Don’t install Ubuntu 9.10 if you want a stable KDevelop

November 10, 2009 at 10:45 pm | Posted in KDevelop | 51 Comments

First note: This is a bit of a rant, so be prepared 🙂

It seems that Ubuntu has reached another sad milestone on their way to the worst distribution ever.

Someone there thought its a cool idea to ship KDevelop4 Beta5 with a stable Ubuntu release.

What angers me most about this is that this not only hurts Ubuntu – I couldn’t care less about that – it hurts KDevelop and it also hurts me and other people trying to get KDevelop’s bugs under control. I’ve closed the 20th or so duplicate right now about a bug thats been in beta5 and has been fixed since weeks. Its a bug that’ll not be in the final release of KDevelop4, but its a bug I’ll probably get to see again and again in bugzilla for quite some time.

I never liked Ubuntu, but this really is a new level of broken packaging.

As final word something constructive: If you are running Ubuntu 9.10 either consider compiling kdevelop and kdevplatform from sources or report bugs you encounter with the Ubuntu kdevelop package to Ubuntu, not to KDE’s bugzilla even if thats what the Crash dialog suggests to you.


  1. As a digiKam developer I must say that I also don’t like digiKam-beta5 included in Ubuntu.
    We experience the same issues as you: millions of duplicate bugreports that have been fixed already.
    It is not a bad thing to have beta versions being tested (that’s what they are released for :-)), but including them into Ubuntu, a beginners distribution, can shed a false light on the stability of digiKam (or KDevelop in your case).
    They could at least move it to some experimental branch…

  2. KDE should think better about smooth transition between a major release and the following. I mean: the latest stable release of KDevelop is basing on kdelibs 3.5 which are not supported anymore upstream (no official updates since 08/08, which means no packaged fixes since more than a year).
    Support for KDE 3.5 should have lasted longer if today you really want distro to still ship KDE 3 packages that should be supported for 18 more months…

    • I actually never said I wanted that. Because with Kdev3 the same thing happens, I’m going to close most bugreports as unmaintained. Maintaining KDE3 and KDE4 at the same time is simply not going to work, because there’s not enough developers to do so.

      So in fact I think Ubuntu should’ve just dropped KDevelop completely for the current release.

      • Maybe a fourth option would have been the best:
        Ship it in a PPA and update KDevelop when a new beta / RC is out.

  3. Yay for then which means reports about all the broken packages (k)ubuntu will land directly on b.k.o again. -_-

  4. […] Don’t install Ubuntu 9.10 if you want a stable KDevelop « apaku a few seconds ago from xmpp in context […]

  5. Yep, that’s the fundamental problem with Ubuntu, and really all versions of Linux except those on a rolling upgrade cycle (Debian testing/unstable and Gentoo among others).

    The very thought that you take a snapshot of tens of thousands of applications and think that none of them will have some serious bugs is ridiculous. This case is even worse because they used a beta, but this happens with released apps as well.

    Wake up! Apps have bugs, sometimes hideous ones. For a Windows, Mac, or Debian user, the fix is simple. Wait a few days or weeks until the app gets fixed and then update.

    For an Ubuntu user, the fix is to either wait 6 months for the new release, where that app will be updated, and only 3 others will break.
    Or pray that your bug is deemed critical and is addressed in an update (extremely unlikely unless it’s a security issue).
    Or compile the updated program from source, which is completely out of the question for a normal user, and way too much hassle for most power users, even if they know how to do it.

    A fixed snapshot of an entire software ecosystem is so completely busted it’s not even funny. Not once have I had an install of Ubuntu where something wasn’t hideously broken that had long since been fixed upstream.

  6. They also ship beta versions of Privoxy (which warns you specifically not to use it on production machines) and Audacity (with spotty audio recording). Probably a lot more.

    I guess the way they rationalize it is to say that the 6 month updates aren’t LTS (long-term-support) releases so they can do whatever they want and feel good about it.

    Anyway running Ubuntu, I too am getting sick of how things are being done in this distro. End rant.

  7. Actually, I already tried to compile SVN version on Kubuntu and failed :(. So, the number of screwups in 9.10 is probably higher…

    I am hit by
    and the solution proposed there does not work for me.

    Did anyone succeed?

  8. I guess this due to a general problem: Distributions are phasing out their KDE3 support (see e.g. [1]). So they have to choose between continuing to provide packages for KDevelop/KDE3 including all dependencies or to switch to an unstable app for KDE4.

