KDEPIM 4.6 prob^Wimpressions

Alex Schuster wonko at wonkology.org
Tue Jul 19 17:27:59 BST 2011

Duncan writes:

> Alex Schuster posted on Thu, 14 Jul 2011 16:36:06 +0200 as excerpted:
> > Duncan writes:
> >> Alex Schuster posted on Wed, 13 Jul 2011 13:20:50 +0200 as excerpted:

> >> Or if akregator could close the browser pane and only show the feed
> >> tree and "headers pane", with clicking on a header loading the full
> >> article in the configured browser.
> > 
> > Did you file a feature request?
> No.  At first things were moving well and I figured it would improve over
> time, anyway.

I waited for over a year until I started filing the first KDE4 bug. There 
were so many, and I thought filing them would not be necessary, as the KDE 
developers just have to start the applications for themselves and then 
they'll see. But many bugs did not get fixed, and finally I started to 
report them, if no-one else does. And some actually got fixed.

> Then kdepim, including akregator, was "stuck" waiting for
> akonadified kmail.
> Now it's unstuck, but I'll wait to see where kdepim 4.7 (presuming it
> syncs with the rest of kde's cycle some time during 4.7) goes, since 4.6
> was pretty much focused on just getting kmail2 working and out the door.
> After I see what changes, if any, akregator and kmail 4.7 brings, I'll
> see about feature requests.

I'm also waiting for 4.7. And I hope that some things get more stable. At 
this moment, I am sooooo close before dropping KDE4, I'm already looking for 
cool alternatives, but my little experience with Enlightemnent (0.17) was 
not so good either. But today I wasted about three hours until I was able to 
log into KDE. I do not want a desktop environment that every once in a while 
refuses to start, messes up my desktop, that I have to log out from every 
two days because of kwin running havoc, that uses too much CPU resources for 
X or the akonadi processes (right at this very moment: akonadiserver 51%, X 
27%, akondi_imap_re 25%, kontact 18%, kwin 14%, plasma-desktop 8%). The 
Akonadi stuff does not use this much resources all the time of course, 
averaged over ten minutes it is only 5% for kontact and 4% for 
akonadiserver. But it is noticeable often. Then there's kded4 and knotify4, 
I often have two of those processes running and eating all CPU time until I 
kill them, this happens on another KDE4 desktop, too. Oh, and plasma, it 
often hangs, or crashes, forgets its settings. Two years ago I already 
noticed most of these problems, but I though I'd wait a little for tings to 
go stable. But this didn't happen.

> ... Or just start trying other solutions, I don't know which...
> > I like [akregator] the way it is, although the
> > browser engine is not that good, probably because it uses Konqueror.
> Actually, I think it might use qt-webkit, tho I'm not sure.  Whatever it
> is, it seems to do fine for text content only, but either by design or
> due to bugs, it ignores images, here.  I think it's a bit confused as to
> what it actually wants the internal browser to be/do, whether it wants it
> to be a text summary only, or whether it wants to be a real browser.

I did not use webkit yet because I simply did not know how, the settings 
dialog in Konqueror only showed KTHML. But browsing through the package 
database I found kde-misc/kwebkitpart, and after installing I have the 
webkit option.

Akregator seems to honor it. When Konqueror is set to use webkit, I can 
watch embedded youtube videos in Akregator that only show up as black boxes 
While this is cool, there's a drawback of course: When plain images are 
displayed (like when downloading then via the KDE-Look RSS feed), I 
sometimes cannot save them, the menu has no entry for that. Hmm, I cannot 
reproduce it now. But I see another effect, with KTHML a link opens in 
another tab as I want it, with webkit it tries to start Firefox.

> Really, I think the problem with akregator is that it got ported to kde4
> and they got the basics working, then its devs either ended up retasked
> to help with the big kmail akonadi switch or moved on to other things,
> perhaps permanently, and akregator has been in basic maintenance mode
> only, since then.
> Really, I think what akregator needs most is a dev or two just paying it
> some real attention for a couple development cycles, to get it past the
> "just barely ported to kde4 and got working" feel it has ATM.  That would
> probably solve some of the UI issues within a couple 6-month cycles,
> including the present inflexibility of the layout, the sort of broken
> combined-view-mode functionality, AND the internal viewer/browser's
> confusion on whether it wants to be a quick text-mode summary viewer
> only, or a real browser.  I may be wrong here, but particularly with qt
> and kdelibs' already solid base, those seem to me to be like they should
> be somewhat trivial tweaks that shouldn't take /that/ much development
> time, probably more time to test and debug than to actually implement
> (for the browser, just adding forward/back/stop/refresh and supporting
> images would be nice, or drop that functionality for the summary viewer
> pane only and let it just call the external browser for everything else,
> either one)

