DEC
18
2008

KDE 4.2 Beta2 "Canaria" Testimony to the Bug Fixing Frenzy

Two days later than initially scheduled due to yours truly preparing for coming year's desktop summit on Gran Canaria, KDE's release team has made availabe KDE 4.1.85, a.k.a. KDE 4.2-Beta2 to testers and reviewers, codenamed "Canaria". KDE 4.1.85 is not suitable for production use but meant to invite feedback and bugreports from the community.
The KDE community is in massive bugfixing mode, showing a focus on stability and feature-completeness in the KDE 4.2 series. But behold, 4.1.85 is not a boring release. It brings many visible improvements to KDE 4.1, and will ultimately follow up the KDE 4.1 series as a stable release this coming January. So get your testing gear ready and help us squash those bugs for a 4.2.0 that makes Redmond see flying chairs all over. There's a changelog over at TechBase, and the brave and bored can go for the more detailed feature plan. As 4.1.85 is the last release before Christmas, we strongly recommend using Wade's Christmas wallpapers and the KWin compositing snow plugin while testing.

Comments

>Keep calling them "morons" and "stupid" and they are likely to keep heaping on you the same abuse you keep whining about.

I missed the part where Aaron called anyone a "moron" or "stupid".


By anon at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

Walter called those who complain about lack of feature parity "morons." Aaron called the grumbling backlash against such namecalling, "stupid." Both are a stark contrast to the Mozilla developers who, upon the releasing of the Netscape Navigator codebase, made a huge campaign of accomplishing two goals:

"Feature Parity," and...

"Zarro Boogs." (For non-native speakers, this is just a fun way to say "Zero Bugs.")

They too understood the free-software value of releasing early and often, with nightly builds and encouraging users to become involved in the development effort, but they just didn't assign a .0 version number to it until they had very nearly achieved these two goals. I think Mozilla's approach was laudable, and the KDE 4 approach, while not necessarily invalid (who can decide such a thing?), was certainly more confusing than Mozilla's approach.

Thus, calling the inevitably confused users "moronic," and their complaints "stupid," as Walter and Aaron have done, is not as mature and productive as I would have expected. I hope for better in the future. We shall see.

(By the way, if you want to understand the comparison to GNOME, compare Aaron's continued refusal to make a way to turn off the desktop cashew with the GNOME developers' continued refusal to add configurability options to Epiphany, the GNOME web browser, a few years ago. Do you know anybody who uses Epiphany now, after they've resisted incorporating commonly-requested features? Yeah, I don't either. See, the comparison is not as purely emotional as you think: there are actually some real-life parallels.)


By CF at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

What would you feel if you give something new to a huge community and some confused users start to say: 'your gift sucks hard!' or 'This is the worst thing ever!'

I really admire Aaron and all the people involved in KDE, because their politeness and respect with this people. Seriously keep on bashing will hurt someone.

With the cashew thing, plasma developers designed it and on their vision it's a MAIN component. Why would one need to hide it? Do you want an option to hide the context menu too?


By xbullethammer at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

You said it sucks hard, I just that KDE is becoming a "buggy version of gnome".


By vf at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

Your first paragraph is a common enough occurrence that there's a term for it with its own wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_elephant

That's an especially useful term to know around this time of year, because knowledge of it often influences people to be more thoughtful gift-givers, considerate of the needs and unique circumstances of the recipients.


By CF at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

>they just didn't assign a .0 version number to it until they had very nearly achieved these two goals.

I don't know if you remember Friefox's 3.0 launch, but it was a lot like KDE's 4.0 launch. It had stable libraries and APIs to develop against, but all the extensions (applications in KDE land) came much later. And some of the features were rough around the edges (like KDE's actual desktop shell).

Maybe "moronic" and "stupid" are strong language, but I'd certainly agree that those with the complaints are "uninformed". A lot of people seem to object that features are being "removed" as though the KDE devs began with KDE3 and began ripping features out of it, when in fact they started with Qt4 and are adding features. The idea that the goal of KDE4 is to become gnome is just ignorant.


By anon at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

Hi, and thanks for answering.

I test KDE4 every week from svn and my complaint is not stupid. I still don't find it usable. A lot of features are missing. From simple, hard-to-spot features to obvious stuff.
In the first category I would put this... for example I wanted to attach a screen-shot of my plasma desktop to this post but failed to open it in gwenview/okular ("could not open file" popup appeared). As I found out later it had a-r permissions, but file dialog didn't show this like in kde3. Now it's like in gnome.
Second category, obvious stuff. No kprinter, I can't print odd/even pages. This makes KDE useless to me for printing. Bug reported for both. Nobody is doing nothing.

But features are not only problems of KDE4. Do you know that for more than a year you have a tab in systemsettings full of options none of which works? That's embarrassing. Either remove it or fix it. OK, you can say that you didn't noticed it because systemsetting is hard to navigate as you don't have tree view anymore but that's not excuse. :-) Bug reported, people vote, nobody did nothing.

Now to your field, plasma. I posted a comment with attached image when 4.2b1 was released which showed some easy to notice bugs. None of which are solved in beta2 so I made another image, you can find it attached.

Another recent disappointment are notifications. For I/O they show less information than window that was used before, use more desktop space (I used one window for all operations) and more CPU.

I'm still forced to have cashew even if I never use it. I want to have something else in the corners. Also, plasmoid handles are really pain to use, I hate them ....


By vf at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

I got the same problem, I had the exact same problem with KDE, my desktop was 7/8th gray like in your picture.

There is a lot of things that need to be fixed in KDE 4.2, but I hope in time it gets there. Then we can work on the small things that will make it so great. :)


By jeremy at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

"No kprinter, I can't print odd/even pages. This makes KDE useless to me for printing. Bug reported for both. Nobody is doing nothing."

Really? So you have an intimate knowledge of what's going on in my local svn, or what Qt have planned? I'd better check my firewall logs again, you must have slipped in the back door while I wasn't looking...

We use the Qt print system these days, if you've missing a feature like odd/even pages try asking them politely, if enough users post the same feature request they will allocate more resources to the issue, or pick up my patches when I submit them soon.

And I'll mention it again, just one more time, we had to drop KDEprint because it was broken and we had no-one to fix it. Otherwise printing would have been useless for everyone.


By odysseus at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

My crystal ball is broken at the moment so I don't know what's going in your local svn. I'm not going to ask anyone to implement basic features like this. What will be then the next request for KDE/QT5: adding delete functionality to a text editor? Basic functionality must be implemented before software is even released officially.

I know that KDEprint is broken, and, with that said, I think devs should rather say that KDE lacks non-eyecandy manpower and not that KDE4.2 is so great, best desktop ever.


By vf at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

Please calm down, nobody wants to hurt you. Flaming and pathetic comments like yours don't help anyone, and surely won't motivate people to work out possible problems you report -- if you finally manage to bring across valid technical points.
If leaving your comfort zone is not yet an option for you, by all means, don't.

As to the printing options you're missing ... did you check out system-config-printer and printer-applet? If so, what's wrong with those, what functionality were you missing?


By Sebastian Kügler at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

I'm not flaming nor posting pathetic comments, only a bit sarcastic when I'm provoked. Note that in my comments I always have valid criticism, bug reports, screenshots, suggestions. You saw my answer to Aaron.

> As to the printing options you're missing ... did you check out system-config-printer and
> printer-applet? If so, what's wrong with those, what functionality were you missing?

Print odd/event page sets from okular (its print dialog).

http://printing.kde.org/overview/kprinter.php

And my favorite:

http://printing.kde.org/overview/commandbuilder.php


By vf at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

The "tab in systemsettings full of options none of which works" is obviously overstated, and by far not specific enough. If you can be more specific, we're happy to address that. Otherwise, keep calm, pathetic bitching won't help you moving your agenda forward, unless that agenda is pathetic bitching (in which case you're not welcome).

How did you use one window for all operations by the way? I thought that wasn't possible before...?

The bug in the screenshot you describe is on our radar, and will most likely be gone in 4.2.0 (remember, you're running a beta).

BTW, for printing configurations, install kdebindings so you can run system-config-printer and printer-applet. Sure, reading the announcement is not something anybody has time for. But it sure would've saved all of us some cycles complaining.

And it's less embarrassing for you, which probably is why you chose to post anonymously.


By Sebastian Kügler at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

> The "tab in systemsettings full of options none of which works" is obviously overstated, and by far
> not specific enough

It's not overstated, but just like I said. Funny, you cannot even believe that it's true. I'm starting to understand why you devs think KDE4 is so great. You don't use it much as a whole, just the part you are developing. Those parts of KDE that don't have an active maintainer are really bad quality. A bug report with enough info is reported more than 13 months ago. It sits there, confirmed, full of votes, untouched... (#152266).

> Otherwise, keep calm, pathetic bitching

I'm calm, didn't even want to comment the release at all, but after someone called group of users a morons, I added added a tiny sarcastic comment. It's stronger than me :-). My agenda is just to show (with valid examples, even screenshots) users and devs that KDE4 is not that all great.

