Apper in KDE

Forum: LinuxTotal Replies: 3
Author Content

Oct 16, 2015
2:02 AM EDT
As LXer readers will know, I use openSUSE and prefer KDE as my window manager. I realise KDE has faults and I have written extensively on what the semantic desktop has done to both the operation of KDE and to Kmail in particular. That said, this short comment concerns another KDE application called Apper.

About a week ago, I had a catastrophic failure of the hdd in my laptop and openSUSE 11.4 would no longer load. The reason turned out to be a fault in the OS section of the hdd and so a well loved OS version would no longer run. Luckily, the Home directory remained intact and all the data was quickly transferred to a backup drive. However, the decision was then made to move to openSUSE 13.1 which was simple because I had already installed a 32bit version on a hdd and it was just a matter of time to re-install software I needed, including Crossover Office, and get things running nicely. My major triumph was to get all my emails from the old hdd across into the new version of Kmail and that was an interesting experience indeed. I had previously turned off Nepomuk and refused to activate Kwallet, so the only “hiccup” with my use of Kmail now, is the fact that once in every session, if I want to get emails from my ISP's server, I have to insert my password. Once that is done, the password remains active until shutdown.

However, it soon became obvious to me that one of the reasons I had never in the past persevered with this version of openSUSE 13.1 and KDE 4.11.5 was a highly objectionable aspect concerning the hdd – it was being used so frequently and heavily that the operation of the entire laptop was being interfered with. At any moment, the hdd would be thrown into full operation and this would continue for minutes at a time. Any other operations would be slowed to a crawl and use of the computer was made very unpleasant indeed.

It was during this period that I noticed that I was being given notifications of software updates via a pop-up window based on the taskbar and that they were being produced by a piece of software called Apper. This was never a problem with the version of KDE in openSUSE 11.4 because Apper was not part of the version, but it had now become very, very annoying. I could see no valid reason for Apper's existence because openSUSE has an excellent system for producing online updates and it was with that thought in mind that I decided to see if I could turn Apper off.

A little search on the internet soon provided an excellent solution for openSUSE. The answer was extremely simple and consisted of opening YaST, then select software management, search on “apper” and once found, delete the two relevant files. Okay......initial problem solved, but what I then found was staggering.

Suddenly, the overload “chatter” on my hdd had disappeared. Right now the laptop's hdd reacts only if I am saving, changing data, opening software etc. The minute long intense operations of the hdd are now a thing of the past and the speed of the machine has markedly increased.

I've done a little thinking on the matter and all I can see is that Apper was constantly surveying the software on my hdd whether I wanted it or not and was also interfering with my use of the internet as it looked to see if updates were available. From my perceptions, Apper is a piece of rogue software designed with “good intentions” but with very unfortunate side effects. It is also completely un-necessary given that most distros have excellent methods of obtaining their software updates. I'm not the only one who has wanted to get rid of the Apper software and a quick search will find that others have wanted to do the same. I was lucky in that one of those sites provided exactly how Apper could be removed from KDE running on openSUSE.

Now.....if any other LXer reader has had the same experiences or has some comments, I'd be very interested indeed to read them.

Oct 16, 2015
8:39 AM EDT
I am wary of software that rifles through my files AND communicates home. Like you, Ridcully, I remove anything that fits into that profile. In your case Apper is open software and could be reviewed, but in the meantime your decision to remove it looks sound to me.

The other tool I rely on in cases like this is Wireshark. It is interesting to watch the Internet "chatter" originating from a piece of potentially rogue software. I most always use open software, but every now and then I'll put a piece of closed software on one of my systems. Skype was one example of a closed application that I installed on a couple of my Linux systems (pre Microsoft).

For a while I was happy with Skype and relied on it for communicating with overseas friends and associates. Then Microsoft bought Skype, and not long after that purchase I upgraded Skype and immediately put Wireshark to the task of monitoring the Skype packets and guess what I found... Skype was sending encrypted packets to a server. sheesh. So much for privacy.

When a piece of closed software carries on an encrypted dialog with its home server then the user is quite totally locked out from knowing what information is being exchanged. Needless to say Skype was quickly eradicated from all my systems.

Privacy and security trump features. (If a piece of software doesn't offer privacy and security then I don't want its features.)

Oct 16, 2015
9:28 AM EDT
Hi Penguinist, thanks for the info........I don't think Apper was ever reporting to a "home somewhere". I inadvertently used the word "chatter" above where I meant to indicate "excessive activity" of the hdd, but on the other hand, I'd feel the same as you with respect to software that decided to report on me without my approval. I've also looked a little further into the matter and an official openSUSE article on Apper also indicates that what I decided upon with respect to the complete removal of Apper, is a recognised solution:

In retrospect, I think the really, really annoying thing was that this excessive hdd activity was taking place but I literally "fluked" the solution. I seem to have the impression also that there are controls on Apper's activity which can reduce its operations to once a month or summat; but frankly, I think I am far better off without its presence. As I recall it's joint installation operations have interfered with deliberate YaST installations I wished to do. Vale Apper......I have no regrets.

Oct 16, 2015
10:47 AM EDT
Apper is only installed on systems using Packagekit. My AptoSid installations don't use that software so no Apper. I suspect, it will get reinstalled the next time you do an upgrade.

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