I have just upgraded to KDE 4.13 on Arch Linux and it has brought my system to a screeching halt. I am pretty sure it has something to do with Baloo the new desktop search indexing system. I am not sure I ever use desktop search although I use kontact and the associated programs (e.g., kmail, korganizer, and kaddressbook). What exactly does Baloo do and how does it interact with Nepomuk and Akonadi and KDE PIM/kontact and what would happen if I disable it by blacklisting my home directory?

  • I have KDE 4.8. I think you can disable desktop searches in "System Settings". In my system it is "Workspace Appearance and Behavior" -> "Desktop Search". It strikes me as a particularly useless feature. If I want to find a file I'd use locate. As far as I can tell, disabling this has had no effect on my system's usability whatsoever. Apr 29, 2014 at 19:07
  • @FaheemMitha in 4.13 it is not that simple. I don't see the benefit, but given the problems it causes some people it seems like there might be a benefit to others. I want to know what those benefits are.
    – StrongBad
    Apr 29, 2014 at 19:09
  • Sorry, I'm not following. You think desktop search offers some benefit? "given the problems it causes some people it seems like there might be a benefit to others"? Don't follow that at all. Apr 29, 2014 at 19:14
  • @FaheemMitha the developers must see some benefit of desktop search/indexing otherwise why are they developing it.
    – StrongBad
    Apr 29, 2014 at 19:19
  • Daniel, I think you greatly overestimate the good sense of desktop developers. In any case, standard Unix search facilities like locate work just fine. Apr 29, 2014 at 19:33

1 Answer 1


Nepomuk is no more, Baloo completely replaces Nepomuk and offers the files indexing features previously offered by Nepomuk.

Baloo also interacts with Akonadi and offers mail indexing and all the other semantic capabilities related to Kontact apps.

The Baloo file-indexing and mail-indexing features are completely indipendent. Disabling the file indexer will not cause the mail indexer to stop. Currently (KDE SC 4.13.0) is not possible to disable the mail-indexing features without recompiling the PIM components and apps.

To disable the file indexer there are currently two methods:

  1. add your home directory into the Baloo blacklist in System settings
  2. add Hidden=True into ~/.kde4/share/autostart/baloo_file.desktop

the baloo_file.desktop file can be copied into your home from /usr/share/autostart/baloo_file.desktop

The first method is more user friendly but it does not always work (a bug exists in the KDE bugtracker about this issue).

In a future version a enable/disable switch will be provided to disable the file indexer in a more intuitive way.

I tried the file-indexer shorty but gave up due to slowdowns and disabled it. On the other hand, I find the email-indexing feature quite useful and not intrusive.

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