Gentoo Archives: gentoo-desktop

From: Duncan <1i5t5.duncan@×××.net>
To: gentoo-desktop@l.g.o
Subject: [gentoo-desktop] Re: more kde-sunset upgrade notes
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 03:55:30
In Reply to: [gentoo-desktop] more kde-sunset upgrade notes by Brent Busby
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 expected. 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 result.) 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 stabilized. 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