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Old 06-17-2013, 06:44 PM   #1
Registered: Mar 2011
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 58

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Slack 14.0 kde kwin problem

I have posted a thread on this problem two months ago without resolution. Since then, I have done more testing and I hope someone can help me out with this problem.

I am trying to install Slack 14.0 on my desktop with an AMD Athlon processor, ATI Radeon display card running at 1280x1024 (default install), and a Logitech PS/2 mouse using the PS/2 Port Mouse driver. The problem seems to be with kwin, in that I cannot get any border or title bar around the windows. I gave up 2 months ago, going back to the stable Slack 12.2. Since then, I successfully installed Slack 14 on my HP nx5000 laptop, where everything, including kde4, is working well. So, I just tried reinstalling Slack 14 on my desktop again, using the same options as on the laptop (i.e. huge.s rather than the hugesmp.s kernel). kde4 is still failing as it was the first time, in both root and user modes. Here are the symptoms:

1. There is no startup panel at the bottom nor top of the desktop. If I select one from the "Desktop" button, it will sometimes vanish if I start an app. Sometimes, I get both the default startup panel at the bottom and the one I selected at the top of the desktop.

2. When I open any application, the window has no border nor title bar. Without the border, I cannot move nor close the window/app.

3. The alt-right_button mouse action does not move the window.

4. The app's toolbar (File, Edit, View, etc.) is there, but items will not work when clicked on. Items under the toolbar (i.e. Firefox tabs) are clickable and work.

I did a web search for this problem and got a few hits and suggestions, but none of them worked. I was able to use the "kwin --replace" suggestion and the borders did appear, until I tried to change the window size or move it, at which time the border disappeared and the terminal window I was working with was dead - no keyboard response.
Some suggested using Alt-F3 or Alt-F2 to bring up the border. On my installation, neither do anything.

It appears that kwin is unstable on my desktop and it keeps crashing for some reason.

So, I am hoping someone has a solution to this problem. Any help on it would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
Girvin Herr
Old 06-18-2013, 02:15 AM   #2
Alien Bob
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Location: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
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Try if Alt-F2 works - it should open krunner and then you can enter "kwin --replace" to try and start KWin again.
If KWin starts successfully, you will get your window borders, panel etc back. Then go to "Configure Desktop > Enable Desktop Effects" and disable desktop effects.
Then reboot the computer to see if disabling the desktop effects will solve the crashes of KWin at startup.

Alternatively, try editing the file ~/.kde4/share/config/kwinrc and search for the section "[compositing]".
In there, if it has a line "Enabled = True" change that to "Enabled = False" in order to disable compositing. That may help too.

You could also try installing ATI's proprietary drivers.

Old 06-19-2013, 06:05 PM   #3
Registered: Mar 2011
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 58

Original Poster
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Alien Bob,
Thanks for your prompt reply. Sorry I didn't get back sooner. Much of yesterday my electricity was out to move the power pole at the street and I didn't receive an email notice of your new posting from LinuxQuestions after I cam back online. I will have to look into that.

Alas, I tried Alt-F2 and nothing happened. I even tried combinations of Ctrl, Alt, and F2 with no results. I was able to bring up a console screen and I entered the "kwin --replace" command and got the window borders! My glee was short-lived because as soon as I moved a window with the mouse, the window border disappeared again and further attempts with kwin --replace to bring it back failed. It appears as though kwin is prone to crashing on my system. Since then, I have been doing more searching and learned about some things to try with the ATI driver, such as removing it from kms. Today, I thought of redirecting the kde console (F1) messages to files (one for stdout, the other for stderr) and when I brought up kde with the redirection, the window borders were there! Moving and resizing the windows appeared to be working. However, when I brought up Firefox to see if it would come up with a window border (it did), the mouse cursor was there and moving, but no clicks would do anything. Even right-click on the desktop would not bring up the logout popup. Upon reboot, I discovered somehow my hard disk image got corrupted this time and Reiserfs was having a lot of errors regarding locked nodes and permission errors! That was mostly my bad, because I was running kde4 as root in case there were file permission problems associated with this problem. So, now I must reinstall S14.0 up to where I was testing again so I can continue. I didn't lose much, since I only installed up to the point I could debug/test this problem.

I understand there is a kdm.log file for kde error messages, and also a ~/.xsession.errors file, but I cannot find either one on my system. So, there must be some sort of switch to turn these on when needed, I suppose. I just haven't found that switch yet.

I did verify that kms was loading the ATI (now AMD) driver and it did refer to the RV100 (7000 VE) model, which is what I am using. I could not find anything suspicious in any of the log files in /var/log (dmesg, messages, etc.).

So, I will try your suggestion of disabling desktop effects and compositing when I get it back again. I was thinking just the opposite - that these two were needed for the window borders.

Hopefully more later. Thanks.
Girvin Herr
Old 06-20-2013, 08:52 PM   #4
Registered: Mar 2011
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 58

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 3
Here is an update:
I reinstalled Slack 14.0 and configured it just enough to do more testing of my KDE4 problems. I was able to log the console messages safely this time and got a ton of messages and many errors. Too many to list here. I will try to enclose the output file. I discovered today that KDE4 uses MySQL, which I did not have configured yet, so I went ahead and did so and ran KDE4 again. The output file size was about the same, but with a quick look, it looked like the Akonadi database messages were smoother. I am getting a lot of:

Connecting to depricated signal QDBusConnectionInterface::serviceOwnerChanged(QString,QString,QString)


QDBusConnection: session D-Bus connection created before QCoreApplication. Application may misbehave.

That latter one looks interesting, since I am getting a lot of misbehavior. There are several real error messages I need to look at and understand.

KDE4's clean startup behavior today seems to be consistent. It will start up looking okay, but sometime after the startup progress window goes away, the taskbar at the bottom disappears, leaving only the desktop tab in the upper right corner. When I right-click on the desktop to get the desktop option popup to logout, make my selection to log out and the desktop popup goes away and the logout options popup comes up, the desktop goes all black. When I make my logout option selection and the logout popup goes away, then the desktop reappears until the shutdown gets to the point that the desktop should go away. Crazy!

It is getting late, so I will have to quit for the night.
It looks like I have been able to attach the log file. This is the first time I have tried it in this forum. Hope it works.
More later.
Girvin Herr
Attached Files
File Type: txt kde4-log.txt (42.1 KB, 10 views)
Old 07-01-2013, 08:04 PM   #5
Registered: Mar 2011
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 58

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 3
Sorry this is so late, but I think this thread is solved and I wanted to report on the success after I was sure it was success.

Alien Bob, I tried your solution on ~/.kde/share/config/kwinrc to disable compositing and I then was able to get in to KDE4 and configure it without the instability. I then disabled not only "desktop effects", but several "features" that the log reported as not supported, such as "Blur" and "Shaders". That seemed to work, until I started having disk drive file write problems where there should not be any. So, Thanks Alien Bob for the direction.

I discovered the hard drive I had been using to install Slacks since 13.0 was having intermittent errors (smartctl reported 830 errors!). I am now waiting for delivery of new 1TB SATA drives to continue with Slack 14.0 installation. They should arrive the end of this week. I am confident that the new drive should get me going again.

BTW: One can get a log file of the KDE messages by: startx &>logfile
Then run KDE and stop it when needed. "logfile" should contain the messages from KDE until it quit.

Thanks to all.
Girvin Herr


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