> How did you use one window for all operations by the way? I thought that wasn't possible before...?

Attached. Compare this nice usable window to current plasma notifications.

> The bug in the screenshot you describe is on our radar

Attached image actually shows at least 3 bugs. :-)

> BTW, for printing configurations install kdebindings so you can run system-config-printer
> and printer-applet

Don't know nothing about it. I'm talking about print dialog (okular->file->print). Cannot choose even/odd pages for printing.

> And it's less embarrassing for you, which probably is why you chose to post anonymously.

I'm not anonymous, or to say it better, I am as much as anonymous as you are. :-)


By vf at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

> I'm not anonymous, or to say it better, I am as much as anonymous as you are. :-)

Ahem, the poster you're replying to is the author of this article.


By Stefan Majewsky at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

I know :-) and my statement is still valid.


By vf at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

As one of those maroons, I have to say that 4.2 is finally going to shut a lot of us up. Most of the stuff we have missed is now there. It gives us the familiar classic desktop, while not taking away the new stuff.

p.s. I'm only missing a good network manager, but that wasn't an official part of KDE to begin with. wicd is working as a suitable replacement.


By David Johnson at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

And we're working on that, too. We're currently hoping to get it ready in time for inclusion into the spring distro releases.


By Sebastian Kügler at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

I agree. I, personally, have not 'bitched' very much, indeed, I am running KDE4 on all desktops managed by me (3 currently). It *already* rocks, but 4.2 is just jaw-dropping, I love it.

My only complaints:
* kwrite occasionally behaves totally erratically: cannot copy-paste, it shows empty text when there is text, etc. I need to "killall kwrite" and then all is well. Somehow one badly hanging kwrite process (not showing in Task manager) affects other kwrite processes
* I use twinview (got 2x1280x1024) and dragging widgets from one to the other messes up widget positioning/drawing. I guess most developers do not use twinview that much, so that's why this bug hasn't been fixed (or noticed). Not a big deal, btw, but is definitely a bug.
* nvidia prop. driver messes up the plasma panel. This a is known issue, and is probably not KDE's fault


By Phd student at Mon, 2008/12/22 - 6:00am

I must say that the amount of bugs resolved is noticeable. I have one small issue (which I have reported) where I can't get the systray in two rows in a horizontal panel, and a crash I have reported (corner case) but other that that this is a solid release, especially for a beta!

Go, go KDE!


By Jonathan Thomas at Thu, 2008/12/18 - 6:00am

I found plenty of issues that bothers me with KDE 4:

-Akonadi requires MySQL on startup even for the calendar applet. I don't know whether I have done something wrong during compiling but for what does it require such an overkill SQL database for a desktop ?

- On small size Notebooks (Netbooks) often you can not see the apply or ok buttons. I had this issue in Koffice as well as in the KDE Settings tool. There is no way to access these buttons not even if you resize the fonts to 7 pixels. 1024x600 pixels.

- The KDE Panel usually loses all the position information for launchers that i put there. Everything is arranged right.

- Random crashes when entering URL in konqueror.
- Random crashes when trying to access the audio settings in KDE Settings tool.
- Same issues with KDE Bookmarks program. No progress bar when issuing recursive tasks like checking all favicons. Nothing happens when chosing this option. Does it actually do something ? And if yes why are no favicons being updated ? Specially when importing bookmarks from mozilla this option is doing nothing.
- Same issues with the settings for all KDE apps. While a bunch of new architectual changes happened. The same setting files are dumped the same old way like in KDE 3.
- Konqueror, when going to the Bookmarks menu you always get the "open folders in tabs" "add bookmarks" "bookmark tabs as folders" "..." in every tree folder. This is so annoying and so irritating when trying to access to some specific bookmarks. This was annoying in KDE 3 and still annoying in KDE 4 and no way to turn this off.

Anyways there are plenty advantages and disadvantages within KDE 4. Some stuff definately got better, others worse and plenty of the things stayed as is or leave the impression for simply got "ported but not improved". Nonetheless I still am looking forward to KDE 4 knowing that a lot of work still has to go and that everyone is working hard to get everything done. Thanks so far and please have a look towards the one or other rant of mine above. First impressions usually are those that stay.


By Simon at Thu, 2008/12/18 - 6:00am

Please report those issues to bugs.kde.org (look for dupes first!). As you can see easily from the number of bugs that are being handled on a daily basis, doing bugtracking in Dot comments totally doesn't scale.

