KDE, Pulseaudio and Browsers – make the LADSPA equalizer the default sink

During these days of Covid-19, home-office and lock-downs browsers and other Internet streaming tools as VLC become important personal gates to the world. When streaming videos or songs a user, of course, wants to hear some sound. No problem with Linux - Alsa helped you already decades ago. But things used to become a bit complicated if you wanted to direct the output of multiple sound-sources through a global equalizer of your Linux desktop environment (in my case preferably KDE). An equalizer may help to compensate deficits of cheap speakers or hearing problems of elderly persons as me. Well, if you found a global desktop equalizer at all. With KDE, no chance - it always was a strange policy of the KDE-people to assume that an equalizer is none of their responsibilities. So, a standard Linux user depended on application specific equalizers - which at least many Linux sound and video players offered. But what about browsers?

This is, where "Pulseaudio" and the related "Ladspa" based equalizer really were of help to a common user. As a matter of fact, I have never been a real friend of "Pulseaudio" [PA]; you can find some critical posts regarding PA in this blog. However, I gladly admit that Pulseaudio and its control interfaces have become substantially better with the years. At some point in the past PA started to work reasonably well even with multi-channel soundcards. It is now also much better integrated with KDE's "Phonon" system than some years ago. Today, you can define e.g. a central volume control without destroying the relative volume ratios of different output channels of a sound card. And: We have a well integrated equalizer as a desktop-wide, global tool to improve the sound quality. So, why a post about it?

A problem with (automatically) changing streams and an assignment to a default sink

A problem with KDE and Pulseaudio in the past was the following: Only some applications (as e.g. "Clementine) " gave/give the user a chance to specify a sink of the sound environment to which the sound output of the application is transferred for further processing.

A sound sink is a kind of sound module which accepts a sound stream as input, processes it and may send an output to other processing modules or an amplifier. On KDE you may find some available sinks for your sound card or cards under "system-settings >> Multimedia". An important sink in our present context is the PA equalizer. See https://doc.qt.io/archives/qt-4.8/phonon-overview.html for the inclusion of media objects and sinks into a sound flow model ("graphs") for KDE.

However, a lot of applications as e.g. browsers do not offer any settings to modify the primary sound sink. Instead they address a "default sink" of the system. What the "default sink" was, was either non-transparent to the user, or some related settings within your KDE desktop were just ignored, or you had to dive deep into the unhandy Alsa and the PA-configuration options. This led to major inconveniences for normal users:

When a new sound stream was activated a default sound sink was chosen by many applications which often did not correspond to the preferred one - namely the equalizer.

This problem could only partially be overcome by using "pavucontrol", a PA-tool to control volume settings on channels and sinks in the system. "pavucontrol"actually allowed and allows the user to assign sinks to running applications and their sound streams. However, when the application switched from one stream to another - e.g. automatically in a media-player with a list of songs or on the web (youtube changing videos) - then the newly selected stream fell back to the default sink. Driving the user nuts ....

Setting of the default sink for the KDE desktop

I use Opensuse Leap 15.1/2 with KDE as my main working environment (besides Debian and Kali with Gnome 🙂 ). By chance I recently found something which did not work for me in previous installations. In KDE we have a specific sound system - "Phonon" - which allows the user to organize the priority of "devices" (sinks) for certain kinds of applications. In my case you see the settings for "music" applications:

You see that I have 2 sound cards available - but to make things simpler I deactivated one of them for this blog post. The first device listed is the PA's LADSPA equalizer:

It got the highest priority for music streams - more precisely for applications which follow the Qt/Phonon-API-rules when playing music streams. But, what about browsers (FF, Chromium, Opera, ...), what about applications designed for Gnome and GTK3? You often can direct them to use PA, but what does PA respect as a default sink in a KDE environment with Phonon?

Well the simple "trick" which I found working recently is to set the priorities for all audio in KDE's Phonon-settings:

Then we get the following PA-settings (install and start the pulseaudio-manager application "paman"):

This is what we need! And this setting is (now) respected by browsers and other applications that seek a default sink.

