A final word and what to do now (was: A final word (was:Re: What's up and what's hot))

Ralf Nolden nolden at kde.org
Thu Aug 9 20:15:02 UTC 2001

On Thursday, 9. August 2001 20:51, you wrote:
> Ralf,
> thank you _very much_ for your efforts in leading this project, it is
> genuinely and honestly appreciated. I know how much time, heart and
> soul you are personally investing into KDevelop and at this point I
> would like to take the chance and thank you for it.
Thanks. That's exactly how I feel. The KDevelop project is the one part of my 
life that I hang all my heart and engergy on besides a woman (which is 
currently not part of my life, so that leaves KDevelop and KDE alone :)
> Now I would like to address some of the points you bring up.
I answer as necessary; after I just read the whole mail I think we're on a 
good track of stopping this thread and keep coding again :)

> No no, I was under the impression that the gideon project had already
> decided that MDI was a bad UI decision and that it would not go into
> HEAD, no matter what.
Ok, if you got that impression, it isn't the truth. The fact is that QextMDI 
is so encapsuled that hardly anyone of us except Falk understands what's 
going on. That may be because he's mainly a windows-type programmer in his 
code, so even I have a hard time understanding the choice of his function 
names, but that is probably more a formal and a time problem than anything 

I will try to point out again on _why_ we switched to gideon and why we need 
to work on that version _now_. I don't undervalue that you want to finish 
some things on kdevelop 2, whatsoever- that's a different subject. I think 
that will cover the answers to all the other questions that were mentioned in 
the original mail.

Ok, we have been working on KDevelop 2.0, which is now the Gideon version, 
since 1999. That means, that until February this year, we spent over a year 
into a version that ended up having no developers, no real code committment 
for weeks and sometimes month and no real perspective. That version though 
contained MDI. It contained the dialogs. It was "kinda" usable. It fullfilled 
that what 2.0 is now in terms of usability (not exactly, but you know what I 
mean for a development version). The problem was: There was no code 
commitment. And it was unstable. It wasn't FUN to hack on. It just didn't 
work. While that has been worked on, we put out 1.3, which was a good one. 
Unfortunately, KDE 2.0 was out already, so everyone wanted to write software 
for it. Although one could do that, we required the user to install at least 
KDE 1 libs and qt 1.44 to run kdevelop. That made it a memory hogger, 
although it worked very slick by itself.  But essentially, 1.3 wasn't the 
answer. It was clear, that we couldn't just say, well, we're hacking on 2.0 
since half a year, nothing usable and stable yet, but it will be the same as 
1.3 is now for KDE 1 within a year or so. You know what would have happened ? 
I tell you what. Other people would have regarded the KDevelop project as a 
stopped project, because there was nothing new which kept the pace of KDE.

So, John and I made the decision in agreement with the others, that wether we 
like it or not, we had to port 1.3 to KDE 2. And I arranged through 
involvement with the other KDE guys that 1.4 would be shipped with KDE 2.1. 
That's what we did. For the purpose of getting the KDE 2.0 platform up and 
usable for development; for the users.  We kept the promise. We delivered. 

Now, at the same time that we did that, obviously the development on HEAD 
came to a halt somewhat. That was when Bernd said, he didn't put so much 
effort into HEAD just to see it being unusable. See his mails for that. Now, 
he made up his mind, and I have to thank him for that, to code something that 
actually worked, and already kept _some_ of the promises _technically_ that 
HEAD should address. No project file stuff that could mess up CVS, instead, 
Makefile based project management. Plugins. Scriptable templates. The base 
was laid. That was around CeBIT. I met Bernd there and I was supposed to meet 
Falk as well. But we didn't get to see each other. I wanted Bernd to put his 
version into HEAD. He said Falk would be pissed off, but I said we'll talk 
about that and we'll solve this issue together. Eventually, something went 
wrong there with the communication and I am truly sorry for that. BUT 
nonetheless what happened, and I beg everyone's forgiveness for that: We 
_now_ have a version that is actively being worked on. A version that 
technically can be understood by part-time programmers without digging 
through the code for hours before they know what's going on. A version that 
is fun hacking on. And a version that matches our technical needs. Due to 
this progress (and process) of having a working _and_ worked on version in 
HEAD, the effects of the decisions were justified: 1.4 shipped, 2.0 was to 
ship with KDE 2.2 and HEAD has been worked on. The plan was good. Until now 
that worked out without any trouble because everyone was busy. 

