4 December 2009

FOSS Documentation.

I have just read this article on documentation or rather the lack of it in the Linux and FOSS communities.

To be honest I am currently about two weeks behind in my feed reading so have missed most of the comments and articles that seem to have been written on this. However, this is an area of Free Software where I think a lot can be done.

I have to say that in the 7 years I have been using Linux it's only really since I moved to Arch that I have appreciated having a good source or help and documentation. In my early days of using Linux I found the quality of help was very hit and miss. Some forums (i.e. where brilliant and people would really try and help and point me in the right direction. Others leave one line comments which may make sense when you know the answer but which do nothing for those who know nothing. There is some documentation for some applications but it's usually out of date and non complete.

At the end of the day this problem is not FOSS specific. Having been a developer for nearly 10 years I have to say that it is incredibly rare for documentation to be written. The application I currently work on is a highly configurable web application with one source tree and each client having it's own configuration. We are two years into this application and have only a couple of documents covering a couple of points of the system. I am currently fighting to get them to at least add c# xml documentation comments so I can try and build some documentation using Doxygen. In previous applications I have been paid to work on we have not had any documentation written and I have fought the same battle. So this is obviously a problem that is to do with coders who seem to think that a good coder will get how it works by reading the code and users will just get it because it is obvious. However, not all users find all applications obvious.

In personal applications I have written that other people will use I have included at least a simple HTML page with a description of each menu and tool bar action and with lots of screen dumps. It works. I don't get any questions.... bug reports? yes! Errors? Oh yeah....! Questions about how to use it ... rarely.

This is an area where Linux and FOSS could take the lead. If we could start to build good quality documentation which meant my mum could install Linux and get up and running with little hassle more people would start using it. Windows applications have a standard help format and I think Linux could do with the same. My mum does not want to read man pages. Why would she? Big colourful html help files with lots of screen shots, kept up to date. Would that really be hard to do?

However, a major point that should be remembered is that, as with coders, people who contribute to FOSS do so in their own time and for little or no reward. Perhaps it is time that some of the big Linux vendors (Oracle, IBM, SuSe) ramp up the documentation effort.

1 December 2009

KDE 4.3.4 "Cold" Is Out

KDE are pleased to announced the release of the 4 maintenance release to the KDE 4.3 release, codenamed "Cold".

KDE 4.4 Review On

This is the latest review of the next upcoming version of KDE from the guys over at I have seen one of these balanced and fair reviews for each of the KDE 4 based releases.

As usual it covers the main changes in the up coming release.

My favourite so far is tabs within windows.

Google Chrome OS On A USB Key

An article on gettin Google Chrome OS to run from a USB key.

30 November 2009

Microsoft Geeks On How To Code...

This is a very interesting article on the views of some of Microsoft's top developers on coding and the tools they use.

For me it has come at an interesting time as only last week my CTO was arguing the use of SQL diagrams over SQL code to get SQL Server development work done quicker. Most of us here prefer to hand code SQL as we're developers whereas he is more of a mathematical/logic type of user and prefers to see the code in diagrams.

Personally I am a keyboard and Editor type of developer. I need Vim and ViEmu for Visual Studio/SQL server and I am happy on Windows and on Linux I tend to use Konsole/Vim/GDB and now more and more Qt Creator. I prefer not to use graphical tools for anything over than UI design.

I'd be interested to find out what other people use and why?

17 November 2009

KDE 4.4 Interview

This is a great interview detailing whats coming up in KDE 4.4 which comes out in January.

Here are some nice shinny pictures.

4 November 2009

Chromium Browser on Arch

So new series of Spooks tonight (excellent viewing) and as I was just catching up on my feeds I noticed a thread on Google Chromium on Linux and it's speed.

Being a bit of a browser junkie I thought "I have never run it on Linux, why? It's my default windows browser". So a quick...

AurGet chromium-browser-bin

(AurGet being an excellent AUR grabbing script which I think I found on Arch Wiki)

... And I was watching a really smart installer whizzing along.

Five minutes later and I was sitting playing with Chromium. This is the open source version that Google released based on the initial Chrome browser.

My god it is fast!! As usual I set it up with and it flies. It is so fast I keep retrying things because I can't believe what I am seeing. The two things which I find I don't like is the GTK++ toolkit. I know, I know..... there is nothing wrong with it, it is just personal taste (and being a KDE only kinda guy!). The second is that I am at present unable to disable path searching. Whenever I type an address it wants to use the default search engine. I have only been playing for a 30 mins or so.

KDE 4.3.3 Is Out!

The latest version of KDE (version 4.3.3) is out.

This is the third monthly release in the 4.3 series and is a bug fix and translation release.

Code named "Clockwork" the release announcement can be found here and the changelog can be found here.

26 October 2009

Facebook and Twitter Costing The Uk Economy Billions

According to this article Morse IT has commissioned a survey to find out how much time people spend on-line on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Apparently the cost to the UK economy is £1.38bn!!


Has to be the first question. Perhaps it is me but I tried Twitter and it was rubbish. I was getting "followed" by half the eastern blocks porn stars spamming me with postings leading to their sites and people who really need to get out more if they want to follow whats going on in my life more than once a day. The only decent use I got was following KDE and other open source developers updates on code and projects. However, they all now use the rather much better identi ca open source stack based alternative to Twitter. So if you do want to follow me thats where to find me!

As far as Facebook goes all I get are friend invites from someone I once worked with or went to school with who would not speak to me in the flesh but wants to boost their Friend Count or stupid games dreamt up by teenage programmers thinking they are "cool". I do however, have a soft spot for Myspace and keep a relatively up to date page there for my second love of music.

The next question is why are more IT departments not locking down these sites. In my current role we do not but then if anyone at my present company spent that long on non work related items it would be noticed as we are so small. Now I know people will say "but if you lock it down then people will use their mobile devices .... " and your right they will.... but it will be at their cost and not their employers. It might also make it harder when they have to use their mobile as it would become more obvious as to what they are doing.

25 October 2009


Git-hub link for a Gvim/Vim script to enable good git support.

Personal Productivity

This is a (slighty light hearted) guide to improving your productivity. This is an area that I feel I could perhaps improve as I have me hands in many areas these days. I do have a remember the milk account but find it hard to use (not the software which is great just me remembering to actually use it!!)

From this article I love the idea of writing a card for the next day with 3 to 5 things on it and then doing them.

24 October 2009

22 October 2009

Creating a readonly Checkbox control

I had to make an ASP.Net checkbox readonly today and found that adding the following :

w.AddAttribute("onClick", string.Format("javascript:{0}.checked = {1};", this.ID, this.Checked.ToString().ToLower()));

to the overridden Render() method of a control that inherits a standard Checkbox control did the trick. The call must be place before the call to the parent classes Render() method.

