With KDE 4.3 separate packages for each application are provided. This article describes the concept about groups and meta packages.
- module: KDE's source code is organized into several categories called "modules". The project releases one source archive per module. See http://techbase.kde.org/Projects/Release_Team#Coordinator_List
- group: packages can be put into a package group. Pacman is able to select packages by groups on install or uninstall. This meta information does not imply any hard dependencies.
- meta package: an empty package which just connects several packages by using dependencies
There are groups for each KDE module. In addition to this there is the kde group which includes the whole KDE distribution and a group strigi-analyzers.
Using groups makes it easier to install and maintain a set of packages. There is no hard dependency between a gorup and its packages. That means there is no need to install all packages of a group for exmaple. On the other hand pacman wont install any packages new to a ceratin group on its on.
There are meta packages for each KDE module; each of those replace and provide the previous packages that are used until KDE 4.2. This also ensures a smooth update to splitted pacakges.
In contrast to groups meta packages have a hard dependency to all its KDE modules. So you cannt remove any sub packages without removing the meta package itself. If there are new modules available the use of meta packages ensures that pacman installs those automatically.
All meta packages are member of the kde-meta group and thus can be easily installed or removed.
You can remove or install meta packages at any time in order to use modular packages or emulate the previous monolithic set of packages.