KDE 4.7 on OpenSolaris

Since KDE 4.7 first alpha was released two weeks ago, we’ve slowly started work on KDE 4.7.x specfiles for OpenSolaris / OpenIndiana / Oracle Solaris 11 / Solaris 10 (what a terrible naming confusion — there’s the enterprise stuff from Sun, Solaris 10, which is old but semi-supported by us; there’s OpenSolaris which is dead under Oracle’s boot; there’s OpenIndiana which is an effort to retain Open-Source values in the Solaris OS world; there’s Oracle’s next version of Solaris, heavily weighed down with proprietaryness). I’ll just call it "KDE4 for Solaris" from now on, regardless of the specific flavor or trademark the software is packaged for.

The KDE 4.7.0 specfile repository was just started. It’s a clone of 4.6.0 up until last night, now with some minor updates. I don’t even think we’ve adjusted the KDE version number (from 4.6.3 to 4.6.80) yet. But the stuff will be forthcoming, eventually.

With this alpha release, a number of things have changed in the KDE stack, which is going to slow down at least initial Solaris packaging:

  • Deprecating HAL and several other technologies lower in the stack (I’m not even sure which, but HAL is the biggie). The support burden for these technologies is being moved to the platforms that (still) use them. These platforms include Solaris, FreeBSD and Slackware Linux. Possibly more. This mostly affects libraries that KDE wraps around the lower-down technologies, like Solid. It’s an understandable decision, and I vaguely hope it ushers in a whole lot of test- and test-script writing in order to test various back ends (of which I guess we need at least four, now: Windows, MacOSX, HAL and udev).
  • Changing the structure of the tarballs. These now match the split-up git repository structure. That’s pretty straight-forward to do (in terms of creating the tarballs from the repo) but introduces a bunch of changes in the packaging scripts. (Solaris uses RPM-style specfiles, which point at source tarballs and scriptlets for the actual build process) Where once we had kdebase-apps (one tarball) it’s now split up into bits. Konsole, for instance, is now its own tarball. So we’re forced to decide whether to (a) download konsole’s tarball during the build of our package kdebase-apps and munge the packaging build scriptlet to do it as well, or (b) create a separate package for Konsole and figure out how to transition from konsole-in-kdebase-apps to konsole-in-konsole packages?

The same issues affect Slackware, for instance. I think the KDE-FreeBSD team has already solved much of this for themselves (since it’s a packaging decision, not something to deal with upstream).

Anyway, all this isn’t intended to take anyone to task — just to explain why KDE4 Solaris packages for the KDE 4.7 alpha 1 will not show up quickly.

PS. gcc support in our specfiles is doing pretty well.

The keyboard is dusty but my engine is clean

It didn’t take me two-fifths of lead-free gasoline, but I was off for a week riding my bike for a family vacation. It was very restful, most of the time. Amiel is six, so he got to ride his own cycle. This naturally limits our range to about 35km a day at the very most. Since Mira had a bruised ankle, she got to ride in the kiddy seat on the back.

[[ A follow-me is a gizmo that attaches to the rear axle of a big bicycle; a smaller bicycle with special front axle extenders can then be parked in the gizmo and have the front wheel fixed and lifted off the ground, effectively creating an in-line tricycle with the two rear wheels still powered. Really useful when the kids can bike for part of the day but not the whole long haul. ]]

We managed to have a head wind all week, as we departed from Nijmegen towards Eindhoven when the wind was out of the south-west and one the wind wheeled round to the north-east, we headed back. When you’re only doing 25-35km a day that’s not that bad — it still takes about 4 hours on the bike, because Amiel’s cruising speed on his 20" is 10km/h.

The keyboards at home have gotten dusty in the meantime.

It’s not just the vacation, though. I’ve been very quiet on the KDE front. Six hours hacking at an office desk, I find, does take up most of my desire to stare at a screen. Occasional bursts of Solaris packaging notwithstanding, my desktop machines have been largely idle for the past month or more.

On the road, my n900 gets a lot of use. So much so that the battery life (it just gets though the day) is an issue.

While away from the desktop, I’ve been a lot more active on identi.ca. I mostly like HeyBuddy, although it has its share of UI blemishes. The author is quite responsive to grumblings (explaining why my grumblings are unjustified), which I appreciate. The !kde group is good to follow, but I’m not sure I’m cut out for following people. It’s like listening to a conversation across a crowded bar; full of missing bits (that’s what the context button is for) or hilarity that doesn’t make sense to outsiders.

During my all-idle week, the Randa sprints (three-and-a-half of them?) and webworld started, were in-progress, or ended. It looks like a whirlwind from here. Good thing that wasn’t the wind I had to fight en-route.