Also, you're talking about "KDE 4", which is far too little information. Again, all things that bugs.kde.org provides for.


By Sebastian Kügler at Thu, 2008/12/18 - 6:00am

Do you really think, anyone is willing to fill such a mass of bugs with the current slow Interface of bugs.kde.org?


By Chaoswind at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

I recommend using the "Report bug" menu item in the application itself. Most stuff is already filled in this way. It saves some pain until the issue itself (bugs.kde.org being slow is addressed. ;-)


By Diederik van de... at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

That's only a pointer to bugs.kde.org. Dosn't reduce the work at all.


By Chaoswind at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

People do it everyday. Most people only file one or two, and that's fine as it's distributed amongst all the users.

So, I don't have to think about it, I know that people are willing to do so.


By Aaron Seigo at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

Whilst I usually fill out only one or two bugs at a time, more than once I gave up because either it kept timing out or when I go back and my nice detailed bug report is lost.

These days I write out a copy in kate first, but really shouldn't have to worry about things like this. It would be kind of nice to have a desktop (plasmoid? *grin*) to do this for advanced bug reporters that don't need step by step instructions.

to me it seems like one of the applications of the ideals of plasma, what with the integration of the desktop and a remote service.

It would be cool, then if bugs.kde.org was unresponsive it would then queue the report, or you could get updates without opening a browser. Dunno if such a thing is easily achievable with bugzilla though


By txf at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

There is a downside though as you'd probably have to deal with a ton more of bug reports (hmm...conspiracy theorists might claim bug.kde.org works exactly as it should :P)


By txf at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

Since the introduction of Bugzilla 3.0 some months ago, it's much faster than it used to be.

To answer your question, which surely was rhetorical: Yes, but your basic assumption is wrong.


By Sebastian Kügler at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

Yeah... As a fellow user, please file the bug reports, so that 4.2 final will be a smooth experience!

Watching the bugfixes being filed over the last few weeks, the speed and skill has been amazing. Huge thanks to all the coders...! It's looking really good.

btw, I <3 kde2daily!


By Luke Chatburn at Thu, 2008/12/18 - 6:00am

"what does it require such an overkill SQL database for a desktop"

you betray your bias with "overkill" ;) it's required to provide reasonable performance for large datasets.

have you measured the overhead, or are you just assuming it's overwhelmingly bad news? =)

"On small size Notebooks (Netbooks) often you can not see the apply or ok buttons."

yes, an ongoing issue. we're actually better in kde4 than in kde3, but still not good enough.

"The KDE Panel usually loses all the position information for launchers that i put there."

this should be working in svn.


By Aaron Seigo at Thu, 2008/12/18 - 6:00am

> we're actually better in kde4 than in kde3, but still not good enough

Big padding and margins of oxygen styled windows with huge empty wasted spaces makes kde4 barely usable on smaller resolutions. OTOH, on my 17" monitor KDE3 looks just fine.


By vf at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

"Unusable" is extreme. I can work pretty well with my Eee (well... at least before its SSD died, but that's not KDE's fault) although indeed some dialogs are too large. It's getting there, though.


By Luca Beltrame at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

I said "barely usable". It would be nice to have oxygen compact, something like:

http://martin.ankerl.com/2007/11/04/clearlooks-compact-gnome-theme/


By vf at Sat, 2008/12/20 - 6:00am

"Anyways there are plenty advantages and disadvantages within KDE 4."

btw, it might be nice to list some of the advantages with the disadvantages when trying to motivate those who work on things. it's a nice way to avoid giving the impression you are simply a whiner and to get the developers to empathize with you more.

people are strange, but it's worth keeping in mind.


By Aaron Seigo at Thu, 2008/12/18 - 6:00am

I rather find that way Konqueror handles bookmarks one of those small brilliant usability touches that puts Konqueror above other browsers. I find it much more convenient and logical to first browse to the place I want the bookmark stored before saving, rather than the other way around.


By Morty at Thu, 2008/12/18 - 6:00am

I agree, it's a very nice way to design it.


By T at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

No problems with your way of using KDE but on a small display (e.g. Netbooks) it get's in the way of interaction. E.g. I keep nearly 20 Bookmark entries in a folder. The extra entries that the bookmark handler is adding make them nearly 24 entries - 4 entries more than I can keep on the display. For about a few hundred bookmarks I don't like to start sorting them again. I would appreciate if this can be an optional setting entry somewhere.


