Questions re CI on Macports and KDE

Ian Wadham at
Sun Apr 13 14:06:31 PDT 2014

Hello MacPorts Developers,

As you may know, I am a developer of KDE Games working on Apple OS X
Lion with an early-2011 Macbook Pro.  I am here on a kind of diplomatic
mission from KDE-land.  But first a few words of background.

KDE SC 4.13 is due for release on 16 April.  Just over a month ago,
one of the KDE promotional guys asked on the general KDE developers'
list (kde-devel at to nominate software he should advertise for
people to test in the KDE SC 4.13 release candidate.

I wrote and asked what testing of cross-platform and cross-desktop
implementations is being done, pointed out some problems I had heard
of with Apple OS X and Windows, suggested that some KDE people might
have a joint "sprint" with Apple and Windows guys to clear up some of the
problems and finally that it would be nice to have some regular testing …
Marko Käning joined in and supported me.  After much discussion some
negatives and some positives emerged.

On the negative side, it appears that no formal testing of cross-platform
implementations of KDE software is currently done.  There is some informal
testing and fixing of problems on non-Linux platforms because some KDE
core developers also work on those platforms.  MacPorts is not so lucky.
I think I am the only KDE developer working on a Mac and I am not a core
KDE developer (i.e. not one who works on libraries, utilities or build systems).

On the positive side, Mario Fux, who is organising a bunch of sprints and
workshops at Randa, in the Swiss Alps this year [1], offered to organise some
groups to tackle cross-platform issues.  Marko and I joined Mario in some
private discussions, along with present and former MacPorts-KDE developers:
Nicolas Pavillon, Bradley Giesbrecht and Michael Dickens.  Unfortunately,
except for Marko, we all came from too far away to attend Randa, but we
went on discussing ways and means to narrow down and solve KDE
portability problems on MacPorts.

The end result is that we have opened up discussions on the KDE Mac
mailing list (kde-mac at and have set up a MacPorts wiki page to
keep track of the problems (thanks, Marko) [2].

The idea is to list the known problems and then narrow them down one by
one until it is possible to assign them either to a MacPorts ticket or to a bug
report on, or even on Qt's bug system, depending on where
the root cause of the problem is found to lie.  Marko has already made a
start on investigating some problems and I have started to look at the notorious
meinproc4 problem.

We will need expert help from KDE developers to diagnose the problems and
Mario, who knows a lot of the key KDE developers, has offered to find helpers
for us, as required by whatever part of KDE is involved.  The KDE developers
will also need *our* help to run tests and trials for them: there is not a lot of Apple
hardware in KDE-land ATM … :-)

Some of this has already begun to bear fruit.  Please have a look at the new
wiki page [2], which is growing daily, and feel free to add any KDE-related
problems you know about that are not already listed.

The other positive is that Ben Cooksley, one of KDE's leading sysadmin
guys is interested in setting up continuous integration (CI) to build and
test KDE software in an Apple OS X environment as it is developed and
released and before it gets to MacPorts.

And that is really why I am here.

Ben is in a central position in KDE re repositories, servers and KDE's
CI system, based on Jenkins.  Right now there is a KDE release about
to go out (KDE SC 4.13), so he is rather busy and has asked me to speak
for him.

Several parts of KDE software have test modules.  KDE's Jenkins CI system
compiles and builds all KDE software continuously, in a Linux environment,
as it is committed.  It also tests software that has test modules.  Ben's idea
is to extend this CI system to run in Apple OS X and Windows, so that the
cross-platform versions can be kept clean after problems are cleared up.

But first, Ben has some basic questions and he would like to get in touch
with the guys who run MacPorts' CI system to discuss possibilities.  There
are potential benefits for both sides, it appears.  I have told him what
MacPorts' CI does, that it is based on buildbot and that you support multiple
Apple hardware platforms and multiple versions of Apple OS X.

Ben is not sure what would be required to set up CI of KDE in an Apple
OS X envirionment.  His immediate questions are to do with Apple OS X
installation, but I am sure he has many more.

    - Can he virtualise Mac OS X legally on a Linux machine?
    - Must he invest in Apple hardware?
    - Does OS X licensing forbid installation on non-Apple hardware?
    - How can he get in contact with the MacPorts CI guys?

Hoping you can help,
All the best,
Ian W.


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