Friday, July 3, 2015

KDEPIM without Akonadi

As you know, Gentoo is all about flexibility. You can run bleeding edge code (portage, our package manager, even provides you with installation from git master KF5 and friends) or you can focus on stability and trusted code. This is why we've been offering our users for the last years KDEPIM (the version where KMail e-mail storage was not integrated with Akonadi yet, also known as KMail1) as a drop-in replacement for the newer versions.
Recently the Nepomuk search framework has been replaced by Baloo, and after some discussion we decided that for the Nepomuk-related packages it's now time to go. Problem is, the old KDEPIM packages still depend on it via their Akonadi version. This is why - for those of our users who prefer to run KDEPIM 4.4 / KMail1 - we've decided to switch to Pali Rohár's kdepim-noakonadi fork (see also his 2013 blog post and the code).The packages are right now in the KDE overlay, but will move to the main tree after a few days of testing and be treated as an update of KDEPIM
The fork is essentially KDEPIM 4.4 including some additional bugfixes from the KDE/4.4 git branch, with KAddressbook patched back to KDEPIM 4.3 state and references to Akonadi removed elsewhere. This is in some ways a functionality regression since the integration of e.g. different calendar types is lost, however in that version it never really worked perfectly anyway.

For now, you will still need the akonadi-server package, since kdepimlibs (outside kdepim and now at version 4.14.9) requires it to build, but you'll never need to start the Akonadi server. As a consequence, Nepomuk support can be disabled everywhere, and the Nepomuk core and client and Akonadi client packages can be removed by the package manager (--depclean, make sure to first globally disable the nepomuk useflag and rebuild accordingly).

You might ask "Why are you still doing this?"... well. I've been told Akonadi and Baloo is working very nicely, and again I've considered upgrading all my installations... but then on my work desktop where I am using newest and greatest KDE4PIM bug 338658 pops up regularly and stops syncing of important folders. I just don't have the time to pointlessly dig deep into the Akonadi database every few days. So KMail1 it is, and I'll rather spend some time occasionally picking and backporting bugfixes.


  1. Another reason to do this is that Kmail2 is SLOW. I regularly get mad at it on my desktop, and have switched to Thunderbird on my laptop. I'll click on a new email or change folders and it will take many seconds for the email to appear.

  2. This begs the question: what will you do once PIM switches to KF5, which means in 15.08?

    (which is shaping up to be pretty good, and faster even, thanks to the developers put in despite the negativity)

    1. I'll certainly test it and give it a serious try, the same way as I am doing it with modern KDE4PIM. Gentoo will offer it as an alternative. And KDE4 libraries will live long enough beside it.

      Concerning the "negativity", well you could also say that there is a certain unwillingness at the side of the developers to accept feedback on a fundamental level. Which is basically why I stopped doing just about anything for KDE some time ago; it was just way too frustrating. Taking care of KDEPIM 4.4 and dikigam in Gentoo is the one exception.

    2. "Unwillingness" depends on how you convey the message, considering that there are only 2 (two!) active PIM developers.
      I deal with feedback on the KDE forums daily, while there were strong disagreements, I've never seen "unwillingness" like you describe.

    3. As I said, I've been burned enough over the years. From a KDE perspective I'm gone; a constructive dialog was just not possible, and I prefer just focussing my efforts elsewhere to any big drama exit. These days I'm busy enough packaging Perl and LibreOffice. It's sad since I still prefer running any KDE way over available alternatives.

  3. Thank you, while Kmail 2 & Baloo are being polished... it's a good idea to keep using Kmail 1 without Akonadi.

    Did I say "thank you"? :-)

  4. kdepim-noakonadi for openSUSE Tumbleweed, if someone searches it: