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KMail, Akonadi, MySQL, D-Bus ... driving me nuts!


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Well not really a good day. I've been fighting for months with KMail and the crashes that occur when I try to send a message. I tried a few recommended fixes in September, but to no avail. I got to a point that I would always check my mail on my iPhone and respond there, so I could send messages. KMail became my storage box for received messages. However, I have no record of sent messages in the iPhone, and I'm not tieing up another message by including myself on the sent messages.


Anyways, it seems that the major problem with KMail is that it crashes after I upgraded from 2010.0 to 2010.1. And when starting from the application menu, I have no idea why. When I start from the CLI, I find that there is a problem with the Akonadi server. Seems that it is not starting. When I try to start it, I get other faults that deal with MySQL not running and that the Akonadi server is not registered with the D-Bus service.


I'm really at my wits end here. I've tried attacking things one step at a time. I've managed to get MySQL running and this is clear in the Akonadi start up (a couple of less "red X's"). However there are still three problems with Akonadi Control, Akonadi Server and Nepomuk not being registered at D-Bus.


My original installation of 2010.0 was pretty well stock. I upgraded to 2010.1 based on the system indicating that Spring was here. I don't understand why KMail (which I've been using for years) now crashes. We've got one application (Kmail) that is reliant on a second working (Akonadi) which itself is reliant on some registration with another application (D-Bus). I've spend hours/days on Google trying every little recommendation to resolve this and none really address this last D-Bus issue. My wife is getting tired of me spending hours in my "NASA" room.


Any hints to resolve this very well known problem? Any way to update out of it?

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Well, it's funny how you grasp at anything to solve a problem. Yesterday, after leaving the original post on the forum, I spent a bit of time re-Googling the problem. I then took any recommended solution and cut/pasted it into a spreadsheet. I was going to grasp at "everything"!



When I got to my computer, I started implementing them one by one and checking the results. Here are some of my results:


0. Recommendation: I have to mention that at some point during the past few days of trouble-shooting, one recommendation that I can across (not listed below) was to set up MySQL with an "external db". What this meant was actually doing a basic configuration where "root" gets a password for MySQL and I set up a regular user called "akonadi". It then meant creating a new database called "akonadi" followed by granting access to the database. Akonadi (through the tray) was configured to use this database.


Results: However, changing akonadi to use this external database did not solve the problems.


1. Recommendation: comment out the "slow-query" lines from ~/.local/share/akonadi/mysql.conf as well as /etc/akonadi/mysql-global.conf


Results: akonadi test/start still failed.


2. Recommendation: Activate nepomuk. This actually required some work. Starting with the installation of the "systemsettings.xxxx.rpm". Then enabling nepomuk under the desktop search. (There are clearer explanations of enabling Nepomuk on the net)


Results: nepomuk check in akonadi test/start succeeded. However, Akonadi start still failed.


3. Recommendation: install mysql-core.


Results: already installed during original setup. Nothing changed.


4. Recommendation: (re)moving the akonadi config files. Akonadi rebuilds at next start up.


Results: No change. The rebuilt directories and files are the same as the original ones(...flawed).


5. Recommendation: Create a new user and setup KMail again.


Results: No change. Same failures.


6. Recommendation: install kdemod-kdepim-runtime.


Results: The MDV2010.1 equivalent was already install. Hence, no change.


7. Recommendation: Create an akonadi resource for both contacts and calendars using the "KDE Resources" under System Settings. Neither of these existed and the "Add" button in the System Settings application was missing the label. Each creation caused the Akonadi server test to be performed and both times failed. However, I continued to "Apply" and "Close" and the resources were created.


Results: The "resource agent" sub-test for akonadi succeeded, where it had previously failed. One more check!


8. Recommendation: Change the akonadi server SOCKET option in the server configuration to /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock. I used the akonadi tray to change this setting. However, the only way to change it is to use an external database (which I previously attempted in 0). I re-entered the database name, user name, password and then filled the Option field with "/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock". This field is normally filled with something that looks like "UNIX_SOCKET=/home/xxxx/.local/share/akonadi/db_misc/mysql.socket".


Results: The akonadi server started, KMail launches and sends without crashing.



Now I get to rant a bit. Why is it that so many (and I mean lots) of people have had this problem with KMail? A lot of people have either used a different mail client, changed Desktop Environments or even left Linux. It's not specific to Mandriva, just to the implementation of KDE.


As I noted in my original post, the issue is with "setup dependencies". All of the correct packages were installed. I guess that during the upgrade from 2010.0 to 2010.1, the parts of KDE relating to KMail, Akonadi, MySQLd, etc were updated, but the configuration from 2010.0 stayed. As the 2010.0 configuration was based on a different interactive relationship between the various components, it all failed. The major problem with the implementation of some of the applications (like KMail) is likely that an assumption that Akonadi was running properly. Akonadi also assumes that some database like MySQL is running and that Nepomuk is enabled. If KMail absolutely needs Akonadi to run, KMail should ensure that Akonadi is running properly and make recommendations if it is not. If Akonadi requires a running MySQL database and non-ROOT user, then it should help us make that happen.


I definitely got frustrated that I needed months to sort out a problem like this. I've been using Linux since "Slack96 " and Mandriva since Mandrake 8.0. I've got multiple degrees in computer science and computer engineering, so I've got decent background to sort these things out. I personally use KMail just for mail. I don't use it for the address book or calendar (my iPhone and iTunes on my Mac Book Pro are for that). I don't need the capabilities of Akonadi, Nepomuk and Strigi, nor do I use MySQL. However, I spent hours setting them up, each one requiring specific configurations.


I just hope that when the next upgrade to 2011 comes along, these issues will be avoided. If not, at least I've got my work log (this post) to be able to fix the broken stuff.

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When I first installed 2010.1, I spent several hours finding out how to get the Address Book functioning properly. I decided (after using KDE for 8 years) to abandon KDE before the Nepomuk-Akonadi-strigi-mysql monster was extended to pollute any more of the system. I'm sure that the KDE dev's have lots of fun developing all this stuff and there may actually be some people who find it useful, but for me it all serves no useful purpose.


Since Mandriva are to discontinue support for all DE's other than KDE, I also decided to use a different distro, after 8 years with Mandrake/Mandriva.



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All the recent changes/problems were a showstopper for me (my wife actually) stopping use of once so much loved KMail.

Now she is handling her electronic mail through Thunderbird, and i never hear any complaints anymore, for where it concerns e-mail that is ;-).

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This is exactly my point, something is wrong if having one part of the distro (KDE) "advance" (I know this is all relative) means that the users take a step back. If Mandriva is going KDE-only in the future, then I'm going to be looking for another distro, as I like options. I've installed XFce versions of Mandriva on some experimental computers, as well as E17-based as well. Other Mandriva-based distros like PCLinuxOS and TinyME may be the way to go.

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