KDE Installer Project

There have been countless requests from KDE users, on the dot, on the lists, and even elsewhere, for a KDE Installer and Updater. Nick Betcher (aka Error403) has stepped up to the challenge and now needs your help to make this project really happen. His current code is in CVS and the project is in active development. The install starts off with an intro/detection screen, prompts the user for the type of installation, prompts for the destination of the KDE installation, and then prompts for the packages to install (see all the screenshots here). The project is based on pure Qt, so that the statically linked binary will be small, and as of now the network code to download RPMs is in CVS. So why does Nick need your help? It's important to him that users get their input in for this project and that he has a better understanding of what to aim for regarding look & feel as well as packaging issues. He also needs other developers to get involved, as he is relatively new to C++/OO programming. Nick has provided a convenient forum for people to voice their opinion.

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by gunnar (not verified)

sorry ibs should be ibm

by Stephan Böni (not verified)

I have some additions:
- check what is installed.
- download required packages.
- send optionaly an e-mail when updates are available.
- check for available diskspace.
- select option for stable oder newest beta to download/install.
- uninstall options for no more used packages.

Thanks. It's a great idea to make an installer!


by Michael (not verified)

....and a cron-job, that runs on my machine at night to check the web for new packages.

Something like Autoupdate. I never used it but what I read was nice.

by Nick Betcher (not verified)

Ok, everyone, I need to clear some stuff up with you!

* This project is Open Source!!! It can be ported to ANY OS!

* This installer will support MUCH more than just Redhat. I am not Redhat-centric!!! I use a Redhat system, but I understand other people like other distros, so I fully support them. This is where I will also need help. I dont use Debian, *BSD, Slackware.

* The installer isnt meant to be a replacement for the installs of KDE, but some of you think that the distro should handle it, listen to this:

What happens when KDE releases a new version? You have to download the newest version of your distro and install it just for KDE? Hell no! Also, distros dont properly install KDE sometimes, or sometimes they release pre-release versions (IE: Mandrake 7.2).

If you dont like the installer, nor the idea, dont use it!

* PLEASE, I REPEAT, PLEASE discuss this on my forum that is made JUST for this discussion! http://www.rox0rs.net/forums

This concludes my rant, if I missed something, Please let me know on my forum!!!

Nick Betcher

by David Johnson (not verified)

The story was posted on apps.kde.org so why can't we discuss it on apps.kde.org?

by KDE User (not verified)

Indeed. Sorry Nick, but you should have expected this. dot.kde.org is a discussion forum for the KDE community. Expect the KDE community to discuss important KDE issues right here!

Hope you stay with us, I think you have a worthy project on your hands.

by David (not verified)


I don't think anyone is attacking you here, they are pointing out features they would like to see and possible issues. You comment on your forum yourself that you will be posting this on the dot and expect some feedback from there, this is what you are getting. It's very difficult to point things out that could be wrong when someone is offering to code a needed application for free so please keep in mind that this meant as constructive: It seems that you are fairly new to software development, maybe it would be better to plan exactly how the installer is going to work, what it will do in the first release and how you can design it so that it's extendable later.

Your comment about porting the installer to any OS doesn't make sense, it will not have to be ported, it should be able to support all of the systems KDE runs on at some point, not in the first release maybe but the design of the application should take this in to account.

Your comment about downloading a new Distro when a new KDE is released worries me, KDE has a large and excellent packaging team, when a new release of KDE is made it is packaged by this team so it can be installed simply on each distro. The point people make about the distros is very valid as they should handle it, this task is simple software distribution and hence that's where "distro" comes from. See my early post as too why they don't do it.

Although its tempting to just fire up QT designer and release some screenshots, there needs to be a plan of attack for the under lying code, what to you want to achive and a basic outline how you will obtain your goal. This really is a big job for a first project if you want to do it right and if you want to have people use your project you need to do some thinking. You said "If you dont like the installer, nor the idea, dont use it!", I doubt Nick, many people will because they are telling you want they need, if you don't listen and then provide what they need, they of course won't use it. I think by what you posted above you told a lot of people a lot about yourself and how this project will turn out.

by Eric Caldwell (not verified)

Ithink this is great but, what is needed is an installer like Ximian's RedCarpet and Nautilus' that does dependency checking. This will go a long way towards getting newbies into the loop.

Even when I use Mandrake's updater, I still sometimes have dependency issues and Mandrake only releases RPM's that they've tested and approved.

