"Cornelius's grand plan" - Merging KDElibs into Qt
amantia at kde.org
Mon Nov 1 20:58:44 GMT 2010
On Sunday 31 October 2010, Mark Kretschmann wrote:
> Hey all,
> after reading the whole thread that started with Chani's mail ("why
> kdelibs?"), I think the noise level has become a bit too much there.
> Cornelius had proposed this rather daring idea:
> What do you think about it?
I will ruin the show, and say: do we want this? What is the goal for KDE
(and not KDE eV, for which the goals are written down). What do we want
with KDE itself? I will say what I want: the best desktop available,
that is a pleasure to use and pleasure to write applications for it. And
I'm egoist enough to say, that I also want the fame part: that it is
recognized that this product was created by people who believe in open
source and this people are those who form the KDE project.
Is it the best desktop available? For me yes, but it is not, in
general. Unfortunately it still has quite some bugs, in many areas. I
always try to believe how nice and easy to use is, and see that I end up
apologizing for this broken feature or that, or fixing myself the
desktop of others, who are beginners in KDE. So that is clearly work to
do. And where we need to work nowadays is mostly the applications. Not
only (e.g a notable exception being the printing system and another
famous bug I don't want to mention directly), but in many case. They
want a desktop that doesn't crash, a browser that just works, an email
application that is easy to use, and so on.
Is it a pleasure to write apps for it? For me, yes, it is. In the "why
kdelibs" thread, lots of the nice technologies were listed. For
newcomers, again, it isn't perfect. And I don't say newcomers, who are
interested in one or other part of KDE libraries, but who are interested
in KDE as a whole. This is mostly a documentation issue, though. The
library code itself I find to be good quality, with much less bugs than
in the applications (now somebody can give me bugzilla kdelibs vs. apps
statisctics to prove me I'm wrong...I talk about my daily experience).
The monolithic approach and being an extra lib on top of Qt might also
scare some developers. The question is, how much do we sacrifice to get
those developers. Do we break SC and BC again to try to do it "right",
and piss off all the current app developers, who need to port they
lovely project again. And do the same with the users, as there won't be
regression free porting. I'm not against reducing inter-module
dependencies, or making it easy to check out part of a library and
build/install only that, but I'm against doing a full library
restructuring which requires the application developers to port their
application to a new version. Remember, we still did not fully port the
applications to KDE4 technologies! And I bet there are still quite some
Qt3 and KDE3 support module usage in the main kde modules themselves
(eg. korganizer was cleaned up only recently).
Instead of doing it, we should provide good code examples, good
tutorials and a good tool for developing. Like Qt Creator is for Qt
projects. Be it an extension of Creator, or even better a good KDevelop
(which has the same problems as of now as I said before: it is buggy and
And then something that is about fame and recognition: we tried to
build a brand, we try to show that open source is innovative and can
produce cool technologies. I'd not like to see that our work disappears,
by being merged into something (Qt). If it happens we will sadly see
what we have now with webkit and also phonon. Companies have no idea
they are KDE technologies. I have no problem with Qt itself, it is a
very good library and the base of KDE. I'm glad Nokia made it available
under free licenses. I'm glad they are more open than ever. But it is
still a product of a company, it is not the product of a community. Even
if former and current KDE people work there. And this is related to
licensing: do you want to give your code to a company to do whatever
they want with it? To market it as their product? I have no problem if
somebody makes money based on KDE, but I'd like to see that the credit
is also given to KDE.
So what do we need? I think we need to work on three areas:
- advertize the good things we have in the libraries (marketing
material, tutorials, blog and forum posts also in non-KDE related
websites, even books)
- make sure that people can actually easily use what we advertize
(tutorials, API documentation, development tools)
- bugfix our applications as much as we can, so end users enjoy the
power of our platform
I know, people cannot be forced to do this or that in an open source
project, and we shouldn't do, still I think the above should be the
goals of the project and the steps that needs to be done in order to
achieve the goals.
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