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Programming GUI KDE Operating Systems Software Windows IT Technology Linux

QT/Win 3.3.3 To 'Reach Production State Soon' 114

sebFlyte writes "The KDE Cygwin team are reportedly closing in on a native port for QT to allow said graphical framework to run over Windows. This has upset a few people, who think that porting open source apps to Windows is strengthening MS's near monopoly and damaging Linux." (Of course, KDE also runs on OSes besides Linux.)
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QT/Win 3.3.3 To 'Reach Production State Soon'

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  • I disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SecretMethod70 ( 569755 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @10:53PM (#11614694)
    I know there are those who would say I'm wrong, but I do think that it is easier for someone to migrate to Linux after they have gotten into the habit of using Firefox, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, and whatever else. It's all about the "baby steps."

    As for QT running in Windows, I think this would be great. I'd love to use Amarok and k3b when I'm in Windows.

    • Absolutely.. Sorry I have no mod points. :(

      Except about the k3b, I can't stand to use it in Linux, I can't imagine why anyone would want to in Windows.
      • Why do you loathe k3b? I simply love it (and I burn 2-3 cds a day)...
        • Because it's only ever worked about half the time. The other times, it does weird things like finalize a blank DVD-R without writing any of the data I told it to.

          I much prefer gcombust.. It's similar to Buckley's cough syrup. It's ugly as sin, but it works every time.
    • Re:I disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Goalie_Ca ( 584234 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:49PM (#11615122)
      Agreed.

      In plain English:
      When you run platform independant applications you can run them on any platform. Switching platforms becomes more like the switch of a back end. The user is oblivious to the back end.
      • They're moving to millstone people down to MS-Office, MS-Access, .NET, anything else they can lay hand to because they realise that but for these ties (did somebody say "illegal abuse of monopoly power"?), operating systems are about to become unimportant. And who would pay AUD$200 for a slightly dodgy ShortHorn when instead they can have a rock-steady Linux for free?

        Thankfully, their efforts along these lines in the past have mostly come to nought. Does anyone remember Blackbird? Or the original MSN?
    • Re:I disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

      by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @12:32AM (#11615376) Homepage Journal
      Why is that such a great goal? The point of Free Software is not to get people running Linux.. it's to give people freedom. You can be running all the Free Software on earth and still not be aware of your freedom. That's a lot better than running proprietary software and not being aware of your freedom but it's hardly a worthy goal. Yes, we should get people to switch to Firefox and OpenOffice and Thunderbird and Linux but at some point we need to make these people aware that they are not only getting great software, they're also getting their freedom back. That means we have to start:
      • telling them it is a-ok to share the software with their neighbour.
      • suggesting that they hire local developers to customize their software
      • teaching them to code

      That way the next time someone offers them proprietary software they'll ask
      • can I share this with others?
      • can I customize this?
      • can I fix my own bugs?

      And when the answer comes back "no no no" they'll say "no thank you" to proprietary software.
      • Re:I disagree (Score:1, Interesting)

        by theapodan ( 737488 )
        I may be mistaken, but I don't think that the QT license is a free software license anyway. I can recall some disagreement regarding its freeness, and its alternative licensure for commercial applications. Wasn't this the reason for GTK development?
        • Re:I disagree (Score:4, Interesting)

          by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:12AM (#11615568) Homepage Journal
          That was a LONG time ago. Trolltech quelled all those accusations by releasing Qt under the GPL. They provide the exact same code under a proprietary license for people who want to write proprietary applications too though.
          • Re:I disagree (Score:1, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Yes, note that Qt conforms to the FSF definition of "free" even moreso than GTK now, since GTK is licenesed under LGPL (and thus can be used in proprietary applications like vmware and tons of others).

            Of course, that can be good or bad depending on how much you love the GPL. BSD license people probably like GTK better because LGPL is closer to their license.
      • Interesting... not that I agree or disagree, but do you really want to give people the freedom to deny themselves freedom? Is that really freedom? -ponder-

        I think that this is cool news, as the reason for OS is to keep options open and to promote open standards... To deny windows this app would be as bad as the 'enemy'.
    • Re:I disagree (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You're spot on. If all of the same software they use on Windows is available for Linux, the switch is a LOT easier!
    • Re:I disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ogerman ( 136333 )
      It's all about the "baby steps."

