[kde-linux] Goodbye

James Tyrer jrtyrer at earthlink.net
Sun Nov 15 08:46:27 UTC 2009

Dale wrote:
> David J Iannucci wrote:
>>> I'm sticking with KDE 3.5 at least until things are working in KDE 4.
>>> I do agree tho that even my machine is a bit slower than I would like.
>>> KDE 4 needs a fast machine to work and respond the way KDE 3.5 does.
>> I'm also a Gentoo user, and since they have recently announced that 3.5
>> will be removed from portage and that as a result it will get a lot more
>> bothersome to try to stick with it, I was thinking I'd just bite the
>> bullet and upgrade, hoping that this was happening because things had
>> really improved to the point of usability, but this thread is not
>> encouraging.
>> I thought one of the "hype points" about 4.x was that the code base was
>> significantly rewritten to be smaller-footprint, faster, stabler, more
>> efficient for older hardware.  Was this just a load of c**p?
>> Now I'm starting to think I should look into learning what I need to
>> know (Gentoo overlays) in order to stay with 3.5....
>> Dave
>> p.s. I did have another specific question, actually, that I might as
>>      well stick in here: for a long time I've been using an "outside" WM
>>      with KDE - icewm.  Does 4.x continue to make it fairly easy to do
>>      this, or does it really expect you to be using kwin?
> I'm currently using the overlay myself.  It is really not to hard to 
> do.  Here is a guide:
> http://www.gentoo.org/proj/en/overlays/userguide.xml
> The overlay you are looking for is kde-sunset.  If you use eix, let me 
> know and I'll tell you how to make it sync both portage and the overlays 
> at the same time.  I'll have to go look for it. 
> So far, it works pretty good.  Your mileage may vary tho.
The major problem isn't building it.  I can do that using the same 
script that I always did.  I had even managed to get aRts to build using 
patches borrowed from Fedora.

The problem is running it.  I upgraded Qt and Xorg as well as various 
support libraries, and basically, KDE-3 quit working.  So, I switched 
over to KDE-4.3 SVN BRANCH.  Except for some serious issue with 
Konqueror and a lot of little things that are broken (which I personally 
see no excuse for -- don't developers try code before they commit it (I 
always do) it basically is OK on my 1.1 GHz AMD Athlon with 512 MiB of 
ram.  I have a problem with task switching because I have both 
Firefox/Gtk and KDE apps running because I have to open Firefox when 
Konqueror fails -- some of the problem may be with Xorg and I will be 
upgrading to the 7.5 release as soon as I fix the damage done to Gtk 
based stuff by the "libxcb-xlib.so.0" issue.

So, if it were called KDE4-0.8.3, I would have no complaints except that 
if you try to do too many things at once, it basically clogs up.  This 
is a scheduling problem that results from the fact that Linux (and all 
*NIX OSes) is not really designed to run a GUI desktop.  I have tried to 
improve this situation by changing the nice of X to -10 -- which is an 
old trick that some distros have used -- and set kwin to -10 and FIFO. 
You can also try changing the scheduling for X, but I haven't seem much 
difference there.  This will change the way that the desktop responds 
and you might or might not like it.  With the changed priorities and 
scheduling, when you request a window, it shows up very promptly, but it 
remains a gray rectangle with a frame till the app responds.

Have you experimented with the X parameters:

     Option		"BackingStore" "on"
     Option		"SaveUnders" "on"

these should speed things up, but they require memory so this is a trade 
off that is dependent on how good the virtual memory in the Kernel works.

But to get to the point, KDE can run much faster on a older system if 
the OSes scheduling is real time, or something that approximates it -- 
the multitasking that is good for servers is not good for a system that 
serves only one person.  The way things currently work is that all of 
the windows that you have open are running at the same priority.  This 
is really stupid because you can only have the X cursor in one window at 
a time.  That window needs a higher priority, windows that don't have 
focus a lower priority and minimized windows an even lower one.  It is 
also possible to make applications respond better by having a very short 
"main loop" to interact with the system which would dispatch work to be 
done to other threads.  This would fix what I find most irritating which 
is when there is no response to the mouse.  It would be much better if 
the mouse click had an immediate response and perhaps then you might 
have to wait a bit for the action to be completed.

So, I would suggest that you hang on for a while, or purchase some more 
RAM.  I am going to upgrade my hardware since I have a home built 
system.  I would suggest Xfce, but looking at the process table, it is 
obvious that it is the apps that are using up the CPU capacity.

I will continue with KDE-4 based on whether, or not, the serious quality 
control issues are addressed and rectified.

James Tyrer

Linux (mostly) From Scratch

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