Not all good KDE apps are going to make into Mandrake's list so, someone like kdeapps needs to support this installer so that you have a good list to choose from.



by Dirk Manske (not verified)

Sorry, Debian users do not need such a nonsense.

by Uwe Klinger (not verified)

But a installer which give's you a good frontend an additional information about bugfixes (why should you update, etc.) and about new software and major new versions available would be an interesting addon. The dependency system of the debian port should of course handled by apt...

by GlowStars (not verified)

Sorry, Debian users do not need such a nonsense.

Since when has KDE become a debian-only project? Or Linux-only for that matter?

by Dirk Manske (not verified)

KDE is a group of packages. Why need KDE packages a special install frontend? Installation/updating are tasks of the installer of the distribution.

by GlowStars (not verified)

Installation/updating are tasks of the installer of the distribution.

What if there is no distribution? You are still thinking in linux-terms.

by L.D. (not verified)

HI! this is a great Idea! I was going to comment that it would be great to have a standard list of distro's supported so a new or intermediate (me) user doesn't need to figure out where the files need to go. but, the screenshots look like it does that allready.

thank you for reading my post!

Lance D.

by rinse (not verified)

A nice feature would be this:
If the installer downloads all necesary files from the Internet, the user should be able to choose where to put the downloaded files, and when the network connection failes (e.g. modem hangs up during donwload or similar problems) the user should be able to resume the download/installation at a later time. It would also be nice if the installer could work from a local directory, So when a user wants to reinstall kde, he/she doesn't have to download everything again.

(This is something I missed in the Netscape Installer: I didn't know where Netscape downloads the files to, and when the modem hangs up during the download, I had to start all over again.)

by bit0101 (not verified)

While I am no brainiac I know this; Windows will forever kick ass on the home user's PC so long as Linux targets techies and power users. People who come home and use their computers don't care about why they can't check their email, just that they can't do it. While I read through others comments about how great it is to install from source I think it was so nice to copy *http:/go-gnome.com* from Ximian's website and get Gnome on my box and have it working without a hitch is amazing for Linux. Users like myself do not want to have to deal with what packages do I need and don't. Linux came with 1,500 Apps! What more could I need? GAMES!!! Give me 3D Fragfest 2001! Granted, I do not need 1500 apps, but at least I know if I do need it, I sure don't have to download it on my crappy modem connection.
To the Linux Community: You guys are tackiling the impossible with nothing, and my respect to you. But if you get anything out of this message, simplicity is it.

by James (not verified)

And people who develop for Linux, and target techies and power users, don't care the slightest bit that Windows will forever be on a 'typical end-users' desktop.

I for one don't care at all:) I found my salvation a year and a half ago. I'm in heaven.

by bit0101 (not verified)

I love Linux, don't get me wrong. I am learning all I can about it and I think it is great for everyone, home and enterprise. My point is that it is this attitude that will stun Linux. The typical end user is everyone, and wouldn't be nice to live in an open source world? While I am glad you found your salvation, there are 35 million other people who haven't. I say let this installer develop, this is one more step forward for Linux and one less step for Windows.

by Aboudi Effa Mar... (not verified)

j'ai des prolèmes pour installer linux-Mandrake 7.2 sur mon PC. C'est un AMD Duron 700MHt
je ne sais pas quel est le problème pourtant j'ai partitionner mon disque
est ce que vous pouvez m'envoyer un manuel pour installer?

by JOEL B. ESSOMBA (not verified)

Il suffit tout simplement de me contacter :Car je suis un specialiste dans le domaine.Je travail sur ce genre de programme a l'Universite Technique de Hamburg-Harburg.

by Whitney Battestilli (not verified)

I would love to see an installer that can convert the KDE menus to the Mandrake menufiles. It's tough when every install (accept a mandrake rpm) makes .desktop files and then then Mandrake blows them all away.

On a side note, does anybody know of a way to easily convert kde menus to the Mandrake/debian menufiles? Menudrake is pretty horrible.

by Terry Battestilli (not verified)

You just never know what you'll find out here in "internet world"!! Love you - your mother

by Haakon Meland E... (not verified)

Could you include a check for free diskspace and recommended memory on the very first installation sheet?

This way the user can abort immediately (unlike most software on the MS platform) or remove, move or whatever needs to be done if there is not enough diskspace.

by Diego (not verified)

Great idea for newbies like me !

Here is my need :

- I work for a large company so :

- my machine is a Sun workstation with Sun OS

- I don't have 'root' access and need to call my system'admin to complete the installation (setuid...)

