On the chain gang
As an aside: our FSFE buddies are trying KDE4, too, and haven’t found anything bad to say about it yet
Dependencies are like chains, shackles which you can rattle and bemoan your lot with. So it is with ncurses.
Yes, ncurses is a dependency because aspell and readline want it, and somewhere eventually KDE4 needs both of those. So the KDE4-Solaris team is resigned to dealing with it. Getting ncurses to build was a weird exercise, since it doesn’t quite have a sensible build system; part libtool, part not, with remnants of other build systems as well and some awk fanciness as well. But once ncurses updates and compiles, we need to go through all the other dependencies as well. I’m glad we have that big crunchy box at Sun NL’s lab.
The move of phonon to kdesupport caused some headaches; thanks to M Kretz for reverting some of my stupid commits while I was getting it to compile again. In KJS, new and better Solaris support code was merged in by the KHTML team – and then I fixed it to actually compile. So things are getting better that way. Most of the time, 13 KDE SVN modules compile (once you’ve gotten through the dependencies on Solaris), so it is possible to run a fairly complete KDE4 desktop on Solaris right now. On Nevada, at least: older S10U4 (which we also aim to support) is still problematic.
There are a few real showstoppers I know about right now:<ul><li>Konsole’s ^C handling; Stefan is working on this.</li><li>KControl modules (KWin’s in particular) that do not display properly.</li><li>KJS crashing in garbage collection (this may have everything to do with bugs in my previous set of patches, so I’ll have to see if the newly merged code helps.)</li></ul>Once those three are sorted, as far as I’m concerned, KDE4 is good to go as “a desktop” for Solaris. Then we can turn to new code and new features to make it a compelling desktop which fully supports the underlying OS. Call that “future work”.
Finally, the configure cashew is pretty neat. I realise that the panel sizing features still need a lot of tweaking to really get right (remember also SFF: a 5-pixel wide arrow is not handleable with your finger on a 250dpi screen) but as an example of visual configuration it’s pretty strong. Much nicer than the old cycle of change-number-hit-apply-see-if-that’s-right.
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