      Moving directly to Linux means a forced change of all software at once. As a rule, users hate sudden changes. I love the fact that I can now recommend a whole suite of Open Source software to my unfortunate Windows-using friends. Since they've already bought their machines, it's too late to avoid paying the "PC tax." But if they can become accustomed to using almost entirely OSS, their next system purchase can easily come pre-installed with Linux instead. Create the de
      • Ports of cdrecord and mkisofs already exist, possibly using cygwin, and are sometimes used as backends. Look at the boot disks/windows live cd websites, quite a few recommend mkisofs because it is the only iso maker that can do --boot-info-table
      • I'm pretty sure cdrecord (at least) is already on windows...

        A glance at the freshmeat [freshmeat.net] page would agree, but it appears the homepage is down

        Bill.
    • <pedant>k3b is a frontend to Unix(ish)-specific programs.</pedant>
      Not to say that it would be very difficult to create a "drop-in" cdrecord clone that uses Windows's CD burning system...
  • Windows (Score:2, Interesting)

    It's not choice of applications that caused me to change to Linux on my work/development box it's Windows' stupid activation process. Windows activation and the security holes in IE might be what kills windows.

    Linux doesn't have to kill Micro$oft Bill Gates is doing a fine job on his own.
    • I'd agree... why do I have to activate my box after i have already paid $500 for the .... product?
    • Choice of applications might not have converted you, but the average computer user doesn't know or care about activation processes and security holes. What they need to convert is assurance that they have an equal or better choice of apps for Linux that can serve as alternatives for those that they've become used to on Windows. As I find out every time I try to convert a non-nerd to Linux, they don't care about security or stability. All they care about are apps.
      • That's silly. Linux has far more Apps than windows. My Linux box has 2 full office suites for a start. I don't think I know anyone with windows can say that.
        • I ran Mac now but my Windows laptop has:

          1) Microsoft Office
          2) Wordperfect/Corel Office
          3) Lotus' old office suite
          4) OpenOffice
          5) Piecemeal office products (LyX, Mindjet, Filemaker, etc...)

        • That's silly. Linux has far more Apps than windows. My Linux box has 2 full office suites for a start. I don't think I know anyone with windows can say that.

          Sure, there are millions of apps for Linux, but you know how many of them most Windows users know? 0. The problem is not lack of apps--the problem is familiarity with the apps.

          Let's say you sit a Windows user down in front of a nice KDE desktop and ask them to try to chat with their friend on Yahoo Messenger or burn a CD or crop a digital photo. Th

  • Not so. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BoomerSooner ( 308737 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @10:54PM (#11614698) Homepage Journal
    It's a great way to work OSS apps/environments into the users familiar zone. The more comfortable they get the less likely they are to notice when the underlying windows part is gone altogether. If you can run everything on a linux box you can on a windows box without the ms tax, why wouldn't you (other than users being unfamiliar with it)?
    • I see it the same way. Take firefox, gaim, and openoffice. Three applications that are available on Windows and Linux platforms. They don't use QT, but that's not the point. When people get comfortable using those applications, then the migration from windows to linux becomes a lot easier. I think the problems people have when switching platforms in not so much in the operating system, but the applications they use on a daily basis.

      The operating system really shouldn't do much more than allow applicat
  • WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @10:55PM (#11614706) Homepage Journal
    Surely they mean a native port of KDE to Qt/Win32. Qt already runs on Windows, Mac and Linux, that's the point of it.
    • Re:WTF (Score:3, Informative)

      by hawkstone ( 233083 )
      No, I assume they actually mean Qt, believe it or not. This previous story [slashdot.org] may help explain.

      In short, the Qt version for Windows is only available under the GPL/QPL license for an ancient version, 2.3.0 I believe. There is a GPL version for 3.3.3 for X11, but the modern Windows versions are only available under a commercial license. Thus, I assume the KDE are modifying the X11 one to run natively under Windows so that they can use the GPL licensed version.
      • maybe you missed yesterday's story where Trolltech announced that Qt/Win32 is now available under the GPL.
        • maybe you missed yesterday's story where Trolltech announced that Qt/Win32 is now available under the GPL.

