Posted by: Camilo Torres | September 6, 2013

KDE PIM, processor overheating, What’s wrong with you, KDE?

I has been a long time KDE user. As you can see from past entries in this blog I have been also trying some other desktops. But that search really started shortly after KDE 4 entered into Debian Testing. I used Gnome2 for a while in a machine from the office. The nice thing is that it was a bank and I was one of the really first to use a Linux box full time and Gnome as my primary desktop. I don’t know if as today someone in this bank uses something similar, but at that time someone was trying Debian with Gnome on a testing machine.

Then I tried XFCE wich I really didn’t liked very much. I think it is not as lightweight as they say it is. Then I went on to LXDE, wich is really lightweight. It had some limitations at that time: configuring a second monitor as an extended desktop was not easy, there is no integrated PIM as the KDE’s Kontact PIM suite. It had more other limitations, but this two were the ones that made me move away. Then I tried Gnome 3, but I can’t really get used to it. And again I returned back to KDE.

KDE has really improved since those horrible days of KDE 4.0 to 4.2. And I mean they improved the errors on the code base, and the completeness of the desktop environment. But now the way I use my computer has changed. I use it mainly through the command line; yes it sounds weird, but really, I’m using my computer mainly through a remote connection via SSH with no option to have X forwarding (the conexion is too slow for that to work, I know because I tried), and the client is a Windows machine, so, no X server. Now, having two environments to work on: home and office, I have turn to Google mail, calendar, and address book. Having the KDE 4.8 distribution, a more mature one, I started to try many of the applications I used to work many years ago. One of the first was the Amarok music player. I remember the time when I loved to use it, and considered it one of the best music players; how dissapointed I am with the state of this piece of code; I can’t even arrange a particular part of my music collection in a simple form of having many songs into one particular album. I started to use JuK and really been missing the old Amarok. At some point the Nepomuk service started to put my CPU to 100% at login time. I deactivated it and also deactivated Strigi (an file indexer). Missing the functionlity of KDE PIM, I decided to try it again, to see how it was doing; I think all of the Nepomuk malfunctioning was solved by then.

So I launched Kontact from the first time in months, and when the KMain started to pull my POP email from Google Gmail, it showed me a message asking me to accept an upgrade to Akonadi. Ummm, at this point I started to worry a little, but I decided to give it a try, so I accepted the Akonadi stuff. It did the upgrade pretty quick, so I was reading my email from KMail again. Ohh, what a pleasure… until… the CPU of this poor cheap notebook computer overheated and the whole system shutted down by itself. I turned the computer on again, and tried to read my main from KMail again, and again, but after 3 CPU overheats I decided to stop with all this and to stay with the GMail web interface as I has been doing for the last months. But the Akonadi thing will not dissapear so easy, I was forced to go to the Akonadi configuration and manualy delete my GMail account because Akonadi continued to fetch my email in the background.

Well, no Amarok, no PIM. But this is not the end of the story (neither the end of the overheating). At next day I left the notebook computer switched on and left to the office. Later in the day I tried to SSH into the notebook and there was no reponse. When I came back to home at night, the notebook was still on, but completely unresponsive. Because it happened to me before, I know it overheated and then hanged up before the OS was able to propertly shutdown the computer. So, it overheated again without I being doing anything on the computer, so I decided to blame KDE of all of this. I really get tired of this KDE stuff that overheat my notebook, all of this Nepomuk, Strigi, Akonadi, and the like, all those things I really don’t use and which I can’t really get rid of in KDE. You can’t get rid of those components on Debian and at the same time keep with the rest of the KDE desktop, because they are very tightly integrated into KDE.

So, the solution is to switch to another desktop environment, again. That same night I installed and configured LXDE. The result was that my CPU is at a reasonable level of activity for a computer when it is not being used (near 0%). No overheating, I am writing this via SSH on my console with VIM without worrying if the computer CPU could overheat, nor running top to see wich processes I should be killing. But this is not the end of this history, in the times to come I will be testing and trying one newcommer to the Linux desktop environments: Cinnamon.

P.S.: My work office is two hours apart from home in the best case, I connect to my SSH server on my computer only on my free time.


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