Not the Debian-KDE post you were waiting for

Sorry! I cannot tell you when KDE 4.4 will be uploaded to unstable. I am not working on that. My initial plan was writing about other tasks I am planning to work on and asking for your help. But I realized people would be more interested in knowing about KDE 4.4 packages. Once you know about this, I might trick you into helping in others areas ;)

Debian packages for KDE 4.4 are being worked on, just slowly and of course, keeping on with the quality you are used to. There will be also some changes that have been in some people’s TODO for long time.

The goal is having them in very good shape for Squeeze, that will ship with some point release of 4.4. The doubt is which point release will be: 4.4.2? 4.4.3 ? The schedule for the point releases has not been made yet, so it makes a bit harder trying to predict it. In the same lines, I can not tell you when Squeeze will be released neither, it needs to be frozen first!

If you want to know about the reasons of this delay, it is simple math: KDE has been growing a lot of more than the number of people working in Debian packages of KDE. I am not talking about size in lines of code in KDE, it is more the number of new dependencies that the KDE team have to take care now too: soprano, libutempter, … Have you wondered why some are under the name of Debian Krap maintainers? :) And there are releases much more often than in the KDE 3 times. You might have notice not only 4.3.5 have been skipped, it also was the case with 4.2.3 or 4.1.4.

This is not good or bad, it is just the same number of maintainers (or less) with more work. And what is worse… with more bugs open in the Debian BTS! I think reiterated calls for not to file upstream bugs in the Debian BTS and directly in KDE bugzilla (see my blog post about this here) have helped but still we have a large amount of bugs piled through the years. This graph could give you an estimate how we tried in the past fighting against without too much success:
Number of bugs reported against KDE in Debian in the last 3 years

Olivier Vitrat, we miss you :)

One of the most heavy (and boring) talks that needs to be done for the KDE 4.4 packages is the copyright checking. I am not sure a total newbie can help with this, but if you have knowledge about licenses and you want to try helping, we are waiting for you.

About other areas of the packaging maintenance, if you are interested in start learning and helping with future releases, you are welcome to start lurking in the #debian-qt-kde channel in OFTC and in the mailing lists.

Update February 21th: 4.4.0 is for sure not being uploaded into the archive. Probably KDE SC 4.4.1 to be released 2nd March will be uploaded to unstable or experimental.

38 thoughts on “Not the Debian-KDE post you were waiting for

  1. Waiting for KDE 4.4

    Me too… That’s REALLY sad news. Other distros are already getting the KDE 4.4, and I was really really anxious to get my hands on the new KDE. Is there at least any planned release date?

    So, what a user with Debian unstable installed is supposed to do? I cannot help right now coding, and definitely don’t know squat about licensing. Should I compile my own KDE? Get the Ubuntu packages? Any suggestions are welcome, because changing the distro just because of the DE is out of question…

  2. rick

    absolutely, do NOT get the ubuntu packages! compile KDE yourself if you like, or wait for the excellent release from the KDE team (which will be of a higher quality an a straight compile). me, i’m perfectly content waiting. it’ll be ready when it’s ready, and not a moment before.

  3. ana Post author

    @Waiting for KDE 4.4:
    If there were a date I would have said it… just wait some weeks, as I said Squeeze will be out with some version of KDE 4.4.x
    Such negative reply only because you have to wait a few weeks to get a new version of KDE is not nice. Funnily I think my post is good news for those wondering about KDE in Debian: things are slow but being worked on!
    BTW, maybe trying to build your own KDE will make you realize the effort that it takes…

  4. Matthieu Gallien

    Ana, you are right. People in the KDE Debian team are working on this. They even do it for free. At least, I am not paying them. I can just be happy with what I already have and what I will have in the near future.
    By the way, if people are so impatient is because for most release, it is delivered in Debian at the exact time of the release by KDE. People get used to that.

  5. ana Post author

    @Matthieu Gallien:
    I guess we have spoiled the users :)
    BTW, I am *in* the KDE team, I am just not longer working in all the grunt work after 4.3.2.

  6. Matthieu Gallien

    @ana

    Sorry, I am not a so good english writer. I know that you are in the team. I appreciate the work *you* and other in the team are doing, being communication, work on packages or dealing with bug reports.

  7. Matthieu Gallien

    @ana

    btw, I may have some time I can invest. Cannot promise anything.
    Do you or the team as a whole have a list of junior jobs ? Something short enough (including technical skills) that outsider could do to help you.

  8. Christoph

    Ana, we can wait. After all the good quality we are seeing has its price. Thanks to you and the rest of the team for your much appreciated work!

  9. Waiting for KDE 4.4

    Hi all,

    I _never_ intended to depreciate the work of the KDE team, and if that was the impression, I’m sorry. Yes, the Debian KDE releases are great, and I appreciate the work.

    Also, now I know that I will have to wait “some weeks” to get it. ;-)

    I think that maybe I misunderstood the packaging process in Debian, as I was expecting that KDE 4.4 would hit unstable pretty fast – in similar time to other distros, one week – and the hard work to make sure that all the problems are solved would be done after that, and just then the packages would be migrated to Squeeze. My impression right now is that the unstable reps would have to wait until the packages are fitted for Squeeze, and then both will get KDE 4.4.x. Is that right? If so, there is a page or wiki where I can follow the progress on the compilation and packaging of KDE 4.4?

    Thanks!

  10. ana Post author

    @Matthieu Gallien:
    All fine :) Thanks for your interest in helping!
    We do have a listing of tasks in the IRC channel, but they are far from “junior jobs”. My initial plan when writing this blog post was asking help in some areas and telling how you can help, but I ended writing this instead. I will try to write this in the next days but I will warn you most of the stuff suitable for beginners we have now is helping with bugs.

    @Waiting for KDE 4.4:
    Thanks for your more nice follow-up comment. I will try to explain this quickly.
    Packages are uploaded to unstable when they are ready (as in all the packaging work is done) and sometimes they need some extra time to work in previous dependencies (in this case Qt 4.6.2 and phonon) or to go through NEW. This is totally independent to Squeeze and its status. Once in unstable, when there is not RC bugs, it is built in all the Debian arches and all the dependencies are ready, it migrates to Squeeze. This process takes a minimum of 10 days, but sometimes it can be more a lot of more. If you are a testing user be ready to wait weeks after the packages are uploaded to unstable.

    @Confused:
    Checking all the files distributed in the tarballs have free licences (follow Debian Free Software Guidelines) and there is not license incompatibility.

  11. Confused

    @ana:

    Why would you do this? KDE already has a license checker on both commits and as part of the Krazy Source Code Checker.

  12. Cage47

    But I’m hearing from people I know who are now wondering about Squeeze’s release. It was posted a while back that Squeeze would freeze in March. Is this out the window now? Not trying to pin down a date, as you said. But Squeeze’s freeze was “advertised” for march. And it would seem a rush to get 4.4.x bugsquashed in enough time to freeze in March.

    Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a complaint. from what I’ve been reading, 4.4 would fix a lot of the problems in 4.3 (like missing administrator modes in the config tools). I for one would welcome a pushback of the freeze date to get KDE4.4 complete in Squeeze with adequate testing.

  13. ana Post author

    @Confused:
    All the copyright holders and licenses must be listed in the debian/copyright file, e.g.:
    http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/pkg-kde/trunk/packages/kdelibs/debian/copyright

    And believe it or not, it is not unusual detecting problems besides the control upstream.

    @Cage47:
    Squeeze freeze won’t be in March, it will be with it is ready, read:
    http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2010/02/msg00002.html
    And in any case KDE 4.4.x will enter rushed, do not worry :)

  14. tom

    Well i am too anticipating the Squeeze release with excitement.. As i am planning to migrate from Ubuntu 9.04 (user since Gutsy 7.04) to Debian.. yesterday night i did go through(1st 2 pages only) the debian maintainers guide.. boy i was bogged down, really you guys must be having tough time following those policies/rules(?), or you are familiar and used to such things??

    ana do tell me what it feels like when you first started to pack apps.. do i need lot of time like 5 hrs/day or weekly basis.
    it’ll help me n others who are think of contributing or at-least start to learn packaging.. and God willing contribute to the Debian community very soon!! anyways goodluck and thank you for being part of such a wonderful GNU/Linux OS. :-)

  15. ana Post author

    @tom:
    In Ubuntu are supposed to follow the same rules and policies than in Debian. But all this stuff from an user POV should not matter.
    About starting packing apps, you start with one simple and then you continue learning little to little reading stuff and learning a lot from your mistakes. Obviously you do not know everything when you have your first package in the archive.

  16. Marvin

    No hurry please! In fact take some extra time to stomp out any annoying bugs. The reason I changed back to Debian squeeze recently from another distribution was because of quality issues. Altough KDE 4.4 would be nice, I’d rather have a fully functioning system. Wonder if i still need to use network-manager-kde from kde 3.5 to use my gsm/edge/hdspa modem in kde 4.4.

    Thank you debian kde team!

  17. iria

    @Marvin
    From Debian Changelog network-manager (0.7.999-3):
    – Bump Breaks for network-manager-kde to (<<1:0.9~~). The KDE3 version no longer works correctly with this version of network-manager.

    Try NM plasmoid from experimental.

  18. avital

    I don’t get what the problem is. Debian has never been an early adopter, and even in Unstable, new versions can take quite a while to filter in (think Iceweasel 3.5). When it *does* eventually go in, it tends to be very well-packaged and nearly stable (even in Unstable), so there are some benefits of that approach.

    There is nothing wrong with dual-booting with Arch, Gentoo, or Fedora (or using one of the above in a VM) if you want to develop against the latest version of KDE while using Debian as your normal day-to-day system.

  19. ana Post author

    @avital:
    Usually new software is packaged in Debian quickly. But when you have some big software maintained by a small team (in the case of iceweasel it is one-person team!), it is normal to expect some delay when they have less free time (or motivation) to devote to Debian.
    Of course, people do not remember all the new version they had by the time of the release, but they do clearly remember the delays.

  20. Absent Minded

    Hi Ana,
    I just wanted to say “Thank you” for all the effort and devotion you give Debian. I have no complaints.

    Although I don’t know much about licencing, I can read and understand things well. If I can be of some assistance let me know. I am willing to do what i can to help.

    AM

  21. ATIUser

    How about a good compatibility between ATI and KDE 4.x effects?

    I can see a lot of notes about updates, but nothing to say: Here is the FINAL solution about at good KDE effects in all ATI Video Cards

  22. Marco valli

    @ATIUser
    I installed two weeks ago Sid on a notebook Compaq 615 (ATI 3200).
    KDE 4.3 effects and driver fglrw work smoothly together.
    regards

  23. Dom

    Hi Ana! Just wanted to say there are hordes of us who simply decide to be quiet most of the times but content with all the work you as volunteers do for us users – whenever you do it. I only wish I could help and in future I plan to give a shot at it. :)

    P.S. Patiently waiting to finally switch to KDE4 – looks like KDE SC 4.4.1 will be it ;)

  24. Matthias

    Hi Ana!

    Like @Dom I’m a happy and grateful for your work.

    Allow me to suggest a small improvement of communication:
    On the debian KDE site

    http://pkg-kde.alioth.debian.org/

    a short note that KDE 4.4.0 will be skipped would be most helpful and possibly save you a few release date questions.

    I found the infos in this blog here with google, neither on the debian KDE site nor in the debian-kde mailing list archive there was a hint.

    Best regards, and thanx for your work!

    matthias

    Ps.: I’m eagerly waiting for 4.4 in the hope some kwin bug that plagues me is fixed.

  25. Andoni

    I think many of you might have a wrong idea about Debian. Debian is NOT for impatient users but for those who prefer quality to novelty, althought there’s a price to pay for that: time.
    There are too few poeple in the Debian-KDE team, and they do all they can to have KDE packages ready as soon as possible.
    If you can’t wait a month, well, I think your impatience is comprehensible since there are still missing features in KDE 4.3 that have been improved a lot in 4.4, but for those who can’t wait, I honestly recommendo you to abandon Debian and switch to Arch or Gentoo; yes, they are more harsh distros, but they are always up to date and are way more configurable.

    So that’s the choice if you want quality: reasonably user friendly distro, but gnerally slowly updated, like Debian or always up to date, simpler and more configurable but more hard distros like Arch or Gentoo…

    I encourage impatients to try some esay Arch distrolet like Project Chakra, for example, instead of complaining about Debian, and let Debian guys do their job without such a pressure.

    Regards.

  26. JackieBrown

    Is it ready yet?

    Just kidding :)

    I have been checking the Debian KDE mailing list and saw the issues with libjpeg. I didn’t realize there were more issues.

    Fortunately, Google has your page top of this list when I search kde 4.4 debian.

    As has been said before, we do appricate the work the KDE team puts into this. I used to compile from the debian kde trunk and it was quite easy (since you all had already made all the scripts and had the dependencies listed) and recomend it to anyone who is impatient. It looks like 4.4.1 is there now (http://svn.debian.org/wsvn/pkg-kde/trunk/packages/kdebase/debian/changelog)

    I agree with what you had wrote about KDE’s new release schedule ((1 minor release a month and 2 major releases a year.) It makes it pretty time consuming to keep up with especially when the Debian KDE team has not grown. I wonder if the KDE team wishes they had not adopted this. I remember Aaron Seigo stating he thought it was too much but the chatter seems to have died down since then.

    I think waiting until after 1 or 2 minor releases are out with a major project make sense when you know they are coming (as we do for KDE.)

  27. Damijan Bec

    Hi Ana,

    Thank you for the update. Really eager to put my hands on KDE 4.4.1. Of course I would like to see even beta releases of the new KDE versions. However, I tend to agree that Debian is famous for its good quality packages. So quality before speed please :)

    Ana perhaps you should ‘advertise’ that you need more people in KDE team a bit more vocally. I am 100% sure that you would get positive feedback. I actually wasn’t aware myself that Debian KDE team is a bit short with man power. The only info I had was about ever growing number of Debian maintainers. I wonder what can ‘average Joe’ do to help you?

    Thank you KDE team for all the effort you put together.

    To the rest. It is easy to bitch. If you don’t like it then do it yourself. Debian KDE team is not paid to do this. It is their spare time and their unpaid work. So be grateful please or do it yourself!

    Cheers

  28. Olivier Vitrat

    hi Ana!
    just found this blog entry…
    I’ve been busy on other things lately (who is not ???)
    I’ll see what I can do for you :-)

    regards
    Olivier

  29. phobos_anomaly

    Ana,

    If there is any way I can help out with the packaging of kde 4.4.x, Let me know. I’ve been doing bi weekly trunk builds for my own systems and have a fair idea of whats involved.

  30. Kumy

    Hi!

    Do you or anyone know what the current plan is regarding sqeeze? Is the plan still to include kde 4.4.1 or .2 or .3? How about QT 4.6? Think QT4.6 is a must have. Hope there is time to include it if squeeze freezes in may or june.

    Not rushing, just curious :)

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