The screenshot over there 💔 makes me happy again. It’s very small and scrunched up, but you might recognize the blueness and purplish of a CDE desktop, with an incongruous Konsole green-on-black on top. Yes, I am old-school and my Konsole looks like my Apple ][ desktop (which is on my desk at work).

My happiness derives from having KDE applications – any KDE applications – available again on my main workstation. My hobbying over the past few nights has been fixing up the (Open)Solaris packaging for the dependencies of KDE4. That means also the upcoming C++ STL for OpenSolaris and Qt 4.4.1. Yes, that’s an old Qt. It’s tough keeping up with the Trolls and all the other packages.

[[ At this point I should congratulate some of the Fedorans with their ‘fusion’ group of 3rd party applications; I suspect there’s a ton of overlap, actually, between what they have and what we’re producing, just like we overlap with a lot of Gentoo stuff in packaging up source tarballs of rather basic stuff like GNUTLS. ]]

We had a packaging setup that worked: you needed a 4GB SVN checkout that included three copies of Qt (among other things) and there was a multi-stage, multi-paradigm perl-driven Makefile-controlled specfile-generating monster of a buildsystem behind it. I wrote it. Ugh. It’s actually fairly useful when you’re working on porting particular bits of software, because it has the pristine upstream sources imported into an SVN repo, but it’s not very nice for people who are primarily interested in building the packages (and reporting errors in the build or in reporting runtime testing results).

So, having learned much more about specfiles and pkgtool in the past month, I set to work creating the specfiles and some build machinery; the idea was that the specfiles would download pristine upstream sources whenever possible from the original source, patch tarballs from the KDE4-Solaris site and then do the build. As much as possible, the build would be driven by pkgtool and not make+futzing. Simplify, simplify.

Turns out that the stuff we had already done was pretty close to a clean specfile already, just with some unneccessary cruft and a lack of sophistication in using pkgtool. So the switch to plain specfiles is quite painless, except for the auditing of where the source is supposed to come from, what the licenses are, etc. We had a lot of listings, which need to be fixed up. So it’s more administrative in nature than anything else.

As part of making the specfiles easy to get, easy to build and easy to contribute to, we have put them in a Mercurial repository; the master is on the OpenSolaris servers and development happens in the BionicMutton Mercurial repo. You can get a snapshot tarball; after unpack and cd specs ; make the pkgtool infrastructure does the rest.

And then, after a while, you can run Konsole in CDE again (on S10 and OpenSolaris, SPARC and x86). What a relief.

The Wayback Machine did not archive the screenshot marked with 💔.