Brent Busby posted on Thu, 14 Apr 2011 14:20:47 -0500 as excerpted:
> Recently, Gentoo decided to phase out Hal completely. Hal has been
> deprecated for some time, but now that pretty much all software that's
> officially supported from Gentoo's main package pool has been migrated
> to use Udev-based mechanisms, Gentoo decided to pull the plug on Hal.
> (Watching 2001 for the nth time might have caused them some anxiety
> about keeping Hal around any longer too...) Currently, Hal is still in
> Portage, but probably won't be much longer. I think someone mentioned
> pulling it into the kde-sunset overlay if it becomes necessary for KDE's
Interesting post. I appreciate your thoughts, as kde4 (my desktop
environment of choice, tho at least I don't have your complications of
others as I don't have them installed, nor of *DM, since I strongly prefer
logging in at the CLI and running startx to start kde as the user I'm
logged in as, from there) uses some of the same tools gnome does, and as
it switched away from hal to udev with kde 4.6, as well. The fact that an
fstab listing is incompatible with automounting is especially frustrating,
altho I prefer much more limited automounting that some, so it's not as
bad here as it can be for others.
But the reason I'm replying has to do with the above quoted bit.
FWIW, hal will apparently remain around in portage for a bit longer.
According to a recent post on the dev list, the gentoo/kde project had
intended to try to stabilize kde 4.6.2, thus eliminating the hal
dependency for stable kde4, clearing the way for its removal from portage.
But, spanner in the sprockets! That plan doesn't appear to be viable, and
while I've not seen anything official from the gentoo/kde folks indicating
this, my own experience with 4.6.2 now has me questioning whether any of
the 4.6s will be stabilization material. It may well be kde 4.7
(presumably at least 4.7.1, with 4.7.0 due for August release and 4.7.1
due a month later, with a month for standard Gentoo stabilization... that
could EASILY mean October or later for a stable non-hal kde4). Tho it's
still possible a later 4.6 will get things together enough to be
stabilized, just looking less likely, now.
Again from that recent gentoo/kde post to the dev list, they had planned
on stabilizing a kde 4.6 release. But 4.6.0 was a .0 feature release and
thus brought with it a few new bugs, as first-feature releases tend to
do. As such, it wasn't really stabilization material, but that was
Here's where that spanner enters the sprockets, however. Still from that
post (tho the spanner analogy is mine), KDE upstream is in the midst of
converting from their former svn repo to git, one sub-project at a time,
and the process has evidently not been particularly smooth. While the
monthly micro-releases (4.6.x) are intended to be bugfix releases on the
semi-annual feature minors (4.x), and arguably until 4.6 had been just
that, 4.6.1 was a notable regression from 4.6.0, due to confusion from the
svn -> git transition, with the wrong head pulled in a number of cases,
resulting in code being pulled into the release tarballs that wasn't ready
nor intended in that form for them.
That post was a few days prior to the 4.6.2 release and linked to the kde
release list archive discussion of the coming 4.6.2 release, where they
were trying to coordinate in an effort to prevent the same sort of issue
happening for 4.6.2.
Meanwhile, 4.6.2 has actually been released. Of course this is now beyond
that post, so it's my evaluation from here. If 4.6.1 was a bit of a
regression, as from that post it evidently was, for me it was fine. NOT
SO 4.6.2! It has a couple nasty regressions that affect me personally,
with others affecting other folks, some of which are posting to the kde
user lists I follow -- WAY more than they did for the 4.6.1 upgrade.
Based both on posts to the kde lists and my own experience, 4.6.2 is
anything BUT a stable candidate!
Given that and in the context of the previous post to gentoo-dev from the
gentoo/kde folks, it's going to be some time before a non-hal kde4
stabilizes, meaning it's going to be some time before hal can be pulled
from the main tree, however much it's disrupting nicely laid plans to lay
it to rest.
(I know I won't be missing hal! One fight with obtuse *.fdi format config
files was one too many! I'm on 4.6 and no longer have hal to deal with,
GOOD RIDDANCE! Despite the problems, I wouldn't consider going back to
it. I've considered reverting to 4.6.0 which was fine at least here, but
don't intent to revert further back and have hal to worry about again as a
What's worse, until 4.6, every kde4 release, feature or bugfix, was
arguably better, often MUCH better, than the one before. With 4.6, that's
been turned on its head, and while 4.6.1 was arguably an exception, 4.6.2
is looking WAY too much like a trend! Yes, we know at least one of the
reasons, the continuing upstream svn -> git migration. But it's still a
nasty problem and a reversal of the previous very nice trend.
Given the serious problems with 4.6.1 and now 4.6.2, I'm not sure what'll
happen for the remaining monthly 4.6.x releases, 4.6.3 thru 4.6.5. It's
looking quite possible now that 4.6.0 will remain the best of the 4.6
series and even if they fix the problems with 4.6.1 and 4.6.2, nothing in
the 4.6 series will reach stabilization level, as they continue to migrate
more bits of kde over and get used to git.
That would leave 4.7 as the next possibility, tho /maybe/ they can work
things out by 4.6.5. If it's 4.7, and the usual 4.7.0 feature release is
as usual not considered a stabilization candidate, that means 4.7.1 or
later, which as I said above, means October at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the 4.4 series stable they have now is looking rather long in
the tooth. It's quite dated from upstream's perspective, and from my own
personal experience, 4.5.4 or so (4.5.0 for me personally, but there were
some significant graphics bugs only fixed in 4.5.3 or 4.5.4, that were bad
for many users) was the first version I would have considered a proper
upgrade from the later 3.5 series. Since 4.4 is previous to that, it
should be obvious that I consider Gentoo's current stable 4.4.x a
substandard experience, and that I believe a later 4.5 should have been
But, 4.5 is still hal-dependent, so it makes little or no sense to try to
stabilize it now, when they're trying to dump hal.
The other /possible/ alternative would be taking 4.6.0, cherry-picking
specific patches from the later 4.6 series to apply on top, and
stabilizing that, probably still calling it 4.6.0, but carrying more
patches on top than Gentoo traditionally does, altho they /do/ happen to
have been applied upstream. If kde were already fully switched to git,
that'd be a rather easy process indeed, since git has been specifically
designed to allow this sort of cherry-picking, and indeed, has a command
called cherry-pick designed to implement it.
Unfortunately, the conversion svn -> git makes this a challenging option
as well, tho if I were on the gentoo/kde project it's something I'd
certainly be examining. It's a bad option, certainly, but that doesn't
mean it can't still be the best among many bad options. (Hmm, English
gets awkward with that many negatives in a sentence! Does that say what I
intended it to say?)
So I don't know what's going to happen. But whatever it might be, due to
all these kde 4.6 issues, hal looks to be safe in the tree for a /few/
more months, yet. If 4.6.1 wasn't considered stabilization material, it
would seem clear to me at least, that 4.6.2 is even worse, so whatever
they decide to do, hal has to stick around until it's finished and the
latest gentoo/stable kde is no longer hal dependent. Whatever it is they
do, it's going to take some time.
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