Sorry for the relatively few posts of this month. Don Victorio is wreaking havoc with his illness. I have good news of him, though. (More on that later.)

I just had a major scare with KMail, my email program. I have several addresses and aliases, and major filters, all set up, and I moderate a mailing list, admin a website with email, and do several other things with it. You can see that this is pretty important to me.

Well, today I booted the machine, and first order of business was to start Kontact (which is an Outlook-like application that uses KMail to handle e-mail). After a few seconds, I got a dialog: “KMail encountered a fatal error and will terminate now”, with only the OK button. And then it shut down. I tracked back any runaway processes with ps -auxw, killed them, and restarted KMail. No luck. The dreaded dialog appeared again. I then invoked KMail from a console window, just to see the standard error output; perhaps the reason for all this was some esoteric misconfig or error. No luck; stderr would say the same thing as the message window: “KMail encountered a fatal error and will terminate now”.

Then I resorted to more extreme measures. First I restarted my session; no luck. Then I rebooted; no luck. And then I did a complete shutdown with power off and unplugging of the power cord. After that, I booted and restarted KMail, and it seemed to operate longer, but after some time the dreaded message appeared agan. What could I do??

I was stuck, and I needed to Do Something Now. To make things worse, today is Prayer Bulletin Day, and I have to send the bulletin via email. I began considering how to migrate to Mozilla Mail (yuck!) or Ximian Evolution (even more yuck!) or to some other app. Suddenly, I had the idea to check my .kde directory. There I deleted the links to the socket; then I deleted the HTTP cache, and after that I deleted my whole /tmp directory. Guess what? It worked!

My goodness; that big and loud pheeeeeeeew! you heard was just me, sighing of relief. 🙂


  1. I continue to be amazed at how KDE chokes on its own product. Either Kmai itself, or some other KDE process created the nasty cache that poisoned the application. It’s one of the reasons I now reject KDE. I can’t think of a single time this happened with “yuck” my beloved Mozilla Mail 😀 I’m glad God protects us from worse things.

  2. I’ve had that happen a few times… it really made me panic. KMail and Outlook both have done no favors for my blood pressure at times in the past. 😉

    Apparently, the yuckier, the less this happens. Evolution has never done this to me. Evolution is now cross platform too, btw. A friend of mine just ported it partially to Mac OS X (with the goal of making it native eventually).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *