KDE4 under MacOsX and Windows
Aaron J. Seigo
aseigo at kde.org
Fri Nov 10 16:47:32 GMT 2006
On Friday 10 November 2006 4:37, Jaroslaw Staniek wrote:
> Boudewijn Rempt said the following, On 2006-11-10 10:14:
> >>Now KDE4 can be launch on Linux-MacOsX-Windows.
> > Dot! Dot! Dot!
> Yeah. And I suggest to show uninformed readers a bit of history as well:
let's do so with a clear set of messages as to what the purpose is and why.
this is not necessarily a conversation to litter k-c-d with, but the thread
is already here, so ... bah. =)
when this is announced there will be a significant number of people who will
feel that this is a loss of focus on free software and puts KDE at long-term
and if done without direction or purpose, i'd agree with that viewpoint. so
let's please move ahead with both direction and purpose.
to that end here are some thoughts as to what such a direction and purpose
might look like and which would further the goals of KDE, particularly:
- to increase usage of KDE software
- to foster support for Free software
- leaving behind our long term partners in the Linux and BSD world
- disenfranchising those who are here for the benefits of Free software
- betraying our efforts on the workspace or foundation libraries
i will save everyone the long diatribe into why these are important things (at
least, to me ;) and just use them as axioms for now. if you wish to discuss
the philosophy, let's do so off this list so as to avoid a stupidly long
thread full of noise. =)
the direction and strategy i propose would go something like:
There are 2 primary reasons to port our applications and application
development environment to these two non-Free platforms:
1. Grow our developer base
For everyone one developer on Linux/BSD/UNIX there are dozens if not hundreds
of developers on Windows (and a few on MacOS too =). By given them better
tools (ours) to use in creating their applications they gain access to
free-as-in-beer technology that bridges a lot of application needs while
getting them acquainted both with our technologies and open source
development in general. This can allow people to target their current user
base (e.g. on Windows) while creating more easily portable software, thereby
helping ease the "application gap", and opening a doorway for them as
developers into our world of open source.
In support of this: one reason many applications that are otherwise portable
can not get ported off of Windows is the web rendering component. I have been
told this by various ISVs in this situation repeatedly. If we bring KHTML to
win32 we will solve the challenge of a cross-platform,
designed-to-be-embedded, low-memory-footprint, high-performance html stack.
2. Encourage interoperability
There are certain sets of functionality that create barriers for Free/open
source software on the desktop due to lack of interoperability. These include
things such as Exchange server being a non-porous black box keeping Outlook
around which in turn keeps Exchange around which in turn .... another example
is Microsoft Access and the file format employed by it that keeps these
projects tightly locked to the Microsoft platform. These things keep people
off of Free software operating systems altogether, particularly in
potentially heterogeneous environments since these use cases require support
on all platforms to be workable.
In this case porting applications such as Kontact and Kexi can help bridge
gaps that are not going to be bridged elsewise.
Any other reasons are not particularly in the long term benefit of KDE. They
may be benign in the long run or they may be negative, but they almost
certainly won't give it a boost. This is based on watching the progress of
other similar application efforts.
We also need to enumerate some commitments in this process:
- Free/open source operating systems will remain our primary focus and
proprietary operating systems will be a second tier target. If faced with a
decision between making something better for a proprietary system or a Free
system without being able to reconcile between the two we will choose the
Free system over the proprietary system.
- Even if the numerical majority of users of a piece of software are on a
proprietary system, we remain committed primarily to the user base on Free
operating systems and not abandon, mock or relegate them to "unimportant" in
our decision making processes. We know who our base of support is, where we
have the greatest market share and will continue to honor that.
- We will strive to make a good impression on these proprietary operating
systems. If we can't port an application well, then we won't port it. It is
better to not show up than to show up poorly and cast a shadow on all open
- We remain committed to a well integrated platform, from the workspace on
up. Even as our applications find new homes on other platforms we are not
losing focus of this. We simply intend to provide both a well
integrated "home base" as well as banner applications and libraries that run
- We will continue to recommend Free software platforms even as we deliver
technologies to others.
- We will not divert appreciable existing assets to the support of these new
platforms but rely on interest already existing on those platforms to grow
them into self-sustaining efforts just as the ones on free operating systems
We realize that others that have gone before us have not always adhered to
these principles or goals, and this is why we make them explicit and known.
We wish to communicate to each other in the project as well to those who rely
on us as users, developers and supporters where we are headed with clarity.
the above is my accumulated thought from result of talking and listening with
many people both inside kde and outside of it over the last year about this
matter. so the above isn't particularly revolutionary, it's more of a
gathering of thought and an attempt to make explicit what i've observed as
already mostly in place. i've personally become comfortable with the above
even though i started somewhere rather else at the beginning of this
exploration. i do feel my own reservations from a year ago are met acceptably
by the above; i hope the same can be said of those who are working on these
i'm not sure where the discussion to refine (or to abandon) the above should
happen. it's not really a marketing thing: it's a commitment we as developers
would make to ourselves, our partners and our users. it's communication
needed to avoid confusion, doubt and uncertainty amongst our loyal base of
supporters. i also don't want to abuse k-c-d for Yet Another non-technical
this extends far beyond the purpose and coverage of KDE e.V., so doesn't
belong there either.
*shrug* any suggestions?
Aaron J. Seigo
humru othro a kohnu se
GPG Fingerprint: 8B8B 2209 0C6F 7C47 B1EA EE75 D6B7 2EB1 A7F1 DB43
Full time KDE developer sponsored by Trolltech (http://www.trolltech.com)
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