I also wonder why some of the smaller annoyances just don't get fixed. Like, 
not starting the list of news items for a feed on top, when I have it set to 
sort by date, with the newest entries on the bottom. So when I switch to a 
feed, I have to scroll down to actually see the new article's titles. Which 
I don't do, I just jump to the next unread entry, and when I decide I do not 
want to read it yet, I mark it as unread.
I'd like to set the status to show unread articles only, but this settings 
is not remembered when I change the feed. Or I could invert the sorting so 
new articles are on top, but then the 'next unread article' button jumps to 
the top article, which is the newest, but I want chronological order, so it 
should jump to the oldest unread article.
No big deal, I can live with this, but I think these changes would make 
sense, and they would be easy, unless I am overlooking something. But then I 
would expect some comment about this on my feature request.

> > So I configured Akregator to use Firefox as external browser.
> Same here.
> > Firefox also has RSS capabilities, which I did not try, maybe this
> > would work better.
> I haven't really used firefox's RSS either, but from what I've read and
> the little I have used them, it implements them *WAY* differently, as
> what it calls "live bookmarks".  Firefox's default news "bookmark"/menu
> is a feed, and its most-viewed function is similarly implemented as a
> feed.
> That /works/, but it feels too much like "cloud technology" for me.  I
> want to feel like I'm browsing the feed locally, and clicking on a link
> to go remote and get the details, if desired.  The firefox implementation
> feels like it's all remote, like I'm in the browser all the time (as I
> very literally am,  when I'm reading feeds their way).  I'd probably not
> be too happy with chrome (the OS) for the same reason, except worse, as
> then it'd be the browser ALL THE TIME, NO ESCAPE!

I understand this. That's why I prefer usenet much over web forums, at least 
for things that are mostly text-only. The web is fast these days, but I hate 
latencies when clicking through messages. Oh, and I have to click, while 
navigation by keyboard is more practical.

I thought there were some extensions to make this work better. But then 
Firefox is the wrong application maybe, Thunderbird's RSS capabilities look 
rather nice.
[Hm, let's try, I already wasted so much time today, it doesn't matter]
Okay, that's not perfect either. Thunderbird also shows the feeds in tabs as 
I like it, but when I click links in a tab, they always open in the external 
browser. Which gives me lots of Firefox windows, instead of nice tabs right 
in the application that opened them. Oh, and the articles are shown as 
summary only, even if I specify I want the full web page.

No, I think I'll stick with Akregator. I really like this application and 
its features! If only the HTMl parser were better, and some small 
inconsistencies were fixed.

> > I like Konqueror more, its look&feel, but it has more
> > problems than Firefox. I think that some day I will have to make the
> > switch to Firefox like you already did.
> There's that inevitable feel to it, for sure...  What got me was how
> blase' all the kde folks seemed to be to glaring konqueror issues like no
> proper ssl/tls certificate management, while all the while calling it
> ready for ordinary use. 

Indeed, ready for use means to me I could do online banking with it.

> >> But I miss the filters, too, especially as I try to make my
> >> feed-reading time more efficient.  There's a LOT of stories I'd
> >> filter if only I could, while keeping those feeds.
> This one could take longer to develop and to properly test, but as I try
> to prioritize my computer time and make room for "real life", it's really
> needed.  The simple fact is that I've already dumped a number of feeds
> because I simply didn't have the time, and I'm still spending way more
> time with it than is sustainable.  Slogging thru stuff I'd not even be
> seeing if I could filter it is the worst -- just registering it and
> skipping onto the next entry takes time, and it adds up when you're doing
> triple-digit articles/day, with about half of it stuff you'd skip
> entirely if there was a feasible way.  And arbitrary filtering is what
> computers are /supposed/ to be good at!

I don't miss filters at all. My routine is to simply advance through the 
unread articles, which often takes a second only when I decide I do not want 
to read this.

> > I made some more progress. I wanted to delete my IMAP resource and the
> > one for the local folders. Before this, I made a backup of all ~/.*
> > stuff, but the Akonadi module (in the system tray) also has an option
> > back up the Akonadi stuff. I tried that, but I get an error message
> > that neither mysqldump nor bzip2 can be found. This worked fine two
> > weeks ago, and both binaries are still on my system.
> Again, that's because akonaditray hasn't really been updated for the
> sqlite backend driver, yet.  I think the backup functionality only works
> with the mysql backend, presently.
> Unfortunate, but while the filesystem backup method may seem old
> fashioned these days, it does still seem to work. Fortunately! =:^)

I'm using rdiff-backup, and I back up all my ~/.* files regularly. At least 
every time before I save the session. takes a while now, because I have 
nearly 2G in my .kde4/share/apps/kmail/dimap folder. Seems KMail (or 
Akonadi) downloaded everything from my IMAP server, I didn't expect that.

