KDE Partition Manager 3.3 is now ready. It includes some improvements for Btrfs, F2FS, NTFS file systems. I even landed the first bits of new LUKS2 on-disk format support, now KDE Partition Manager can display LUKS2 labels. More LUKS2 work will follow in KPM 3.4. There were changes in how LVM devices are detected. So now Calamares installer should be able to see LVM logical volumes. Once my pull request lands, Calamares should also support partitioning operations on LVM logical volumes (although Calamares would need more work before installation and booting from root file system on LVM works. I tested Calamares with KPMcore 3.3 and it successfully installed rootfs in LVM volume and successfully booted). KPMcore library now only depends on Tier 1 Frameworks instead of Tier 3 (although, we will later require Tier 2).

Most of the work is now done in sfdisk branch.  Currently, the only functional KDE Partition Manager backend uses libparted but sfdisk backend is now fully working (I would say RC quality). I would have merged in already but it requires util-linux 2.32 which is not yet released.

Yet another branch on top of sfdisk is KAuth branch which allows KPM to run as unprivileged user and uses Polkit when necessary to gain root rights. Everything except SMART support is working. To get SMART working too we would have to port away from (unmaintained) libatasmart to calling smartctl. Feel free to help! It should be fairly easy task but somebody has to do the work. Other than that you can already perform all partitioning operations using KAuth with one caveat. Right now KPM calls KAuth helper many times while performing partitioning operations. It can happen that KAuth authorization will expire in the meantime (KAuth remembers it for about 5 minutes) and KAuth will request a user to enter root password. If the user enters correct password, operation would finish. However, if authorization is not granted we may end up with half completed operation. And of course we don’t want to leave partition half moved, the data will almost surely be lost (half-resized partition is probably okay…). I suppose we can fix this by refactoring KPM operation runner, so that it calls KAuth helper just once with a list of all commands that have to be run. Unfortunately, this KPM Operation Runner refactoring might be bigger than what I would like, as significant changes would be necessary in partition data copying code. Maybe GSoC project then… Or ar there any better ideas on how to prevent KAuth authorization dialog in the middle of partitioning operations?

You can grab tarballs from standard locations on download.kde.org server.

Today I finally managed to get large part (maybe 90%) of KDE Partition Manager to work from GUI running as unprivileged user. This means better security, better Wayland integration, better theming support, etc. It will still take some time to polish everything and make it ready for release but nevertheless KDE Partition Manager has reached a significant milestone. Unlike most programs that use KAuth, KDE Partition Manager requires root for practically any operation, so it took some time to properly refactor the code and make it ready for KAuth/Polkit.

KDE Partition Manager has also gained another backend that you can see in the video bellow. Previously, libparted backend was used for some of the partitioning operations which for a long time was the only functional backend. Now, KDE Partition Manager can use util-linux tools (mostly sfdisk) to manipulate partitions. In the future sfdisk backend will be the default backend since it supports running without root.

At the moment the code is published in my scratch repository. Eventually this code should reach git master but probably after KPMcore 3.3 is released. Getting Calamares to run root free should now be a bit easier too…

 

KDE Partition Manager and KPMcore 3.0.0 have been released. Here are some of the new features:

  • Both LVM on LUKS and LUKS on LVM configurations are now supported.
  • Creating new LVM Volume Groups, adding or removing LVM Physical Volumes from LVM VG.
  • Resizing LVM Logical Volumes.
  • Resizing LVM Physical Volumes even if they belong to LVM Volume Group (used extents will be moved out somewhere else)
  • Added support for online resize. Not all filesystems support this, e.g. ext4 can only be grown online while btrfs supports both growing and shrinking.
  • Fixed some crashes, Qt 5.7.1 is also recommended to fix crash (in Qt) on exit.
  • Better support for sudo. Now KDE Partition Manager declares required environmental variables when kdesu uses sudo (e.g. in Kubuntu or Neon), so the theming is no longer broken. Environmental variables for Wayland are also fixed.

Here is a video demonstrating some of these new LVM capabilities. Note this is done directly from my main system, I’m resizing my encrypted rootfs without using any Live CD.

 

 

KDE Partition Manager and KPMcore 2.2.0 are now released with a proper LUKS support! This is a fairly big feature release but it also got tested more than usual, so a lot of bugs were fixed (including some crashes). Unfortunately there is still one more reproducible crash (bug 363294) on exit when file open/save dialogs are used (and very similar crashes actually exist in some other KDE programs, e.g. kdebugdialog or Marble). If anybody has any idea how to fix it I would be grateful.

Changes in this release:

  • Much improved LUKS support. We used to just detect LUKS container.
    • Now KDE Partition Manager can create LUKS volumes and format inner file system. Since default options are used (except for the key size which was increased) we recommend cryptsetup 1.6 or later. At the moment we restrict the choice of new inner file systems to ext234, Btrfs, swap, ReiserFS, Reiser4, XFS, JFS, ZFS and LVM physical volumes  when formatting new encrypted partitions but if you create other file systems manually using command line tools they will still work in KDE Partition Manager (other than detection support for LVM PV, the support for LVM is not implemented but this might change soon as a result of GSoC project, there is already some LVM PV resize support in git master). If you think it makes sense to whitelist other file systems and there is a valid use case please leave a comment.
    • LUKS volumes can be opened/closed.
    • Resize support for filesystems encrypted with LUKS (obviously you can’t do this while LUKS volume is closed, you have to decrypt it first). To the best of my knowledge, no other partition manager can do this.
    • To prevent data loss, you can only move LUKS partitions that are closed. A few bugs were fixed in KDE Partition Manager to properly support unmovable but resizeable partitions (i.e. LUKS when it is closed).
    • Filesystems inside LUKS can be checked for errors, mounted, labels can be set, etc. All other stuff like free space reporting also works (and space taken up by LUKS metadata is taken into the account).
    • Opened LUKS partitions now cannot be removed, you have to close them first.
    • Copying LUKS partition works but only when they are closed.
  • More widespread use of C++11 features.
  • Fixed a couple of bugs present from KF5 porting. Also new Qt5 signal/slot syntax is used, so moc is used much less often
  • Clobbering (deleting file system signature) deleted partitions was fixed.
  • Some other bugs were fixed, e.g. NILFS2 resizing support was fixed.
  • ntfslabel from ntfs-3g is now used for setting NTFS labels.
  • A crash when partitions were deleted (mainly extended but not only) was fixed.
  • Compilation with Clang was fixed.

There is also a slightly older (e.g. now we use KPasswordDialog to unlock LUKS partitions) video demonstrating LUKS support.

Note for packagers: Calamares 2.2.2 will most likely work with KPMcore 2.2.0 after recompilation but Calamares 2.3 will be recommended as soon as it is released. Older versions of KDE Partition Manager are not compatible with KPMcore 2.2.0, so you need to update KPMcore and KDE Partition Manager at the same time. Qt 5.6.1 also fixes one minor NTFS bug in KPMcore but unfortunately it is not released yet.

Download links:

KPMcore 2.2.0

KDE Partition Manager 2.2.0

There are already packages for Arch and Gentoo, hopefully other distros will package it too.

KDE Partition Manager was able to detect encrypted LUKS partitions for some time. I’m glad to report that now support for LUKS volumes is much more complete. Unless I’m mistaken, KDE Partition Manager is the first GUI tool that supports creating and resizing LUKS partitions (provided that file system inside LUKS container supports resizing). This is still work in progress and we still need to implement some checks (e.g. it should not be possible to set labels when LUKS volume is closed). Here is a short video demonstrating current state: