Upgrading from 11.1 to 11.4 -- questions about migrating my KDE 3.5 KMail

Hello, everyone. I am now using SuSE 11.1 with KMail 1.9.10 (KDE 3.5.10 “release 21.13.1” open SUSE).

My intention is to do a clean install of 11.4 from purchased DVD and then migrate (import) all of my personal files from a backup.

I have not yet seen either SuSE 11.4 or KDE4, so I am unfamiliar with any changes to the folders and files, how they may have been named, where they’re located in 11.4, etc.

In oder to copy my backed up KDE 3.5 KMail into the newly installed SuSE 11.4/KDE4 KMail, will the following folders and files go into folders and files named the same in 11.4/KDE4, or will the folders and files for the new KMail be named differently and/or be located differently?

/home/<my name>/.kde/share/apps/kmail (my e-mails)
/home/<my name>/.kde/share/apps/kabc/ (address book)
/home/<my name>/.kde/share/config/kaddressbookrc (address book settings)
/home/<my name>/.kde/share/config/kmailrc (kmail settings)

Are there any issues I need to be aware of in migrating the KDE 3.5 Kmail materials into 11.4/KDE4? Or will this be as simple as when I upgraded from 11.0 to 11.1?

Many Thanks. :slight_smile:

It is allready some time ago I migrated from KDE3 to KDE4. That was with an upgrade of I guess openSUSE 11.1 to openSUSE 11.2.
In my case I did keep /home (was on a seperate partition to make that easy). When a user started then KDE4 for the first time (and that includes Kmail for me, it found the old configuration files in ~/.kde and used them to create new one in ~/.kde4. And thus, as far as I can remember, the whole conversion was rather painleess.

But in the meantime you want to bridge a much larger gap, thus I do not know if this upwards compatibility is still available.

From memory you shouldn’t have too many issues.

The way I did it was to firstly use the mbox format for your email folders. So make equiivalent mbox email folders and copy the emails across. So for example make a new folder (using the mbox folder type option) called say back_up_sent then copy the emails in your sent folder to this. If you then simply make a copy of the folders - you can drop them into your 11.4 system at .kde4/share/apps/kmail/mail.

For your address book - export this as a csv file and then import it to your 11.4 system.

Your settings will most likely need to be redone. From memory I think that the formats have changed. Again from memory for example kmailric and emailidentities includes both you pop and smtp fields but smtp is now included under mailtransports.

It is possible install the kde 3 version of kmail with opensuse 11.4 kde4. Just add the repo:-

Index of /repositories/KDE:/KDE3/openSUSE_11.4

You can then carry on using the kde 3 version of kmail and migrate across to the kde 4 version at your leisure. On installing kde pim it will create a .kde folder in a similiar format to 11.1.

Many thanks. What is “csv mentioned in sentence above?”


Actually a better idea is to export your address book as a Vcard and also for safety sake as a ldif address book.

Thanks, everyone, for the replies.

I ask again, what is the “csv” mentioned in dtn2’s reply above?

Comma-separated values - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Thank you, Henk! :slight_smile:


Hi. Really sorry, but I’m just stumped and at an impasse. I have KMail running in 11.4 and I was able to import all of my messages from the previous 11.1 setup. But I cannot figure out how to import my address book and the mailing lists.

I see in KMail that there is a place to click to import CSV and LIDF and VCard, but I have no idea how to create such formats from my kabc folder.

In the kabc folder I have a total of 21 files listed as “std.vcf_<number>.”

I assume (?) I do not need to import all of them, just the one numbered 20.

I also have a file in this folder called “distlists.” I assume (?) that this contains my mailing lists for the address book.

And I have two files in a folder called “lock.” No idea what those are.

I’ve looked in the small manual that came with the 11.4 disk, but I don’t see anything there. I’ve looked everywhere in Kmail for a place to click that would convert my address book to one of the suggested file formats, but I don’t see anything. And when I click on one of the std.vcf files I’m asked to create stuff for Evolution, but I don’t want to use that program. I’d like to stay with KMail.

Please explain what I need to do to create and then import the address book and the distribution lists.

Many thanks.

Can anyone help with an explanation?


On 07/05/2011 11:36 PM, socref wrote:
> Can anyone help with an explanation?

i can’t help you better than suggesting you might need to track down
some real KMail gurus, FAQs and on-line documentation…

see, while these are the openSUSE forums, KMail is one small application
available in only one Desktop Environment…believe it or not, there are
folks here who have never attempted to do what you want to do and have
never ever even seen KMail run… (i’ve never used it! and probably
never will…not because i don’t ‘like’ it but rather because i happen to
like a different mail client…)

now, someone might come along here and be able to help you–you are
welcome to wait…but, while you do, if it were me, i’d seek help in
other places too…

a google on just ‘kmail’ <http://www.google.com/search?q=kmail> brings
lots of main-site hits…i think i’d start my search for on-line
documentation and a KMail Guru hang-out here:


sorry i can’t directly help you solve your problem…


Hi socref,

I can at least tell you what I did when I migrated to 11.3 (my first one with Akonadi).
Please, first make a backup of your complete kabc!

Or maybe make a second one - I am rather paranoid on that point.

I have a German version, so maybe my translation is not exactly what you get as dialogues.
However, I did it rather quick and dirty but seems to work:

  • First, I removed all address book entries that were remaining from my old settings (already KDE4).
  • I right-clicked into the empty space where the address book is supposed to linger…
    “Add new address book” (of course, also possible via the menu bar)
  • chose "KDE Address Book (traditional)
    and followed the instructions…
    -type of address book, I chose “folder” (file might do the same trick, can’t really tell the difference)
    -Then I pointed it to “~/.kde4/share/apps/kabc” where the vcf-files really are (NOT “~/.kde4/share/apps/kabc/stdvdf” as was suggested)
    -entered the nickname
    and there I was!

After accessing it sometimes later, I was asked if I would transfer it to a “real” Akonadi resource.
Maybe that is recommendable? However, I can’t recollect if I DID it nor can I reproduce the dialogue or the procedure.

I can’t tell you which exact files of all these vcf-files you really need to keep. I kept them all as they are really small. Since you now have got two backup folders, you can just try deleting some vcf’s and see what happens.
About the “lock” folder: I also have a second address book on my file server (simply mounted into my ~/ via nfs) which I share with my wife. Files in that “lock” folder, just seem to point to my “server address book”.

Hope any of these lines made some sense.


I also have a second address book on my file server (simply mounted via nfs) which I share with my wife.
Anybody a better idea to share the address book (LAN only, no webspace, cloud etc.)?



kasi, thanks for this reply, but it’s farther along in the process than I am. Your instructions seem to be for importing into an existing kde4 address book.

And I’ve searched through the “applications” forum but everyone seems to be trying to import from SuSE 11.2 or 11.3, and their issues are rather different than my trying to import from SuSE 11.1.

I have not yet opened Kmail in 11.4 for the first time. So I have no existing address book or other items to delete from the .kde4 folder. And after having to do a reinstall of 11.4 I have not yet imported anything – no kabc, no kaddresbookrc, no kmail, etc, etc.

When I tried to import Kmail previously I ended up with a real mess (which along with other problems necessitated the reinstall of 11.4).

So I’m very wary of going at it again without some direction.

I have the following items backed up on an external hard drive. These are from SuSE 11.1, KDE3.5 which is what I had on this computer previously.

But I don’t know exactly what I need to import into .kde4, and there is also the issue of Akonadi. As far as I know there was no Akonadi with KDE 3.5 Kmail, so I have no idea where to copy these files when going into .kde4. And I don’t know what I might need to configure for Akonadi in the “Personal Settings.”

So on the backup hard drive I have:


Where do these go in .kde4?

And have I missed anything from the backup .kde folder that I need to import?

If yes, where do those items go?

Many thanks for your assistance. If I can just get KMail successfully imported along with address book and distribution lists I’ll be very happy!

On 07/09/2011 04:36 PM, socref wrote:
> So on the backup hard drive I have:
> .kde/share/apps/kmail
> .kde/share/apps/kabc
> .kde/share/config/emailidentities
> .kde/share/config/kaddressbookrc
> .kde/share/config/kaddressbookconfig
> .kde/share/config/kmailrc
> .kde/share/config/emaildefaults
> Where do these go in .kde4?

as said, i’m guessing that if you were to copy the entire .kde from that
backup media, to a .kde directory your new home, it would be very much
like what most folks went through when moving from KDE3 to KDE4…and, i
guess the KMail start up will work…

i believe then, the first time you start up KMail it will, while
building its ‘stuff’ somewhere inside your new home, look for and ‘find’
its old stuff in ~/.kde and build it into your new environment, whether
that is inside of ~/.kde4/[something] or somewhere else with an entirely
different layout…

but, since that is a guess how trying this:

-use YaST to add a new user, name (say) mailtest

-after that user is created, copy the entire and intact /.kde from
backup to /home/mailtest/.kde [NOT .kde4]

-log out and then in as mailtest

-check and make sure /home/mailtest/.kde and all of its contents are
owned and readable by mailtest

-as mailtest, start up KMail for the first time…i think it will
find and use what it can…

-if it finds stuff and automatically makes it available to mailtest,
it will also do it for you, so you can use YaST to remove the user
mailtest; copy old .kde to your new home; open KMail and … job done

-if it finds some but not all parts of your old setup (like maybe the
new KMail has your address book, but not your message filters) then the
bits that didn’t get transferred just might not be compatible with the
KDE4 version of KMail and blah.

