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Review: KDE 4.6

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A couple days ago, KDE 4.6 was released for the world to enjoy. It boasts myriad bug fixes, new features for applications like Dolphin and Marble (among others), a revamped Activities feature, and better integration of GTK+ applications.

I've come to enjoy testing new KDE 4 releases because it gets noticeably better with each release (or so I would hope), as opposed to GNOME, Xfce, LXDE, and other DEs which don't change much between "point" releases (i.e. X.Y ("X point Y")).

That said, it's not available for Linux Mint 9 "Isadora", and I don't plan on upgrading that until the next LTS release (Linux Mint 13 "M[...]a") unless some radical change (that I don't like) makes me switch distributions (but given the lead developer Clement Lefebvre's recent statements on the matter, that is highly unlikely). Right now, it's only (in terms of Ubuntu-based distributions) available in Ubuntu/Kubuntu 10.10 "Maverick Meerkat" and Linux Mint 10 "Julia" through a backport PPA. As I had a Linux Mint 10 "Julia" GNOME live USB handy, I used that to do testing; I will say that this method may have been the cause of many of the problems that you will read about shortly.

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KDE 4.6.0

KDE devs seems to have invoked a qprocess in KDE 4.6.0 that wasn't present in KDE 4.5.5 that causes QT applications such as VLC to freeze when using the open file dialog. Now everybody pointing fingers at each other and nobody want to fix it.

Even so ...

Even though I'm a stalwart VLC user, I still wish PCLinuxOS would come out with KDE 4.6.0 RPMs.

Not all Qt apps, just VLC

This is ONLY a problem in VLC and no other Qt app, and it is very much VLC's own fault, they are blocking the kernel SIGCHLD signal in a non-standard way that directly clashes with the way Qt handles threading and signals, they're just lucky nothing else has triggered the problem before. The top Qt devs are adamant they are not changing something that is "efficient, thread-safe and cooperative, it doesn't block anyone's use of SIGCHLD and it doesn't interfere with anyone's code" whereas VLC's code does none of these. We KDE devs are more than a little miffed that VLC are blaming us for what is essentially a problem between them and Qt, but we've spent the last couple of days trying to find a solution anyway, talking to both sides and tossing around ideas, but really there is no other solution than VLC using a more conventional implementation, if they want to be a Qt app then they need to do things the Qt way.

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