So: KDE, Pulseaudio and Phonon settings actually give a common KDE user the chance to direct all sound through the Ladspa equalizer as a default sink.

If your media-player offers its own equalizer you can of course combine both equalizers.

By the way: Common volume control

In the above picture on Phonon settings the sink "Simultaneous output to ..." directs multiple sound sources to one or multiple sound devices. As we direct all sound through the equalizer first, we give the "Simultaneous output ..."-device second priority.

We can use it for a common volume control in KDE's Kmix: If you right-click on the Kmix symbol or open it you get an option to choose the main output channel :

Now, this setting assigns the desktop's global volume control to this sink - which leaves all other volume settings, e.g. for the relative volumes of the sound-card channels, untouched:

You may find that this settings is transported to the sound control keys of a keyboard with a media control bar (e.g. on a Cherry keyboard).


With the help of KDE's system-settings and Pulseaudio we can direct the output of all audio applications through a desktop wide equalizer, which we define by Phonon settings as a default sink. This is simply done by giving PA's LADSPA equalizer the highest priority for all audio. You do not need to dive into PA configuration depths or the command line for changing PA's device and sink graphs for sound flows.
The "Simultaneous output ...." device (or sink) allows for a global volume control which respects other volume settings controlled e.g. via PA's "pavucontrol".

Eclipse, PyDev, virtualenv and graphical output of matplotlib on KDE – I

When you enter the field of machine learning [ML] and Artificial Intelligence [AI] there is no way around Python. And whilst studying books like "A. Geron's Machine Learning with SciKit-Learn & TensorFlow" [1] or F. Chollet's "Deep learning with Python and Keras" [2] one understands quickly: You do not learn by reading, but by doing experiments.

For me this meant to both improve my basic Python knowledge and to set up a reasonable working environment on my Linux workstation (with Opensuse Leap Linux and KDE). The named books recommend using "Jupyter notebooks" - and I must say, Jupyter environments are fun to use. However, as soon as I started with more complex program variations I began missing an IDE. I think that in the end Python code must be organized in a more systematic way than during experiments with Jupyter notebooks. A Jupyter notebook serves one purpose, a Python IDE a supplemental one.

A natural choice for an IDE based on opensource tools is Eclipse with PyDev. After a basic setup I stumbled across two problems:

  • For projects a so called "virtual" Python environment is useful, which encapsulates a defined mix of Python and library versions. How to use "virtualenv" within PyDev and its Python specific console?
  • Quite often the results of ML/AI-experiments need to be represented in a graphical way. Browser based "Jupyter notebooks" make the use of graphics easy by using browser capabilities. But how to use Python's matplotlib in my Opensuse/KDE/Eclipse environment?

In this article I address the steps to setup Eclipse/PyDev in such a way that both points are covered. I do this for an Opensuse Leap system, but a transfer to other Linux distributions should be simple. The group of readers I address is either ML-interested folks for whom Eclipse is a new environment or people as me who know Eclipse but not the PyDev plugin. People who already work with PyDev will probably not learn anything new.

Step 1: Install Eclipse

A basic Eclipse installation is a straightforward business on most Linux distributions ( see e.g.: https://simopr.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/install-eclipse-ide-on-opensuse-leap-42/). I will, therefore, not cover this topic in detail here. You first need to install a Java Runtime environment (on Opensuse via the RPM java-10-openjdk), if not yet provided by your distribution. A current version of Eclipse can be downloaded from the site
(Actually, I used my already installed Eclipse photon version 4.9.0 of September 2018 - which works pretty well for me. But the present 2019 RC3 candidate of Eclipse should work as well.)

To my knowledge there is no special Eclipse package for Python developers; as a PHP-developer I choose the package for PHP-developers for a basic Eclipse installation and install the required Python PyDev packages afterwards.

You download your chosen tar.gz-file from the Eclipse site named above, save it and then expand its contents into a suitable directory of your Linux system (in my case into "/projects/eclipse"). Then you can directly start the executable "eclipse"-file there - e.g. in a terminal.

