Disable Nepomuk (Desktop Search) on KDE 4.4.2 Kubuntu Lucid 10.04

28 Apr

With the recent release of Kubuntu 10.04 KDE 4.4.2 will reach the masses. Unfortunately in KDE 4.4.2, Nepomuk the KDE Desktop Search tool is enabled by default.

I say unfortunate because many of you may experience times when your system is slow due to high CPU utilization caused by Nepomuk’s indexing mechanism (I experienced this on Kubuntu 10.04 Lucid RC while doing some testing)

Fortunately you can disable this feature quite easily using systemsettings (System Settings in the KMenu).

To do this open system settings, click on the Advanced tab and click on Desktop Search:
Desktop Search

Now you want to uncheck the box labeled “Enable Nepomuk Semantic Desktop”

Here it is unchecked, for the people who are really lost:

Click on Apply, and you’re good to go… Nepomuk is no longer going to index your filesystem and suck up your CPU cycles.


I am ben kevan.. Well yeah. .that's about it.

28 thoughts on “Disable Nepomuk (Desktop Search) on KDE 4.4.2 Kubuntu Lucid 10.04

  1. This advice is incorrect.

    There are 2 components to Nepomuk. The component that sucks up CPU and IO is the Strigi file indexing service. This extracts metadata from files.

    The second and more important component is the Nepomuk metadata service. This is where the file indexer stores metadata, but also, applications using the nepomuk libraries can store arbitrary data. If you disable all of Nepomuk, KMail will not be able to do email address completion from your address books, or distribution lists, file rating and tagging will not work.

    By disabling all of Nepomuk you save about 50MB for the virtuoso database backend but very little CPU and IO. You can disable Strigi on its own if you don’t care about file search and indexing.

    Another useful tip is to configure Strigi to only index a subset of your $HOME, eg just ~/Documents. This reduces the load of the initial scan and the check for changes on login. This is the route we are taking in openSUSE 11.3.

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  3. Will, fine, then, if you know how to do it properly, please tell the world how to do it properly.
    I for one consider your term “if you don’t care about file search and indexing” slightly arrogant, by the way. Reason: I have a fresh install of kubuntu on a 7200 RPM SATA with Dual-Core CPU, 2 GB of RAM. The system has been running for 24 hours now, the CPU loads are still hovering between 50 and 100% with just some Firefox tabs and an open Thunderbird. Nothing else, and the system is still as responsive as my old P5/133.

    So, how to kill that ‘Strigi’ correctly?


  4. Uwe,

    My statement would be arrogant if I considered 100% CPU load over 24 hours due to file search and indexing to be normal behaviour. It’s not.


    a) You have many, many bytes of data that Nepomuk is configured to index with Strigi.

    Or, more likely.

    b) There is a bug in some part of Nepomuk/Strigi that causes it to consume excessive CPU. While Nepomuk bends over backwards to make Strigi index in an unintrusive way, it has bugs like any other software and perhaps it has got stuck indexing one file that makes it spin out.

    Here’s the finger-wagging part: By deciding that malfunctioning components are intrinsically broken and deactivating them, you destroy the feedback system that gets them fixed, and that allows Free Software to improve. The Nepomuk developers and the rest of KDE and your distribution cannot perform 100% QA coverage so you have to play your part. Lecture over.

    Now to decide whether a) or b) applies, open the Desktop Search module in System Settings, go to the File Indexing tab and note all the roots of the trees that Nepomuk is configured to index. Then calculate how much disk space they consume in total using ‘du’ at the command line, for example:

    du –summarize –total –human-readable /home/uwe /some/other/dir1 /another/path/you/index […]

    Then decide whether this amount of data is orders of magnitude greater than the average amount of data that Strigi should be able to index in a reasonable amount of time.

    If you decide it’s b) then a useful way to proceed would be to look at the process list, see which processe(s) are consuming too much CPU, see if one particular PID is always consuming CPU, see if the filename it is indexing is visible in its command line, then open a bug at bugs.kde.org.

    PS you can disable Strigi on its own on the first tab of the Desktop Search settings page, just leave Nepomuk enabled.

  5. Hi Will,

    >Here’s the finger-wagging part: By deciding that
    >malfunctioning components are intrinsically broken and
    >deactivating them, you destroy the feedback system
    >that gets them fixed, and that allows Free Software to
    >improve. The Nepomuk developers and the rest of KDE
    >and your distribution cannot perform 100% QA coverage
    >so you have to play your part.

    Forgive me if I misunderstand, but isn’t this a rather anti-Free attitude? If I decide I don’t like a component on my computer system, I remove it. Are you telling us it’s wrong to do so? As Steve Gibson says, “it’s MY computer!”