- I need to install kde on my own account

- I'm really too much a novice to complete the installation from source code.

- Actually, I'm not very much interested in the technology behind kde/linux/... I'm a simple user.

Is there a way to make the installer so much 'rookie-proof' ?

Thanks for your contribution !


by Wes yates (not verified)

Very good! Well done! Looks too much like Windows, but realy very solid. I only wish I programed :-(

Good luck!


by Nick Betcher (not verified)

"He also needs other developers to get involved, as he is relatively new to C++/OO programming."

Please help! I need everyone's help. I just realized last night when I was in bed that more than 1.5 million people are counting on me. ME! Me alone. /me runs around the room in panic. Webpage designers, code writers, Qt Designer people, documentors. I need serious help. It cant be done alone. I would appreciate any help at all.


Nick Betcher

by Rijka Wam (not verified)

Sorry Nick,

read all the posts! KDE DOES NOT NEED AN INSTALLER! Where would we go if every programm had an insataller (like netscape and Staroffice have rightnow). Installer ist distro stuff. You need to handle Solaris *BSD and all the otyher *xes. This is _DEFINITELY_ a responsibillity of the distro. Ximian realized that after they screwed up with their stupid Helix Installer. Don't repeat their mistake!


by Brandon Darbro (not verified)

Very nice concepts in your screenshots. One thing I was wondering if you could add (in post 1.0 releases) would be a system to check for necessary libraries and such. Once that is in place, myself and others could help create automated ways for locating, downloading, compiling, packaging and installing all the missing pieces... Then build KDE itself.

I see that as a great way of helping KDE end up on HP and Sun machines. Thoughts?

by peter (not verified)

yeah , with my 1.4 ghz machine the compile of kde will be a snap ...

by peter (not verified)

what the installier should also do is :

find an installed version of KDE (older)

convert the Userdata (Mail/adressbook/licq)

import other Userdata (Outlook,ICq)

and give the options to upgrade to the new
version then .

is this possible ???

by Nick Betcher (not verified)

Notice to everyone interested:

A lot of heat is coming from slashdot. One person mentioned that I am new to programming with a very young attitude. I will admit that my programming needs work, but do I see anyone else taking this project up? No. I originally never wanted this much PR. Its horrible. I will go through with this to the end. Please don't dought me. I do appreciate the optimisim from a lot of you.

As for me being young, I admit it. I am 16 years of age. Does that make me unable to write code? Am I doomed from the start just because I'm young? If some of you say 'yes', I would like to please know why. There are a few people my age (and even younger) that create quality KDE applications that are in your local copy of KDE. I wont name names because those people don't want the heat from slashdoters and others commenting on their youth.

Also, I would like to make it clear that this project was never a one-man project. I only wanted this post to stay on the dot so that I could get helpful comments, and people willing to help me write code. Also, being a 16 year-old, I attend High School daily. You may think that is going to put a dent into my programming, but like I said before, this isnt a one-man project.

At this point I appreciate all of your comments, dont get me wrong. Please continue to comment. I wont make anymore complaints about the slashdot ones because I'm not reading them anymore.

If you would like to talk to me, please do so. I will be (active) on IRC from 3:00PM CST to 10:30PM CST on irc.openprojects.net in #kde-users.

Thank you all again, I hope I can fullfil all of your feature requests.

Nick Betcher

by reihal (not verified)

don't pay any attention to the slashdotters, they have KDE-envy.
Stay here, where you are among friends.
I am also amazed buy the overwhelming interest in your project, it shows that there is real need for this. Therefore other, more experienced developers, will come to your help.

by reihal (not verified)


Remember the Linus Method: Don't take it too seriously.

by Michael (not verified)

Hey Nick,

I don't think that age is a problem regarding programming skills. However it's sometimes a problem regarding how to get along with bad comments. From your postings I would suggest you take it (much more) easy. You shouldn't tell them "you don't like, don't take it". It's the way around: If you think a comment is not useful for the project ignore it...
About the project: Before staring to discuss what kind of icon, fonts,... there should be a plan about:

* scope for the first release
* own backend / existing backend
* some issues mentioned above...

