Archive for December, 2010

Current KDE Software Collection (SC) development release built on armel

This is a bigger thing than it might appear to the casual bystander. There was no Kubuntu or Kubuntu Mobile on armel for Natty Alpha 1 due to compiler issues. These same issues pushed back our plans to do regular builds of the KDE trunk on armel to help with discovery of porting issues as mentioned recently by Harald Sitter.

Once we knew we had a fixed GCC, we set to work getting things built. The KDE SC can be a bit of a beast to get built. It is particularly so when in the midst of trying to get KDE SC 4.6 Beta 1 built, KDE SC 4.6 Beta 2 gets released and you have to start over without getting to the top of the pile. Armel is the only architecture where for Qt a qreal is not a double. Because most developers aren’t developing on arm systems, it is very easy for them to forget this, so until the entire stack is built, there’s no way to know what porting issues remain. We’ve had armel releases for two years now and KDE developers are getting used to considering it’s special needs, so the amount of porting work that needs to be done is much less than in previous releases, but it’s not over until it’s over.

This build cycle is special in another way. As far as I know, the Kubuntu developers were able to deal with the porting issues we encountered without asking for help from Canonical’s arm team. In the past, due to lack of expertise and lack of hardware to test with we have been pretty dependent on them for fixing Qt/KDE on armel. Now, thanks to Genesi’s generosity we have several EFIKA MX Smarttop systems available to Kubuntu developers for troubleshooting, building, and testing armel issues. We would not have been able to do this on our own without their support.

Of course getting things to compile is only the first step. Now we need to work on making it work well …