[kde-linux] wierd KDE issue - a replaced home dir created upon login? - possible akonadi issue?

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Wed Sep 9 03:21:19 UTC 2009

Kevin Kempter posted on Tue, 08 Sep 2009 12:59:56 -0600 as excerpted:

> I cross-posted to Fedora-list:

[gmane must either not have detected the x-post or doesn't have that 
list, as it didn't seem to come up here as x-posted, as it does 
sometimes.  But thanks for the warning.  People too often forget such 

> over the weekend I was poking around in my KDE system settings and I saw
> that the akonadi server was not running so I started it. All was fine
> until this morning when I shut down and moved into my home office where
> I plugged my dual/second monitor like I do every work day.
> Today however it seems that KDE got confused per my login and somehow
> created a new /home/kkempter in the place where the old one was. As such
> all my Desktop files were gone, and ALL my kde settings such as konsole
> settings, mail prefs, etc were gone! Most everything related to my user
> (even the display settings, desktop effects, etc) were gone.
> Luckily I have backups and I was able with some difficulty to get most
> everything back, however I'm quite concerned that this could happen.
> A couple of questions..
> 1) should I be running the akonadi server (it's not starting by
> default)? what do I need it for?
> 2) any thoughts on why the above behaviour would happen?

Answering #2 first, I'm not familiar enough with akonadi to know if it's 
related or how/why it might have happened.  However, I can tell you a bit 
about akonadi, and speculate a bit on the rest.

Akonadi is the new contacts and messaging backend that various kde apps 
(and hopefully eventually non-kde apps too, it's not kde-specific) are 
gradually switching to.  It's database based, requiring mysql by default, 
with postgres as a fairly well along option (I'm not sure if it's release-
ready yet or not, however, not following things that closely), and 
they're working on an sqlite backend as well, but there's multi-threading 
issues there that need resolved before it's usable.

Ultimately, then, the various kde Internet comms (mail, IM, not sure 
about news and IRC), contact management, calendars, koffice for the 
collaboration stuff, etc. apps, will all be akonadi based, altho it's a 
work in progress and full integration won't be seen until at least kde 
4.5 almost a year from now, last I read.

Currently, depending on the apps you use, you may not need akonadi or its 
server running or even installed.  I use kmail, which hasn't been 
converted yet, and occasionally kspread, from koffice.  I don't (yet) 
need akonadi itself installed, but akonadi-server is a dependency of 
kdepimlibs (this was new to kde 4.3, 4.2 didn't require it, at least for 
the apps I run here), which is in turn a dependency of a lot of other kde 
apps (kmail and koffice-libs, at least), so it's installed.

But, I do NOT see akonadi-server actually running, nor do I see it listed 
in kcontrol's (aka system settings) service manager module, which is 
where I'm guessing it would go and where you probably activated it.  
Apparently, it's a dependency of kdepimlibs, but I'm not using apps 
requiring that functionality.

That being the case here, I'm guessing you have more such apps and/or 
have akonadi itself installed as well, thus get the service listed in 
services module, but apparently you're not actually using those services 
either (the apps you use may not be converted yet), so it didn't need 

As for everything going missing...  If indeed you lost your entire home 
dir, that's extremely unlikely to be kde related.  I'd be looking at 
hardware issues, etc. or possibly a PEBKAC (problem exists between 
keyboard and chair, a way of saying "the user's fault", say if they were 
working as root and deleted the entire home dir or formatted that 
partition or whatever), tho the fact that you had backups and knew how to 
use them would seem to indicate you'd at least know if it was a PEBKAC 
and wouldn't have posted.

If that was a bit of an exaggeration, meant as a figure of speech (it's 
very difficult to know over text media such as this), and what you meant 
was that you lost all kde settings but not those of unrelated apps, 
your .bashrc, etc, that's actually possible, tho still a bit unlikely to 
be related to akonadi, unless you somehow got kde believing your settings 
were stored remotely, not locally, or some such.  

Based on the limited information provided, I'd think it most likely one 
of four things happened.

1) Unstable hardware, leading to scrambling or overwrite of your home 
dir.  Unlikely but possible, especially if you overclock or have unstable 
power or other known potential hardware issues.

2) A crash, leading to a bad fsck and/or bad journal playback and poor 
recovery of the data.  (What filesystem do you use?  A couple kernels 
ago, 2.6.29, an Ubuntu release was the first wide exposure ext4 had, and 
it wasn't ready.  That problem has been resolved, with workarounds in 
2.6.30 and a proper resolution in 2.6.31, and the result is a stabler 
ext4, but in the aftermath a decision was made on ext3 defaults that I 
don't agree with, and it's slightly less stable now than it was in 2.6.29 
and previous.  xfs and reiserfs have had issues in the past as well, tho 
reiserfs is quite stable, now, and is what I'm still using.)  This is 
actually more likely, *IF* you had a system crash and reboot/recovery in 
that period, not so likely otherwise.

3) What amounts to a PEBKAC of some sort, noting that if it WAS akonadi 
(which I seriously doubt), that could be considered a PEBKAC as well, 
since you activated something without well understanding the 
consequences.  However, I still don't see how that's likely, and if it's 
a config/PEBKAC issue, I expect it's actually elsewhere.

4) Some other system upgrade or configuration change, possibly with 
config files that should have been updated as well, but that weren't, 
thus making it a possible PEBKAC too.  This one's unlikely on most stable 
distributions except during distribution upgrades.  But it's a bit more 
likely on "rolling upgrade" distributions that don't accumulate changes 
for months and then upgrade everything at once, because while the updates 
are smaller in general, some of them can still be disruptive.  (I'm on 
such a "rolling upgrade" distribution, Gentoo, but take care of upgrades 
generally twice a week so they don't get out of hand, and am scrupulous 
in my observance of config updates, cruft cleanup, etc.  It's close to a 
perfect solution for me.)

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

More information about the kde-linux mailing list