Consensus on the kdelibs coding style

Aaron J. Seigo aseigo at
Sun Jul 6 08:17:42 BST 2008

On Saturday 05 July 2008, David Jarvie wrote:
> On Sat 5 July 2008 21:53:10 Aaron J. Seigo wrote:
> > On Saturday 05 July 2008, David Jarvie wrote:
> > > On Sat 5 July 2008 20:25:19 Maksim Orlovich wrote:
> > > > > this discussion was had quite thoroughly, including on this list.
> > > > > this is the
> > > > > one point there was broad consensus on, in fact. restarting
> > > > > conversations evern N months is not useful, and we have mailing
> > > > > list archives for this purpose.
> > >
> > > When this was discussed previously, I didn't think to question the
> > > desirability of relatively detailed coding rules. I happen to have had
> > > the new (to me) thought that this isn't actually necessary. That's why
> > > I voiced this opinion. Or is that not allowed?
> >
> > it's not a matter of "allowed" or "not allowed". it's a request to keep
> > things moving rather than stalling by re-iterating conversations. it's a
> > bad habit we have in kde: keep repeating ourselves until we get what we
> > want.
> I don't dispute the need for *some* rules. I was talking about *what* rules
> there should be, just as Lubos was - I basically agree with him. Unless I'm
> mistaken, that is what this thread is about.

unfortuantely, this can be a reasonable discussion about quantifiable results 
as much as a discussion as vi vs emacs or liverpool vs man U. can be. some 
people love tabs, some people love {}s on the same line, some people.... and 
everyone tends to swear by their personal style preference.

no matter what the guidelines are, someone will dislike them. personally i 
don't like every part of the styleguide. but it's more important that we have 
them at all, and i recognize the fact that unless we magically agreed on 
everything one day that there will never be a "perfect" set of guidelines. oh 

the styleguide we have make the code look a lot like Qt, they aren't bad, a 
lot of the code already is written in that style and we have been following 
the guidelines for a while now. those are all pluses. the negatives i perceive 
aren't worth having this discussion every 4-6 months until i get my 
preferences in.

as Cornelius said, we have more fun and useful things to be doing.

i'm really not sure it's worth putting this much effort into every 6 months or 

> > what you're really asking for is for those who are working on these code
> > bases to not set guidelines for their projects. that's a freedom each
> > team should have, imho.
> I presume that we're discussing the kdelibs coding style here, not that for
> other projects.

actually, only a subset of kdelibs. it doesn't cover khtml, phonon or solid, 
for instance. they coul all opt-in if they desired, and perhaps phonon and 
solid already do (i can't remember; i don't work on those bodies of code so am 
a bit ignorant there), but we were discussing a styleguide to cover just 
libkdecore, libkdeui, libkio, libkfile and libkdeutil.

i opted to use the style in plasma because i didn't want to have to constantly 
change coding styles when reading and writing code, but that was a purely 
personal decision not forced on me by anyone.

> > the current guidelines are not onerous. they haven't caused problems in
> > the code or the pace at which the code is being worked on.
> I'm worried that the current guidelines which became "official" without any
> clear agreement on the lists will eventually become rules by means of a
> similar non-transparent process.

we gathered over 20 people together who work at that time were doing the build 
of work on kdelibs quite and discussed this issue in person. it was then 
brought to this mailing list and a couple of very long threads resulted. the 
styleguide was then put on techbase. it was pretty transparent. and while it 
was agreed a common style would be useful, there wasn't unanimity as to which 
exact style to use. such is life sometimes.

i know that not everyone involed with every kde project was aware of it, but 
that's not unlike decisions that the kdepim team make. (which is the other 
area in kde that you are quite involved in, iirc?) they have a coding style, 
too. =)

as for a consipiracy towards making them into some sort of "rules", it sounds 
like we may be forgetting that we're on the same team here. i don't see an us 
and a them, i don't see people trying to pull any fast ones on each other.

Aaron J. Seigo
humru othro a kohnu se
GPG Fingerprint: 8B8B 2209 0C6F 7C47 B1EA  EE75 D6B7 2EB1 A7F1 DB43

KDE core developer sponsored by Trolltech

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