Monday, June 8, 2009

KDE on Windows is not dead yet

First of all, I want to say something about an article that has been released on the Linux Magazin - about the step down of Christian Ehrlicher as a developer for KDE on Windows.
This is not easy for us as Christian has done quite a lot of work in the background as making packages and fixing builderrors and bugs. This doesn't mean though that he has been the only one to do those tasks. The Amarok Nightlies have been done nearly totally independent of the rest by Björn Schröder and Oluf Lorenzen; in between the releases Christian made, I made some of them too, and also Ralf Habacker and Holger Schröder are able to build packages (those are the ones that currently are allowed to upload, this list can of course be extended). So packages will be provided in the future as they have been in the past.

The second point I want to address is the criticism made by Christian in his post. Although Till has corrected it here and here I do remember that the feelings we had back when kdab joined KDE on Windows development were far more optimistic than what was achieved in the time. I think this is normal and can happen in other places too. I think though that we have to look further and always check what possibilities we do have to work together and how we can achieve the best together. Due to the pure nature of the different intents that companies and private persons do have if they develop on KDE we will never have the exact same opinion on some issues (the packaging is such an issue here). The same applies to probably all companies in this area, just think of Qt Software & Qt.

And last I want to mention something that has struck me again when reading the comments both in Linux Magazin and below Christians blog post: I never want to read again those comments along the line "good that you have found back to the free OS and you no longer waste time". All those of you out there thinking like that, just try to switch on your brain at least once and think why it is called "free" software. It is not free as in beer, it is free as in freedom, and I reclaim hereby the freedom to develop for Windows. And for Linux. And for BSD. And for Solaris. And for Mac. And for all those other OSs I don't even know but which might run KDE one day.


Sébastien said...


Anonymous said...

Obviously you have the freedom to develop for windows, and I can understand the argument that it is good for KDE to be able to run everywere.

But obviously what people are thinking when they congratulate a good hacker for developing for GNU/Linux instead of Microsoft Windows is that altough you ought to be free to code for whatever you want, people that believe in true freedom of software (Which is what FOSS is all about, and KDE is FOSS) find that your efforts may foster more freedom, which is debatable, and have a deeper and more lasting impact in the community, also debatable.

But what is for sure is that you are no longer giving a helping hand to one of the most closed, with least ethical standards, biggest monopoly software house in the world, which is undeniable.

So you see, although you may disagree with those voices, you oughtn't disdain them.

Bugsbane said...

I was content with Windows. I thought it's problems were problems to do with computing per se.

I only came to open source by discovering, using and coming to trust it through cross platform apps such as FF, Open Office and Joomla first. Had the programmers there considered creating cross platform as hurting FOSS, I wouldn't have been here using 100% Linux and contributing to nearly a dozen FOSS projects.

Remember, the disparity in size between FOSS apps and M$ means that when we open the gates inbetween, that much more traffic flows our way than in reverse.

If you really want to help M$, close the gates and demand every app only ever be developed for Linux (or BSD for that matter). Also make sure that every app won't work if you're running a properiety video driver. Or wireless. Or any other hardware without a GPLv3 driver.

M$ would honestly love that. I know I would as a business person in their shoes.

SaroEngels said...

@kiberlynx: I think that every little app that is open-source brings more people towards this idea. As Bugsbane described it, I wouldn't contribute today if there wouldn't be apps like firefox and thunderbird and cygwin on windows. And even my improvements go back to other platforms too. And I think that every user of an open-source app puts microsoft under more pressure to rethink their strategies.

Anonymous said...

@bugsbane: "Remember, the disparity in size between FOSS apps and M$ means that when we open the gates inbetween, that much more traffic flows our way than in reverse."

Thank you for that bugsbane, and I'm being totally honest, I've been looking for a serious argument that would convince me that extending the cross-platform-bility of a FOSS project to windows was more good than evil, and to this day hadn't found one.
So I remained undecided as to what to defend, although I always had this feeling that the balance was good it's your brilliant analogy that finally turned me, thank you because I hate not having an opinion on something, hehe!

I now officially think that it's better to include windows than not, instead of just not being sure as until today.

I still think, though, that you should be tactfull discouraging others to not praise somenone for switching from developping for windows to developping for some FOSS system, you of course are free to disagree!

Bugsbane said...

@kiberlynx I totally agree. In my perfect world, apps are developed on FOSS operating systems and ported out. That way the softwares always there to act as a bridge, but users become aware that the app is faster / more up to date etc. on Linux. This is exactly what happens with Blender. It's available on Windows, which gets many people using it... but everyone knows it renders faster on Linux, which has switched quite a few serious users. :)

The other aspect I like thinking about is: "Which of Microsoft's income streams would it be useful to have undermined?" Simple answer: *ALL OF THEM*! :D Most of their income comes from Office, which makes OOo incredibly important, though I'd wager more and more of it is coming from the exploding games market. For that reason games are becoming crucial to open source. While we haven't had much to be happy about here in past, there are some very, very promising developments with Blenders game engine and the work being done on Xreal at the moment.

It will be a battle, but it will be a battle we can win.

ManagementBoy said...

ohh please port as much as possible to Symbian ;-)

vivo said...

I've liked very much the last paragraph, and I'm using only linux as a desktop, at home and at work. Freedom to walk only in one direction is not freedom at all

ThinkingFish said...

Choices is a good thing. Thanks for all the hard work that enables me to use Windows when necessary (Windows is nowhere near dead yet, and there are reasons for that), while still enjoying some quality KDE applications.