Debian snapshot packages of KDE 4.2

Good news for those wanting to test KDE 4.2. Finally, we have decided to do a little experiment and provide snapshot packages of current KDE trunk (future KDE 4.2).
First of all, I would like to say that even if I am the one blogging, the most part of the job was done by Modestas Vainius.

I am calling this an experiment because we are not sure yet whether this is a good idea, there are several reasons:

  • packaging can suffer big changes before the final release
  • this is still code in development with some important bugs
  • some upstream changes (like ABI bump) can make huge dependencies problems

All the above reasons are likely to generate a lot of demands from users asking for support that are surely too many for our time and, I am afraid, patience.
So, in short, these packages are being provided without any support from your packagers even if they are done by the people who usually package KDE.

You have the repository and all the information at:

The current snapshot is post-beta2 and again, before installing the packages, please read all the information. I am sorry if the wording is read as a bit harsh, but we really wanted make clear the message.

Update (25 January 2008): KDE 4.2.0 will be available soon in experimental, if you are a new user, we recommend you to wait until it is fully updated in the Debian repositories and install it from there.

FAQ about KDE 4.2 in Debian

I got a bunch of emails in the last weeks with one or more of the following questions. Here it is for general knowledge :)

Will be KDE 4.2 beta 1 uploaded to experimental? Or to another public repository?

And KDE 4.2 beta 2?
Maybe. But notice if it is uploaded it will be replacing current KDE 4.1 in experimental, so we will upload it only if we are sure it is stable and mature enough to replace 4.1

Will be KDE 4.2 backports in ?
No, backports were planned only for the KDE 4.1 series.

If experimental starts shipping KDE 4.2 (beta or RC), will be updates in for 4.1.4 (and if released 4.1.5)?
Yes, there will be backports for all the releases of 4.1.x.

When will be KDE 4 uploaded to unstable? And to testing?
KDE 4 will replace KDE 3 in unstable when Lenny is released. After some time, it will migrate from unstable to testing.

Bonus question: When will be Lenny released?
When it is ready.

And you think your family have issues


As in every (free software) project, Debian has problems. Specially, there were 2 big problems:

  • A: We are not good acknowledging, accepting and integrating new members in a good way.
  • B: We have some people accumulating too much power.


In case this was not enough, the people creating the problem B) decided to fix the problem A) totally on their own in a way that makes both A and B worse.

People with too much power are winning. A lot of of the average contributors have good points about all this, but they already gave up (this is a hobby for most of all!) and do nothing because they are already too frustrated. Some try arguing and discussing, but it is not going anywhere because people of the problem B are playing to ignore everything, so you can not argue with silence.

Some people is eating this poisoned cookie, they accept these changes because finally we will be able to integrate (someway) in the project translators, artists, etc, with the cost of change badly another stuff like DM, in the way the people of the group B like.
The proposal or policy is presented as a whole, take it all or leave it.


This proposal or policy will be implemented with some minor changes resulting of “listening” people, then this people causing the problem B, will say this proposal was widely discussed since it was changed because all the discussion.

Ah, and release Lenny sometime too.

Updates in

It was complicated getting this done, but finally backports for 4.1.2 are available at Thanks to the help of Aleix Pol and his Mac Mini, there are available packages for PowerPC now.

As well, I have uploaded a backport of Qt 4.4.3 (*), for AMD64, i386 and PowerPC. If you are using KDE 4.1.x, you definitively want to use this Qt 4 version with a bunch of bugfixes.

A lot of people mailed me in the last week asking about problems with the mirror, this was caused by being actually 2 mirrors in round robin and the secondary (and faster) one having some problems syncing.