19 October 2009

Amarok Issues.

For a while I have been having a strange problem with Amarok. You could set up a playlist, let it play the first song and then wait upto five minutes before it moved to the next track.

Anyway, enough was enough tonight, (a guy needs Dave Grohl to run to!) I found this helpful little post on the Arch forums. Basically it is a known problem and if you switch to xine as your backend for phonon your good to go.

7 October 2009

KDE 4.3.2

Here is the latest release announcement for KDE 4.3. 4.3.2 is a maintenance release with fixes for core libraries, KMail and KWin amongst others.

6 October 2009

Arora 0.10.1

Already a major bug fix is out for Arora 0.10.

Grab the sources here

5 October 2009

Chakra Alpha 3 Is Out

This is a link for the latest Chakra alpha release. This release has been brewing for sometime and appears to contain a large number of fixes and improvements.

Chakra is a live cd based on Arch and KDE (from the team that package KDE-Mod).

Help the team out and give it a whirl.

1 October 2009

Arora 0.10

Just pacman -Syu my laptop to find a shinny new version of Arora waiting for me.

Arora is a Qt based Webkit browser which has now become my browser of choice on Windows (with keyboardr as the home page it just flys). This means that for now Google Chrome has been relegated to my second choice browser (since the v3 release anyway.... maybe it's me but it seems very buggy).

On Linux Arora and Firefox are fighting for my attention. Although I think for now at least I will use Arora for research and development work and Firefox for entertainment, rss and social.

25 September 2009

GIMP 2.8 Features

This post over at outlines some of the interesting things coming up in the 2.8 release.

Single window......praise be!!

24 September 2009

Microsoft Developing Silverlight For Linux.

In a story that might add to the recent (and in my view unrequired) arguments within the Linux community over the inclusion/use of Mono based software and development tools, it would seem that Microsoft are now porting Silverlight (thier Flash alternative) to Linux.

The full details of the story can be read at the link above but Microsoft are basically working with Intel to port Silverlight to the Moblin platform (Intels netbook desktop/distro).

All of this seems fine until you take a step back and think "Why did they not use Moonlight, the native Linux port developed by the Mono guys"?

Hmmm..... is this the start of what everyone expected? Perhaps not but it's still a worrying sign.

20 September 2009

London Stock Exchange Migration.

This article from Computerworld covers further developments from the LSE on the migration from a .Net based platform to a Linux/Unix/Oracle based system.

Apparently they liked it so much they brought the company. The full details are in the article,

Verity Stob - Abigail's Windows 7 Party

After what has been a very long week in one way or another (both at work and at home) Vertiy's latest aritcle had me in stiches.

I guess that could be another sign that I am slip sliding my way to middle age but I did and still do find Abigails party an excellent play. The fact that the rather excellent Verity has made it a basis for her Windows 7 Launch Party piece was perfect.

Can for the life of me imagine where Microsoft got the idea for a launch party drive from!

15 September 2009

A Sensible Linux Bot Opinion

After lots of typical IT reporting this is a sensible opinion on the Linux Bot story.

12 September 2009

RIP VSJ (Printed Version)

After a number of years (about 8 I think !) VSJ has anouched its last printed version.

It's a shame as it was in my opinion a well written Journal. I will miss it dropping through the door.

9 September 2009

Microsoft Still Like To Spread FUD!

I just read this article in which Microsoft's training material for a PC selling chain's staff state that Linux apparently limits a PC's

The full details appear to have been posted here.

I find this at first amusing (as the stuff that they state does not work, well, does!) but then I start to get annoyed that they are still trying to convince people using FUD rather than dragging their dated, fat, slow and technically inferior product up to date.

2 September 2009

NDesk.Options C# Command Args Parser.

I have a small application that I am working on that can receive args passed it's Main() method. While looking for some nicer code than I could conjurer up I found NDesk Options a C# based parser written by Jonathan Pryor which makes parsing args a very easy task.

It has a Git repository which I cloned which includes documentation. It seems a simple but powerful solution to a boring problem.

1 September 2009

Howto open a Visual Studio file from an application into a running Visual Studio instance.

I have a little utility application that I have been working on for some time which is used to edit our applications .config files (note these are essentially the <appSettings> section from our web.config wrapped into client specific files). For a while I was struggling to solve what I thought was a simple issue. That was that I wanted to set the application as the default tool to open the .config files with within Visual Studio (right click on a file and Open With, this will let you set a tool to open the file with and even set it as the default).

The problem started when I next went to open the default web.config and it obviously tried to load it via my application (which does not handle the default web.config).

I amended the Main() method of my application to check for the file name (crude but it works) and only continue loading the file passed via the command line arguments if it matched a set patten. That worked..... kind of!!

The trouble was when ever the application came across a file it did not want to handle it would, as designed, open the file in Visual Studio. However, rather than in the running instance of Visual Studio it always opened a new instance of the application.

After much digging about and Spy'ing I discovered that you have to pass the /EDIT parameter to DEVENV to have the file open in a running instance. So DEVENV /EDIT $FileName is the pattern.

28 August 2009

Nokia N900

I want one of these.

What if Steve Jobs run Microsoft and Steve Ballmer run Apple!

I have just read an extremely funny article which can be found here about what would happen if Steve Jobs took control of Microsoft.

And the follow up is what life at Apple would be like under Steve Ballmer.

Although slightly comical the articles do high light the differences between the two.

20 August 2009

Arch Package Deletion Issues

As reported on the Arch news feed, this link details that some packages have been removed from the central Arch repository.

The problems is resolved and the mirrors are just playing catch up.

I'm hoping this is why ethtool would not upgrade correctly at the weekend.

18 August 2009

Arch Virtual Box Package - Upgrade For 2.6.30 Kernels

For Arch users that are running Virtual Box and are trying to run a distro within Virtual Box that uses the 2.6.30 kernel you will probably find that you VM does not want to run. From what I can find it seems the problem is to do with drive handling.

Make sure you upgrade to at least virtualbox-ose-3.0.4-2 which is now patched to fix the issue.

Google Native Code Research Project.

This is a link to a Google code research project looking at making it possible to run native code in a browser.

This is the second such project I have seen, I have blogged before about Adobe's effort in the same area.

However, Google have ported Quake to the browser which gives them extra points if you ask me.

Seriously, I think this is a really interesting project. The possibilities could be only limited by the tools supplied for developers to use.

There is an interesting video about the project at the above link.

15 August 2009

/. Article on programming language use.

An interesting article has been posted on /. which details the types of questions being asked on

Apparently during the working week C# and Java seem to have a high tally of questions whilst at weekends it appears that Python and Ruby see more activity.

What about C++/PHP/Perl .... ???

11 August 2009

KDE Hater

Silence is golden or in this instance .... silence. Someone starts the KDE Hater blog for only 4 or 5 posts and then .... nothing.

Are you out there??

If so come back we where interested to hear your opinion!!

KDE Air Plasma Theme.

Hmmmm..... I upgraded my main laptops Arch packages last week to 4.3 and since have found an anoying bug. It seemed that whenever I rebooted I would have messed up panels with widgets in a different order to when I shutdown, panels that where centered to the left and a System Tray that could and would appear anywhere.

After much playing around I think I have nailed it down to the Plasma default theme, Air. It seems that if you apply a different Plasma theme the problems vanish. I'm not sure if this is a known issue or not but if anyone does know anything I would be interested.

I will try and get on #plasma tomorrow to speak to the guys and find out if it is a known bug and if not file a bug report.

8 August 2009

30 Most Influentia People In Programming

I found this list of the top 30 people in programming.

I have to say that number one is although very, very worthy of a number one spot on a list (another list) is probably not my first choice. In fact I would suggest 6, 7 and 8 should actually be number 1, 2 and 3.

But that is my opinion!

6 August 2009

Arch KDE 4.3 GStreamer Issues.

It would seem I was not alone after launching Amarok only to hear.... nothing!! dooooh -><-

For some reason the switch to GStreamer as the prefered Phonon backend under 4.3 has caused some issues as discussed here.

As detailed in the above post the following should resolve most issues :

pacman -S gstreamer0.10-plugins

That will install all plugins required. However some people are switching to xine which also appears to rectify most problems.

Shaman Does Not Support Latest Pacman

I ran into a small problem last night. I tried to update my packages using Shaman, the rather excellent package management for Arch Linux, but it complained when trying to upgrade pacman.

It turns out that Shaman does not support the latest version pf pacman. So for now at least you will have to remove (pacman -R) Shaman and use pacman direct from the command line to manage your packages.

Or you might use one of the other package managers and if you do I would be interested to hear which one and why you use it.

Microsoft Admit Linux A Threat....But We're Not Dangerous!

This short article details how Microsoft in their Form 10k filling has detailed that certain Linux distributions could become a "threat" going forward to their desktop business.

Red Hat and Canonical are the named business that could become the threat and it steams mainly from the new Netbook market that has developed over the last 2 years.

Does this show that Linux use on the desktop is increasing? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe it's just a sign that more business users are using it and that Linux is finally being shipped by OTMs. Either way it is an encouraging sign.

5 August 2009

KDE 4.3 Is Out.

kde 4.3

Six months of hard work is now available for public use, KDE 4.3 "Caizen" is out.

27 July 2009

Arora Browser

Spent the weekend catching up on lots of reading that been hanging around (newfeeds etc) and was reading some of the Trolls blogs when I read of Arora.

Arora is a new web browser based on WebKit and Qt. The original was apparently written as a demo for the Qt 4.4 release but has sine been forked by it's creator (Benjamin C Meyer) and hosted on Google Code.

Now I have only been using it for a couple of days but it's speed has impressed me as much as Chrome has on Windows. To be honest had Google opted for a better UI (or a themable UI) I would dump FireFox and use Chrome the whole time but it's UI is a mess and I _am_ bothered about such things ;)

Other things that impressed me where the fact that Flash just worked, iPlayer just worked and the fact that it already has a decent set of options (very simular to FireFox).

Arora certainly seems a worthwhile project and one that is worth keeping an eye on.

23 July 2009

20 July 2009

Microsoft Hyper-V Drivers GPL'd

As reported by Greg Kroah-Hartman today "hell has frozen over". Microsoft has released code under GPL (v2) for inclusion in the Linux Kernel.

It would seem that Greg through his work on the excellent Linux Driver Project has been working with some of the developers from Microsoft to make this happen. Described by Microsoft as "a break from the ordinary", they have released their Hyper-V driver (around 20,000 SLOC). They state that they have done this to "enhance interoperabilty between Windows and Linux" and "to provide the choices our customers are asking for".

I seriously hope that this is a signal of what is to come. As stated in Tux Radars article "A few years ago, Microsoft was describing the GPL as cancerous, so this seems like a major U-turn for the software behemoth".

17 July 2009

Arch Conf File Update - .pacsave Files.

I have recently rebuilt Gonzo my Arch Thinkpad. Soon after I reinstalled Arch and updated my system I started to get a load of boot messages stating that certain /etc/*.conf files would need /etc/modprobe.d/ conf file and that the .pacsave file would need replacing.

I found that the following link stating that a newer version of module-init-tools moved the /etc/modprobe.conf file to /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf. The update copies your /etc/modprobe.conf to /etc/modprobe.conf.pacsave and creates the /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf. However, it does not copy over the contents of the old file to the new file. So to cure the issue just copy the contents of /etc/modprobe.conf.pacsave to the new /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf and rename the old file (/etc/modprobe.conf.pacsave).

This cured half of my messages.

I found that I also had to the same for my /etc/frambuffer.conf (it had a /etc/framebuffer.conf.pacsave file created. I copied the contents to my new /etc/modprobe.d/framebuffer.conf and deleted the original).

This cured all of my boot messages.

11 July 2009

London Stock Exchange To Shut Down .Net Based Trading System.

This is an interesting post regarding the software on which the London Stock Exchange runs or rather is about to stop running on.

Obviously the article linked to is an opinion based article however, over the last few years I have been following the development of the system with an interested eye. Performance on .Net applications has always interested me as I have never found ways to make them as fast as a C++ program. When I read that the LSE wanted to develope a real time .Net based system I was interested to see if it could be done. I mean Microsoft developers worked on the system so you would expect if anyone could do it they would be able to. Thats not been the case by the look of it.

25 June 2009

24 June 2009

Microsoft Get The Facts IE8

So Microsoft have put together a new "Get The Facts" campaign this time for IE8. When I read this I was hoping for none of the marketing that featured in previous "Get The Facts" campaigns.

This article over at Webmonkey sums the claims up rather well so I will say no more.

However, two thoughts spring to mind. The first being that like it or not most people will use it if it comes with their new hardware. These people don't really care about the facts and if they don't know or care enough about other browsers then Microsoft are preaching to the converted. People that do care won't believe what Microsoft's claims and so the whole campaign is a waste.

The other thought is that perhaps if Microsoft stopped these campaigns and promoted on the truth they would get more respect.

KDE Hater Blog.

Flicking through the mails in my inbox this morning I've just discovered this. Someone has taken the lead of the infamous Linux Hater blog and created a KDE Hater blog.

So far nothing too scary but it appears to contain 2 posts. The first is some choice quotes from history and the second a sort of build up post.

I guess it will be interesting to see what is posted.

23 June 2009

The Mono Argument

This article on some of the latest Mono arguments that are flying about just hit my inbox.

As a Linux/OSS user I want freedom. I want to be able to install and use or uninstall things on my pc and use it for what I want and need to use it for rather than use the only option. As someone who uses dotnet all day at work I do not like Mono. However, as stated I Do No Like Mono I didn't state that Mono is a cancer that needs removing or anything else that would be as OTT or plain stupid.

Mono is impressive or imho it was before Novell got their hundreds of coders onto it. It showed the power of part time and OSS developers. However, now it is just one company constantly playing catch up with another. The Mono platform will never be on an equal footing to .Net and this can be seen most clearly in this months Linux Format where a review of MonoDevelop states clearly that you can't debug with it! That particular review was written (in case you was wondering) by Paul Hudson one of the biggest Mono fans I know of (and esteemed editor of said publication).

My other problem with Mono is the fact it has decided to only really work with the GTK stable of the Linux UI Toolkits. What I find quite funny is that people who only a few years ago started to develop GNOME so they did not have to use the Qt Developed KDE are now integrating with Mono so tightly. The irony does make me smile every time I see Qt is now released under LGPL.

Mono has its fans and I am sure that it may even bring some people over to Linux which will be great. I just do not like it or the politics that surround it (yes I also stopped using openSuse). However, lets not start name calling that do use it or find familiarity with it.

22 June 2009

Laptop Battery Performance.

An interesting article on laptop battery benchmarking.

Nothing most techies didn't know (appart from perhaps Intel created the tests).

As someone who only uses laptops I find that there are a number of things I can do to exten my battery life. However, at the end of the day I really do not want to have to squint to see the screen because I have the brightness turned down to 20% so I can get another 10 mins out of the battery.

I really find it no problem to be plugged in 80% of the time. In saying that when I ordered my main work laptop I ensured I upgraded the battery to the largest I could get and I can survive running XP and compiling and testing ASP.Net code using Visual Studio for between 2.5 and 3.5 hours unplugged.

Laptops have become very "trendy" and remarkably cheap but I think people have to really consider that to get the best out of using one they should be considering running it on the mains as ofter as possible and see the ability to work unpplugged as a bonus rather than the norm.

16 June 2009

Boycott Opera

This is a link to the new Boycott Opera campaign which a Windows user group has started due to Opera's suit again Microsoft.

The most interesting thing on the page at the above link is that IE is listed as a great alternative to Opera. Having to use IE everyday at work I would disagree but that is just a personal opinion!

Now I don't think people realise why companies are going after Microsoft about the issue of bundling IE with windows. This argument has been raging for a few years now and I think that the main point is that Windows is shipped by default on probably over 95% of all new pc's. Microsoft where the "in the right place at the right time" company that brokered deals with the hardware suppliers to ensure that their operating system was the one that was shipped and ensured it was in the hardware suppliers favour to do so. At the time (once they had dealt with IBM) there was no competition.

Now there is some competition. Both in the OS market and in the software market. We only have to see how Microsoft likes to spread untrue and unfounded rumours about Linux and how they attempt to gain a grip on markets (Office document format?). Unfortunately, IT users, directors, developers etc are all finding that Microsoft is not the only solution but rather there are cheaper and better alternatives available. Although sometimes Microsoft is the answer there is no denying.

Internet Explorer is not the best browser in the market place. IE attempted to do to the web what J++ was going to do to Java, make the target language (or in this case web sites) Microsoft specific. Luckily for the world, the internet was to far advanced by the time Bill and Steve decided they better pay it some attention and standards had been developed to ensure that it remained a "Standard and Open platform".

Now I read IE 9 will be the most standard compliant browser ever. As I read IE 8 was going to be. IE 8 has had to ship with a compatibility mode to ensure it can render pre IE 8 pages correctly. This is to rectify the issues that IE 1 through 7 caused in it's rendering engine.

I have two main thoughts on the whole subject. The first is that I applaud Opera for taking the stance. It could have settled and from what I read Microsoft wanted to settle quickly and quitley. However, what Opera are really fighting for is not so much IE to not be bundled with Windows but rather the strangle hold on the entire OS market that Windows has.

My other main thought is perhaps if Microsoft where to provide a true standards compatibly browser and adhere to standards rather than try and dictate and "own" all technology available the perhaps Opera and other browser developers would have no need to have issues with IE as all pages would render equal.

Now if only IE would move to webkit.

10 June 2009

KDE 4.3 Beta 2 Is Out.

KDE 4.3 beta 2 is out. 2991 bugs have been fixed/closed since Beta 1. Full details can be found at the link.

KDE & Amarok Release's

Having been backed up with work and then being ill I have failed to note the following two important releases :

Amarok 2.1 is out and the release notes containing lots of info can be found here.

KDE 4.2.4, the fourth monthly maintenance release of KDE 4.2 has also been released and the full details can be read here. This releases code name is CornRow.

KDE, The Good & The Bad

Two KDE articles at opposing ends of the spectrum.

This is a nice review of some of the cool plasmoids that are available in KDE 4 and shows that they seem to be taking off in a good way. Always room for more and I am sure as time goes on we will see lots more arriving.

(Also a great way in to KDE coding!)

This is a review of Fedora with KDE. The chap that writes the review raises some interesting points. I would be keen to find out if the issues are KDE related or Fedora related. Although some of the points are obvious and are in need of some love. I have always thought the way the logout/shutdown functionality works was a bit "clunky". I think it would be nice to lose the tab off the menu and move the functionality to one button which would display a single screen with the various options. From memory (and hows this for a link) I think there is a plasmoid that sits there to do just that!

31 May 2009

Chakra Review

This is a review for Chkra the new and in development distri based on Arch and the KDEMod packages.

I am really hoping this distro gets to a usable version soon as I think it will replace Kubuntu as an easy but reliable KDE based distro thats not Suse! And it's based on cool!!

KDevelop 4, Beta 3.

KDevelop 4 Beta 3 is out and available for testing.

Grab it here.

22 May 2009

Project Forking & MySql

This is an interesting article looking at the currently state of MySql since the take over by Oracle. It would seem a number of leading developers have now left (some even before Oracle arrived). There appear to be a number forks appearing and one of the original developers has now created the Open Database Alliance which aims to be a central hub for MySql and all derivatives including development, training and support.

This seems to be another example of how some open source projects go once they leave the control of the projects founder(s) or when a project gets to the size where many opinions are conflicting. As the above article mentions, glibc is currently suffering what appears to be a similar revolt as gcc suffered a number of years ago. People seem to be having "issues" with the glibc maintainer and some have gone so far as to file a bug against the maintainer. This, I don't think, is really the way to go and gives people ammo in the "OSS developers are rude, ignorant and unapproachable" argument which I find is, usually, the complete opposite of what I experience.

Whatever the outcome is both MySql and glibc appear to have interesting times ahead. Perhaps lessons can be learnt from these and previous projects that have suffered similar fates.

21 May 2009

Amarok 2 Internet Streams.

As a music lover I should have by now poked around more in Amarok 2. I have until now only let it scan my modest collection and used it to play what it found.

However, sitting here tonight pondering a dodgy bit of Qt I was trying to write, I was looking for a distraction and found it in the various Internet based services that Amarok now hooks up to.

I am currently working my way through the Shoutcast service of Internet based radio stations. Based on the number of them I may be some time!

20 May 2009

Bruce Byfields KDE 4.3 Beta Review

This is a link to Bruce Byfields latest review of KDE (4.3 Beta).

I did note the line towards the end of the second page that stated tha he is a fan of KDE 4.2. Good to see he was impressed enough to consider himself a "fan".

13 May 2009

KDE 4.3 Beta 1.... Is Out

The Dot has officially anounched the availabilty of the first beta of KDE 4.3.

Lets get testing!!!!

8 May 2009

New C++ Standard Overview.

Verity Stob one of my favourite tech writers has put together a quick overview of the changes coming in the new C++ standard.

You can find the article here

6 May 2009

KDE 4.2.3 Is Out.

As detailed on the dot KDE 4.2.3 "Cuagmire" is out.

You can read the official release announcement here.


New KDE Systray

The plasma devs have been starting to show off the new systray that has been developed for 4.3. The video below shows off the new features.

5 May 2009

Qt Creator Fake Vim

As seems to be fashionable latley I have been playing with Qt Creator (1.1).

As an IDE it comes very close to what I would want from an IDE. It's blazingly fast, it does not chew up ram like it's free candy and it does seemed to be designed to aid you in RAD type development. This is a refreshing change for someone that spends considerable time in Visual Studio 2008!

However, no matter how I try I seem to not be getting on with fake vim mode. This is a great shame as it is one thing I have always wanted in Visual Studio and (obviously) never managed. Perhaps it is me or is anyone else having issues?

16 April 2009

What Could Open Source Do With $9.1 Billion?

I have just found this article which discusses the fact that Microsoft will spend $9.1 Billion on R&D this year. It makes the point of what Open Source could do with that kind of money.

The one point made in the article and one with which I totally agree is that with that kind of money open source developers could start looking to solve the issues that regularly stump people when using a Linux based system for the first time. As great as a lot of software is some applications do not implement the obvious functionality that a "user" would expect and the usability and documentation leave a lot to be desired.

It's a shame that as a community we can not raise money to drive development. I know we have a number of large companies that drive corporate Linux but perhaps the FOSS community needs it's own R&D budget that projects could request money from to have features added? Sort of Bounties on steroids?

7 April 2009

KDE 4.2 Hits Debian (Sid)

It appears from a number of posts I am seeing around the net that KDE 4.2 is now available in Sid.

This may make me look at Sidux again as it was a great easy to set up little distro. Ideal for my work laptop.

6 April 2009

KDE vs Gnome.... The Jack Wallen Article.

It seems like most people have a view on this article so here is mine.....

1./ "KDE 4 was rubbish". OK so I many have summed this point up but the reason being is that KDE is 15 months old and not the same code as KDE 4.2. KDE 4 was a release which the project quite clearly stated was not for public consumption. It was solely released to allow developers to get involved and see what would be required to port their applications to the new code base. It was released as a point release because that was what it was. It was a complete rewrite which was based on a new version of the Qt toolkit. If users decided to try it great (did they report bugs? Some did the rest just moaned). The sentence that reduces me most to laughter is that "KDE was (and is) the first-ever “Microsofting” of the Linux desktop." This, in an article on GNOME which now builds it's apps in Mono. Enough said!

2./ Start menu.....? Out of the whole desktop (and it's associated applications) the best Jack can find to pick bones with is the start menu. OK I can understand what he is saying but at least if I am unhappy with the Start menu I can change it (Lancelot anyone?) or even switch it back to a KDE 3 style menu. Not that I have tried recently but I could not change the menu setup in GNOME last time I tried (which I admit is a very very long time ago so feel free to tell me if I am wrong).

3./ Dolphin. Not sure if Jack realises Konqueror and Dolphin share the same code base for file management tasks. If all he can moan about here is the rating features, well next....

4./ So by the sound of it there will be nothing new in GNOME 3. Porting Qt 3 to Qt 4 required a massive amount of code changing and being refactored for new functionality and features. Gtk is providing flags to enforce Gtk 3 compatibility, I can see lots to new stuff in Gtk3 then! Additionally, people get involved in open source for various reasons and if people want to port KDE to Windows and Mac OS then great, go for it, it will only enhance the project. However, if KDE prevented those ports the developers working on them would not necessary if work on the main Linux project. People are not being removed from core coding duties to work on these ports so it's just yet another pointless, erm, point!

5./ What a completely pointless comparison. "According to the developers, KDE 4 uses approximately 39% less memory than KDE 3.5 does. GNOME 2.24, on the other hand, uses less memory than KDE 4. On my running system, from a fresh log in, KDE reveals 1268876 K memory usage in GNOME vs. 1279348 K memory usage in KDE 4. That is a change of 10472 K." Does he mention widgets, theming, anything remotely technical.... no. If your going to benchmark to geeks on a geek site (which lets face it TechRublic is) then do it right or be ignored.

6./ Widgets. No I can safely say I have never been told or read anything by KDE which says I have to use them. If you decide to cover your desktop with them great. If you want to use only 1 then thats fine. Personally I don't use a great deal thats my choice. Oh and by the way I believe we did not emulate Mac OS but rather we can use Mac OS widgets (and Superkarumba) on the Plasma desktop.

7./ I have customised my panel, I'm not sure what the problem is. OK some options that where there in KDE 3 are yet to be implemented. Some are not going to be. My (plain vanilla Arch packages) KDE is set up just the way I want it. Panel resized, theme applied. A second panel at the top (50%) with various widgets, different wallpaper .... I'll stop. There may be some options not quite there yet but I have 110% more control than a Windows user. I wonder if Jack knows KDE 4.2 is out....?

