Plasma hangs, could not log in

Alex Schuster wonko at
Wed Jul 20 02:06:51 BST 2011

Hi there!

Me again. Sorry :)  But today I spent over 3 hours until I was able to
log into KDE again. So I'm asking if something similar has ever happend
to you.

Normally, when logging in, the splash screen appears for a few (maybe
ten) seconds, then it fades out into black, and it takes a little while
until auto-started applications appear. The background stays black for
2-3 minutes, and finally all the plasma stuff appears. Before this, the
plasma-desktop process runs at 100% on one of my two cores.

This night, the splash screen stayed longer, much longer, sometimes more
than three minutes. Clicking with the mouse made it disappear earlier.
But then, nothing more happened. I once waited for about three hours.

This had happened before once, I mentioned it in a thread here some days
ago. I already had the impression that the cause was a CPU-intense task
ran by another user, because I could login once after I suspended that
task, but this was not treproducible. After I copied back my
share/config folder from a backup, it was fine again.

This night it was the same. I first tried copying back my config
directory, which did not help, but suspending the CPU-intensive task
helped. I tried two times with and two times without this task to
confirm this, then I went to bed.

This morning, well, to be true it was moe about noon, it didn't work
although there was no other task running. I tried to copy ove ran old
config diretory, then I did the same with the apps directory. And could
log in. Then followed some hours of bisecting. Changing things, trying
to log in, waiting for a while, killing X, and this over and over again,
dozends of times.
Finally I found that without a share/apps/plasma/plasmoids directory I
could log in. But I was not able to find a specific plasmoid that was
responsible for the problem. Well, I found one, but then it happened again.

So this loks to me like a bad race condition. plasma-desktop starts and
does whatever it does, loading plasmoids and such, and sometimes
deadlocks. Heavy system load increases the chance for this to happen.

Has anyone experienced something similar? This was a really bad
experience. I am having soo much trouble with KDE these days, you
probably read about it here, and now this. I used the waiting time to
try some things on a 2nd X server, like Enligtenment 0.17. I am really
really near to dropping KDE4, I just cannot stand these bugs that happen
all the time. Every day.

Ctrl-C in the Akregator main tab does not work. Akregator makes Kontact
crash about four times per day. At least KMail now saves the open
composing windows, except for the subject and the sender. KMail shows
folders with unread mails, but there are none. This Akonadi stuff
frequently uses a lot of resources. KNode frequently forgets all
postings. KMail does not know about my address book contacts,
distribution lists do not seem to work at all. Spell checking does not
work for German words with a 'ß' umlaut or with apostrophes, the 'skip
uppercase words' option has no effect. Plasmoids often don't work or
crash, plasma itself also crashes often. Sometimes it hangs for several
seconds, I don't think it was a good idea to make plasma a single
process. Additional activities appear out of nothing. Virtual desktops
change their order. Dolphin crashes from time to time, making all other
instances crash. Drag&Drop with this file manager is a total mess. FTP
with it does not work when there are umlauts in remote files. Local
files with wrong encoding even cannot be renamed with it. Somtimes it
updates when files in displayed folders are changed, sometimes not.
kio_thumbnail indexes over and over again. kded4 and knotify4 every day
run at 100% until killed. Shutdown or Logout does not work without
killing KMyMoney, sometimes also other things crash during logout and
prevent a shutdown. KWin has a memory leak and does weird things after
some days of uptime. Applicatiions sometimes start maximized or behind
other windows. Saving the session often fails and everything is messed
up. Strigi / Nepomuk / Virtuoso run and run and run and use lots of
resources, so I turn them off. Nepomuk uses 3G of data storage, KMail
nearly 2G for my IMAP folders that I never told it to download.
/var/tmp/kdecache folders also have gigabytes of data in them, until
/var runs full. Dragging a favicon from Konqueror to the desktop creates
a shortcut, but with a stupid name than cannot be edited. Online banking
with Konqueror is no good, I get warnings about untrusted certificates.
When the screen is locked, the screensaver runs and you press a key, you
can see the desktop for a little while before it is blanked and you get
the password dialog. Under heavy load, you have several seconds of time
to look what the user who locked its deskto does. Better not start Games
that change the resolution, this also might mess up your desktop. And
some more which I forgot. And that's only the bugs _I_ experience.

I think I will wait for 4.7 and make my decision then. Don't know what
to use instead though. Enlightenment showed some problems, and I miss
some features that the 0.16 version has. But I only had a quick look.

I would miss kwin though, the things I can configure here, like the
special window settings that I use very much. Grouping of Windows. Easy
possibility to make windows sticky or send them to other desktops, make
them be on top of others, or without window borders. <sniff> KDE4 is so
great, in theory, but every day I have to deal with problems, and this
sucks. Maybe I should use something else for one or two years and check
back then. But I wouldn't be surprised if it had many cool more features
then, but were still as buggy as now. Hey, I'm thinking about using a
tiling window manager, some terminals, a browser and Emacs, what else
would I need... speaking of browsers, I also run Chromium, and it has
never ever crashed, and I never had a problem with a website, which is

And despite things I dislike about Dolphin, the Enlightenment experience
showed me how used I became to some things. Like thumbnails of images.
Sure, Enlightenment's file manager also shows them, but I set the size
by a dialog, not simply and stepless by dragging a slider like in
Dolphin, which is far easier and more comfortable.

Is it only me (and Duncan) having such trouble? I know some friends who
used to be KDE fans, but some already dropped it altogether, others do
not yet dare to make the switch from 3.5. Some are also power users, but
they simply do not have the time to deal with all those problems, so
they run something simpler, missing the benefits of an integrated
desktop environment, but in the end being more productive than me. They
are scared by KDE, and fear that every now and then they will not be
able to log in, to access their wallet passwords, or that other
showstoppers happen.

Probably things are more smooth for the average user who uses a single
desktop / activity only and few applications, while I have six virtual
desktops and many applications that are auto-started.

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