> > Deleting via hotkey again does not work, I am being told that this
> > hotkey is ambigous, but I do not see how.
> I do enough hotkey customizing that I'm familiar with ambiguous hotkey
> errors.  But usually kde's good enough to tell me what the conflict is
> (tho sometimes the action itself itself isn't as clear as it might be,
> out of the context in which one set it), and give me the option to cancel
> the change or override the old one.  I often immediately cancel, then
> decide which I want to keep and try again.  If it's really unclear what
> the old one was both from my memory and the prompt it gave me, I figure I
> must not use it enough for it to be worth keeping anyway, and override.
> But that only tends to happen with default hotkeys I never use, so it's
> not a huge problem.

I only got the message that the key is ambiguous. But I cannot reproduce 
this now, it is working after I set the location of the trash folder in the 
Akonadi IMAP resource. Before it was unset, and deleting a mail simply 
advanced to the next one.

> If you're getting that it's ambiguous but it's not listing what the other
> action is, or giving you a cancel/override option, then I'm guessing the
> app must be doing its own thing rather than using kde's builtin hotkey
> handling.  That's... unfortunate, because the builtin does work
> reasonably well, and it's really useful to get conflict notifications
> from other parts of kde too.

Yes, didn't have trouble with that before.

> > Finally, it worked out. I think I had to go to the identity settings
> > and select folders for sent mails, drafts and templates. I'm doing
> > this often these days, after changing settings, those folders are set
> > to arbitrary locations, which sometimes no longer exist. Now some of
> > the mails I sent yesterday are _somewhere_ along my folders, which I
> > have a lot of.
> I had to do that several times, after I deleted the current folder set
> and recreated/reimported.
> The annoyance for me was the rather large set of filters I have, most of
> which set a special header (so I can track what filter applied) and move
> the message to a particular dir, trash for spam, particular dirs (family,
> list, slashdot, etc) for various ham.  Very little mail ends up remaining
> in my inbox by default, and most of what does is spam that's not caught
> by one of the spam filters.  Thus, the filters both sort my mail as it
> comes in and act as both a blacklist (active move to trash) and whitelist
> (move to some dedicated dir), with what's left being effectively
> blacklisted by default.  I could add a final filter to move them to the
> trash too, but it's useful to be able to see at a glance that no sort-
> filters applied.
> Anyway, the result is a rather large (~50) filters that sort mail into
> various boxes as it comes in.  And a local-folders reset, in addition to
> forcing a reimport, forces me to go thru all 50 of those filters,
> resetting them to the appropriate new folders.  By about the third time,
> that's getting VERY frustrating!

I have about 150 filters... but I'm using procmail directly on the IMAP 
server, so I do not have to re-configure anything when changing my mailer.
Oh, and a clean inbox is a fine thing!

> > Speaking of 'scary': Akonadi is. Before, mail setup was relatively
> > easy. But now, mail is not fetched from the IMAP server, but from
> > strange resources that do weird things, multiply by themselves, use
> > database concepts I do not know much about, and all that. It's an
> > additional layer between that complicates things. I don't say this is
> > a bad thing, I see there are benefits, but it's scary, and I had much
> > trouble with it.
> Indeed.  I believe I've posted before about how first year engineers get
> it drummed into their head how complexity affects reliability and
> maintainability, and how "bloat" at least can be argued to be justifiable
> as useful to /someone/ so it's tough to draw the line, but that "anti-
> features" such as the activation features MS added to XP were simply over
> the line (added complexity that unlike ordinary bloat, benefits NO users,
> in fact, rather the opposite) and that's why I jumped to Linux.
> Well, the added complexity of akonadi isn't an anti-feature, but I don't
> believe it has been demonstrated to be worth the very real cost in terms
> of reliability and maintainability, yet, either.  Time will tell, but
> meanwhile, the feature is extracting a very real cost from users, and I'm
> honestly not sure this one will still be around to see how it all turns
> out.  It's not amarok level for me yet, and certainly not MS eXPrivacy,
> but trends don't look particularly hopeful at this point.

Akonadi sure has cost me a lot of my time and nerves. And KMail still does 
not feel as good as it did with the old KDEPIM. I would have switched to 
Thunderbird, but that does not check my IMAP folders for new mail. I do not 
know why, I just deleted my entire .thunderbird directory and started from 
scratch. It finds all my IMAP folders and shows them, but I cannot see new 
mails until I change into a folder. Never had this problem on Windows where 
I also use Thunderbird. So, this nasty problem it the only thing that keeps 
me using KMail. Maybe I will look for help on some Mozilla mailing list.

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