(*) Yes, I know Qt 4.4.2 and 4.4.3 are equal just with copyright changes, but it was easier backport latest version from unstable, right? :)

KDE 4.1 backported packages for Lenny

Now Lenny has been frozen for some time and the necessary packages have migrated to Lenny (that remember is still testing); I have finally made the backports of KDE 4.1.0. You can find the repository and the instructions at:

And remember, KDE 4.1 is pretty good but it still has some issues that are little to little being fixed. Do no expect something so rock solid as KDE 3.5.x yet :)

Debian packages for KDE 4.1, KOffice alpha9 and more

In the beginning of this week, KDE 4.1 RC 1 was released and, of course, there are Debian packages since the release day. The instructions I blogged about how to install the beta1 (and downgrade) still mostly apply, although the version of the KDE 4 RC1 is 4.0.98.
The Debian KDE Team website has finally been updated, so you have even more useful information about how to install KDE 4.1 packages from experimental, specially the bits about Apt Pinning.
kdeplasmoids has been renamed, again, and it is now named kdeplasma-addons, this means it is currently stuck at the NEW queue in Debian. I do not know when it will be available in the archive, but luckily current version of kdeplasmoids (post beta 2), works well with the RC 1 packages, you can use it until kdeplasmoids is accepted.

The important part about RC 1 in Debian is we finally have kde4libs, kdepimlibs and kdebase-runtime in unstable, and they are meant to be released in Lenny.
Together with those packages, some KDE 4 applications have been uploaded to unstable:

  • okular, the KDE 4 document viewer, has been packaged separately, and if you try it, I am sure you will love it ;)
  • ktorrent 3.1.1 is now the default ktorrent version (you still can install KDE 3’s version that has been renamed to ktorrent2.2)
  • and systemsettings, split from kdebase-workspace with less modules have been package separately, so you can configure the settings of KDE 4 packages.

Continuing with experimental, there are some standalone KDE 4 applications in experimental you might be interested in installing: yakuake, adept-manager, gtk-qt-engine-kde4, konq-plugins, rsibreak and digikam.
You can find as well, the 9th alpha of KOffice that was released a couple of days ago. If you need an excuse to try it out, take a look to the visual changelog.

If you are a Debian user and you have not tried KDE 4 yet but you are curious, I think you finally should give it a try, that some packages are in experimental it is not because it is experimental software (well, once KDE 4.1 is out!), it is because full KDE 4.1 is not meant to the be released in the Debian stable release that will be shipping KDE 3.5.9 and they both are not co-installable. There will be backports of KDE 4.1 for Lenny, but that is a topic for a next post.

Update on KDE 4.1 packages for Debian

There will not be Debian packages for KDE 4.1 beta 2. Last week, beta 1 was replaced in experimental by a snapshot of the revision 819867, and beta 2 was tagged at revision 821791, so it is not a huge difference.

I have no idea when we will do the next update for the KDE 4.1 packages, I guess with the RC 1. My personal plans for the next 2 weeks are polishing all the possible KDE 3.5.9 for Lenny.

The instructions I blogged about how to install KDE 4.1 beta 1 still apply, the only changes are: extragears-plasma package is now called kdeplasmoids and the version is 4.0.82+svn819867 instead of 4.0.80.
In the case you are installing in a clean environment, you can use directly the metapackages: kde4-minimal for a minimal KDE 4 environment: kdelibs, kdepimlibs and all the kdebase packages; or kde4 that will install everything.

As important note, if you are using these packages, remember before reporting a bug that the issue could be already fixed in the beta 2 or later.

And, by the way, hi planet KDE!

Finally, booked for DebConf \o/

The relevant flights:

IB6845, Sunday 3rd August 2008
Madrid  Barajas   Terminal 4S           Departure: 12:25
Buenos Aires  Pistarini   Terminal A    Arrival: 19:40

IB6842, Sunday 17th Agugust 2008
Buenos Aires  Pistarini   Terminal A    Departure: 13:25
Madrid  Barajas   Terminal 4S           Arrival: 6:10

I still have 36 hours to cancel these flights without pay anything in case I find something cheaper, but I do not think so. If you are in any of these flights as well, mail me!

There is an option in penta to see the travel data of other attendees, but it is not enabled yet.

Let’s go for KDE 3.5.9 in Lenny

Update: We have decided going for KDE 3.5.9 in Lenny.

Some days ago I sent a proposal to the Qt/KDE Packaging Team discussion mailing list proposing to ship KDE 3.5.9 in Lenny.
You can read my email and the whole thread generated from here.

I would love hearing opinions, specially from stable users about what they expect/want in stable.

Below, follows an edited version of my email with my personal opinion.

