It turned out that my previous assessment of the situation I faced was too optimistic. After a further reboot, everything seemed fine at first, but then the system started to behave in ways which made me realize that it was destined to careen toward disaster. I thus examined the available snapshots (which, ironically, were the root of all these problems) and found some that still had retained their integrity. I rebooted and selected the most recent one by adding the following flag to the kernel line:


After booting, my plan was to issue a

snapper rollback

and to roll safely back in time. This rollback, however, was only partly successful, since the corrupted snapshots couldn't be removed by any means, and the partition was thus subsequently and invariably mounted as read-only. Since everything was working fine except for my temporal inability to update the system, I let the issue rest until the bug would be reported as having been fixed.

After the fix was announced, I followed my fellow sufferers and tried to repair the filesystem from a live CD with an appropriately recent kernel and btrfs-progs version. In my case, I downloaded VoidBang and did a simple

btrfs check --repair /dev/sda1

Success! Well, at least the filesystem was mounted read/write again. But systemd, now suddenly able again to write to the disk, started to spit our error messages faster that I could read them. The situation got worse minute after minute.

All right all right, let's clean up this mess. *sigh*


dd bs=4M if=/home/cobra/Downloads/archlinux-2014.12.01-dual.iso of=/dev/sdb && sync

later, I was grudgingly reinstalling the system. Once you have done it more than twice, the installation of Archlinux is really straightforward and is finished in 15 min. The base system, mind you: for the rest I need a day a two if I don't install from a list of packages. In any case, since my /home was left untouched from the carnage of the amok-running btrfs, I expected that I would find everything as I've left it.

And then I started kmail, and didn't see a single e-mail in my folders.

It's not my first problem with kde in general and kmail in particular. This whole kde-pim/akonadi entanglement is so fragile that it breaks all the time and so complex that it's difficult to fix. Well, at least for me. But this time, I was really fed up and started to get a little mad.

After acquiring a certain amount of experience, old problems do not register as a challenge anymore, but as a nuisance. Solving them does not satisfy, but fatigue. We cease to perceive these problems as the life-threatening, adrenaline-pumping roller-coaster experiences which were so exciting when we met them the first time. Instead, we rightly feel that they are just plainly boring.

I suddenly desperately wanted something fresh, something entirely different, something I haven't touched in the last decade. No, neither Windows nor Mac OS — although the latter has indeed crossed my mind 😉 . Of all desktop environments and window managers, I realized that there was one I've never found the time to examine in detail, and which came up in 2011 with a rather radical (and highly controversial) redesign of the desktop paradigm. Let's have a look!