Note about Konsole 4

Linux versions of text applications (MEVO, RedMixer, Maezumo, etc) typically include a shell script that changes to the application directory then runs the application in a terminal to provide input and output. This is necessary as some versions of Linux by default don't set the working directory and run binary programs without a terminal, making the application "invisible". I wish there was a standard form for doing this, but different GNU/Linux distributions include different terminal programs making it somewhat complicated for a hobby programmer to share simple applications that "just work". The xterm program is one of the oldest I/O terminals, usually already present or easily installed and very stable, so is typically the default terminal for the run scripts. Almost all terminals are run using the syntax "termprogram -e application" so normally if the run script needs adapting it's a matter of just replacing xterm with the terminal you wish to use. At least until I tried the KDE 4 version of konsole.

I use the KDE 3 version of konsole under Ubuntu 8.04, it works great. How much longer I'll be able to use it is questionable, since newer distributions have moved to KDE 4, and version 4 of konsole has issues. The biggest issue is the developers changed the command line options in a way that breaks almost every script I have that uses konsole. Including many of the scripts on this web site. The new konsole now changes to the home directory unless --workdir is specified (instead of staying in the directory it was run from), and runs as a background process unless --nofork is specified (breaking post processing such as deleting temp files etc if present, normally the user puts & after a command line to fork). It also has another problem that makes it unsuitable for some applications - software flow control is permanently enabled so anything using control-S won't work. This mainly affects old minicomputer apps running under SimH but also affects some modern programs.

Basically, the konsole options in my existing run scripts written before 6/2010 won't work under KDE 4 as-is.

To fix the run script for KDE 4, change...

konsole -e [rest of the line]

konsole --workdir `dirname $0` --nofork -e [rest of the line]

I no longer have the KDE 4 version of konsole installed on my Ubuntu 9.04 system where I discovered this problem (I forced it to version 3 from the hardy repository as it's the only KDE app I use on that system) so I can't test this theory. I hope that at least some KDE 4 distributions got a clue and changed the command line default so that it doesn't break terminal apps, so this might not apply to all versions of KDE 4.

This really affects the MEVO run script, which attempts to automatically detect the terminal. Other scripts require editing and use xterm by default. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to do about this... but I'm inclined to simply remove all support for konsole for new things. If OS makers wish to break their OS's by making them incompatible with common protocol, then that is their problem, not mine. If using KDE 4, use xterm instead of konsole, or edit the run script or make a custom launcher as needed.

- Terry (6/27/2010)