-if it finds none of the old KMail stuff, then you know that my guess
is entirely wrong and you need to find a definitive answer–which i
think means you may need to find some kmail developers…

as previously mentioned, the KMail developers are not here, in this
forum of openSUSE-users-helping-with-openSUSE problems…

> Many thanks for your assistance. If I can just get KMail successfully
> imported along with address book and distribution lists I’ll be very
> happy!

give my plan a try, if it does not work, you still have your new /home
as it is now…

AND, if mailtest’s new KMail does not have all the old stuff built in,
then at least you can look around inside /home/mailtest/.kde4 and see if
they landed in:


and then answer your own question: “Where do these go in .kde4?”

as for your question on Akonadi: no idea…


Hi socref,

I am so sorry. I have been messing around with these settings for so long that I completely forgot the most crucial part:
When I moved from KDE 3 to KDE 4 I just copied

AFAIK the other files can be put into the same folder structure in


I just updated my wife’s computer from 10.3 to 11.4 !!!
I only copied the kmail and kabc folders. Obviously there is now some kind of autoimport or something.
I found a new address book with all the contacts in


where I have definitely NOT put them. Just have a look at .local/share. Akonadi settings seem to stored there. But I can’t tell much about that.

BTW, DD’s advice about setting up a new test user is a very good idea. You can mess around as much as you like.

Just on last issue:
You always only mention kmail. Maybe you should make sure to install the complete kontact “suite”.
Just in case…



kasi and DD, thanks for your suggestions.

So far I have been able to import my filters and settings from KDE3.5 Kmail, so I’m making some progress. But the address book and, critically, my distribution lists are another matter.

I am researching trying to find KMail gurus.

For others who may be following this thread, I opened KAddressBook and

  1. file>new>add address book
  2. file>import>import vcard

I then found the vcard in .kde4/share/apps/kabc and clicked on it.

That brought a list of contacts into the address book, but they were in complete random order. So finding any one of them when needed would be a major hassle (hundreds of contacts in my address book).

I could click on any one of them and it would insert the name and e-mail address into the address bar. But none of my distribution lists would insert.

So the combination of randomly ordered names and no access to my distribution lists made this method essentially useless.

If anyone knows where I’ve screwed up in this methodology please let me know. Or if what I’m doing is predestined to failure I’d appreciate knowing that too.

I have heard anecdotally that there was such a change from KDE 3.5 to 4.6 that importing address lists and distribution lists is not possible – at least not cleanly. That would really be a drag if I have to manually recreate (retype) every contact.


Hi socref,

We only have one dist list and I never used it, so I did not check on that. I have to say that I can’t import it, either.

I have tested around a little and I saw that my quick and dirty way neatly worked around all the akonadi settings, formats and folders.
Whether that is an advantage or disadvantage, I don’t know. It works so far but in the long run I’d prefer it to be up-to-date.

  1. file>new>add address book
  2. file>import>import vcard

I then found the vcard in .kde4/share/apps/kabc and clicked on it.

If you do that, you should make sure that the new address book is a “Personal Contacts” and located in ~/.local/share/contacts. This seems to be the genuin akonadi folder for the contacts.
You should not mix this up with my method directing the new address book to ~/.kde4/share/apps/kabc as this would mean importing the contacts “recursively”.

I also imported my address book the way you described to ~/.local/share/contacts. At first it looked like a mess but it seems to get itself sorted out after a while. Akonadi seems to use mysql or something. That should be installed, too. The file-format of the contacts is different now.
I could easily sort the names by clicking onto the column title, you can also add new columns to show up. Entering some characteres will also filter according to that string. Seems quite convenient to me but not with overwhelming operating comfort.

Not being able to import it, I found creating an new dist list quite easy.
“add new contact” … “new group” …
If you start typing the names they will appear filtered from your address books. You can choose to which address book you would add it and it will appear in the list.

as previously mentioned, the KMail developers are not here, in this forum of openSUSE-users-helping-with-openSUSE problems…

Hi DD,
Of course you are right. But as I have read Akonadi still seems to be quite experimental, even in 11.4. Since KDE is the more or less recommended window manager and the PIM a core functionality for many users I find it quite important that this is brought to attention.