Thursday, October 16, 2008

KDevelop installation nightmare

What's a better way to start ranting than to talk about package management in Linux! Yes, you've all heard that package management hell is over in Linux with all these FSM-sent repos supporting thousands of packages with just a few clicks!

Being an avid SUSE fan since the days of 7.2, I kept the tradition and upgraded to a clean install of openSUSE 11. After suffering horribly from previous upgrades, now I keep a separate partition for /home, and now I can comfortably tortue myself to the 6-month release cycle business. The KDE4 LiveCD installation was pretty straightforward, a few clicks and you're done.

OpenSUSE 11 ships with KDE 4.0.4, which might as well be called KDE 4.0 pre-alpha as far as most users are concerned. But hey, coming from a guy who compiles kdelibs/kdeedu from SVN trunk almost daily, I didn't mind that at all. In fact, it offers a better testing environment for me as a developer. Nevermind that it crashes on me every few minutes with no useful traces, but who am I to complain.

And so I wanted to start hacking right away, and after checking out the modules I needed from SVN, I wanted to load them in my favorite IDE: KDevelop. Except that it's not available in the default installation, which makes perfect sense for a LiveCD. So I fired up Yast2 and selected KDevelop. Apparently, the KDevelop team hasn't released any stable version for KDE4 yet, so I had to select KDevelop3, no problems, it works good enough for my needs. Then Yast2 asked me to agree to a huge list of dependecies that I didn't even look at before clicking OK, only to find out that I have to download ~400 MB worth of packages JUST TO INSTALL KDevelop?

Ok, so I can understand SOME of the dependencies, kdelibs3..yada yada, but why the hell do I need to install OpenOffice_org-thesaurus-en?!!! or gnomeui?!! or gnome-icon-theme?? I'm installing a KDE application after all, aren't I? I thought this is totally insane and just clicked the abort button. Hell, I'm not installing 400 MB of packages to get an IDE working. Anyway, why not use Kate? Sure, that would get the job done.

No, Thank-You-Very-Much

Except for the fact that it crashes everytime on startup. Hmmm, what choices am I left with? Hey, how about vi or Emacs? After all, real developers don't need pretty GUI to hack, right?!! Maybe, but you can call me a spoiled brat. At the end of the day, I decided to give Eclipse IDE for C++ a try and boy was I glad with the results, it's one solid IDE. Slow? yes. ugly? absolutely. functioning? Hell yes. Up until KDevelop4 matures enough to be usable (and useful for that matter), I'm sticking with Eclipse.

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