          Maybe you missed the fact that the new Windows dual licensing applies from Qt 4.0 onwards. This effort is for Qt 3.x.

          Qt 4 is (a) not entirely backwards compatible and (b) not available yet.

          • Ahh.. seems really pointless to go to all the effort of porting something if a better version of it is going to be out soon.
            • Re:WTF (Score:4, Insightful)

              by EnronHaliburton2004 ( 815366 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @12:35AM (#11615391) Homepage Journal
              seems really pointless to go to all the effort of porting something if a better version of it is going to be out soon.

              Possibly, but when the KDE-QT porters began their project, they didn't know that Trolltech was going to change licenses.

              I wonder if Trolltech changed licenses because of the porting project...
            • Ahh... seems really pointless to go to all the effort of porting something if a better version of it is going to be out soon.

              To some extent, certainly, but it's not entirely redundant, as QT 4 will not be 100% backwards compatible [trolltech.com]. In other words, many QT 3 applications will not necessarily compile with QT 4, and their authors will not necessarily want to update them immediately - or at all.

              So there may in theory be some situations in which having access to a Win32 version of QT 3 will enable people to
        • > maybe you missed yesterday's story where Trolltech announced that Qt/Win32 is now available under the GPL.

          Apparently you didn't notice, but I actually linked to it in my comment. I thought a lot of the discussion in that story was relevant and did a better job explaining the subtleties than I could do in a short amount of time.

          As you correctly point out, this port of 3.3.3 is probably going to be useless as of 4.0 because of Trolltech's annoucement, but I thought I might explain the reasons why it
      • To be clear, there is *no* version of Qt for Windows under *any* open source license. The 2.3 version of Qt for windows is a binary non-commercial license. This, of course, will change with Qt 4.
    • by bluGill ( 862 )

      QT runs on MS windows, but there is no GPL version that runs under MS windows. (at least not an up to date version, there are free-licensed older versions)

      Now the most recent stable qt for X11 has been ported to run native under MS windows. Some speculate this is a motivation for making qt 4.0 GPL under Ms Windows.

  • by FlipmodePlaya ( 719010 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @10:57PM (#11614731) Journal
    I'm guessing a native port of KDE was impossible because Qt for Windows is not released under the GPL. Now, however, Trolltech will be releasing it under the GPL [trolltech.com]. Does this mean all the work of porting it was needless? Furthermore, does this mean we'll see an influx of Qt apps being ported to Windows now that they're free to use Qt on that platform?
    • by Lendrick ( 314723 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @12:25AM (#11615336) Homepage Journal
      Does this mean all the work of porting it was needless?

      Perhaps not... one might speculate that Trolltech released Qt for Windows under the GPL specifically because the port was almost there. Also, Trolltech claims that their GPLed version doesn't come with tools that will work with Visual Studio, whereas the public port does.

      Furthermore, does this mean we'll see an influx of Qt apps being ported to Windows now that they're free to use Qt on that platform?

      One would hope. There are certainly some KDE apps that I'd like to be able to use on Windows.
    • by Spy Hunter ( 317220 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @03:18AM (#11616076) Journal
      TrollTech is releasing QT/Win 4 under the GPL. Their version of QT/Win 3 will not be released under the GPL, so this work is not completely redundant. Furthermore, I am almost positive that this project is what prompted TrollTech to GPL QT/Win 4. They have stated many times before that they would not, but when faced with the possibility of having QT/Linux 4 ported to Windows out of their control, they very wisely chose to GPL their own version instead to keep the QT developer community from fragmenting.
    • When Qt originally was QPL'ed and people were complaining, Troll Tech did nothing. Then, a bunch of people got together and started the Harmony project, an truly open source clone of Qt. After that was underway and looked like it was going to become a serious project, Troll Tech gave in and changed their license (and their relationship with the Harmony developers was apparently less than amicable).

      Now, people undertake the effort to port Qt to Windows under the GPL, and after they have invested a lot of
  • other os's? (Score:2, Insightful)

    It would be great to have another solid windows manager on windows. but one problem I had when I ran blckbox on windows, is that i couldn't be sure that a defect in one of my applications was because of my bad coding or because blackbox was running where a windows application would expect explorer. Unfortunately alot of us have to use windows at work, because many people aren't savvy enough to support their own desktop.... and i suspect the same is true in other companies with linux or mac boxes.... But I
    • Re:other os's? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MrDomino ( 799876 )

      imagine if you were using KDE, openoffice, firefox, abiword, gimp, gnumeric all on a windows box? there isn't much windows left. And that takes away from their monopoly and it makes migration to Linux/BSD/Darwin very easy.

      In theory, sure; I'm using Firefox, Blackbox, GIMP, et al. on my Windows box right now, but switching to *nix is highly impractical for me. Why? I have a Radeon 9800XT and an Audigy 2; support for these sorts of things is piss-poor in *nix at the moment. If GNU/Linux wants to attract the

      • It's not a vicious cycle, it's pretty simple really - don't buy ATI and don't buy Creative. There are alternatives.

        I waited almost a year for performance drivers from ATI before, in January, buying a Nv card. I hate that I sound like your average slashbot in this but you actually have a choice, buy hardware you know is working on Linux.

        Unless what you meant is "no games work reliably on Linux" - I'll agree with you. I'm a great fan of cedega but I realise it's not for everyone and the 60USD a year is non

        • It's not a vicious cycle, it's pretty simple really - don't buy ATI and don't buy Creative. There are alternatives.

          I used to say the exact same thing... Now I just say to heck with it and use Windows anyway (except at work where I do Linux development, and my tools will only run under Linux). Windows gives me a PC that works out of the box, and with 2000/XP, it works very well. I would use Windows at work if I could actually rebuild the cross-compilers and be 100% sure that I'd get the same binary cod
      • Help out. Even if you don't use linux, just make sure you ask about linux support for everything you buy, and make concerned noises when there isn't support. If you have two choices, always go for the one with linux support. If enough people do this, the manufacturers should start improving linux support.
        • Even if you don't use linux, just make sure you ask about linux support for everything you buy, and make concerned noises when there isn't support.

          I'll admit that I'm a pessimistic and cynical person... Most places where you buy computer parts, they don't even know what the heck they're selling you, never mind whether or not it will work with Linux. Unless you encounter somebody knowledgeable, you'll get the wrong answer either way.

          Going for the one with Linux support also often means getting a product
  • What? (Score:4, Funny)

    by gremlins ( 588904 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:01PM (#11614763)
    Yeah cause so many KDE users are saying if only my windows box ran KDE I would drop this crappy Linux Kernel
    • Believe it or not, some are, just because of the hardware support, and also games. I certainly wish that KDE would run on windows so that I could run games without having to reboot.
      • I know lots of people (including me) who run everything linux except one Windows PC for gaming. There is no reason you would need KDE to make this work. I am not really saying that they are idiots for porting KDE. However I don't see a whole lot of use for it. And looking into the future, wine is getting to the point where the norm will be that Windows apps will run by default and only programs that do strange stuff will have problems. So I stand by my claim that there isn't really a use for this. The
        • With KDE you could do what you can in that situation with only one PC. And wine doesn't work at all on my system, and even when it did you couldn't expect things to work "by default".
  • great.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:11PM (#11614845) Homepage
    oh great.

    another library to suck up more RAM/CPU cycles on my windows box.

    Lets see what I've got running

    Standard win32 controls / libraries
    GTK+ controls for GAIM/GIMP
    Whatever the heck iTunes uses
    Java windowing stuff...
    Firefox's XUL and XPCOM.....
    and now QT -- all to provide the exact same functions.

    nice! Has it ever occured to anybody here that this is a little excessive? Personally, I'd lean twoard an OpenSTEP like implementation as shown in the demo posted to /. a few days ago. Apple's already proven it to be successful/easy to the point that most developers choose to rewrite their frontends using cocoa instead of using a ported windowing toolkit.

    I don't want an inconsistent user experience. I want my dialogs / menus / print box / file manager to be the EXACT SAME IN EVERY APPLICATION I RUN. I don't care if Linux or MacOS look a bit different than windows. All I care is that Windows looks like Windows, Linux looks the same all around, and Mac Looks like Mac. It's really not a hard concept.
    • Re:great.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ciroknight ( 601098 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:23PM (#11614936)
      Which is why I ask "Why hasn't there been a framework written yet to make ANY windowing system look native?" I know there are attempts: wxWindows for example. But the problem is, you still have to use their API's, which means that you're limited to your coding skills. There's also been qt-gtk which is a library that accepts some gtk calls and passes them to the QT library. This is more of what we want/need.

      Imagine a QT-GTK-Windows-wxWindows-SWING-Cocoa-etc. Program using absolutely any GUI style coding you know, and let the catch-all library intercept the call, and pass it to whatever windowing system you want. I know this will be rough work, but where virtually all windowing systems do the same thing, I'm sure it can be done. The hardest part will be tearing apart the Macros that each implementation uses, and then optimizing it once you've stripped it to its most verbose state.

      Then the problem won't be "What libraries are in RAM?", but instead "Which can perform the interpretation from X to X fastest?". More kudos to QT-GTK, but I hope it keeps going.
      • so to support n libraries, you'll need to write n*n translations?
        • well, you should really only have to write (n+1) translations... n for each of the n libraries into an intermediate compatibility layer, and then 1 more for that to the native system...

          definitely a better approach than rewriting each toolkit for each primitive drawing system...
      • Which is why I ask "Why hasn't there been a framework written yet to make ANY windowing system look native?"

        We're pretty much there. On Windows XP, there's a system library called themexp.dll that accepts primitive UI calls ("draw a listbox frame", "draw a button"). It's what takes care of the switch between the new XP look and the older classic Windows look.

        Qt (the commercially licensed one from Trolltech, don't know about this new GPLed port), GTK and Mozilla's stuff all call down into this library to

      • Congratulations! You have just re-invented Xlibs! The problem is that if you limit your widget set to something that can be conformable to xlibs, you limit the areas you can improve. And if you expand xlibs to provide more stuff... whoops, you've just broken a stable API everyone uses!

        You can have an API-soup low level lib which higher levels libs write to.
        You can have a simple low level lib which higher levels libs write to but don't try to expand upon.
        You can have a simple low level lib which higher leve
        • It's not got to be that complicated. It's simply a transaction layer. You tell me in what ever language you want how to do something, and I'll translate it to another language so that another GUI can do what you asked. If done right, it wouldn't require ANY recompilation of the programs existing today, and would simply reduce the amount of libraries needed in memory. Of course, the trade off is translation time, which can be a lot or a little depending on how alike the two windowing systems are.

          Xlibs real
          • It's not got to be that complicated. It's simply a transaction layer. You tell me in what ever language you want how to do something, and I'll translate it to another language so that another GUI can do what you asked. If done right, it wouldn't require ANY recompilation of the programs existing today, and would simply reduce the amount of libraries needed in memory. Of course, the trade off is translation time, which can be a lot or a little depending on how alike the two windowing systems are.

            Okay, grea
    • Re:great.... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by lsmeg ( 529105 )
      Has it ever occured to anybody here that this is a little excessive? Personally, I'd lean twoard an OpenSTEP like implementation

      By saying, "Personally, I'd lean toward...", you've demonstrated exactly why there are so many implementations of the same concept.

    • Re:great.... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Brandybuck ( 704397 )
      I'm pissed that not everyone wears the same brand of clothing.
    • Re:great.... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by lpontiac ( 173839 )

      Standard win32 controls / libraries

      Which "standard" Win32 controls would you be talking about?

      The ones build into user32.dll? Those don't even include a listview.

      The ones in CTL3DV2.DLL?

      The ones in MFC?

      The custom stuff that Microsoft comes up with for each new version of Office?

      The Windows.Forms stuff that most .NET applications use?

      The notion that there's a "standard Win32 set of controls" is a myth.

    • I'd lean twoard an OpenSTEP like implementation

      And how does adding another toolkit and language into the mix reduce the diversity?

      Apple's already proven it to be successful/easy to the point that most developers choose to rewrite their frontends using cocoa instead of using a ported windowing toolkit.

