Thursday, January 7, 2010

Well, since Aaron raised one or two issues, I'll take the time to blog again.

Our primary goal for KDE on Windows is easy installability and a complete and stable KDE on the Windows platform. So the question is - where do we start?

Aaron mentions that our installer seems to be way more complicated than installing Linux and that a simple fire and forget installer is far better for a broader audience.

This is probably true and was already part of some discussions. The task of rewriting the packaging format is also not the biggest part. More tricky is the problem of updating the core package, which would then contain quite a lot of smaller libraries which are now handled by the installer. And the second point is: If you want to install more than one package, you might find a package manager far more convenient (on a side note: it is near to impossible to use the .exe installers as packages from inside the kdewin-installer). This part of course gets less important if you want to install just Amarok or just Digikam.

The second point Aaron brings up is how we see ourselves. Aaron says that it could bring a lot more for KDE if we see ourselves as the ones to deliver the libraries for other application developers and at the same time be our own consumers (in our role as the ones who deliver the applications).

The equivalent model would be the java runtime environment vs. java applications. I have been thinking about this model already for quite a while and it never really has vanished. On the other hand I must say that I think the priority is wrong. Until recently an external KDE application was not compilable out of the box on top of our packages (thanks go to Alex Neundorf for fixing it). A whole lot of shiny new KDE technology has no working backends under Windows (think of solid) or is really unstable (phonon). There are really basic bugs like you cannot copy files from one drive to another (recently fixed in kio_file), and last but not least on a lot of corners you don't have any system integration for your applications (this is somewhat similar problem to the missing backends). Personally I consider those issues far more pressing because I benefit from fixing those issues when using KDE applications.

On a more personal level now as it is already getting late:
One of the funny things is the usage of the word 'we' in and around KDE on Windows. This can have multiple different meanings: All the folks working on Windows (which excludes people not working on Windows), the people that distribute their software via the installer (excluding KDAB which uses a single installer for kontact), and not to forget the 'we' Aaron uses where he includes himself. That there is a difference between the first two has been made obvious here but I think those issues have been solved now more or less. The third 'we' is a general KDE one and sometimes also looks from outside: If 'we' have to change our way of thinking, then it is of course not the 'we' including Aaron who has to do something but the other two 'we'.

Enough ranting for now.