    Adam J Richardson

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  7. Re: Adam,

    While a core component of “Free” is the ability to opt out of things, such as in this case Nepomuk and Strigi, a crucial part of what keeps the Open Source ecosystem chugging along is that people are willing to contribute back to the system. Now, I’m not talking about just development time or money, but rather the important bug-finding that every user participates in by merely using a given application. With many eyes, all bugs are shallow.

    I don’t believe Will is telling you that it’s wrong or immoral to disable the software, but rather that by opting out of using it (versus working with developers to get the bug fixed) you are disabling the processes that make all of this possible.

    Runnan Yang

  8. If disabling an unwanted feature for whatever reason breaks the entire “ecosystem” the design is inherently flawed. Don’t use kmail or desktop search but do care about battery life, responsiveness and load times hence nepomuk is gone.

  9. Hey, Will. If YOU have the space and the cash to run KDE 4 to help the dev team debug nepomuk while you get your actual work done with a box running Gnome or OSX or Windows or if you’re willing to run a 6 or 8 core box with SSD so you can take the performance hit, good for you.

    Quite a few of the rest of us have to make a living with the apps running on our computers and we can NOT afford to run an app which reduces the performance of our computers to something comparable to what we’d get by installing Vista and which obviously got testing just as adequate as the iPhone4 before it escaped into the wild.

    The KDE developers replaced the disastrous KDE4.1 with KDE4.2, and minus desktop search, it’s a much nicer UI than KDE3.5.9 now. So by KDE5, I’m sure nepomuk-strigi will either fixed, replaced, or gone.

    Until then, face the fact that the great majority of references to nepomuk will be from users asking how to blow it away.

    That’s why I’m here, purging nepomuk and strigi didn’t make it all go away, but the checkbox seems to have removed nepomuk services from the process list, my computer is now running faster at the UI level and cooler, I no longer have to frequently reboot my computers to get out from under locked up screens. I’m happy, and your discontent does not concern me.

    To be released in any form other than alpha with USE AT YOUR OWN RISK tags (remember KDE4.0?), software MUST be at least minimally usable and must not screw up the operation of the rest of the computer.

    If KDE desktop search EVER gets to that point, I’ll be happy to help the dev team find the remaining bugs.

  10. In my case with Kubuntu 10.04LTS and kubuntu updates ppa added, nepomunk only causes slow downs initially with some CPU usage on my dual XEON PC, after few reboots, its all but gone and CPU usage in fact is lower than Gnome Ubuntu 10.04 desktop.

  11. Even for Gnome the indexer Tracker got enabled in a release and then disabled in the next one (it was Interpid I think). I used it for some time then I gave up because it had many issues like the one are plaguing Nepomuk. The problem with Desktop Search software in my view is twofold:

    a) it can consume a lot of resources, which is obviously a bad thing for many users
    b) the tagging feature if used heavily is actually a replacement of the filesystem. We all agree that a filesystem *CAN’T* fail, too bad the authors of desktop search software don’t understand this and keep adding features to their indexing apps while their primary concern should just be having something stable 99.999% of the times, who cares if it doesn’t index my MIDI files. I would be more then happy just to have a trusted tagging system, which is indeed a very useful feature to find documents. Maybe the only right solution to this problem would be a file system level tagging of some sorts, especially if we think about exporting files and permissions (ie: I don’t want anybody to see files tagged with ‘private’).

  12. Just upgraded work work PCs and LTSP Thin Clients (openSuse 11.3) and experiencing serious speed issues.
    Don’t see much in the way of CPU usage but ‘wa – Waiting for I/O’ in TOP is typically 30-60%.
    Anyone know if this could this be related to Strigi/Nepomuk issues?

  13. One should not make the assumption that just because a piece of software exists on a system that the ultimate outcome of using it and/or contributing to its development will be to improve the user’s experience of using the system. I personally find that a lot of these indexing services and desktop assistance type things only get in the way and consume resources. Some of us just want a decent looking, reasonably functional and responsive desktop. If I find that one of these tools shows promise, I will enable it (or leave it enabled if it is on by default), try it out, and contribute to its development if I think the net result might be a win. However, because of past experience with such things. such a tool must leave me sufficiently impressed at a very early stage to get me to try it for very long.

    So, I guess my suggestion is, if you want people to contribute, first make something that is really impressive — not only to you, but to a large group of others. You also shouldn’t expect to put the onus on the user to come up with the details that will make your software awesome. Sometimes that happens, and some users might be able to contribute in that way, but most of the other folks probably just have other priorities that require their focus.

