Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Konsidered a waste of time

OK, so I eventually finished listening to the 793 songs in the 2011 SXSW torrent and rating them all. This was a while ago, but it was only yesterday that I reorganised some stuff in the collection and remembered that the couple of gigabytes of mediocrity was sitting there. It was clearly time to implement the TYR Band-Pass filter, my objective methodology for filtering musical slushpiles.

So I frobbed around Amarok until I found the "Automated Playlist Generator" hiding under a rock, and then fiddled with it until I understood the UI-only-a-hacker-could-imagine. Seriously, it would have been easier to just provide a command prompt on the underlying database. (Does a "Match All" Constraint Group match both any rules of its own and also the output of a "Match Any"? Search me, guv, because you can search your hard disk and not find any documentation.)

And it gave me 32 tracks, all with a rating of zero. Now that is a valid output from the filter. Or it would be if there were no tracks rated above the upper limit, 3.5. And I gave out quite a few 5s. So I check in the pile. All the ratings are gone. This isn't quite as bad as the phase KAddressBook and Akonadi went through a couple of years ago when they regularly, randomly, truncated my contacts file from 269KB to 10.8KB - always exactly the same - and inserted helpful invalid characters. (Fortunately they also left a renamed copy of the original file, so you could just restore from backup.) But it's pretty shit. Any software that randomly destroys user data has failed and failed horribly. It's the antithesis of polite software.

But it did produce 32 tracks, so there must be a wrong copy of the data somewhere, which suggests that there might also be a right one.

Meanwhile, I've been reading the traffic on kdepim-l about KMail 2 with horror and an increasing sense that KDE is going spongy. Even without anything related to Akonadi actually working, long after the last lot of performance bugs were closed, it still has a nasty habit of keeping the hard disk active for half an hour at a time, doing what? KM2 users report rampant loss of data and of meta-data. And I don't have a working desktop search utility despite years of promises about Akonadi and Nepomuk and Strigi and "semantic desktop".

Think about it like this - a new era KDE application that needs to read data from your contacts file, a vCard sitting somewhere in your .kde4 directory, is meant to go to an "akonadi_vcal_resource" that's mediated by the common Akonadi API and no less than two RDF triplestore databases (Redland and Virtuoso). What happened to the filesystem?

So, I'm going to initiate a new, innocent laptop into the twisted cult this week. And I think I'm quitting the KDE world. I'm not the only one - from 25 killer Linux apps to When you first launch KMail,
it will terminate with a 'Failed to fetch the resource collection' error. KMail doesn't have a default incoming mail directory configured, which causes this error. The workaround involves using Akonadi to specify a maildir location for KMail. To do this, launch the Akonadi Configuration tool and point the Local Folders to /.kde4/share/apps/kmail2/.

Well, I've never had that error but my install crashes every time it launches, and only ever works on the second time of asking. Of course, I could spend all my time maintaining this particular e-mail client. Don't all write at once.

1 comment:

CW said...

I tend to agree with you on KDE4... it has some good technology but they threw out a lot of good old technology from KDE3 with no replacement as well.

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