    However, I agree that the situation with Ubuntu is not perfect, as (1) they should patch the bug reporting dialog to redirect reports to their own bug tracking system and (2) provide updated packages for KDevelop even before 10.04.

    So far, the situation can be interpreted as a DoS attack on the KDevelop team… 😉


    — Thomas

    • They apparently forgot about the third option: Drop KDevelop alltogether. Thats what I would’ve preferred over shipping a totally out-of-date beta.

      • So you’d rather no one be able to use it then have an older version? Just wow…that’s just plain silly. Rather then be part of the solution you’d rather be part of the problem.

        • I don’t even understand what you’re trying to do. But people who know they want KDevelop will also be able to find out how to get it (read: compile a fresh beta from source) and those who just want to try out things are better off with something else for the time being anyway.

  9. On a side note, Mandriva also ships a beta of kdevelop in their last edition.

  10. Well, it is not the only non stable app released on (K)Ubuntu. Even the network manager is an not stable 0.8 version (which makes my wireless goes intermittent)… I really don’t understand these decisions… That’s why I am really thinking of changing to Opensuse 11.2.. I hope the things are better there

  11. Release management… this really REALLY sucks in open source. KDE 4.0 in openSUSE, pulse audio in alpha stage released to all users, alpha and beta releases of applications in KDE-“stable” distros. WHY DO I HAVE TO BE YOUR TESTER WHEN I ONLY WANT TO USE OPEN SOURCE SYSTEMS AS MY WORKSTATION???? WHY??

    Distro release managers, please just think about your users…

  12. Sorry, but how is it ubuntu’s fault (which has probably the most open and published release schedule available) that kdevelop has yet to put out a KDE4 version of its software, 2 years after KDE4 was launched ? Distributions should not have to wait around for ever.

    • You apparently missed what I tried to say. Its Ubuntu’s fault to consider releasing beta software in a stable distribution release. They could’ve just dropped KDevelop or make it available outside of the stable distribution.

      • Can you admit honestly that then you wouldn’t be complaining about “no one is giving us enough exposure, so we cannot have our beta properly tested?”

        • Ubuntu not shipping kdevelop is definetly not the end of the world. In fact I doubt that the overlap between our user-base and the targeted user-base of Ubuntu is that big anyway. And other distro’s do provide KDevelop beta’s in their experimental area’s.

  13. They also shipped a beta of Digikam that crashed 100% of the time when you tried to import pictures. The Linux kernel had regressions causing it not to work with the most common Huawei 3G dongles and certain Intel wifi chips, and not to recognize audio CDs. The 3G/wifi bugs were interesting because, as was pointed out in the bug reports, they would prevent people from receiving the bug fixes when updates were finally available, since they were cut off from the Internet. The Kubuntu people were proud of having hacked their own KDE integration into OpenOffice, except that caused the file dialogs to fail in spectacular ways. Support for the new default Ext4 file system (the kernel again) came with bugs causing file corruption. These are just some of the bugs that affected me personally.

    And here is the kicker: These were all *known* and *confirmed* bugs in the Ubuntu bug tracker. Some were set at severity “critical” at the time of release. Shuttleworth intentionally and knowingly shipped 9.10 with all those bugs in place, just in order not to miss out on the scheduled media attention of his time-based release, I suppose.

    • Yes, I fixed that bug in beta6, and nearly all the bugreports so far where from Ubuntu users.
      Again, we release beta versions for users who want to test the latest code and give feedback on it, and that is absolutely ok 🙂
      But using it in a “stable” distribution is not what we planned here.
      I for myself use Archlinux, a rolling release system (in my opinion the best solution for desktop users, much more stable than any ubuntu release I tested now and then).
      But even Archlinux still ships digiKam-0.10, just because it is the latest stable version.
      You can get the latest packages when using experimental branches, but you will not find the beta versions in the stable branch.

      So it is not a “if you don’t like your users to test software, just don’t release it” thing, it is about using unstable software in a distribution that is frozen for 6 months now.

      We already received hate-mails from some Ubuntu users, because we are releasing “crappy software that crashes all the time” and that “kills their smooth running and stable Ubuntu desktop”. It is not fun to read such shit, but I can understand people being pissed about the crashes. That’s why it is titled BETA… 🙂

  14. Hi,

    In support of kubuntu, at least they’re getting KDev4 out there. There are a group of users keen to try out the beta versions, but who appreciate the convenience of distro supplied packages.

    In this case, since KDev4 doesn’t claim to be production ready, it may have been wiser for them to have a kdevelop package with 3.5.5 and also have a kdevelop-kde4 package with 3.9.95.

    Since ubuntu have jumped early and switched to kdevelop4, I would hope that they’ll provide updates in the backports repo or perhaps a separate PPA.

    The bugs reports will be coming from people trying to help you, but of course it’s frustrating getting lots of duplicates of bugs you’ve fixed. Does KDE bugzilla offer any hooks to automate the detection of duplicates? Particularly those for crashes with identical stack traces.

    At the minute Dr Konqi allows the end user to suggest a possible duplicate, but further automation at the bug tracker may shield developers from duplicates, leaving more time to develop the product.


  15. […] Someone there thought its a cool idea to ship KDevelop4 Beta5 with a stable Ubuntu release. More here What angers me most about this is that this not only hurts Ubuntu – I couldn’t care less about […]

  16. It seems Kubuntu/Ubuntu is the favourite project to blame with anything one comes up with, which makes me sad. I consider it a great distribution (if only because it is based on Debian, yet it is easy enough to install and run for non-technical users). Yes,they do screw up sometimes (and sometimes in a big way), but I don’t think it is much more then what happens to other projects. Regarding packaging of betaversions of Kdevelop. If you don’t like the fact, that people run betaversions of your software, then just keep it closed and only release the sources once you think it is ready. Or display a big splash-screen telling people not to report bugs in beta-versions. Or something… I for one am glad to run betaversions of Kdevelop 4, even if it might crash sometimes. I never used Kdevelop 3 — vim was just waaaay better for me. However, even the early pre-beta versions of Kdevelop 4 were so good, that I went through the trouble of compiling KDE from sources (well not all of KDE) on a two years old distribution. I know I would be glad to have had a prepackaged version of the beta.

    • Maybe other distro’s do the same, I don’t know as I don’t watch all distro’s. I do watch Debian and they still ship kdevelop3 in their stable release. I also watch our bugreports and so far most of the duplicates from beta5 in the last 2 weeks were from Ubuntu users.

      And you should also see that there’s a difference between a stable release of a distribution (especially one that targets beginner users) shipping a Beta and us releasing a source tarball as Beta. The latter is something that not every “Joe-User” will get his hands on, while the former is much more easily to get and try out and getting a crappy experience with KDevelop4.

  17. […] Don’t install Ubuntu 9.10 if you want a stable KDevelop « apaku a few seconds ago from web […]

  18. Presumably there’s some PPA with a more up-to-date version in it — that’s one of the best reasons for using a popular Debian-based distro. Perhaps those filing bugs should be pointed to it?

  19. KDE team has nobody but themselves to blame in the current situation.
    Distros are supposed to give users not just working but also full-featured environment. Window manager without applications is of little use for the users and distros are put into impossible position of shipping unstable or having to lack expected features. It is an embarrassment in our age to ship DE without DVD burning software, for example.

    So apaku is right. If there are no stable k3b4, kdevelop4, digikam4 (and list goes on) and kde3 base is unsupported, there is another solution that distros could and perhaps should have chosen – not to ship KDE at all in the current releases.

  20. I understand the concerns by the developers that kDevelop 4 beta X is unstable, and should therefore not be included in any major distro, however, I’d like to stress that -at least to me- kDevelop 4 is already a huge step ahead compared to kDevelop 3.5. I compile kDevelop 4 from SVN on almost a daily basis for the last 4 months or so and I’ve seen it evolving from a less stable production environment to something that occasionally has it’s flaws, but is extremely handy nonetheless. Also, don’t forget that the people that actually use kDevelop are typically people that understand that software development is not easy and will therefore easily forgive crashes and/or features that are not implemented. Let me say that the software I develop through kDevelop has crashed a lot more than kDevelop itself 🙂

  21. […] Don’t install Ubuntu 9.10 if you want a stable KDevelop First note: This is a bit of a rant, so be prepared It seems that Ubuntu has reached another sad milestone on their […] […]

  22. I don’t understand the complaint. “Don’t install Ubuntu if you want a stable KDevelop”? Is there *any such thing* as a stable KDevelop?

    Sure, you get redundant bug reports. That’s not Ubuntu’s fault though, it’s the fault of the people submitting the reports without searching to see if their problem already exists in the tracker.

