KDE4Daily Post Mortem

Jos Poortvliet jospoortvliet at gmail.com
Sun Jan 13 09:22:38 GMT 2008

On 1/12/08, Simon St James <simon at etotheipiplusone.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> The KDE4Daily project ( http://dot.kde.org/1195829316/ ) came to an end
> yesterday with the release of KDE 4.0.0, and Julian Seward (of valgrind fame)
> was asking me how it fared in its goal of improving the quality of the
> KDE4.0.0 release.  Not being a KDE dev, I couldn't really answer that
> properly, so I thought I'd ask you (those who have been exposed to it via bug
> reports, etc) if you had any opinions.
> To re-cap, the KDE4Daily project had the following goals:
> 1) To provide low(-ish)-bandwidth (binary) daily updates (generally 20-50MB
> per day) of an SVN snapshot of a reasonably wide range of KDE modules (
> http://etotheipiplusone.com/kde4daily/docs/kde4-modules.txt )
> 2) To be able to generate useful backtraces, such as this sample:
> http://etotheipiplusone.com/kde4daily/docs/konqueror-backtrace-sample.txt
> (Note that inclusion of Qt debug info in backtraces was disabled by default
> due to high memory usage when loaded into GDB.)
> 3) To be self-contained and distro and operating system neutral - KDE4Daily
> was provided as a Qemu Virtual Image, and the updates were performed from
> within the image itself.
> Basically, it aimed to be a way of lowering the barrier of entry to people who
> want to test KDE and file bugs and also to confirm that bugs claimed to be
> fixed in SVN were indeed fixed.
> Over its 7-week run, only ~5 daily updates were missed.  The homepage asked
> people to mention "kde4daily" in their bug reports, and a simple search
> reveals ~54 such bugs:
> http://bugs.kde.org/simple_search.cgi?id=kde4daily
> Some of these are just "this bug is still occuring in revision 7xxxxxx"; and,
> embarrassingly, were actually caused by KDE4Daily itself! The following
> weaknesses in the project were uncovered:
> 1) Backtrace generation was incredibly time-consuming and resource intensive
> due to the need to fetch and patch-in up-to-date debug info, which probably
> discouraged many testers from generating backtraces.
> 2) VMs do not provide 3D acceleration/ compositing, so these aspects were not
> tested.
> 3) The usage instructions neglected to detail how to enable sound, so sound
> (Phonon, etc) was not tested.
> 4) Generally, KDE4Daily is a very homogeneous test environment: every
> up-to-date install was effectively identical to all others, excepting the
> user's personal data/ config files.  Great for reproducing bugs; lousy for
> shaking out those little corner cases that only 1 in 100 people will ever
> stumble upon.
> 5) I think many end-users approached the project as a way to satisfy their
> curiosity about KDE4.0.0 and to watch it progressing, rather than as a means
> to help them file bug reports.
> So basically, in light of the false bug reports and drawbacks listed above,
> does anyone think it helped/ hindered at all, and would anyone object to it
> making a return in the few weeks prior to the release of 4.1.0? An updated
> version would probably have a more efficient backtrace generation system (the
> current one is much more memory intensive than it needs to be), and will drop
> the silly partitioning scheme that has prevented many people from developing
> apps inside KDE4Daily due to lack of space - in fact, I might go the whole
> hog and make it easy to construct a full KDE4 build environment with
> updateable SVN snapshots, as the GNOME guys seem to have done.  I'll also
> ensure that a link to the homepage is built into the image this time, so that
> people have no excuse for ignoring the "Contact" section and pestering random
> people about KDE4Daily in #kde-devel :)


That was a great and clear analysis of the whole project... Nice one.
About your question, yes, I think introducing an improved version
would be useful. A virtual image with a full build environment is
incredibly useful - it can even allow windows users to safely and
easily develop for and within KDE... Lovely idea.

Thanks for the effort you put into this!

> Best Wishes (and congrats on KDE4.0.0!),
> Simon



> PS I am subscribed to kde-core-devel, so no need to CC me :)

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