Since I use OpenSolaris as my primary desktop just right now (the FreeBSD machine is sadly in need of some hardware fixes) I have – or had – a pretty strong incentive to get the basic KDE4 desktop working for me. So what does that entail? Well, I have pretty simple needs: a web browser, a console and a text editor. So in theory there’s enough in kdebase and kdesdk to keep me satisfied.

So I’m now well satisfied. Thanks to tireless work by Stefan and Lukas on the dependencies (we just nudged poppler into shape, for instance, replacing the existing on the system) and some late nights, we now have the following KDE SVN modules compiling on OpenSolaris:

  1. kdesupport (3 patch files: -lm -lkrb5 and dealing with class-nested std::map usage in Strigi)
  2. kdelibs (9 patch files: library linking, madvise, kjs untangling to work around the GCC hacks, utmpx structure differences)
  3. kdepimlibs (2 patch files: gpgme++ still has issues with int and enum, plus std::strcmp)
  4. kdebase (4 patch files: kdm mismatch with what's in Solaris nowadays, template magic, ksysguard + ptrace and installation-specific bits in startkde)
  5. kdeedu (1 patch file: need to link -lm more often)
  6. kdegames (1 patch file: #undef sun and ERR)
  7. kdegraphics (1 patch file: gwenview needs to link to soprano)
  8. kdesdk (7 patch files: header file handling, libraries, disable umbrello)
  9. kdetoys
  10. kdeutils (2 patch files: math and disable kmilo)

So it’s not a huge diff between KDE SVN and what you need to compile on OpenSolaris. The KDE on Solaris Techbase article is slowly growing and ought to provide all the information needed to do the builds (if it does not, figure it out and fix the page or point it out to the KDE-Solaris team in a friendly manner). It also contains an explanation of how to add a KDE4 session to the standard login manager; this means I now log in to KDE4 directly instead of via CDE.

Now, this is not to say that there are no issues left. It compiles . It even runs, but there are many things that fail or do not work right (here I’m just talking about obvious technical failures). Here are the three biggies:

  1. Konsole window caption is stuck at ':' because it doesn't know how to retrieve process information. Konsole still doesn't like ^C.
  2. Konqueror crashes regularly. On Thiago's announcement of Qt 4.4-rc1 for instance, and lots of other pages. I can toddle around my own home pages but they could have been written in 1997 for all the HTML sophistication they have.
  3. The crash dialog can't produce any useful backtraces -- obviously, because there is no gdb here. There's a standard C library function to print backtraces, I just need to figure out how to (safely) get that information into the dialog.

Now that I can use KDE4 on a regular basis, I do notice many things that make me think “I would have done that differently.” Some of this is sure to be my unfamiliarity with the KDE4 desktop – I know stuff has changed, so I’m documenting the discomfort of someone who’s switching from KDE3 to KDE4 for the first time.

  • In kickoff, the selection of names is the generic description, not the name of the application. So I see in my games list very generic descriptions like "ball bouncing game" and "board game." Gee, I'll play a board game.
  • The board game turns out to be SameGame (this is shown when you hover over "board game") which has gone a serious redesign since it was my favorite in KDE 3.1 or so. It now has beachballs instead of the classic stones. Fine. It also has an orange background (?) and orange highlighting (?) and no animation of the selection and no way to configure themes, background or the number of colors. It is nice and fast to play. Much nicer than SameGNOME, but it doesn't re-calculate the highlight after a click -- you need to move the mouse to trigger that. The rounded rectangle of the final score display doesn't match the rounding of corners in the rest of KDE.
  • The big red "Leave" button on kickoff doesn't. And all the other "leave" icons are a blue down arrow.
  • Focus follows mouse is still gone. Maybe it followed an old mouse offscreen and I need to find the right bit of hardware?
  • In systemsettings, not all of the sections seem to work. For instance, under network settings I have "connection preferences", "proxy" and "service discovery." The first two give me a configuration tab of Windows Samba shares, which I can't map to either of their names (nor why they are identical). Not all of the components give the same view with icons down the right; some like the Sound component gives a single tab widget with two tabs. Some traditional WTFs like why the keyboard layout is in Regional and Language and not in Keyboard and Mouse haven't been resolved either.
  • </ol>
    I suppose it's part of having really high expectations for KDE applications in general -- I mean I can't find things in general that feel wrong, just sharp corners and sticking drawers and oddly placed light switches -- that this little list of mine exists at all. And just like everything else, the sharp corners and burrs will slowly get buffed away. Attacking Konsole is my top priority. Being unable to ^C a running command is just unacceptable (although it improves my typing). I guess every thorn has its rose. > The Wayback Machine ⏲ does not archive everything. Broken image links are marked with a 💔.