    I’d bet that if you sent a boilerplate e-mail to each person who submitted a redundant report, saying (politely) that “KDevelop is under heavy development, their bug has already been fixed, please check in future for an existing report before filing a new one, and by the way compiling from SVN is a great way to get the latest goodness” then the number of redundant reports would drop and the number of people exercising your latest code would increase nicely!

    • KDevelop 3.5.5 is very stable yes. Obviously a beta release of KDevelop4 is not as stable as a version that had 3 years of releases and bugfixes.

      Unfortunately your suggestion about “don’t file duplicates, check for them” doesn’t work because thats already happening and people still simply hit the send button. There’s also already a discussion going on how to make reporting duplicates harder – especially with Dr. Konqi.

      Last but not least, I’m not just complaining about the duplicate reports – thats something I can also tackle differently (by simply letting kdevelop in bugzilla bitrot) – it sheds a wrong light on kdevelop and gives the wrong impression to users that what they find in Ubuntu is a production-ready KDevelop release. Which is clearly not the case.

      • Personally, I think it shouldn’t be up to users to take care of duplicates.

        I want to be able to say “app X fails when used together with Y on system Z”, and let the developers argue with each other and decide if the bug is in X, Y, Z, or my hardware. Instead of having to be me (the user) who has to find the cause and report it to the bug tracker of the appropriate application.

        And I say that being an open source developer myself.

        I never figured out why Kopete on KDE 3.5 sometimes crashes my X server while running Compiz and the proprietary NVidia driver. And it looked like it would be hell to find which of the half-dozen involved pieces of software was the cause.

    • The problem is that when I enter a new bug (or use DrKonqi), I don’t even see the duplicate entries, I just tested it.
      So even if users want to look for duplicates, they can’t find them.
      If you use the normal search in BKO, you will even see less entries, because normally resolved bugs are not displayed at all.

      • If you use the reporting wizard in (which is the only way for normal users) it will search for duplicates based on your short-description. It’ll present them to you and it also searches already-closed bugs.

        Dr.Konqi also does this since KDE 4.3, I can see that because the user submitting via Dr. Konqi can select possible duplicate bugreports and that shows up in the submitted report (thats at least what I understood from Dario’s explanation).

  23. Is there a way to have Kdevelop 3.5 in ubuntu 9.10?

    Hi there.. I’m an economist using kdevelop to write economic models.
    So I’m not a programmer, but I write programs 😉

    I’m lost.

    I was developing a qmake based model using kdevelop 3.5. Now in ubuntu 9.10 I got this kdevelop 3.9.95 that can’t even read my project file unless I rename it (and I think it’s a bad idea!) and I read around it doesn’t support qmake anymore.

    Is there any ppa around to have kdevelop 3.5 in ubuntu 9.10, at least till the upgrading path will be more smooth for the end user?

    ciao.. Antonello

    • I suggest you ask that in an Ubuntu forum, you’re probably going to get more replies there.

    • Hi Antonello (the other members of the thread and the readers of this blog) :

      Yes, you can install kdevelop-3.5.5 on an Ubuntu 9.10 distribution, and you can install both, the kdevelop-3.5.5 and the new kdevelop-4 versions.

      I have done it and it works fine. Here you have an script that downloads the code source of kdevelop-3.5.5 (the latest stable release, it fixes some bugs that appear on the kdevelop version released with Ubuntu-9.04) it compiles kdevelop and it installs it on your system.

      By default it will be installed on ${HOME}/install/bin and it will be called “kdevelop3” and not “kdevelop”, but you can change the location and name. I recommend to install kdevelop on your ${HOME}/XXX directory and not on the system directory.

      You will need an internet connection (to download the source code and to install the required packages) and a bit of patience (it took about 40 minutes on my computer).

      NOTE : to launch kdevelop (after compiling and installing), do :

      export KDEDIRS=”${INSTALL_DIR}:$KDEDIRS” && kbuildsycoca

      Or, if you install kdevelop at $HOME/install, and the suffix is “3”, do :

      export KDEDIRS=”${HOME}/install:$KDEDIRS” && kbuildsycoca

      Execute this in a terminal :



