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To: gentoo-desktop@g.o
From: Duncan <1i5t5.duncan@...>
Subject: Re: more kde-sunset upgrade notes
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 03:53:24 +0000 (UTC)
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
> sake.

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

kde-4.6 stabilization (was: Re: Re: more kde-sunset upgrade notes)
-- Andreas K. Huettel
more kde-sunset upgrade notes
-- Brent Busby
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Updated Jun 28, 2012

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