Then you need to define your path for a "workspace" for your Python projects. Note that the workspace is not necessarily identical with a root directory for all your project files; a workspace instead gathers information on your configuration settings for Eclipse and defined projects. The project files themselves, however, can be located in a very different place - e.g. in a directory defined for your local GIT platform - in my case below "/projects/GIT/...".

Eventually, you get a full fledged Eclipse IDE interface, which you can customize (see "Window >> "Preferences"). This is beyond the scope of this article; I give however some hints regarding color. You can e.g. customize editor and console colors for specific programming languages within Eclipse.

However, regarding certain application control elements you may nevertheless run into trouble regarding the definition of colors; one reason is that on a Qt5-based KDE desktop the end result may depend both on Eclipse settings and also on desktop design schemes for GTK2/GTK3 applications as Eclipse. This type of dependency requires experiments. So, what exactly do I use?

Within Eclipse itself I use the "Dark Theme" - to avoid an eye sore whilst programming.

Regarding my KDE desktop I use a standard Breeze Desktop Scheme with Elegance-Design and the Standard Color Theme (with the activation flag for non-Qt-applications set). KDE application design elements, however, are taken from the Adwaita-Scheme. For GTK2 applications on KDE I prefer the Clearlooks-design, for GTK3 applications - as Eclipse (> 4.9.0) - again Adwaita. This combination gives me a sufficient foreground/background-contrast for control elements like checkboxes, radio buttons, ...

A last convenience point: In a graphical desktop environment as KDE you will of course add some icon to your desktop (in my case with a reference to the file "projects/eclipse/eclipse") to reduce the starting process to a click.

Step 2: Basic Python packages on the system level

I assume that you have already installed Python in your Linux-(Opensuse)-system. In my environment I use the Python 3.6 RPM-packages from the standard repositories for Opensuse Leap 15.0:
https://download.opensuse.org/distribution/ leap/15.0/repo/oss/
https://download.opensuse.org/update/ leap/15.0/oss/.

The number of available Python library packages is quite big; what libraries you should install depends on your programming objectives. You need at least the basic "python3" package. Another "must", in my opinion, is the package "python3-pip"; it enables us to perform specific package installations for our "virtual Python environment" later on.

As a basic ingredient for graphics you may also install suitable libraries for your Linux desktop environment. In my case this is KDE - so I installed the packages "python3-qt5", python-qt5-utils" and also "python3-qt5-devel" to be on the safe side. However, as we shall see we may need Qt5-packages within a project environment, too. That is where Python's internal "pip" mechanism enters the game.

Below we shall perform the installation of the "virtualenv" package to demonstarte the usage of "pip" or "pip3" in a Python3-environment. As a first step I provide myself (i.e. user "myself") with a current version of "pip3":

myself@mytux:~> pip3 --version
pip 19.1.0 from /home/myself/.local/lib/python3.6/site-packages/pip (python 3.6)
myself@mytux:~> pip3 install --user --upgrade pip
Collecting pip
  Downloading https://files.pythonhosted.org/packages/5c/e0/be401c003291b56efc55aeba6a80ab790d3d4cece2778288d65323009420/pip-19.1.1-py2.py3-none-any.whl (1.4MB)
     |████████████████████████████████| 1.4MB 1.0MB/s 
Installing collected packages: pip
  Found existing installation: pip 19.1                                                                                                                                                 
    Uninstalling pip-19.1:                                                                                                                                                              
      Successfully uninstalled pip-19.1                                                                                                                                                 
Successfully installed pip-19.1.1                                                                                                                                                       
myself@mytux:~> pip3 --version
pip 19.1.1 from /home/myself/.local/lib/python3.6/site-packages/pip (python 3.6)

You see that the parameter "--user" already lead to a personal configuration of basic Python packages (within my home-directory). But we shall specify a project specific environment in the fourth step.

Step3: Working directory for our ML-project

We now define a base directory "ai" for future experiments.

myself@mytux:~> export AI_PATH ="/projekte/GIT/ai/"
myself@mytux:~> mkdir -p $AI_PATH

A sub-directory "ml1" shall provide the environment for a bunch of initial basic ML-experiments and related Python code files, libraries, Jupyter notebooks, etc.. We create this "ml1" directory as a base for a "virtual" Python environment.

Step 4: Prepare a virtual Python environment via virtualenv and working directories

Python installations allow for the definition of a so called "virtual environment" for projects via the "virtualenv" add-on. Among other things "virtualenv" lets you define a project specific configuration with Python and library versions in a consistent reproducible state. This in turn gives you a base for the "configuration management" of complex endeavors; therefore, I strongly recommend to make use of this feature - also in combination with PyDev: .

myself@mytux:~> pip3 install --user --upgrade virtualenv
Collecting virtualenv
  Downloading https://files.pythonhosted.org/packages/ca/ee/8375c01412abe6ff462ec80970e6bb1c4308724d4366d7519627c98691ab/virtualenv-16.6.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl (2.0MB)
     |████████████████████████████████| 2.0MB 1.6MB/s 
Installing collected packages: virtualenv
  Found existing installation: virtualenv 16.5.0
    Uninstalling virtualenv-16.5.0:
      Successfully uninstalled virtualenv-16.5.0
Successfully installed virtualenv-16.6.0
myself@mytux:~> virtualenv --version

Now we can use "virtualenv" to setup the virtual Python environment for "ml1" in our "ai"-directory:

myself@mytux:~> cd /projekte/GIT/ai/
myself@mytux:/projekte/GIT/ai> virtualenv ml1
Using base prefix '/usr'
  No LICENSE.txt / LICENSE found in source
New python executable in /projekte/GIT/ai/ml1/bin/python3
Also creating executable in /projekte/GIT/ai/ml1/bin/python
Installing setuptools, pip, wheel...
myself@mytux:/projekte/GIT/ai> la ml1
insgesamt 20
drwxr-xr-x 5 myself users 4096 25. Mai 15:05 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 myself users 4096 25. Mai 15:05 ..
drwxr-xr-x 2 myself users 4096 25. Mai 15:05 bin
drwxr-xr-x 2 myself users 4096 25. Mai 15:05 include
drwxr-xr-x 3 myself users 4096 25. Mai 15:05 lib
lrwxrwxrwx 1 myself users    3 25. Mai 15:05 lib64 -> lib
myself@mytux:/projekte/GIT/ai> la ml1/bin
insgesamt 72
drwxr-xr-x 2 myself users  4096 25. Mai 15:05 .
drwxr-xr-x 5 myself users  4096 25. Mai 15:05 ..
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  2096 25. Mai 15:05 activate
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  1428 25. Mai 15:05 activate.csh
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  3052 25. Mai 15:05 activate.fish
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  1804 25. Mai 15:05 activate.ps1
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  1512 25. Mai 15:05 activate_this.py
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  1150 25. Mai 15:05 activate.xsh
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   249 25. Mai 15:05 easy_install
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   249 25. Mai 15:05 easy_install-3.6
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   231 25. Mai 15:05 pip
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   231 25. Mai 15:05 pip3
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   231 25. Mai 15:05 pip3.6
lrwxrwxrwx 1 myself users     7 25. Mai 15:05 python -> python3
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users 10456 25. Mai 15:05 python3
lrwxrwxrwx 1 myself users     7 25. Mai 15:05 python3.6 -> python3
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users  2338 25. Mai 15:05 python-config
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   227 25. Mai 15:05 wheel

You see that a whole directory structure was established - with Python3 executables copied from our basic system installation. We can fully use this Python environment already on the command line (of a terminal window). However, we need to activate it so that its files and libs are really used:

myself@mytux:/projekte/GIT/ai/ml1> source bin/activate  
(ml1) myself@mytux:/projekte/GIT/ai/ml1> python3 
Python 3.6.5 (default, Mar 31 2018, 19:45:04) [GCC] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> print("Hello World!")
Hello World!
>>> quit()
(ml1) myself@mytux:/projekte/GIT/ai/ml1> pip3 install --upgrade jupyter                                                                                                                      
Collecting jupyter                                                                                                                                                                      
  Using cached https://files.pythonhosted.org/packages/83/df/0f5dd132200728a86190397e1ea87cd76244e42d39ec5e88efd25b2abd7e/jupyter-1.0.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl                            
Collecting notebook (from jupyter)
..Successfully built pyrsistent
Installing collected packages: Send2Trash, ipython-genutils, decorator, six, traitlets, jupyter-core, MarkupSafe, jinja2, pyzmq, python-dateutil, tornado, jupyter-client, backcall, pickleshare, wcwidth, prompt-toolkit, ptyprocess, pexpect, pygments, parso, jedi, ipython, ipykernel, prometheus-client, pyrsistent, attrs, jsonschema, nbformat, terminado, entrypoints, mistune, webencodings, bleach, testpath, defusedxml, pandocfilters, nbconvert, notebook, jupyter-console, widgetsnbextension, ipywidgets, qtconsole, jupyter
Successfully installed MarkupSafe-1.1.1 Send2Trash-1.5.0 attrs-19.1.0 backcall-0.1.0 bleach-3.1.0 decorator-4.4.0 defusedxml-0.6.0 entrypoints-0.3 ipykernel-5.1.1 ipython-7.5.0 ipython-genutils-0.2.0 ipywidgets-7.4.2 jedi-0.13.3 jinja2-2.10.1 jsonschema-3.0.1 jupyter-1.0.0 jupyter-client-5.2.4 jupyter-console-6.0.0 jupyter-core-4.4.0 mistune-0.8.4 nbconvert-5.5.0 nbformat-4.4.0 notebook-5.7.8 pandocfilters-1.4.2 parso-0.4.0 pexpect-4.7.0 pickleshare-0.7.5 prometheus-client-0.6.0 prompt-toolkit-2.0.9 ptyprocess-0.6.0 pygments-2.4.1 pyrsistent-0.15.2 python-dateutil-2.8.0 pyzmq-18.0.1 qtconsole-4.5.0 six-1.12.0 terminado-0.8.2 testpath-0.4.2 tornado-6.0.2 traitlets-4.3.2 wcwidth-0.1.7 webencodings-0.5.1 widgetsnbextension-3.4.2
(ml1) myself@mytux:/projekte/GIT/ai/ml1/include> cd ../bin
(ml1) myself@mytux:/projekte/GIT/ai/ml1/bin> la
insgesamt 152
drwxr-xr-x 2 myself users  4096 26. Mai 14:22 .
drwxr-xr-x 7 myself users  4096 26. Mai 14:22 ..
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  2096 25. Mai 15:05 activate
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  1428 25. Mai 15:05 activate.csh
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  3052 25. Mai 15:05 activate.fish
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  1804 25. Mai 15:05 activate.ps1
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  1512 25. Mai 15:05 activate_this.py
-rw-r--r-- 1 myself users  1150 25. Mai 15:05 activate.xsh
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   249 25. Mai 15:05 easy_install
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   249 25. Mai 15:05 easy_install-3.6
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   250 26. Mai 14:22 iptest
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   250 26. Mai 14:22 iptest3
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   243 26. Mai 14:22 ipython
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   243 26. Mai 14:22 ipython3
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   232 26. Mai 14:22 jsonschema
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   238 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   252 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-bundlerextension
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   237 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-console
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   242 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-kernel
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   280 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-kernelspec
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   238 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-migrate
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   240 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-nbconvert
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   239 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-nbextension
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   238 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-notebook
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   240 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-qtconsole
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   259 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-run
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   243 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-serverextension
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   243 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-troubleshoot
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   271 26. Mai 14:22 jupyter-trust
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   231 25. Mai 15:05 pip
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   231 25. Mai 15:05 pip3
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   231 25. Mai 15:05 pip3.6
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   234 26. Mai 14:22 pygmentize
lrwxrwxrwx 1 myself users     7 25. Mai 15:05 python -> python3
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users 10456 25. Mai 15:05 python3
lrwxrwxrwx 1 myself users     7 25. Mai 15:05 python3.6 -> python3
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users  2338 25. Mai 15:05 python-config
-rwxr-xr-x 1 myself users   227 25. Mai 15:05 wheel

Looking into the lib-directory is also informative. I leave this to the user.

(ml1) myself@mytux:/projekte/GIT/ai/ml1/bin> cd ../lib/python3.6/site-package
(ml1) myself@mytux:/projekte/GIT/ai/ml1/lib/python3.6/site-packages> la

Step 5: Install some important libraries for ML studies

As we are occupied with installing packages, let us get some more packages typically required to do experiments for AI/ML:

(ml1) myself@mytux:/projekte/GIT/ai/ml1> pip3 install --upgrade matplotlib numpy pandas scipy scikit-learn

Step 6: Install PyDev for Eclipse

The previous steps were all on the level of the Linux-system and/or for a special Python environment for me as a user. But Eclipse does not know anything about Python, yet. We need a special Python environment within Eclipse with suitable editors, project and test environments, configuration options and so on for our Python based machine learning projects.

You find the necessary PyDev plugins for Eclipse at the site http://pydev.sf.net/updates/.

The easiest way to install PyDev is: Add this site to the update configuration of Eclipse - via the menu point "Help >> Install new software". Click the "Add"-Button there. In the popup you provide a name for the site and its URL. Then you choose this site "to work with" and click on the relevant plugin "PyDev for Eclipse". If you are a fan of Mylyn you also load the respective package.

Step 7: Change to a PyDev perspective within Eclipse

After having installed the PyDev packages we can start Eclipse and change the layout by choosing a Python specific "perspective".

We start with the menu point
"Window >> Perspective >> Open Perspective >> Other ..."

Then we choose "PyDev" and end up with the a layout of Eclipse similar to the following (you may have some other position arrangements of the sub-windows):

On the left side you see some projects, which I had set up already. (As I integrate some of my Python experiments with PHP-programs the reader may detect some PHP-projects, too ...). In the lower right part of the IDE we see a console view for interactive python commands. I come back to this point below.

Step 8: Add a Python project in Eclipse for our virtual environment ml1

We now create a new project which shall be related to our directory "/projekte/GIT/ai/ml1". A right mouse click into the leftmost area gives us:

On the next popup we choose a "PyDev"-project type.

On the third screen we first enter our path "/projekte/GIT/ai/ml1" - with this setting we see all the modules and libraries loaded for our virtual environment in Eclipse, too.

The important interpreter setting - it decides on the usage of our virtualenv
Really interesting is the field for the choice of an "Interpreter". Here we get the option to refer to our "virtual environment". When we click on the blue link we can configure an interpreter and related path settings. On the opening popup window we enter the path to the interpreter of our ml1-environment, i.e. to "/projekte/GIT/ai/ml1/bin/python3.6".

We go on and get

Important: We do not delete the references to the systems libraries here!

We move on and come back to our project definition window - we now choose the interpreter "python_ml1" which we defined a minute ago.

On the next screen we do not yet have any other projects to be referenced.

So we finish and get our first Python3 project:

Enough for today. In the second article

Eclipse, PyDev, virtualenv and graphical output of matplotlib on KDE – II

of this series we shall use a Python-console within Eclipse for interactive coding and the display of results. We shall see that we need additional settings to get matplotlib to work.

Stay tuned ...



Opensuse Leap 42.2, Android, KDE, Dolphin – Dateitransfer mit MTP – Probleme und mögliche Ursachen

Vor einiger Zeit habe ich auf einigen Geräten ein Upgrade auf Leap 42.2 vorgenommen. Das lief alles ganz OK. Nun wollte ich von einem der betroffenen Laptops Dateien auf ein Smartphone übertragen. Dabei stolperte ich bei Einsatz von "MTP" und dem zugehörigen kio-Slave "kio_mtp" unter KDE in ähnliche Probleme, wie sie unter den folgenden Links beschrieben sind:


Ich weiß nicht, ob meine Problem die gleichen Ursachen hatten, wie bei meinen Leidensgenossen - aber die nachfolgenden Punkte sind jedenfalls der Beachtung wert.