My opinion: I would already be glad if I could easily update my KDE 2.0 to the latest stable/unstable version. Something simple like:
which distro do you have: _______
which kde-version you want: _____
what kind of installation: (developer/basic)

that would be just fine for version 0.0.1

Of course many people will say, that's too simple. Then you can say: so let's improve it. But the point is YOU have something which at least works. There will be no more discussion about age and so on....

by Roland (not verified)

Hi Nick,

I don´t know anything about your prgramming skills and i don´t know if this project will have success. But i do know that your attempt of writing an installer is much more useful to all of us than the rants of these people. The only thing they can do is critisize others instead of producing some code themselves.


by Stephan Böni (not verified)

With my 32 years i know that your programming skills are much more better then the mine....

by Neil Stevens (not verified)

Nick: Ignore slashdot's flamers and complainers. Ignore this forum's flamers and complainers.

If you think KDE needs an installer, do it. Ignore all the idiots and self-important blowhards.

Don't bother trying to justify yourself to them, or worrying about what they're saying at all. Just do it, and if you did well, the accolades and thanks from grateful users will come.

by Eric (not verified)

1st) Here's another useful possibility. If the installer could facilitate having CVS/alpha/beta installs that DON'T replace the stable installs, I myself would be much more eager to install and test new versions and features. As it stands I'm pretty reticent to get into the CVS stuff, because I don't know enough to get a setup where new libraries coexist with old libraries, etc. But if the installer could facilitate this, I could be testing a daily build with no problems - it breaks in some way, I just quit KDE2.5.unstable, possibly reboot, and choose KDE2.1.stable from KDM.

I'd also like to voice my support for having the installer help you along with the process of compiling, as compiler optimizations combined with being able to eliminate apps and features you don't need would give everyone a tight, fast KDE desktop to show to their friends


Kudos to you for generating energy and discussion on this much needed subject, even if you never write a single line of code.



by Ariya Hidayat (not verified)

Shouldn't it be text-based ? Imagine a GNOME user with almost no kde libraries at all (at least QT should be there). Or after a problem with X. Or someone that installs Linux/BSD from NULL.

A KDE Updater can be a KDE 1.x application, as its purpose is to update into newer version. But a KDE Installer may only assume that the user might only have X Window.

by Spark (not verified)

you can link it static against Qt like opera.
this will work for every X user.
but of course the KDE installer shouldn't use the KDE libraries. =)

by Jesper Juhl (not verified)

I Just hope that it will work across distributions and platforms.
I myself have quite a few x86 based systems running Slackware, QNX, FreeBSD (and I'm setting up a new Solaris box as well), an AlphaServer running Slackware and a AlphaStation running Debian. None of those are RPM based, so how will this installer work on my systems - not that I think I myself would use it, but it's something that should be thought about.
If the installer is going to be really usefull it should run on all the platforms that KDE runs on and it should be (Linux/*BSD)distribution independant!

by Nick Betcher (not verified)

*sigh* (once again) The installer isnt Redhat-centric. It will support much more than RPM based systems. Enough said, hehe.

by Ferdinand GAssauer (not verified)

please separate the languages!
most users will only need english + their local language. (see SuSE packages)
cu ferdinand

by Dan Armak (not verified)

I don't really think an RPM installer interface is needed. What would really be welcome is a GUI for compiling and installing all packages from sources/cvs with automatic updating, cvsup, diff installing...

by Nick Betcher (not verified)

This installer might one day support CVS, but as of now, I am taking it one step at a time. There are plenty of projects and programs out there that will compile and isntall CVS for you. Please look around for them, I dont know any off the top of my head. The best place to probably look for them is in kdenonbeta or kdesdk! kdenonbeta is always full of goodies, like the installer :)

Heh, if you think downloading and installing KDE from the CVS is hard, try maintaining your project in it... *grrr* :)

Bye all!

by Haakon Nilsen (not verified)

Hi Nick!

Please don't listen too much to all these feature requests... I think the secret of any successful project is to Keep It Simple. It's always better to have one thing that works perfectly than a hundred things that work poorly. Other things can always be implemented later on.

As for CVS, that is NOT for end-users. If you need a fancy GUI installer in the first place, CVS builds are NOT for you. CVS checkouts aren't even guarranteed to compile, damnit ;-)

Keep going and take your time :-)

by Nick Betcher (not verified)


by Max (not verified)

Great idea, I actually had posted this idea as a bug, only to get a hurl of abuse from a particular kde developer. :-( .

Anyway, could the installer maybe also have other features like ximian red carpet, such as news on new/updated kde projects, with the ability to download/update them on your computer? And would this be like red carpet where you have a long list where you tick in the nice boxes? If so, great, I can't wait till it's ready.

Also, instead of calling it plain boring 'KDE installer' , why not call it something like 'KDE Orange Karpet' ?????