KDE 4 in Debian Squeeze

Story: My Debian Adventure 3: Squeeze & KDE4Total Replies: 15
Author Content

Feb 10, 2010
5:42 PM EDT
I'm pretty worried about upgrading Lenny to Squeeze. I'm not using KDE, and it's not the DE I'm worried about but rather Xorg.

My tests with Sidux have shown that I either need to do more xorg.conf work or wait for "improvements" in order to use Intel video instead of the Vesa driver.

At this point I'm just going to have to wait until either Squeeze is released or try to fight it in Ubuntu Lucid and figure out an xorg.conf that works with the Intel driver (there I also can only get X to work with the Vesa driver, where in previous years/releases I could use either i810 or Intel).

The whole idea that users of '90s Intel video hardware had no trouble in Debian Etch but needed to create a new xorg.conf for Lenny, Slackware 12.x and Ubuntus 8.10/9.04 (and every other release that updated Xorg, including Arch, where I always seem to find the best xorg.conf tweaks) and now another new one for Squeeze and Ubuntu 10.04.

There's something very, very wrong with this picture (and my 1024x768 picture as well).

Feb 10, 2010
6:24 PM EDT
There's something very wrong with video being harder than ever to configure manually.

This sad tale of Computer bob's also implies what I think is an important question: just how much should be dumped on distribution maintainers? Shouldn't applications, even complex ones like desktop environments, be finished to the point that anyone can install and use them without falling into a miry tarpit like Bob?

Feb 10, 2010
7:41 PM EDT
TC, I'm not sure dumped on the distro package maintainers is the correct outlook. Some of it can and rightly should be blamed on the package maintainers. Having built KDE4.4 RC1,2,3 and SC from source (portage emerge) I have to say that alot of the sad sad songs that have been sung aren't necessarily KDE's fault. The same holds true with X woe's.

If someone can grab the source and build it themselves only to see problems either dont exist or they go away, then yes I think we can safely say that its the distro's implementation and package maintainers at fault. I'm not say that all the problems lie there, but they are far far from blameless.

Feb 10, 2010
8:47 PM EDT
With Xorg, this is a continual, blatant case of regressions that leave "older" hardware behind. I'm not sure of the reason behind the mothballing of the i810 driver and the move to the Intel driver, but it really hasn't helped me much.

I really don't need Compiz, and with the Vesa driver, I don't think I'm getting it, either.

So there's always that fallback.

Apple has no problem orphaning its older hardware. They're in the process of pushing the PowerPC architecture over the side.

Since Windows XP is seemingly going to last forever, any computer bought all the way back to 2000 is fully supported ... if you're running XP.

In my mind anyway, one of Linux's reasons for being, if you will, is to help us keep our older hardware going.

Now I have a 1999 Compaq laptop that runs Debian Lenny just fine. That old Compaq (which is built better than any other laptop I have, by the way) has an S3 Aurora 64V+ graphics chip. I've never had a problem with it.

My 2001 and 2002 laptops from Gateway and Toshiba with the damn Intel 830m chips? Nothing but trouble in Linux and BSD.

It's not an "improvement" when you suddenly have broken video.

Feb 11, 2010
9:57 AM EDT
Bob's sad tale is about using a testing distro and KDE4, which is constantly in flux and comes complete with its own dogma.

Feb 11, 2010
11:57 AM EDT
KDE4 works, but yuck.

The only way I've found to configure Xorg by hand any more is to deliberately create an xorg.conf file and then hand edit it until something works.

I remember thinking that not having to put in modlines any more was a good thing, but no xorg.conf file at all? Only if everything automagically works every time.

# Xorg -configure

Feb 11, 2010
12:25 PM EDT
I can count the times # Xorg -configure has worked for me on the fingers of a 1950s shop teacher's left hand.

Feb 11, 2010
12:34 PM EDT
So Steve, I hear you saying that you're really nasty to shop teachers...

Feb 11, 2010
12:48 PM EDT
It was just such a shop teacher who started me on the road to engineering. The man was astounding.