Typischer fehlerhafter Verlauf beim Einsatz von "mtp" unter KDE

Fehler 1: Zugriff auf das erkannte Smartphone führt zu keiner Verzeichnisanzeige unter Dolphin

Man schließt das Smartphone an; es kommt zuerst eine Freigabeaufforderung auf dem Smartphone. Danach öffnet man Dolphin - und dann kommt da erneut eine Warnhinweis, dass man das Smartphone freigeben/entsperren müsse; tatsächlich erscheint am Phone eine neue Aufforderung. Die bestätigt man und schließt danach das Popup in Dolphin. Anschließend lädt und lädt Dolphin den Ordnerinhalt angeblich - es passiert aber weiter nichts und zur Anzeige der Speichermedien des Smartphones und deren Inhalte kommt es nie.

Fehler 2: Dolphin kann aus dem Gerätemanager heraus nicht gestartet werden

Ein weiterer ärgerlicher Punkt war in meinem Fall der, dass unter der Geräteüberwachung zwar Dolphin-Icons als Optionen für "Aktionen" angezeigt wurden; ein Klick darauf führte aber jedesmal zu einer Fehlermeldung, die man wegklicken muss. Dolphin öffnet sich dann aber nicht.

Ein solches Verhalten macht einen wahnsinnig; im besonderen, wenn man unter Zeitdruck steht und man weiß, dass früher alles schon mal funktioniert hat. In meinem Fall halfen mir "kde-connect" und die zugehörige App auf dem Smartphone aus der unmittelbaren Patsche heraus, weil beide Geräte (Laptop, Smartphone) sich zufällig im selben WLAN befanden. In unserer Firma gibt es aber Geräte, die aus Sicherheitsgründen in anderen WLAN-Netzen als die Smartphones hängen. Da hilft KDE-Connect nichts. Nun kann man auf SSH-/FTPS-Verbindungen ausweichen. MTP wäre aber doch so einfach ... warum sollte das unter Leap nicht gehen?

Ein paar Experimente

Ich habe dann in meinem Ärger ein wenig rumexperimentiert. Als erster Schritt zur Analyse hilft in einem solchen Fall oft, das Ganze mal mit einem frisch angelegten User oder als User "root" auszuprobieren; Letzteres, um evtl. Rechteprobleme festzustellen.

In meinem Fall reichte schon der erste Schritt: Mit frisch angelegten UserIDs gab es kein größeres Problem mit MTP und einer USB-Kabelverbindung zu unseren verschiedenen Smartphones (LG 2, Samsung Note, Samsung 6). Da lief alles wie erwartet: Anschließen des USB-Kabels an die Linux Workstation, Dolphin öffnen, Android Phone wählen, auf dem Phone die angeforderte MTP-Verbindung freigeben, kurz warten, in Dolphin mit F5 die Ansicht aktualisieren und schließlich durch die Datenträger des Smartphones browsen und Dateien zwischen den Geräten hin und her kopieren.

Das brachte mich zu einem ersten Workaround, den ich hier aufliste, weil er vielleicht beim einen oder anderen auch helfen mag. Auf die tatsächlichen Ursachen der Fehler in meiner Konfiguration gehe ich weiter unten ein.

Man lösche - soweit vorhanden - die Dateien "~/.config/dolphinrc", "~/.kde4/share/config/dolphinrc" und das Verzeichnis "~/.local/share/dolphin". Danach funktionierte folgender Workaround relativ zuverlässig:

  • Schritt 1: Anschluss des Smartphone per USB-Kabel an das OS Leap 42.2-Gerät.
  • Schritt 2: I.d.R. kommt keine Freigabeaufforderung auf dem Handy - falls doch: bestätigen.
  • Schritt 3: Geräteüberwachung im Systemtray (Systembereich der Kontrollleiste) öffnen.
  • Schritt 4: Optionen für Android-Gerät anzeigen lassen und auf erstes Dolphin-Symbol klicken.
  • Schritt 5: Fehlermeldung wegklicken und ggf. auftauchende Freigabeaufforderung auf dem Handy positiv beantworten.
  • Schritt 6: Erneut Geräteüberwachung öffnen.
  • Schritt 7: Diesmal auf das 2-te Dolphin-Symbol klicken.
  • Schritt 8: Erneut Fehlermeldung wegdrücken und ggf. Freigabeaufforderung auf dem Handy bestätigen.
  • Schritt 9: Dolphin unabhängig auf dem Desktop öffnen => dort das unter "Geräte" angezeigte > Android-Phone anklicken.
  • Schritt 10: Es werden die auf dem Smartphone verfügbaren Speicherbereiche (Standard "Phone" und (SD-) "Card" angezeigt.

