Wednesday, February 20, 2008

KDE4 on Gentoo

After weeks of trying to get to setting up a KDE4 development environment for Amarok, success is finally at my door =D. First Kubuntu and kdesvn-build needing every dependency imaginable and building issues, then Gentoo and the broken qt-4.4 ebuilds, but a combination of kdesvn-build and manually building Amarok has finally granted me my dream.

For a higher quality version, download from here(note: .ogv file) :

For an avi version (lesser quality a bit) :

Monday, February 18, 2008

KDE4 on OS X 10.4

(From left to right: Konqueror, KPatience, KStars)

So it turns out KDE4 isn't just being ported to Windows, but Mac as well (universal binaries, both PPC and x86).  It runs slow for now, and a lot of stuff doesn't work, but the games and education programs work alright.  Very exciting stuff.  Soon as Konqueror and Amarok 2 start working properly it'll be a happy day for OS X users, or... not.  The new Konqueror will be using Webkit (Safari's engine, which itself is based on KHTML, Konqueror's current engine), and iTunes will likely run faster than Amarok.  But at least tech demos can be done natively... all the easier to then lure people to an FOSS system =)

Firefox's Gecko vs. KHTML and Webkit

Firefox has a large user and developer base which has led to its wide circulation and varied plugins, but some things are hurting.  The Gecko rendering engine pales in comparison to Konqueror's KHTML and Safari's Webkit.  The same pages take up to about 3x as long to render in Gecko.  While KHTML has issues rendering Google-related things such as Gmail and Google documents, Webkit shows no such failure and will become Konqueror's new engine soon.  Plugins aside, once Konqueror from KDE 4 becomes a standard, the developer community around it should expand and Firefox will begin to see a big run for its money.

On Macintosh OS 10.4, Firefox not only takes roughly 5-10x as long to load as Safari but eats up resources substantially.  At one point, when not loading any videos and with 4 tabs open, Firefox was eating 40-60% of cpu time and my fans were blaring.  One minute after closing it, the machine's responsiveness picked up and the fans slowed to a near halt.
On Gentoo, Konqueror also loads significantly faster than Firefox, and Firefox is there also a proc/memory hog.

Recently I tested Firefox 3 beta on Kubuntu Hardy and I have to say, it's not getting any faster and actually I can notice a further slowdown.  If Mozilla doesn't do something soon, it might find itself losing favor in the community.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kubuntu PPC

After some painstaking efforts, I got Kubuntu running on my PPC Powerbook G4 a few months ago, and recently upgraded to Hardy. After 7.04 or so, Ubuntu stopped officially supporting the PPC platform and it really is starting to show. Configuration and installation issues aside, the computer runs hot, the fans are always blaring, and the speed is remarkably slow. These are probably the result of the kernel using non-specific drivers, the lack of a PPC nVidia driver that isn't terrible, and generic configuration without any real testing.

I don't really like OS X, but given that I can't get an x86-based laptop any time soon, I was hoping to run Linux on PPC but it seems I'm barking up the wrong tree. Gentoo is out of the question given the struggle this poor old processor goes through compiling the smallest of things. Linux is a good alternative, but perhaps the PPC world isn't a good place to be.