Tag Archives: kde

Kororaa is back!

That’s right folks, Kororaa is back.

I know that you’ll be looking for something Linux related to do over your Christmas holidays and New Year πŸ˜‰ so I’ve just released the first installable Live DVD x86_64 beta for testing. The final release will be Kororaa 14 (derived from Fedora 14), codenamed Nemo. As with the original Kororaa, it’s based on KDE.

If you can find the time, I would really appreciate some feedback. Tell me it’s crap, tell me I suck, but tell me something πŸ™‚ I’m really looking for suggestions on how to improve it and make sure that everything works. If you’re interested in contributing to a project like this, then here’s your chance!

Essentially, Kororaa has been re-born as a Fedora Remix, inspired by Rahul Sundaram’s Omega GNOME based Remix. I switched to Fedora about a year and a half ago, and I love it. Kororaa has re-emerged out of a desire to see others using Fedora, and so aims to provide a system which sets up a lot of the magic for you, out of the box. This is something I want my family (and all my friends) to be able to install and use. There are lots of things still to do, but I hope you’ll try it out and let me know what you think!

Kororaa aims to provide all general computing uses out of the box (well, as much as possible anyway). It aims to include the software packages that most users will want (this means Firefox for KDE, GIMP over Krita, VLC over DragonPlayer, and OpenOffice.org over KOffice Calligra, etc). Adobe’s Flash plugin and NVIDIA’s graphics drivers are each installable with a double click.

See the About page for a list of what Kororaa aims to achieve, and see the Changes page for a list of customisations and their status.

Here’s a look at the desktop, running from the Live DVD.
Kororaa 14 (Nemo) Desktop


How to upgrade Fedora (using PreUpgrade)

Coming from a Debian background, upgrading to new releases is second nature. Unfortunately, Fedora doesn’t seem to have it quite as down pat. Nevertheless, it’s possible and works quite well (but there are pitfalls, so read on).

While upgrading via PackageKit is coming, there’s a pretty decent way of doing it with PreUpgrade.

For the impatient, the steps are:

  • yum update
  • yum install preupgrade
  • preupgrade (reboot)
  • yum distro-sync
  • package-cleanup –orphans (be careful!)
  • package-cleanup –leaves (be careful!)

Now the longer version. First, update your current system:
yum update

Install preupgrade:
yum install preupgrade

Run the preupgrade tool, and follow the prompts (remote upgrades over VNC also supported):

PreUpgrade will prompt to reboot your computer and will update your system automatically. All of your packages should be updated and your repositories configured for you (I also had RPMFusion, Chromium and yum-rawhide which all updated as expected). On one of my systems, even the NVIDIA driver was automatically updated and configured. Now you’re booted into your new Fedora 14 system.

OK, this is where things get a little tricky. Some packages might be no-longer supported, there might be removed dependencies and the like. So, there are two neat commands that we will use to identify these packages, so that you can remove them.

package-cleanup --orphans
package-cleanup --leaves

But wait.. I discovered that there’s a more important step to do first, or you’ll cause yourself a headache!

On my machine, this wanted to remove some pretty important packages, like kdelibs.
[chris@shem ~]$ sudo package-cleanup --orphans
[sudo] password for chris:
Loaded plugins: refresh-packagekit, remove-with-leaves

Fedora (unlike certain other distros I know) provides major updates to the latest versions of packages (like OpenOffice.org, KDE, GNOME, etc). Yay! It’s possible that your new Fedora system is running the same version of, say KDE, as your old one. This was indeed the case with my Fedora 13 to 14 upgrade (both run KDE 4.5.2 at time of F14 release).

Actually, the build of some important packages on Fedora 13 (like kdelibs-4.5.2-8.fc13.x86_64) were actually more recent than on the newer Fedora 14 system (kdelibs-4.5.2-5.fc14.x86_64).

The package-cleanup tool correctly lists kdelibs-4.5.2-8.fc13.x86_64 as being an orphan and if you were to remove this, you’d break your system badly. In fact, if you’re running yum’s brilliant new autoremove deps feature, as I am, you’ll lose most of your system. It makes sense – you are telling yum to remove kdelibs, so it goes and removes everything that relies on it! Yikes.