My proposal is shipping KDE 3.5.9 with the KDE 4.1 development platform: kde4libs, kdepimlibs and kdebase-runtime.

No huge advantages in shipping KDE 4.1

Honestly, I do not see any advantage in shipping KDE 4.1 instead of KDE 3.5.9 besides of coolness and bleeding-edge stuff. I do see this movement more like a change of desktop than an improved new version of KDE. The KDE 4 series clearly represent a big change in innovation and improvement over KDE 3, something that has just started. KDE 4 will have a lot of to tell in the future (4.2, 4.3..), you only have to see how much it has improved from 4.0 to 4.1 beta 1. But I do not see KDE 4.1 still fully replacing all the necessities of our users. There is still a bunch of small details there and here, I will talk of some here further on this mail (for example, koffice), but what worries me here specially is that some are totally unknown for us, since we have a lot of users with very different use cases.

KDE 4.1 has not been released yet.

KDE 4.1 has not been released yet, looking at the release schedule, it is supposed to be released July 29th, this is already impossible with current Lenny’s release, and we would need an exception from the release team that will be only granted if it is really worth it. Then, a delay in this schedule from KDE release team would be bad for us, since we are so tight in time.
The sooner we could upload something to unstable would be with the RC1 that will be released on the 15th of July, 2 weeks before the final version. Lenny is supposed to go into full freeze in the mid of July, this could be delayed, but what is sure libraries will be frozen in 3-4 weeks, and we need ship a huge amount of new libraries. Besides, it is usually better ship an update of 4.1.x that contains fixes to the most important problems found in the 4.1.0 release.

Build dependencies we need to take care of

And then, it is not only the KDE 4 desktop, there are a set of build dependencies we have to maintain and not all of them are already in unstable, those dependencies are: akonadi, automoc (already in unstable, but it is a snapshot), decibel, soprano, tapioca-qt and telepathy-qt.

Some widely used apps of the KDE desktop are not ready

Even if they are not shipped with the core packages, some apps belong to the KDE desktop and to the KDE project. We have here Koffice, kdevelop or amarok. Amarok is one of a lot of widely used apps in the KDE desktop that won’t have a substitute in KDE 4. There is a myriad of small apps in this situation.

Koffice 2 won’t be ready so we are shipping with koffice 1 that needs some parts of KDE 3 to work properly (like kcontrol), so it will need some hacking because it is not currently fully installable in KDE 4… and it won’t be properly integrated anyway. I’m not sure how well works kdevelop with KDE 4, but newer kdevelop (that needs now kdevplatform package) won’t be ready.
Quanta needs as well kdevplatform, but quanta is shipped inside kdewebdev and it is one of the modules we have not packaged yet (together with accessibility and bindings).

No positive feedback about shipping it

My blog post about how to install KDE 4.1 beta 1 had some feedback of other developers in planet and specially from users in several blogs and forums that linked my post. Most of the people seem to like it as in “it will be cool”, but everybody seems to agree that it is not still a replacement for KDE 3 in their daily tasks.
Basically, I see 3 kinds of users: developers, power users and average users. KDE 4.1 could be ready for developers who are able to cope with the lack of some apps, mixing kde3 and kde4 without risks etc, and the same goes to power users. But I do not see it ready for final users, they won’t like this (imposed) change.
We would be shipping the KDE 4.1 desktop just released, and usually in the community, average users wait until more advanced users are used to this new software then it is when they adopt it, because then, they have support and help from forum and mailing lists from this more advanced users.
With the current beta power users and developers still do not see it ready for daily use, so what you can expect for our average users.

Some arches do not like KDE 4

Let’s keep this short: KDE 4 needs to be built in all the release archs, and it actually does not.

You can have everybody happy

My proposal is release with “old” reliable KDE 3.5.9 not forcing anyone to update to KDE 4.1, and just provide 4.1.x “official” backports. So whose who want to use KDE 4.1 will just use the backports and besides, these users will have these backports updated through the KDE 4.1.x (x=1,2,3..) updates. I am willing to work on these backports.
By the way, Backports infrastructure is only for stuff in testing, but I’m sure we can find a nice solution here.