Now, other projects like e.g. KMail had a "second codebase" syndrome as well. 
A new version, much better designed. Effected in it being dropped because the 
group couldn't agree on _one_ thing. Please import the kdenetwork/kmail 
sources. I tried to add some stuff there but just looking at the code, I saw 
enough. I don't want our _second_ HEAD version to be dropped because it has 
shown that it works and we _all_ agreed we were working on it as soon as the 
old branch is effectively dead. I put up the roadmap a couple of month ago, 
pointing this out. So, it is now the time that we move on to part II of this 
roadmap, that is 3.0. So I ask everyone to join into HEAD and that we finally 
don't play catch-up with the rest of KDE again. The docs and translations 
need a lot of work from other people as well, and they want to help us, but 
we need to be organized for that. I promised Thomas Diehl that now things 
will get better after we agree on one version, and that means effectively 
that the branch is dead for the translators. We're supposed to work on the UI 
of KDevelop 3.0 now that the functionality is given and the translators 
should see some land in sight so they don't have to do all their work on one 
of the largest KDE projects inside KDE just a couple of days before the KDE 
3.0 release.

Now, when it comes to the actual development of 3.0; I repeat myself that 
usability concerns were not the very first issues that has been worked on. 
That was the same situation with KDevelop 1.x in some parts which I took to 
solve, like I did with the rest of KDE together with others for KDE 2.2, and 
that has paid off IMO. I assign that part of the job to me with this, and I 
could need some help as far as the docs go. Before I can care for the user 
interface docs, that has to be finished of course. So I would like to ask if 
someone is willing to write down a book that can be extended with the 
die-hard-technology _inside_ Qt like the new UUID stuff, components, the 
meta-object compiler and how it functions and what not, like event processing 
and even how a widget technically is painted on X (with the additional 
explanation of the Qt/Embedded version as well).

Further the MDI stuff was not seen as not needed or whatsoever. Bernd's 
technical view is that he doesn't like it much as many other Unix 
programmers. But I see the need for making both camps happy; that is to use 
QextMDI again now that it is usable and make it an optional component in 
KDevelop. So as you and Falk as well as jowenn and Christoph know best about 
Kate, KWrite and QextMDI, I would like you to do that now, so we can have a 
first working version of that part by September/October. I hope that your 
timeframe fits this, but I would like it to be ready by then. Technically, 
please not that it should be exchangable by the user to use either of those 
two concepts, either QextMDI or split-views like it's working now.

Next thing that I need is that we need to collect all infos and resources for 
the according languages that we support already. I would like someone to 
collect all the info that's available on the net and maybe do a search on 
amazon.com for books and recommendations. Writing up a tutorial and examples 
for all these languages will take some time, so for that we shold care about 
reusable resources right away.

Another thing is that whoever needs icons for his part, please contact 
Torsten Rahn (torsten at kde.org, tackat on IRC). Bug him until he delivers. It 
takes ages, so you need to ask at least twice a week and please CC me so I 
know which icons are not drawn so I can lock him in my computer room again 
like in January to do the icons if they are not done :))

If someone else has ideas on where he could need a hand or where he thinks 
things can be improved and wants to work on that, please write here as usual 
so we know that you're doing this and double effort can be avoided.

Finally, some closing words to this thread. I have gotten to know all of you 
over the years. Some in real life. Some by emailing or IRC. And the rest over 
this list. I have always liked to be here. I enjoyed every day when we have 
something to show. I have a lot of confidence in what we do. And I promote 
that to the best what I can, because I know I don't lie. I tell the truth 
when I say, I like to be here and do the work that I do. And (with some 
pathetic lending of JFK's words :)) I take pride in the words "I am a KDE 
Developer".  I hope and wish you all the same that I feel about this project. 
We can make 3.0 that what we want it to be. It will be the killer app, the 
best version capable of lots of programming languages, with thousands of 
pages of docs, with no shortcomings to functionality and extensibility. And 
backed by a group of people who like each other. I count on your will and 
your effort that this will become true.

Your friend,


(now comes the PS: part :))
> Well, this could be understand as a threat. I know you a bit from our
> IRC conversations and I am convinced you didnt mean it like that.
Yes, I didn't want to be offending. Sorry if "my horses got through" with me. 
I'm under stress with my exams anyway so discussions like these are the least 
I can use now in my life. When I come back home and switch on my computer to 
work on KDE I want that to be the most fun part of my day. Please try not to 
spoil it, thanks :)

> Let's talk about integrating _this_ version of the docViewMan and the
> corresponding MDI into gideon and we are in business.
Ok, please do that. Take 2.0 as the testcase and put it as a kdevelop part 
into gideon and I'm fine with that.

> Ralf, I dont want you to get pissed off, I want the same thing as you
> do :-) If you get pissed off, I will take you out for a couple of
> "brewskis" in November and drink you under the table... :-) Then we go
> and swim through the Bay, that will cool you off.
I will need to do that anyway. And you bet I will drink you under the table. 

> >That's all I demand. Is that too much ?
> :-) ROTFL

I guess this means everything is cleared now :))
We're not a company, we just produce better code at less costs.
Ralf Nolden
nolden at kde.org

The K Desktop Environment	The KDevelop Project
http://www.kde.org		http://www.kdevelop.org

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