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Showing files metadata under KDE is like Russian roulette

While reading KDE Planet, I’ve noticed this blog post from Peter Penz : Internal Cleanups. He was talking about code cleanups and refactoring he was doing in Dolphin code, which is a very good thing IMHO. Then I learnt something very annoying : since KDE 4.x and Nepomuk integration Dolphin is unable to show metadata informations for a file if the file is not indexed by Strigi and Nepomuk ( KDE bug #193592 ). This explains why I had more and more issues having the size of a photo … Most of the time I did end up starting Gwenview for this ! This is really insane to have to rely on indexing to show a simple information like the dimensions of a photo. Here are the issues I could see :

  1. On my workstations at work, we are using /home on NFS, and really I don’t want to enable Nepomuk and Strigi indexing. I do fear about the NFS support for Nepomuk/Strigi, and the fact that I will clutter my file server with the indexing database of each of my users. I have 90Go of data on my file server, I can’t imagine the size of the indexing database … SCSI disks are not cheap !
  2. Even if I do activate Nepomuk+Strigi indexing, by default only the user $HOME will be indexed. However what about the service/staff directories ? Indeed, several people of the same staff do share some common directories where they did put all of their files. What about this ? Do I have to enable manually the indexing of theses directories each time, and end up with duplicated indexed contents ?
  3. Still on this subject, if you go to /usr/share/pixmaps or /usr/share/wallpaper or on an usb key, you won’t be able to see the metadata of the file as theses locations are not indexed. It means that from the end user perspective, Dolphin behavior will change for no reason as one time it will display the info, and another time not. For the end user : Dolphin will not be a reliable way to show basic informations about a file !
  4. Activating Nepomuk/Strigi is not without issue for Dolphin too … I did notice that since I do have activate Nepomuk and strigi on my personal laptop, sometimes when entering a directory or when double-clicking on a file, Dolphin will just … freeze … No feedback, no error message, no wait message, no explanations … If you click on the UI, you will notice, once Dolphin will unfreeze, that your actions were taken into account. Just now, Dolhin was frozen during at least 30 seconds after trying to open a OpenOffice Writer document by double-clicking on it. So dolphin end up being unreliable for me … Each time I do something, I do fear about Dolphin freezes.

These kinds of behavior should really be avoided on a modern desktop environment, and reliability and speed should be top priorities. Consistent behavior should be important, especially for basics features. If I understand well, I may not expect a fix for this before KDE 4.5/4.6, which means … 2011 at worst in a stable Linux distribution …

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