying to download new themes of any sort via the "New Themes..." buttons in various system dialogs silently did nothing. When I opened Dolphin, all the menus were labeled "No Text", which was amusing. And I did manage to freeze-crash KDE4 when I tried to quit once, just like old times. Qtcurve wouldn't let me configure itself. GTK apps were themeless until I found an ebuild for a gtk-engines-kde4 ebuild in an overlay.

Installing KDE 4.2 and KDE 3.5 in parallel breaks tons of things in KDE3, e.g. the K menu is missing tons of stuff and has tons of extra KDE4 stuff that doesn't work, KControl no longer functions at all, the splash screen when you start is just a blank blue box, and so on. I'm now in the process of uninstalling KDE 4 (again) and trying to salvage my system (again).

Starting KDE 3 again after using KDE 4 for an hour, it's depressing how much smoother and more responsive it feels. I have hopes for KDE 4, it's clearly headed in the right direction, but I feel like it's going to be another year before it comes close to catching up to KDE 3.

February 25, 2009 @ 8:31 AM PST
Cateogory: Linux
Tags: KDE, Gentoo


Quoth Dirkgen2ly on February 25, 2009 @ 9:10 AM PST

hmm i'm not having any of these deals, am using 4.1 but 4.2 should be better. Because 4.2 caused problems with your 3.5 possibly the reverse is true too?

Quoth Brian on February 25, 2009 @ 9:13 AM PST

Yeah it could be. I'm afraid to actually uninstall 3.5 because if 4.2 is still broken I'll be without a GUI for 12 hours while it recompiles. One day I might have to wipe my drive and start clean. :(

Quoth jwickers on February 25, 2009 @ 4:28 PM PST

Its difficult to say how much issue is due to the gentoo packaging (bad cohabitation with 3.5), and how much is due to 4.2 itself.

Myself i did not bother with the kde 4 ebuilds and i follow SVN by hand instead. Of course this can get crazy too. Most of the ime it works really well, but yesterday i made a big cleanup (removed everything and rebuilt) as i still has some libs from early builds that would make things go wrong. Well bad luck it completely screw KDE4: kwin would crash every minute, app would freeze like hell, etc .. i just SVN up an hour later and rebuilt and bingo it's very stable and smooth.

Anyway it's much more fun this way, and as long as emacs is working it doesn't affect my job. But KDE4 SVN has been usable for me for a long time now.

Quoth Jason on February 26, 2009 @ 1:08 PM PST

I just installed KDE 4.2. While historically I've used GNOME, I was getting bored. (I don't really like KDE 3.5 too much, if only because it's so old at this point. The applications are the same as they were five years ago, and that's the same basic problem I have with GNOME.)

Anyway, it's completely unusable. I have no idea what I've done to deserve this, but almost anytime I attempt to interact with the taskbar in any way, the taskbar freezes for a few minutes. It managed to start Pidgin... but neither Konsole nor System Settings ever actually start. Who knows why. Of course, if I drop to the console and start them with DISPLAY=:0 konsole or whatnot, they come up fine. So I have no idea what's wrong with.. plasma, is it?

If I can't start a terminal or configure settings, I don't know how useful this is going to be.

Quoth Jason on February 26, 2009 @ 1:31 PM PST

After further review...

it seems that starting Pidgin somehow breaks it. Before that, applications start normally. After starting Pidgin, nothing else will start. No other application I've tested seems to produce this behavior. So I have no idea what's going on.

A search of the Gentoo forums later, and it seems to be gone after downgrading nvidia-drivers to 180.29. Good work, NVIDIA. I have no idea how you caused that problem, but you did.

I apologize for the comment spam, but I'd hate to leave a solved problem left alone like that.

Quoth Brian on February 26, 2009 @ 1:34 PM PST

Nah, that's interesting. I've crashed the taskbar/panel/plasma/whatever more times than I can count too. Resizing it often does it, but also other things.

Nvidia seems to have been a source of a lot of problems for KDE4 users. There were performance issues with the nvidia drivers for a good while. Not even sure if those have been cleared up at this point.

Quoth Dirkgen2ly on February 26, 2009 @ 2:07 PM PST

Dang. Just had a thought: Remove the system-configs.