8./ What is in your system tray is up to you and your distro. On my Arch setup I have KMixer, Kopete (I added that), KOrganiser, WICD (which appears when it's loaded because I set it to load in the background), KWallet and Shaman (package manager front end). If Fedora decides to load your system tray up with junk then you shouldn't blame KDE. They provide the means not the madness!

9./ Confused :S If I build GNOME from source does that include Open Office?? Firefox ?? hmmmm I will have to try that ;) I have to say I though that GNOME used GNOME Office. Could it be that Fedora once again has changed the defaults?!?!? Firefox and Open Office will always be the darlings of OSS due to the fact they draw users to Linux from Windows.

10./ KDE does not equal Vista. I am totally confused by this and having had my wife ask me to remove Vista (on a brand new CoreDuo2 it ran like a retarded grub worm) and replace it with XP I can say hand on heart the two couldn't be further from the truth. I'm not sure what make Jack think that the desktops look the same. If I change my KDE wallpaper for a Windows one does that mean I am running Windows? KDE 4 has been building on the solid foundations of the KDE 4 release. With features and bug releases improving the code all the time KDE 5 will remain a long way off. History will look back on Vista for what it was. A badly designed, feature incomplete release that failed to motivate anyone other than Microsoft fan boys/girls to upgrade. XP is still more popular. Windows 7 is what Windows Vista should have been. Windows will continue to ship bloated poor quality software until Microsoft realise that it's time to ditch a 20 year old kernel and base operating system. GNOME could end up going the same way, maybe not but they do not seem to have an desire to move forward and bring new ideas to the desktop.

I have nothing against GNOME. I really don't. I have just always loved KDE's approach and community. I find the article a joke really. It's nothing more than one mans biased (and non technical) view of KDE 4 and a flame starter. The trouble is that it's a flame war which has already been done and dusted and to be honest no one's really bothered. However, if your going to write an article like this then you have to expect people to reply to it.

For my next post I will write how GNOME came about as a response to KDE, how it was written in a toolkit designed for, um, designers and how they have fought Microsoft by adopting Mono (anb C#) as a major development platform. ;)

31 March 2009

Not the right way to deal with rejection.

Some things do more harm than good, imho. Linux has a problem which is that too many unqualified people have to much to say.

Take this blog post from a developer whose code was rejected by the plasma developers. Was the reason his code was rejected right? I think so but thats not the point of this post. The point of this post is to highlight the fact that one upset, rejected developer having a hissy fit on his blog has caused yet another KDE bashing session.

Posts like this do no project any good at all and give Linux and the Linux community a bad name. Especially once some fool has dugg it and every Gnome user on the planet adds fuel to the fire. Love him (how could you not) or hate him I think the response by Aaron shows who is (once again) concerned with KDE rather then his own code.

27 March 2009

Crashing Qt & KDE Applications With DBus

I've just had this interesting article drop into my inbox.

C# TextInfo Class, ToTitleCase() Method.

As someone who spent a number of years working with VB6 I still miss a built in function for turning a string to Proper case. string has the ToUpper() and ToLower() static methods which work as you expect but no ToTitleCase or ToProperCase function. (Yes I know that if you are compiling against .Net3.5 you can extend the string type but I am still compiling against .Net2.0 for this project).

So I was looking at the best way to proper case a string today and I found this Microsoft help article. The article points to the TextInfo class and it's ToTitleCase() instance method.

Although you have to go through hoops to get an instance of the TextInfo class (you need to provide details of the culture etc) you can then pass the ToTitleCase() method a string and use the result.

Only what seems to be undocumented is the fact that the string provided to the method has to be lower case. It seems to work on the assumption that it only needs to make the first letter in the word upper case and ignore the remaining characters. Therefore, if you provide an upper case word you get an upper case word back.

I may be alone but I think that is a bit lazy. Whoever, implemented that function should be checking the case of the parameter. I mean to make the function fool proof parameter.ToLower() as the first line of the function would do the trick.

Google Looking To Improve Python Performance.

Interesting sounding project reported here about a Google project to improve the runtime speed of Python.

26 March 2009

It's All Text.... Bring Vim To FireFox!

Ok It Works..... Cool!!

This entry was brought to you by It's All Text a great little Firefox addon that I read about on Ivans blog.

What a great tip!

24 March 2009

This is great news for KDE. The port of k3b to KDE4 should be complete within the next couple of months. In fact Mandriva have provided 2 developers to work part time on the project to help get it ready for it's next major release.

22 March 2009

Arch Linux

Sitting catching up with a weeks worth of news feeds I happened across a couple of Arch reviews ...


I have now been using Arch for about 3 months and love it. I have been using Debian for, erm, a "few" years and still love it but there where a few reasons I started to look at alternatives. The main thing was the KDE4 support. That means up to date KDE4 support not KDE 4.0. I also wanted the rest of my packages to be pretty much upto date and not have to wait months after a release to find it in apt. I did want to keep the rolling release and excellent package management. I'd also like to keep some level of reliabilty.

After doing some reading and ruling out Kubuntu (too close to Debian and IMHO too second class in the *buntu family) and SuSE (odd pakage management... too many package managers?!?!?!) I narrowed it down to Slackware and Arch and from the reading I did Arch come out as favourite down to pakage management and KDE4. I know I could have used gslapt and the various Slack KDE4 packages or even installed from source but some times you just want ease of use.

So I spent 3 weeks reading the Arch wiki and installing it! ha ha ha!!

I initialy installed it on my old Thinkpad (R40e) and that went easy enough and I was soon running the KDE mod pakages with no problems. So I backed up home and installed on Gonzo my main R60 Thinkpad. It was not so much the difficulty in installing the system (it really isn't difficault and is very very well documented) but more the "oh thats how that works....." or "ahhh... thats the config file for ....". I ended up reading up on every stage and I can say hand on heart I learnt a lot about Linux and how a distro hangs together. It was a very worth while 3 weeks and the ability to pick and choose which pakages you have is great. You feel like you've built the distro you want rather than installing one you have been given.

That said you also appreciate the work that the distro makers put in to save you the hassle. Additionaly you appreciate the fact that they have to worry about every combination of hardware and pakage rather than just making it work one package at a time on one laptop.

Do I have any gripes about Arch. Yes.... of course I do. Firstly the standard KDE 4 pakages I am running on Gonzo do not include KNetManager. You can try and run the package in AUR but I did not have much success and found WICD to be a good replacement. Amarok 2 does not for some reason seem to be in the offical pakages .... yet (please feel free to tell me if I am wrong).

On the whole though I can not fault Arch. I look forward to using it for some time

10 March 2009

IE8 Could Be End Of Line?

Just noticed on Slashdot a story stating that IE8 could be the last version of the Microsoft browser.

What is interesting is the fact that once again it is rummorred that they might switch to a browser based on webkit.

I'm sure they won't be it's nice to dream ;)

10 Reasons Not To Use Linux

No I haven't gone mad...

This is just a very true (or funny) blog.

9 March 2009

KDE Activity Toolbar.

I'd love to say I thought of this idea but I didn't. I found it when looking for something related but anyway....

I have been trying to find a better way of working with KDE Activities for a while. I can't be doing with the "zooming out" and "zooming in" way of switching and I am having some trouble with my keyboard shortcuts at the moment. So I started to use the Activity Tabbar. Only I got bored of getting to the dekstop to switch so I followed this great tip taken from the KDE Forums.

Basically, add a panel. Add the Activity Tabbar to the panel and set it to autohide. Nice esay to accedd Activity Toolbar!

4 March 2009

KDE 4.2.1 "Cream" Released

The first update to the KDE 4.2 serise is now out. The full story can be read over at the dot while the full change log can be read here.

27 February 2009

Debugging NUnit Test

Mental note as I always have to look this up :

1./ Add required break points.
2./ Launch NUnit
3./ Within Visual Studio Debug --> Attach To Process
4./ Ensure Managed Code is selected.
5./ Run your tests from NUnit.

23 February 2009

Linux Starter Pack

The good folks over at Linux Format have released a guide for new Linux users.

You can find a zip file full of PDF's here.

15 February 2009

Debian 5 - "lenny" Is released.

From the release note :

"The Debian Project is pleased to announce the official release of Debian GNU/Linux version 5.0 (codenamed Lenny) after 22 months of constant development. With 12 supported computer architectures, more than 23,000 packages built from over 12,000 source packages and 63 languages for the new graphical installer, this release sets new records, once again. Software available in 5.0 includes Linux 2.6.26, KDE 3.5.10, Gnome 2.22.2, X.Org 7.3, 2.4.1, GIMP 2.4.7, Iceweasel 3.0.6, Apache 2.2.9, Xen 3.2.1 and GCC 4.3.2. Other notable features are X autoconfiguring itself, full read-write support for NTFS, Java programs in the main repository and a single Blu-Ray disc installation media. You can get the ISOs via bittorrent. The Debian Project also wishes to announce that this release is dedicated to Thiemo Seufer, a Debian Developer who died on December 26th, 2008 in a tragic car accident. As a valuable member of the Debian Project, he will be sorely missed."

13 February 2009

How Microsoft Gets It So Wrong.

This is not a post about how Linux is great and Microsoft is rubbish. Anyone that knows me will know that I base my opinions on what I believe to be technically better. Hence why I switch to Linux a long time ago.

However, by day I hack on .Net which until I get around to getting a new work laptop set up with an image running in Virtual Box means I have to run Windows. I refuse to use the inept Vista and have stayed loyal to XP.

Today I have suffered a second bout of Microsoft's in ability to package software correctly inside a week. I guess unless you have encountered apt, rpm based installs or pacman you don't realise that in fact you don't have to suffer the way Windows software is packaged. Anyhow I digress....

Last Friday I attempted to remove Virtual PC 2007. I had it installed for creating an image for an Indian developer I _had_ to work with for a short period who was not willing to use anything that was not made by Microsoft. I no longer needed it and thought I would uninstall it. The uninstaller hung..... for about 20 minutes before I finally killed it and shut the machine down and thought I will deal with it another time. Indeed I did need to deal with it...... the next time I turned it on in fact as it had wipped my VPN network connections!!

WTF.... How can uninstalling Virtual PC wipe my vpn's. Anyway.... I reinstalled and carried on.

This morning I turn my laptop on before jumping in the shower (I sadly have a structured morning routine!) and came down to find that Windows update has downloaded an update and restarted my machine after installing it. Only it has managed to uninstall my wireless driver!!

WTF ... I know it was working because pre shower I was on my mail. Post Windows Update reboot I have no driver. There is no excuse. I have not got some unusual hardware/software combo. I have a bog standard Atheros card running under XP sp2. Why on earth would some update they are pushing down the wire require it to mess with drivers anyway.

I'm sorry but this shows how technically inept Microsoft are these days. It's a shame for the talent that work there that the company as a whole is turning into an embaressment.

I'm a PC and I __don't__ want Windows!

6 February 2009

People prefer KDE 4 than windows.... the word on the street is official.

This is a video of a couple of guys showing some ordinary users Windows 7 and getting their feed back.

Only what they are looking at and saying is great is actually KDE 4.


4 February 2009


OK I am blown away with the new functionality of KMail within Kontact.

(I am running vanila Arch packages).

This is how a mail client should be. Excellent multiple account handling, sensible grouping, tacked conversations...... love it.

Windows Needs Root!

This is an article about research done by BeyondTrust Corp.

It shows that of the issues it study reported against Microsoft Products 92% could have been either useless or less destructive if the user was not running with admin rights.

This was one of the great things that drew me to *nix systems as it just makes sense.

3 February 2009

A Newbies Impression Of Visual Studio

Catherine wants to learn C# but already she is finding Visual Studio a bloated, complicated option. An impression that I share with her.

I have now used Visual Studio for about 7 years in all it's forms. The one thing I notice? Each version adds a ton of features of which a handful are useful and most are never used. Each version slows down even though the hardware I now run it on is more powerful. Each version adds more "mouse only" functions and newbie friendly "wizards".

To do anything useful I tend to install the addin's I need and set the colour scheme to a dark version. However, that is another thing. The addin's slow Visual Studio down. On the recommendation of Yoda (our esteemed technical guru) I installed the PowerCommands addin and now when I right mouse click on the project file it takes about 3 seconds for the menu to appear.

The thing is that Microsoft are capable of some great stuff.......but as is more the case Visual Studio is now not one of those items. Perhaps if you have no experience of alternative IDE's, editors etc then you might be happy to use Visual Studio and I would imagine there are hundereds of developers that do love it. I just wish I could be one of them!

Come on Microsoft, lets look at the 3 areas that Visual Studio needs improving and do something about it. Sort the number of files and amount of memory that Visual Stuido needs to run, sort the addin architecture so addins do not have the performance of a retarded snail and remove the bloated features that most people do not use and turn them into add ins.

Or make everyone really happy and create a bare-bones Visual Studio IDE and create everything as a addin. That way most people would get what they want, an IDE that works how they want.

Oh and lastly......any chance of vi key bindings ;)

29 January 2009


I have been tossing around some ideas lately regarding Storage.