I took it because his lectures included chemistry, electrical and mechanical engineering, flight mechanics, hydrology, and yes even included how to use hand and power tools.

The other students took shop because they wanted to slack off. I went because it was a _challenge!_

Feb 12, 2010
1:57 AM EDT
I figured out my Xorg issues in Ubuntu Lucid (I have an Alpha 2 disc). Like in the early days of Karmic, turning off kernel mode setting allows X to work. At some point in the Karmic cycle, I was able to turn kernel mode setting back on. Toward the end of the year, I still had problems with not being able to bring the laptop out of screen-saver mode. Probably should have turned off kernel mode setting again.

I'm wondering if Debian Squeeze uses kernel mode setting. That could account for my similar X issues with Sidux 2009-04. Anybody?

Feb 13, 2010
4:56 AM EDT
The guy's issues are primarily with KDE4, and you have to admit, he has a point. Its two things, its what KDE4 did to the KDE apps, and its the way the primary user interface works.

The primary interface, its totally insane. You want to do something real simple, like open Audacity. You have the reasonable feeling that this should be click on a taskbar icon, maybe click in a start menu and then pick the app. Instead you get this proliferation of clicking and sliding windows. Its totally nuts, its just complicating the simplest things for absolutely no reason. KDE 3 and Gnome worked perfectly well the way they were. The result is, I cannot see putting any ordinary user on KDE4. They will not put up with it, and quite right too.

The second thing is, what has happened to the stability of the apps in the process of the move. Two that I use have got so buggy as to be unusable. One, I took back to the KDE3 version after lots of segmentation faults, and it now runs perfectly again. Why do I have to go through that? Another is Kjots, which is completely screwed up on font changing.

Then there is Kmail, where for absolutely no reason the interface changed to occupying half the screen with bars telling you what day of the week your emails came in, and an obscure icon someplace out on the top right, which no user can find, I had to google to find it, to set it back to the way it was before, that is, my mail, just my mail, only my mail, and not all this bloated crap all over the screen.

I am not an admirer of Gnome's user interface dictation, but this stuff is incomprehensible, its a sort of weird attack on your users. So my guys are now all on gnome. Alas, some of them are still on some of the K apps, and I can't get them off them. So I am stuck with pinning the versions to KDE3. Not good. Not good at all.

Feb 13, 2010
5:15 PM EDT
Alcibiades, the stability issues are distro dependent , meaning its the implementation and not KDE itself. The menu/taskbar icons are configurable, you want the old menu system it is literally 1 right click away. Kjots is screwed up ... distro specific issue. If you think this is trying to pass the buck, think again. I have played with binary versions and have built many iterations of KDE4.x from source ... the source is fine, its the distros, build it unpatched from kde svn and you'll see a world of difference.

Feb 13, 2010
7:35 PM EDT
Or maybe try KDE 4.3.4 on Slackware-current.

(Oblig. disclaimer: I haven't been a regular KDE user since 1999. However, looking at the Slackware64 source, the total patches applied in all of the stock KDE4 packages comes to 5136 bytes. Four patches, in 35 packages. One is to revert tooltip text on the battery-remaining applet, and the other three have to do with the usage of "kdesu", probably to work around the absence of PAM in Slackware.)

Feb 14, 2010
6:06 AM EDT
Guys, maybe you are right. I can check out switching back the menus which I have to admit in my fury at the mess to not looking for carefully enough. But realistically, taking them to Slackware? I don't have time. But more important, they don't either.

Feb 14, 2010
9:13 AM EDT
I am finding Pardus to be quite a decent and consumer-friendly KDE4 distribution. Plus their mascot is grrrreat. Ok, it's a leopard, not a tiger, but ... ok... yeah, flat joke.

Feb 14, 2010
10:12 AM EDT
> Ok, it's a leopard, not a tiger

Snagglepuss! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snagglepuss). Yeah, the color's off. He must have eaten something that didn't agree with him.

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