So first, we need to fix this by running the yum distro-sync command which recognises that we need to downgrade that kdelibs packages (and not remove it!).

[chris@shem ~]$ sudo yum distro-sync
Loaded plugins: refresh-packagekit, remove-with-leaves
Setting up Distribution Synchronization Process
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package akonadi.x86_64 0:1.4.0-1.fc14 will be a downgrade
---> Package akonadi.x86_64 0:1.4.0-3.fc13 will be erased
---> Package kdeedu-marble.x86_64 0:4.5.2-1.fc14 will be a downgrade
---> Package kdeedu-marble.x86_64 0:4.5.2-2.fc13 will be erased
---> Package kdeedu-marble-libs.x86_64 0:4.5.2-1.fc14 will be a downgrade
---> Package kdeedu-marble-libs.x86_64 0:4.5.2-2.fc13 will be erased
---> Package kdelibs.x86_64 6:4.5.2-5.fc14 will be a downgrade
---> Package kdelibs.x86_64 6:4.5.2-8.fc13 will be erased
---> Package kdelibs-common.x86_64 6:4.5.2-5.fc14 will be a downgrade
---> Package kdelibs-common.x86_64 6:4.5.2-8.fc13 will be erased
---> Package schroedinger.x86_64 0:1.0.9-2.fc14 will be a downgrade
---> Package schroedinger.x86_64 0:1.0.10-1.fc13 will be erased
---> Package xorg-x11-drv-wacom.x86_64 0:0.10.8-1.20100726.fc14 will be a downgrade
---> Package xorg-x11-drv-wacom.x86_64 0:0.10.8-2.fc13 will be erased
--> Finished Dependency Resolution
--> Finding unneeded leftover dependencies
Found and removing 0 unneeded dependencies
Dependencies Resolved
Package Arch Version Repository Size
akonadi x86_64 1.4.0-1.fc14 fedora 677 k
kdeedu-marble x86_64 4.5.2-1.fc14 fedora 14 M
kdeedu-marble-libs x86_64 4.5.2-1.fc14 fedora 902 k
kdelibs x86_64 6:4.5.2-5.fc14 fedora 12 M
kdelibs-common x86_64 6:4.5.2-5.fc14 fedora 1.7 M
schroedinger x86_64 1.0.9-2.fc14 fedora 276 k
xorg-x11-drv-wacom x86_64 0.10.8-1.20100726.fc14 fedora 73 k
Transaction Summary
Downgrade 7 Package(s)
Total download size: 30 M
Is this ok [y/N]

Once we downgrade these packages, we can then remove any other orphans we might have, with package-cleanup –leaves and package-cleanup –orphans (I didn’t have any). One last thing to note – Fedora will not replace packages from the newer release if they are exactly the same version. For this reason, you will probably have some F13 packages still installed on your computer – don’t worry, that’s correct. They will be upgraded in time (if required).

So, now I think I know how to successfully upgrade the system without breaking it πŸ™‚ If anyone has some other tips or corrections, please let me know! Hope that’s helpful.


Sentinella waits, executes

Every now and then you come across a handy little application which, when thinking back, could have made your life so much easier at some point in the past.

Sentinella is one of those – a program which will perform a task when something is triggered.

It’s simple, there’s a condition (such as CPU load, memory used, date/time or network traffic) that when met will perform a function that you specify. This might be some hard-coded options like shutdown or reboot, terminate a program or simply sound an alarm, but it can also execute a program. That means that you can really make it do whatever you want!

Once you start a job, Sentinella runs in the background and just pops up once a condition is met, before performing the specified task.


So, you’re uploading something somewhere but need to get to work and can’t wait? No worries, just tell Sentinella that when rsync dies, turn off the machine.

Simple, effective.

It’s packaged for Fedora, so just install and enjoy!

KDE SC 4.4 is here

The KDE SC team has finally announced the much awaited 4.4 release, dubbed “Caikaku.”

KDE SC 4.4 Desktop

The sleek modern desktop environment from KDE SC has finally arrived. I’ve been waiting a long time for a solid, complete version and now I can finally delve right in and see all the goodies that KDE has to offer (although 4.3.5 was also very good, in my mind 4.4 is “it” and marks a most important turning point in the desktop).