By Simon at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

I think I am running in over drive. OpenSuse 11.1 and KDE 4.2 beta 2 released on the same day

Thanks for the work that has gone into this.


By R. J. at Thu, 2008/12/18 - 6:00am

I'm not sure if this is a issue with the distro/packager or if it's a KDE issue.

My notebook X setup supports glx right out of the box with. I get direct rendering yes and the gears. It's not an impressive fps ~ 150.

However, when enabling desktop FX, I get an error saying something like your setup is incorrect.

I've read about certain drivers being blacklisted, which is all good and fine. Maybe radeon is black listed. I think that is what my notebook is using.

However, the only reason I want to enable desktop fx is to speed things up. Window rendering is so slow without it. Is it there some way to fix this? Can there be a fallback mode for older cards and some kind 2D acceleration?


By frozen at Thu, 2008/12/18 - 6:00am

"the gears. It's not an impressive fps ~ 150."

glxgears is not a benchmarking tool.

"the only reason I want to enable desktop fx is to speed things up"

desktop effects don't actually speed things up. they can make things *feel* faster (and smoother, and more fun, and nicer to look at, and more productive), but the painting doesn't actually speed up. =)

dunno about which cards are blacklisted, though...


By Aaron Seigo at Thu, 2008/12/18 - 6:00am

Yeah, but if your waiting on the interface to update, it's pretty lame. In that case, a UI speed up = an app speed up.

Again, I don't even want the effects. I just noticed that turning OpenGL compositing, etc, makes my desktop more responsive. With it off, it's as if I'm using a really old PC. So I thought I'd try the same for my laptop.

Anyway, it's not a big issue. Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll keep trying to crack this one.


By winter at Sun, 2008/12/21 - 6:00am

Have you tried the XRender mode rather than OpenGL?


By Med at Thu, 2008/12/18 - 6:00am

Yes, OpenGL and Xrender both don't work.


By winter at Sun, 2008/12/21 - 6:00am

There's a disable capability tickbox for these cases, try that one.


By Sebastian Kügler at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

Disabling desktop effects should speed everything up. However I have run across some annoying Qt bugs with graphics view using OpenGL for rendering. I think the problem is that the driver reports a cability, but it ends up being slower than the software fallback. Unchecking "check capabilities" might fix this for you.


By David Johnson at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

KDE 4.2 CountDown Banner Created last week. The links of banner is in a text file that can be download here:

http://www.fileqube.com/file/JzMnEADMr160252


By Hosein-mec at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

(Sorry to post anonymously, but with spam at an all-time high... *sigh*)

Has any attention been given to printing in KDE 4.2? I'm using Kubuntu 8.10, which uses KDE 4.1.3 and I cannot get anything to paper... Because I cannot define a printer... right now I'm trying to use the CUPS interface to define my LPR printer and I cannot remember the last time I had to fight to define my trusty old LJ6MP in a *nix install. Obviously, no success yet.

Not to sound like a whining troll, but will we soon have KDE 2.2/KDEPrint -level ease of use in printing once again?

There was a time when fighting to get anything useful done in *nix was acceptable. Maybe I'm older (ok, I am), maybe I've been spoiled by other platforms, but it should no longer be this way.


By Anonymous Coward at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

ok, as a reply to my own whining rant, i have finally managed to get cups to define an lpd/lpr printer and got something printed. some notes/observations (remember, i am using kubuntu 8.10):

* printing was defined via /k-menu/applications/system/printing. at first, i was looking through the '.../settings/' sub-menu... why are there seperate 'system' and 'settings' sub-menu? that can be confusing for end-users -- i know i was. maybe 'system' should be a sub-menu, a category for the 'settings' menu?

* why are there a 'printing' and a '(hp) printer toolbox' menu items? i do not see why this is the case.

* adding a printer is as easy as it should be. clicking on the 'new printer' button should bring me right away to a simple question like 'local or remote printer' and then to a 'what sort of connection to printer' sort of question, before asking me for the type of printer (brand / model / etc.). right now, clicking on the button forces me to wait, wondering if something did not hang in the background. thank ${deity} there is a way to eventually reach 'cups' to define a printer, though cups is still not newbie-friendly. ouch, it feels like 1998 again.

anyway, despite my tone and my defective shift key, i hope this can be of some help.


By Anonymous Coward at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

Your problem is not a KDE problem, it's a distribution issue. You can get away with it by choosing a distribution that has more advanced and complete (gui)tools for administration and configuration. No need to force yourself back to '98, when alternatives exist.


By Morty at Fri, 2008/12/19 - 6:00am

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