  14. I’ve just disabled this service for much the same reasons as Ben. I have 33GB of music files living in my home folder. I’ve been using KDE for 8 years and always found it friendly and fast. Upgrading my limited machine has suddenly found it hitting the swap space hard making it largely unusable.

    What really disappoints me here is the assumption that a service like this that could cripple a machine based on how the user uses the machine is always on. We now have a “performance tweak” for KDE that I’ve had to search out. Essentially this service causes unexpected behaviour, especially on lower resourced machines.

    As for the memory usage, I noticed in the top listing at least 4 nepomukservice threads each using between 100MB and 150MB of memory. According to the settings, it has a maximum memory of 50MB. That doesn’t sound right to me either.

  15. After disabling it, can I safely delete the contents of .kde/share/apps/nepomuk/ ?

    I have an older laptop with very limited disk space, so want to trim down as much as I can. I love the rest of KDE, and I’m very much in favor of nepomuk and strigi, just not on this machine.

    apple’s Spotlight search was, imho, a total disaster for the first revision or two – it was such a cpu hog it would make any machine unusable, no matter how expensive. And it wasn’t that easy to disable, so you’d just be stuck with a shiny brick, busily indexing away … 😀

    seven years later it’s more or less usable on an 8-core system, but even then i don’t get my hopes up. once basic consumer machines get a little more powerful (like 128 cores and exabyte storage) I’ll be more comfortable with this stuff. so anyway I’m gentle in my expectations of any content-indexing semantic desktop …

  16. I have tried really hard to uninstall nepomuk but it seems that it is not so easy to get rid of this crap. Nepomuk doesn’t do anything that you would call ‘core feature’. It only provides some (minor) improvements of arbitrary usability. I have never used this feature and never will.

    Suprisingly this crap is hardwired by dependencies into the core of KDE! Why on Earth I can’t run my programs that won’t make any use of nepomuk ever without installing nepomuk?

    While it seems impossible to have clean uninstall, you still can disable it.

    Here is what I did:
    1. First you have to stop it:
    qdbus org.kde.NepomukServer /nepomukserver quit
    2. Then disable nepomuk autostart:
    sudo mv /usr/share/autostart/nepomukserver.desktop /usr/share/autostart/nepomukserver.desktop.piece-of-crap
    3. Remove nepomuk database:
    rm -rf .kde/share/apps/nepomuk

    Removing nepomuk was like a breath of fresh air for my laptop.

  17. Dovydas: Thanks for your concise, USEFUL answer. It worked. The destination filename for the nepomukserver.desktop mv was most amusing.

    > Removing nepomuk was like a breath of fresh air for my laptop.

    It was like a breath of fresh air for the 6-core beast I’m currently configuring.

  18. For me a switch-back to gnome has banned it from my disk… by by shiny semantic desktop – my computer is personal again!

    There are many ways to force people away, kde developers have learned a lot from their microsoft colleagues.

  19. Thanks Dovydas.

    Now I’ve got my system back. The only downside is now I don’t have time to go and make a coffee when I create a new Folder.

    While I appreciate the efforts of those who put in the time and effort to bring us these “services” I really can’t sit here in delirious oblivion knowing that the “bugs” will be fixed one day while it makes my system as useful as a casio calculator.

  20. Just decided to just ignore the dependencies and remove nepomuk and akonadi completely.

    I <3 sudo dpkg -r –force-all like the KDE devs <3 annoying semantic crap.

  21. i disable Nepomuk and Akonadi .. – i know where all my files are, they’re organised. and Nepomuck (sic) still used to catch these un-needed processes working. so all this is disabled in systemsettings,
    and i go into /usr/bin ‘select ALL’ Nepomuk and ALL Akonadi files,
    and set them as not executable. this works perfectly, these bits of rubbish dont start at all, and the system is a little snappier as a result. – i dont use PIM and i’m not using any of my home machines for work, all my email is web based, i’m not interested in small office daemons, just a regular desktop multimedia home user. i hate printers and scanners too, so i uninstall all that stuff, bluetooth, britty, kernel-oops, launchpad integration and any gnome stuff, vfs, and of course pulseaudio, if the distro ships with it.
    Kde is sweet with all the bloat removed. really is. ymmv
    Mark UK

  22. Hi, and
    Yes, I aggree, drop/get rid of/delete Nepomuk and Akonadi, and most of all ReKonq, and even “Wallet” omg 🙂

    pppleez, pleez, pleeez, just give me “KDE-Lite” again , someone ?
    “nepomuk” ? what a Winblowz dog’s breakfast that is.
    hey KDE, why do you dev’s insist on building a continual “BOAT ANCHOR for a DE” ?
    … ahh forget it, it seems Linux dev’s have gone the “…but isn’t the user simply our guinea pigs ?, …?”

    The only optional icon on a fresh install of the latest KDE should be: “Now would you like to Delete/Disable/Get Rid of ALL this extra crap/bird-poo/wasted CPU/Memory schtuff that you will NEVER use, or need anyway?”

    Then we just click it, and voila, a “real” KDE with clean Qt libararies, (for all the other great apps), and that’s all we need.


  23. I personally think the idea of Nepomuk, if I understand the idea correctly, is a good one: index files so that we can easily search them, and not just the names of files.

    The problem with this, though, is that I work with lots of data, using a Virtual Machine with a Shared Folder, so I began getting these bizarre, unexpected messages, telling me that I have less and less space available for my home directory. Using “KDirStat”, however, I discovered the culprit–a feature I didn’t know about, called Nepomuk.

    Now that I know what it is, I need to remove it completely. 🙂

    (Oh, and for the record: For those that worry about KDE being dependent on Nepomuk, you ought to be able to remove it without fear. Years ago, I removed games from my computer, and in the process learned that “kde” is a dummy package for Aptitude, that pulls in all the default packages of KDE. I kindof wish there was a mechanism in Aptitude that made this more clear…)

  24. I think I’m going to take back what I said about Nepomuk: it’s more integrated to KDE than I originally thought. Right now, I’m trying to figure out what I can do about an excessively large index file!

    This is more icky than I originally thought.

  25. I am beginning to suspect that KDE.org has been infiltrated by Microsofties bent on destroying open source.

    After about 2 years of this, it seems I have to regularly disable Nepomuk components that are being re-enabled by various KDE components.
    It not just Nepomuk, but several KDE components that don’t work properly on my system, seem to be locked-in as the default app. Attempts to change the default to something that works are ignored.

    I run apache on my computer to act as an intranet/media server. So I have around 300 GB of music, video, photos and ebooks accessible on my home network. Apparently, after any update to a KDE componet or related library, Nepomuk/stringi is enabled, and on every hour, tries to index every byte on the drive.

    Several responses tell us to check CPU and Disk usage, all failing to acknowledge that when the indexing service is hogging 100 percent of the CPU, the screen, keyboard and mouse are non-responsive. ON my system, the indexer also seems to interfere with remote login from my net terminal, but after keeping the net term longed in and checking through it when the slowdown occurred, I found Nepomuk was the culprit.

    If KDE Nepomuk people read this, (which I doubt,} one suggestion would be to change the priority on the indexer to stop its hogging the CPU. Also it may be indexing hidden directories for non-KDE apps.

  26. Omg, nepomukservices is piece of total crap, slowing my system to crawl. Had to kill these 2 stopud processes to be able even to disable it using configuration. What kind of total idiots can develop such shit

  27. Let’s start with, “I love KDE.” The user interface makes sense out of the box and has an amazing amount of configation options after that. I recently “upgraded” to something (Ubuntu would no longer let me get updates due to a “partial upgrade” of something). KDE, Unity and LXDE all ran fine before the upgrade. Now running KDE causes my CPU to run at 99% and its temperature is 89.9 C. Since the max die temp on my CPU is 90 C, I saw this as a problem. Removing virtuoso-opensource-6.1-common has dropped my CPU temp by 15 degrees. The processes no longer running include virtuoso and nepomuk*, which were using a lot of resources. Reminds me of using Windows. There was a lot of kde stuff in the uninstall, so we’ll see if I still have KDE after I log off. For now, problem solved. It’s not just available processing power that’s in question here. I don’t want to burn up my CPU.

  28. Please note everyone that nepomuk is an acronym for openmuk.

    Is this significant at all I wonder? It pretends to be removed by the package manager. grub.cfg loads heaps and heaps of ,mod (modules) from /etc/default/grub such as urandom at boot time. Why does the grub script interfere by replacing dpkg, dolphin and a host of irrelevent packages (such as random) at boot time with ,mod versions? After seeing this viral infestation at the boot level I immediately lost access to the root password. That is, I did a standard linux exit, looked up man: it was no longer available. Tried to source a script, source not available. Tried sudo: it asked me not for the root password but my password which has never happened to me before. I gave it my password. I entered: ‘sudo cd /etc/defaul/grub’; it responded with you do not have authority etc.

    I am an experienced unix/linux programmer with over twenty-five years experience. I am not mistaken. My conclusion is that debian is entirely corrupted. And it has been going this way over the last 3 or 4 years.

    What is really frightening to me about this is the rapid evolution in only 5 days. This virus has ‘learned’ to take control of all root activities and deny root access successfully in a matter of days, the time I’ve been trying to recover a workable system.

    I don’t know where to go from here but I am going.

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