Update: Renamed the title of the post so as to not appear to be dissing GNOME (which is also a brilliant desktop).

openSUSE 11.2 web links don’t work in Thunderbird under KDE fix

My mum’s machine runs openSUSE 11.2, with KDE 4. She continues to use Thunderbird as her mail client as it is familiar. Naturally she also uses Firefox for web browsing.

Unfortunately, web links don’t seem to work which is rather annoying. Firefox is set as the default web client, as is thunderbird for email. My guess is that Thunderbird is looking for some GNOME configuration on what to do. I tried adding some custom handler arguements in Thunderbird’s config (like about:config in Firefox), but that didn’t work.

In the end, the simple fix was to use gconftool to set the appropriate parameters:
gconftool-2 -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/http/command
'/usr/bin/firefox %s' --type String

gconftool-2 -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/https/command
'/usr/bin/firefox %s' --type String

Restart Thunderbird and all is good!

Make Firefox look like a KDE app in one simple step

Firefox is the most popular browser on the Linux platform, but it’s a GTK app and doesn’t integrate as nicely into KDE (which uses Qt). There are a number of ways to get it to integrate better, such as kgtk, but this is an easier and more stable method.

The Oxygen KDE Firefox addon does a great job of theming Firefox to look like a KDE app.

Simple download it and drag to add-ons. I scanned the extracted files with ClamAV and it was clean, but I always recommend that you do the same yourself for 3rd party add-ons.

Unfortunately it doesn’t modify Firefox to use KDE’s file manager or anything like that (unlike openSUSE’s modification), it’s just a theme. But it certainly looks great!

KDE Firefox themed

Other stuff
There are some extra things you can do to make it integrate even better.

KDE file picker
You can replace the GTK file picker with a simple KDE-ish file manager (as pictured above) by changing a setting in your config. Browse to:

Search for ui.allow_platform_file_picker and set it to False. Restart and now you’ll get a simple, but KDE themed file picker.

Plasma notifications
Install the PlasmaNotify add-on to get Firefox to use Plasma for notifications. Turn off the “Downloads window” under Preferences, for a more integrated experience.

Download with KGet
You can get Firefox to download with KDE’s KGet download program by installing the FlashGot add-on.

Here are some handy pages for integrating Firefox into KDE:
Making Firefox 3.x Look at Home in KDE4 (Part I)
Making Firefox 3.x Look at Home in KDE4 (Part II)

The best KDE based distro

TuxRadar has put together a review of eight of the top KDE-focused Linux distros.

Not all distros are made equal, particularly if you’re a KDE user. KDE has had something of a rough time over the last couple of years. The transition from version 3.5 to 4.x hasn’t been easy, and over this period many distributions have decided to use either Gnome or stick with KDE 3.5 as their default desktop.

But we feel KDE 4 has now matured to a point where most KDE users can safely dump their old desktop and move on to the new one. There are very few stability issues, and most of the functionality found in 3.5 has been migrated to 4.3. The question is, which Linux distro provides the best experience for KDE users?

Their winner? openSUSE, and I have to say that I agree. The number one feature for me is their most impressive seamless integration of Firefox with KDE. Please, please, include this in other distros!

K Desktop Environment is dead, long live KDE

It’s official, the K Desktop Environment is no more.


* We will use simply “KDE” and retire the expansion “K Desktop Environment”

* We will use “KDE” exclusively in two meanings:
o KDE, the community, which creates free software for end users
o As an umbrella brand for the technology created by the KDE community

* We will use distinct brands for the software that was previously referred to generically as β€œKDE”:
o The KDE Workspaces will be separately referred to as “KDE Plasma Desktop” and “KDE Plasma Netbook”
o The KDE technologies used for building applications will be referred to as the “KDE Platform”
o The KDE Applications will stay as they are: “the KDE Applications”
o The product we currently have released as “KDE 4.3” is essentially a compilation of our software (Workspaces, Applications and Platform), and thus the next release will be named “KDE Software Compilation 4.4”