KDEPIM 4.6 prob^Wimpressions

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Wed Jul 20 03:05:29 BST 2011

Alex Schuster posted on Tue, 19 Jul 2011 18:27:59 +0200 as excerpted:

> 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.

That's not good.  When things like that happen here, by the time I'm 
done, I either have a fix to whatever bug caused it, or I move on to 
something else.  Because three hours to desktop without finding the bug 
that caused it is simply not practical for me (and many others, I assume).

But fortunately, nothing on the desktop does that sort of thing to me 
here.  The last time something like that happened, I had set the gallium 
driver and forgotten about it, and a kde update or something would freeze 
the system as either kwin or plasma loaded.  When I figured it out and 
set the driver back to classic, things worked fine.  That's what I mean 
when I say finding the bug -- something deterministic -- that was keeping 
me out.

> 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.

I'm unlikely to drop kde4, but it's very possible I'll eventually decide 
this akonadi stuff isn't worth the hassle and switch to something far far 
away from anything involving akonadi.  Fortunately, everything that uses 
akonadi seems to be kdepim related, kmail and kaddressbook here, and if I 
switched from kmail I'd have no use for kaddressbook either, so all I'd 
need to do would be to switch to some other mail client, and the whole 
akonadi thing would pretty much drop out of the picture for me.

> 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.

I believe that's ultimately down to instabilities in the audio system 
(alsa, pulse-audio if you use it but I think you don't, etc).  Or it 
could be phonon-backend related.  Fortunately, I don't have that sort of 
issue here now, tho I have in the past.

There's several possibilities for that.  One is setting the phonon output 
to the dummy audio device -- no effects or kde system sound, but anything 
using alsa directly, etc, should still work.  I believe I did that for a 
time back in the kde3 era (before phonon, obviously).

Another is switching the phonon backend.  phonon-xine gave me problems 
here but I've been very happy with phonon-vlc.  Some others have had good 
results with phonon-gstreamer but quite some time ago I had problems with 
gstreamer and it's an entire subsystem that I've avoided having on my 
system every since, tho in fairness the gstreamer problems are very 
likely long since gone, but I just don't want to load all those 
dependencies again for one little thing, and since I have everything else 
using something else, it's /always/ just one little thing, that would be 
changing over, so I never try gstreamer...

Setting notifications to system bell instead of the normal sound effects, 
and/or setting the bell to visual (color-flash or invert), thus avoiding 
kde system audio sound effects could work, too.

And then there's always the possibility of switching to different audio 
hardware and/or updating the driver/kernel.  Again, tho, I'm very 
fortunate in that the built-in audio on both my main system (amd-8xxx, 
ac97) and netbook (i810, IIRC) is well supported and has been for quite 
some time.  It helped that when I got the netbook, I did it when Linux 
was still common on them, and I got a Linux version even tho I had to 
import from Canada to do so.

> Oh, and plasma, it often hangs, or crashes, forgets its settings.

That has been quite stable for me lately, perhaps because after an issue 
earlier and having to hand edit a very complex plasma-desktop-appletsrc, 
I've been rather careful about playing around with it.

I DID edit out some serious cruft from that file, tho.  Few will be 
willing or able to spend the time I did to figure out the file and hand 
edit it like that, but wiping it and starting from scratch may help, as 
it's quite possible there's some cruft in there that's causing 
instabilities, especially if you're using the same base file as you were 
back in the early 4.5 era, which is when I had my issues and wiped out 
the cruft with a hand edit.

> 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.

I know the feeling, altho by later 4.5 things had settled down for me and 
altho there were issues in the middle of 4.6, they were relatively 
limited and I ultimately developed workarounds (like finally giving up on 
konqueror and switching to firefox), and counter-intuitively, setting 
window rules on a plasma /panel/, of all things, to get it to behave 

> 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.

/That/ must be what I'm missing!  Sure enough, it's not installed.

> 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 otherwise.

I'll have to try it.  Maybe it'll show images for me.  akregator doesn't 
here, at present, despite my having konqueror set to show them.  It may 
be that I have on-disk cache turned off in konqueror, tho, but as I use 
privoxy, turning that on can cause stale refresh issues after I edit a 
privoxy filter or set it to bypass.

> 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.

Since I only use the akregator preview pane, and open in (a real) browser 
instead of in new akregator tab when I click a link, that wouldn't be an 
issue, here.  Then again, if akregator's browser tabs worked more like 
real browsers, I might actually use them!

>> 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[.] 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.

> 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.

> I'd like to set the status to show unread articles only, but this
> settings is not remembered when I change the feed.

Simply having akregator remember the unread-only setting both across 
feeds and across sessions would go a *LONG* way toward solving this set 
of issues.  Having it remember either the last selected article (within a 
session it does seem to remember that, at least part of the time, but it 
doesn't across sessions and seems to break within sessions part of the 
time, too) or automatically scroll to first unread would help too.  Any 
of these three would make it VASTLY less irritating to use.

> 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.

That's an idea.  I'll have to try that, here, as newest-first wouldn't 
bother me so much, I believe (tho I might change my mind after I try it).

> 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.

You're right.  This is what I would consider the basics, and it /should/ 
be low-hanging fruit, unless the akregator code is hopeless spaghetti.

That's why I think that all it needs is some decent attention for a cycle 
or two, and possibly not even for an entire cycle.

[ on firefox's feeds implementation ]

>> 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.

I'm a usenet guy too.  What I haven't quite figured out is why I prefer 
lists as gmane newsgroups to having them in my mail client, but it is 
certainly saving me *HUGE* frustrations with the kmail akonadi 
switchover.  Mail is a relatively low priority for me compared to my 
lists/groups, so the kmail switch hasn't bothered me /too/ much, but if I 
were using it for the lists, I'd have *DEFINITELY* not found the current 
situation sustainable by now, and would have either stayed with 
kdepim-4.4.x for the time being, or more likely, would have pro-actively 
researched and switched to something else well before now.  The akonadi 
issues have only been tolerable because mail is indeed rather lower 
priority for me here, and while I have a huge history going back a decade 
and a half, not a lot of current activity, making the current situation 
tolerable, as long as it doesn't continue for too long.  (I'd hate to see 
kdepim 4.6 pull a 4.4 in terms of longevity, tho.  I expect I'd be off 
kmail well before 4.8 due to lack of improvement in the situation.  They 
have to perhaps kde 4.7.2 or so before I decide to look for greener 
pastures with some other mail client.)

> Oh, and I have to click, while navigation by keyboard is more practical.

Message navigation via mouse isn't a big deal for me.  What was, was the 
loss of the ability to set multi-key global hotkeys for program 
launching, etc.  But I ultimately devised my own workaround for that, 
which is good as the problem still isn't fixed AFAIK, and based on the 
bug, won't be, until qt5/kde5, at the earliest.

> I thought there were some extensions to make [firefox feeds] work
> better. But then Firefox is the wrong application maybe,

I hadn't thought of that.  If I give up on akonadi, I'll have to take a 

> 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.

That sounds fine, for me.  If I end up dropping kmail, I'll have to 
investigate thunderbird for both mail and feeds.  But since it's not 
installed, presently...

> 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.


>> 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.

That's certainly an unsolved mystery, only explainable if one assumes 
that few kde devs actually eat their own dogfood in this regard.  Which 
is what finally drove me to firefox...  But unfortunately it's entirely 
possible it'll have its own shakeup coming when it switches to gtk3.  
FWIW, I only have a very few gtk-dependent apps here, pan for a long time 
being the only one of high enough priority to keep gtk on the system.  
But now firefox is added to that.  pan, at least the live-git version I 
run, has gtk3 compatibility now, if I enabled it.  But firefox doesn't.  
Last nite I googled "firefox gtk3" and found the bugzilla entry tracking 
the port.  It appears they have some time still before it hits stable 
(maybe ff-7 or 8, unlikely to be 6), but the port is apparently done but 
for some nasty corner-cases.

In theory, tho, I'd like to get rid of gtk entirely, which would mean 
going chromium and finding something other than the pan I've been 
involved with for so long, for news.  BTW, pan is FINALLY getting binary 
posting support, too.  It's still definitely experimental but there's 
active work on it, by a new pan dev, Heinrich Mueller.  And he has also 
finally implemented a different long requested feature as well, pan 
actions, to replace the old pan-0.14 era rules, but far more usable.  So 
while in theory I talk about dropping pan to be rid of gtk, that's now 
more unlikely than ever, both because I run firefox by default now and 
because pan development is finally happening again, with some years- or 
even decade-old requests finally seeing implementation!  It's actually 
far more likely I'll become even more dependent on gtk, switching to 
thunderbird or some other gtk-based client for mail and feeds, too.

> 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.

Well, when there's a hundred of them a day, and because I'm at least
semi-interested in so many different things it takes me 15+ seconds of 
mental indecision each before I decide that it's not worth my time to 
further pursue a particular article... that's a significant part of an 
hour (and a lot incremental of decision stress) wasted that wouldn't be 
if I could simply decide once per keyword not see those articles at all.

> 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.

I appreciated getting much the same benefit from the fact that I use a 
browser-independent personal proxy (privoxy) instead of browser-specific 
solutions (like the greasemonkey extension on firefox, and the konqueror 
and firefox specific adblock functionality/extensions) when I switched 
from konqueror to firefox as my default browser.

Saves a LOT of now unnecessary conversion work!

> 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.

It's interesting you say that as an IMAP user, because kmail has had a 
very long history of trouble with IMAP, and in fact, the switch to akonadi 
was /supposed/ to help with a number of what had been essentially 
unsolvable issues with IMAP and the kmail-1 code.  I know that IMAP had 
worked in general with kmail-1 for some time, but there /were/ still 
corner-case issues, that at least in theory are or can be addressed now.

But I guess solutions for corner-case doesn't help much when the basic 
functionality isn't solid and relatively bug free yet, and that's where 
akonadified kmail is ATM.

> 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.


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

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