Having recently reduced the amount of IT equipment in our house myself and my wife are now down to using only laptops (she has 1 while I currently have 3) and we need a good backup/storage solution.  I have a dislike of simple external drives just because they always need to be with you.  So I have been looking at NAS solutions.  The price of these devices have fallen to the point that you can easy have a Terabyte of storage for less than £200.

Then I came across this article about FreeNAS a FreeBSD based OS that is designed to turn old computers into NAS storage devices. It supports all types of hardrive and can even run from a USB key.  So with the addition of a big drive I could tuck one of my old machines in the shed or a cupboard with a wireless card and create my NAS drive.

27 January 2009

KDE 4.2 Is Out.

KDE 4.2 is grab the packages and have some fun.

"The KDE Community today announced the immediate availability of "The Answer", (a.k.a KDE 4.2.0), readying the Free Desktop for end users."

26 January 2009

Final Lenny Update For KDE 4.1

Ana has blogged that the final update to the Lenny Backports for KDE 4.1 has been made.

However, KDE 4.2 is going into experimental within the near future.

22 January 2009

SQL - Get Time From datetime Without Seconds.

LEFT(Convert(varchar, fldDate, 8), 5)

The above seems to be about the best way to return the time portion from a datetime field if you need to remove the seconds.

There has to be a neater way of doing it....anyone?

21 January 2009

The Sandcastle Project.

Sandcastle is a project that started life on Codeplex. It's a Microsoft application for generating MSDN documentation from XML comments.

It is Rubbish!

That's not a statement I make blindly but after trying to get it to work (on and off for about a year). All the application does (at a high level) is take the xml documentation output file generated by Visual Studio during a build and create MSDN style documentation (both web based and compiled help file).

This should just be a case of applying a xslt file and job done.

Oh no.... not Sandcastle. Sandcastle takes around 20 minutes to generate the help file for a small utility application. Last time I attemptted to to build documentation for our main application on a build machine that we use (i.e. nothing and no-one else on it used solely for building software) it crashed to to maxing out the Ram (1gb).

There is an interesting article about the current state of the project here. To sum up the article ... the application is not worthy of using in a serious build environment.

If anyone has got it working I would be interested to find out more.

16 January 2009

The story of a girl with Ubuntu

So having been busy for the last few days with work I had not seen this story which had taken the net by storm.

The story was about a young girl that brought a laptop from Dell with Ubuntu pre-installed and found she couldn't set up her wireless modem or install MS Word and therefore, was unable to complete an on-line college course.

On reading it kinda smacked of a story written by a MS employee.

And then someone added it to digg and the Linux world and their wife torn the article, the author and the girl to pieces.

Most of the comments were aimed at the clearly under researched article and the technical inadequacies but some fools attacked the young lady. I myself feel that this is __NOT__ the kind of image that I want associated with Linux. No matter how we feel about someone that has found Linux not to their taste for what ever reason we should learn something from them and not instult them.

15 January 2009

Qt 4.5 To Be Released Under LGPL

Nokia has announced that from version 4.5 Qt will be released under the LGPL.

The article on has the full details.

Google Services To Stop

Google have announced that they are to discontinue certain services. Google video will cease to allow uploads within the next few months while it has also been announced that Google Notebook development is to halt. Although from what I have read Notebook will remain as a service.

Google Video is no surprise as they now have Youtube. Notebook is a shame as I use that function quite a bit and find it useful for gathering research stuff.

The other service to end is Jaiku the microblogging service that never was. However, I have read that Google will release the source code for Jaiku under an Apache license so over developers can pick up the code and use it.

13 January 2009

SQL - Strip Time From DateTime Type

Note To Self :

To strip the time element from a field defined as a datetime use



12 January 2009


I have been using a Debian/Sidux/Kubuntu combination for some time (Debian for at least 3 years) but of late I have tired of the slow release's (hence the use of Kubuntu and the excellent Sidux) and their attitude towards KDE 4. However, I love having a rolling release model and the brilliant package management.

So after much thinking and looking around at what other Distros have to offer over Debian I took the plunge and installed Arch Linux at the weekend.

I have so far installed the base system and installed the KDEMod (now know as Chakra) packages. I installed it onto an old Thinkpad (p3 1.4, 256mb, 40gb hhd).

So far I am very very impressed. The feel of the KDEMod packages is very fast and responsive and so far I have not experienced any crashes. I would be interested to see what the standard Arch KDE4.1 packages perform like.

I found it very straight forward to install (although I had no wireless to worry about). I also leant a lot about the boot process and config of the system.

Why did I choose Arch over something like SuSE or Mint or any of the other distro's in the Distrowatch top 10? Well I wanted to keep the rolling release model and the easy package management, I wanted a distro that actually seems to be behind KDE and I wanted a system I could learn something with. To be honest my dream distro is Slackware with a decent implementation of Apt thrown in. If that happens I would be on it like a shot. Anyway Arch certainly is filling my criteria and I have read a great deal of good things about it.

I will play some more this week but unless I find anything I can't make work or, like, then for the first time in over 3 years Kermit, my main laptop, will run something other than a Debain based system.

2 January 2009

Debian And KDE 4.2

Firstly Happy New Year to anyone reading this!

Secondly, posts have been few and far between due to real life issues (work). 3 high profile clients all going live at the same time and involving a lot of attention.

So back to the subject of this post. Debian and KDE 4. I know that compiling KDE is always an option. However, there are a lot of people that would like to be running KDE 4 on Debian by choice rather than by compiling. I also know that Debian has it's reasons for not wanting to bring KDE 4 into the fold until Lenny finally makes it out of the door (2010 anyone??). I myself have been running the KDE 4.1 packages from These packages have been built by the Debian KDE packagers and apart from the complete lack of QT/GTK theming engine and a very odd login screen bug they have been really good and solid. Up until 18 November 2008 they where even getting updates based on the incremental KDE 4.1 release's being made by the KDE team.

However, after a recent blog by one of the Debian KDE packagers I realised that maybe Debian might not be the best choice distro for KDE4. They are only offically supporting the above KDE4.1 packages for Lenny. Therefore, there wil be no "official" or "semi-official" (as in from the Debian KDE maintainers) KDE 4.2 (or later) packages for Lenny. Oh ok that would mean there would be no easy access to KDE 4 later than 4.1 for Lenny which could be the stable Debian release for the next 2 to 3 years.

I know there will be various work arounds and hacks but not everybody wants to have to go to great lengths to run their prefered desktop.

Ana's blog has recently released details of This is a repositry of KDE 4.2 packages. The build is pre beta 2 and is completly and utterly unsupported. Oh and it is for unstable only which I think also shows their plans for KDE 4 on Lenny.