3 coders, 1 year and 29 days, and 5 “New” queue rejections

September 3, 2009

…is apparently how much it takes to get userconfig ported to KDE4. It’s epic in an awesomely pathetic manner. 😀

You may remember userconfig from the KDE3 days. It was the user configuration module inside of System Settings, developed as part of the Guidance project for KDE. It was a bit easier to use than KUser and was integrated into System Settings. Due to lack of manpower and insufficient bindings at the time, the Guidance project was discontinued around the start of KDE4. About the only project that survived was guidance-power-manager, since it was needed to fill an important niche (power management) and people were maintaining it.

Work on the KDE4 port of userconfig was initially kicked off by Yuriy Kozlov 1 year and 29 days from yesterday. (http://code.launchpad.net/~kubuntu-members/guidance/userconfig-kde4) Yuriy got it to the point to where it ran as a standalone application (no python bindings for System Settings modules yet), but didn’t really do much else. The guts were there, it’s just that the interface code didn’t fair well in the KDE3 -> KDE4 porting. The layouts were all messed up and such to the point where it wasn’t all that usable.. Unfortunately, real life set in(tm), and Yuriy found himself unable to continue work on the project.

After that, I came along and rewrote the GUI using Qt Designer files. Now everything looked ok, but there were still quite a few bugs and everything was still very alpha– definitely not something that we could include in Kubuntu 9.04.

Ralph Janke (txwikinger) then came and fixed things up quite a bit more, but I think both of us either forgot or were unable to contribute more to the project, and userconfig languished in bzr for several months.

A few months ago, Yuriy found the time to code a bit more, and ported userconfig from being a standalone application to a System Settings module, just as it was in KDE3 times. Now things were looking pretty good, and userconfig was ready for release. Jonathan Riddell and myself collaborated and were able to get a package up in a PPA for testing, where it was promptly forgotten about until the day of Feature Freeze. Oops.

So a few days ago I got the Feature Freeze exception all approved and spent yesterday uploading userconfig to Ubuntu. I ended up getting it rejected out of New queue 4 times before it was accepted (Sorry for the abuse, ScottK); the failures were due to problems with userconfig itself, copyright problems introduced fixing said problems, or a mix of the two. I think I now hold the record for most rejections of a package in a day. 😀

All in all, it feels like a war has been fought just to get this piece of software out in the wild. Picture the three of us, straggling in with ripped clothes, posting a flag triumphantly on the mountain top. It missed Kubuntu 9.10 alpha 5, but you can install it from the archives now no problem. (sudo apt-get install userconfig) Please test, etc. If everything goes well, you can expect this to be default in Kubuntu 9.10 alpha 6, replacing KUser as the default user management tool. Yay!

Here’s to a grand alpha 5 release! 🙂