Bei mir tauchte entweder bei Schritt 5 oder bei Schritt 6 eine Freigabeaufforderung auf. Nicht aber zweimal. Die oben beschriebene Schrittfolge ist die einzige, die bei mir zuverlässige Ergebnisse vor den weiter unten geschilderten Maßnahmen produzierte. Der Workaround beseitigte jedoch nicht das Problem des Fehlers beim Klick auf die Dolphin-Symbole in der Geräteüberwachung.

Dieser Zustand ist aus meiner Sicht absurd. Offenbar funktioniert die MTP-Verbindung im Prinzip - aber irgendetwas in der initialen Dialogführung zwischen kio_mtp, Dolphin und dem Android-Phone stimmte einfach nicht.

Lösung 1: Amarok's MTP-Modul muss abgeschaltet werden!

Ich stelle auf einigen meienr Geräten entweder Amarok und Clementine beim KDE-Start zur Verfügung. Sowohl auf dem Laptop als auch auf der Workstation waren nach dem Start von KDE Amarok aktiv. (Auf er Arbeitstation übrigens, weil ich mich gerade mal wieder mit Pulseaudiio herunmschlage. Dazu mehr in einem kommenden Beitrag.)

Es hat mich eine Weile gekostet herauszufinden, dass Amarok standardmäßig das Modul "MTP-Sammlung" aktiviert. Nun stammt Amarok aus KDE4-Zeiten. Das Modul ist offenbar nicht mehr mit der aktuellen KDE5-Umgebung kompatibel oder interferiert in unzulässigerweise mit über "udev" festgelegten Reaktionen auf MTP-Ereignisse.

Also unbedingt im Dialog "Amarok >> Einstellungen >> Amarok Einrichten >> Module" das Modul "MTP-Sammlung" deaktivieren !

Dass dieses Modul wirklich Ungutes tut, kann man dadurch ausprobieren, dass man bei aktiver MTP-Verbindung das Modul mal wieder aktiviert! Viel Glück ...

Lösung 2: KDE-Einstellung unter Standardanwendungen überprüfen

Mein zweiter Fehler hatte damit zu tun, dass ich irgendwann mal "PCManFM" als Dateimanager installiert hatte. Der hatte sich dann selbst in den KDE-Einstellungen als primärer Manager für die Dateiverwaltung hinterlegt. Das funktioniert aber nicht mit der KDE-Geräteüberwachung. Also unter
"systemsettings5 >> Anwendungen >> Standardanwendungen >> Dateiverwaltung" Dolphin als Standard-Dateimanager festlegen.

Schließe ich nun eines unseres Android Smartphones an die Linux-Geräte an, auf denen das erlaubt ist, so funktioniert MTP wieder schnell und flüssig - egal ob an einem USB2.0 oder 3.0-Anschluss.


Plugins oder Module von Applikationen, die MTP-Ereignisse erkennen und auf die dahinter liegenden Geräte zugreifen wollen, kommen als potentielle Ursachen von Problemen mit MTP-Verbindungen unter KDE und Dolphin in Frage. Unter Opensuse Leap 42.2 gilt das auf jeden Fall für das MTP-Modul von Amarok. Es ist aber gut vorstellbar, dass auch andere Anwendungen ähnliche Probleme, wie oben diskutiert, zeitigen können. In Frage kommen vor allem Multimedia-Anwendungen. Der KDE-User sollte hierauf eine Auge haben und nach der Installation solcher Anwendungen Tests zu MTP-Verbindungen durchführen.

Viel Spaß weiterhin mit Dateitransfers zu Smartphones - macht das aber bitte nur auf Geräten, auf denen die impliziten Sicherheitsrisiken einer Smartphone-Anbindung kontrollierbar sind, und nur für User mit minimalen Rechten ...