      UBUNTU_REQUIRED_PACKAGES_BIN=” libcppunit-1.12-1 build-essential flex libdb4.6 automake1.9 ”
      UBUNTU_REQUIRED_PACKAGES_DEV=” libx11-dev x-dev kdebase-dev libdb4.6-dev qt3-apps-dev ”
      # kdebase-dev -> Very important! 17MByte

      sudo apt-get install ${UBUNTU_REQUIRED_PACKAGES_BIN}
      sudo apt-get install ${UBUNTU_REQUIRED_PACKAGES_DEV}

      function die () {
      echo “$@”
      exit 1

      if [ ! -d “kdevelop-3.5.5” ]; then
      [ ! -f “kdevelop_3.5.5.orig.tar.gz” ] &&
      wget “”
      tar xfz “kdevelop_3.5.5.orig.tar.gz”

      [ ! -d “kdevelop-3.5.5” ] && die “Sorry, but the directory kdevelop-3.5.5 does not exist.”

      cd kdevelop-3.5.5
      [ ! -d “${INSTALL_DIR}” ] && mkdir -p “${INSTALL_DIR}”
      ./configure –prefix=”${INSTALL_DIR}” –program-suffix=${KDEVELOP_SUFFIX} –without-arts CXXFLAGS=’-DEOF=-1′ &&
      make && make install && export KDEDIRS=”${INSTALL_DIR}:$KDEDIRS” && kbuildsycoca
      cd ..


  24. Hi Apaku :

    In the official kdevelop website ( there is a link pointing to this post saying :

    Don’t install Ubuntu 9.10 if you want a stable KDevelop

    It is not the fault of the Ubuntu team (but they should have included kdevelop-3.5.5 in the official release, as they did with the Ubuntu-9.04 release) and I do not know who posted this comment, but it is not a good publicity for Canonical and a reader without a minimum knowledge of how to compile an application from the sources could think that he will never be able to use kdevelop-3.X with this new release.

    If you were the one that posted this comment, could you please remove it or better, could you post other message saying how to compile it with an Ubuntu-9.10 release??

    Thanks in advance

    • Including an unstable Beta _is_ the fault of Ubuntu’s KDE packagers. And that link is simply an aggregation of this blog, so its automatically there and it won’t be removed. And I’m not going to post a blog about how to compile kdevelop, thats also explained in our website and its completely distro-independent.

      • I agree 100% with apaku. I’m getting extremely frustrated with Ubuntu releases putting beta software in their stable distribution. It happened to me with Amarok a couple of releases back, and now they’ve gone and clobbered my kdevelop. I want the stable version of kdevelop in the stable version of Ubuntu. And I also agree that if they for some reason can’t include the stable version, then don’t include kdevelop at all.

        This was another major screw up and the blame rests solely on the Ubuntu folks.

  25. […] einer, allen voran Andreas Pakulat, ist über die Entscheidung der Kubuntu Entwickler, eine Beta-Version in einer stabilen […]

    • Could you please reply in english ??
      Pouvez vous, s’il vous plait répondre en anglais ??
      Puede por favor responder en inglés ??
      Badakizu ingelesez?

      • Thats a pingback from a german blog, so no that won’t ever be in english. If you don’t understand it, don’t read it.

  26. Hi,

    I try to compile kdevelop4 from the source. KDevPlatform is compiled successfully, but it has error of “KDE4Workspace_DIR” not found when I configure KDevelop. What am I missing?


  27. And now to atonement, I’ll post links to where you can get the previous binary packages 🙂

    Be sure you get the old kdevelop-data as well, otherwise it’s kinda (doesn’t install . Also, these are for amd64 (or 64-bit Intel, just not ia64), for other archs, go to:

  28. Here you can find steps how to replace kdevelop4 with kdevelop3 on ubuntu 9.10

    • Thank you. I was fed-up with kdevelop4 crashes.

  29. I actually compiled Beta5 on Debian, and sent (a seemingly duplicate) bugreport with full trace. For the full trace, I actually had to install the -dev packages, which necessitated a resizing and repartitioning of my harddrive. I know these duplicate bugreports must be frustrating to you, but it took me 2-3 hours to get that full trace… I know that there are people hitting “send” on every DrKonqi bugreport, but this is not always the case. Anyway, compiling SVN now, as you said the bug has been fixed! Yay! 🙂

    • Well, people installing a beta from “experimental” or building themselves from sources are not the problem. Those people usually are able to update to the next beta if I tell them in the bugreport its been fixed already. But shipping such a beta in a stable release just means that I’m getting the same old bugreports for ages (I just again closed two with the cmake-createcontext problem). I’m actually just glad that this is not a long-term-support release of ubuntu, that would’ve been a catastrophy.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: