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From Peter Kelly <pmke...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Is Qt the right choice ??
Date Mon, 27 Jul 2015 00:35:51 GMT
I think we should continue with Qt, for the following reasons:

1. I’m not aware of any other cross-platform GUI toolkits that are of the same level of
quality as Qt. I consider Qt to be an excellent toolkit, and very easy to work with. An alternative
may be GTK, but I’m not sure how well this works on Windows and OS X - last time I used
it (many years ago) it had to run through an X-Windows app on both, but this may have changed.
I’m happy to be advised if this is no longer the case, or if there are any other (good)
toolkits with suitable licenses someone can suggests.

2. If we use the native UI toolkit for each platform, then given a fixed amount of developer
resources, we’re going to end up with three separate applications that are each 1/3 of the
quality/functionality that we’d have with Qt. Even if we can get three times as many people
involved (and, in practice, it needs to be more than that anyway as there’s not even enough
work going on for the one Qt version), keeping them in sync feature-wise and UI-wise is going
to be a huge amount of work.

3. WebKit is LGPL regardless of the platform. On OS X, it’s distributed as part of the system.
As far as I’m aware, it’s perfectly valid to link against an LGPL library in any application,
regardless of license, including closed-source apps (Safari being an example). LGPL only imposes
restrictions on modifications to the LPGL library itself, not code that links against it.

4. It’s my understanding that the only “official” Apache releases are in source form
- is this correct? If so, then the source for the Qt app itself would still validly be under
the Apache license. The distributed app which combines the open source edition of Qt plus
the Corinthia code would necessarily be GPL. If someone wished to produce a closed-source,
commercial product based on the desktop app part of Corinthia, they could purchase a Qt commercial
license and do so, within the terms of the Apache license. Granted, this is less ideal than
being able to do so without the requirements of purchasing a Qt license. In an extreme case,
someone could produce a “wrapper” library which emulates the subset of Qt APIs that the
Corinthia desktop uses, to allow it to run on a given target platform. In fact, this is exactly
what Apple did in 2002 when they ported khtml to OS X, and renamed it to WebKit (the codebase
started off as part of the KDE project).

I think the most pertinent issue is #2 - I really think moving away from Qt is going to create
more problems that it solves in terms of the significant extra work it’ll require. In fact
it puts the project at risk due to there not being enough people or people with enough time
to complete a functioning GUI on all major desktop platforms. With Qt we have a decent chance,
and I think it will be easier to attract new people (e.g. Capstone project) when we have one
codebase instead of three.

—
Dr Peter M. Kelly
pmkelly@apache.org

PGP key: http://www.kellypmk.net/pgp-key <http://www.kellypmk.net/pgp-key>
(fingerprint 5435 6718 59F0 DD1F BFA0 5E46 2523 BAA1 44AE 2966)

> On 26 Jul 2015, at 5:16 pm, jan i <jani@apache.org> wrote:
> 
> Hi
> 
> I am currently updating the cmake files to cover e.g. the editor and see
> some problems.
> 
> I know we decided to use Qt, but I would like to take the discussion again.
> 
> If we use Qt the editor will never be a released product, it will remain an
> optional product, and
> I think we will want to position the editor as a main feature of corinthia.
> 
> There is an alternative to Qt, which is a little more work but not much. If
> we look at how peter
> currently uses Qtwebkit it is pretty simple and static.
> 
> Webkit is builtin on OS-X, therefore we can use it, without thinking too
> long about the licenses
> (we do not ask people to download extra libraries, so it is at the same
> level that we also depend on windows sdk-api).
> 
> We cannot use webkit on windows because it is LGPL (same as Qt), but we can
> use mshtml or IWebBrowser2. My idea is to make a simple set of wrapper
> functions, so that
> the editor as such does not see the difference. That would allow us
> to have the editor as a main feature.
> 
> thoughts ?
> 
> rgds
> jan i.


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