      You're kidding, right? A huge number of applications on OS X use Carbon, and many of those are toolkit wrappers around Carbon. In fact, it is quite common to see Carbon, Cocoa, Mozilla, Gtk+, Qt, and Ja
  • my humble opinion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_greywolf ( 311406 ) on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:19PM (#11614902) Homepage
    i tend to think this is a *GOOD* thing for linux.

    having an open-source QT and KDE on Windows encourages QT's use, making it easier by far to port these applications across multiple platforms. likewise with TK and GTK+ and xWidgets. since these toolkits work on linux, having a Windows port and encouraging their use ultimately brings more applications to linux by expanding portability.

    this is why i like the Cygwin project: it brings a full POSIX layer to Windows that makes it easier to port applications back and forth. another benefit is that a Cygwin application with a working linux port gives end users one more avenue to make transitioning to another platform easier.

    the ultimate benefit won't be immediate by any means, but portability sure brings it close....
  • Huh? Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday February 08, 2005 @11:48PM (#11615112) Homepage
    OK, I like Qt, it's a great toolkit. That said, I have a serious question.

    The article says that they are getting ready to release an updated version of Qt for Windows for GPLed software to use. So far this is much like article posted a few days ago.

    But the article here talks about this being important so that people can run KDE (the desktop environment) on Windows without having to rurn Cygwin. Now while I understand not wanting to use Cygwin (it works, but it feels like a hack because in a way it is). That said, here is my main question:

    Why would you want to run KDE on Windows. I understand the "because you can" theory (which is cool), but does anyone actually want to do this full time? Why? Why not run Linux or BSD? I understand wanting to be able to run GPLed software that uses QT (JuK as one example, or other such software, maybe even Konq), but why KDE?

    Can someone explain?

    • Why would you want to run KDE on Windows. I understand the "because you can" theory (which is cool), but does anyone actually want to do this full time? Why? Why not run Linux or BSD?

      I would. I dual-boot, because I have to run Windows for certain purposes (ie, not games). Cygwin is OK, but the way that Windows looks and acts kinda ruins it. I'd love to use KDE's WM on Windows, for consistency with my Linux install if nothing else.

    • Because Explorer is awful, and crashes quite often, especially during network operations. You'd be suprised just how much difference it makes using a different shell -- I was using Program Manager and File Manager (copied from an old NT4 disc onto my work XP machine) at one point and the whole machine was a lot more stable. I would love to be able to run KDE natively on XP, for when FreeBSD is not available ;)
    • Why would you want to run KDE on Windows.

      KDE has a nice file explorer than Windows and it comes with tons of useful applications that are all integrated well together. Yet, by running it on top of Windows, you still get full Windows compatibility for commercial apps. It's a good thing for people who would like to use KDE but are forced to use Windows.

      (The same argument works for Gnome on Windows)
    • First came Cygwin, which challenged kernel32.dll; sympathical, but definitively not the killer app.

      Then there is Qt to challenge gdi32.dll. Great too, but won't change at Nasdaq.

      Now we have KDE to challenge user32.dll. OK, great too, we continue the track. Still, none of my loosy users will notice anything. Technically, or for the lawyer, sure it is great. Fonctionnaly, this is widely different.

      Next on the track is, of course, KOffice. And this is the place where these people will actually notice some

    • Because the kernel should be irrelevant.

      Ever use LiteStep? What do you say to LiteStep users? Do you say "Why not just use NeXT?"? "Why not just use AfterStep or WindowMaker?"?

      Do you like commercial games?

      Do you see my points?
  • by swillden ( 191260 ) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @12:51AM (#11615462) Homepage Journal

    This has upset a few people, who think that porting open source apps to Windows is strengthening MS's near monopoly and damaging Linux.

    There are two sides to this argument and if you state them both, I think it's very clear which one is stronger. They are:

    1. We need to keep the good Linux apps away from Windows, so that there's a better chance that one or more "killer" apps will be so good they'll attract people to the platform, convincing them to bite the bullet and break free of the monopoly.
    2. We need to provide as many great apps as possible (open source and otherwise) across all major platforms, including Linux, Mac and Windows, so that when people decide to move away from Windows, the move is nearly painless.

    Now, what are the odds that any one unfamiliar app, or even a large set of unfamiliar apps are going to be so good that they'll convince people to undergo a wrenching transition in which they have to learn an entirely new environment and application set? I won't say it's impossible, and I will say that a number of my relatives have lusted over KimDaBa when I showed it to them, but I have a hard time imagining anyone but a geek who is interested in learning new computer systems for the sheer joy of doing it will be willing to put themselves through a complete change of their daily computing environment. Hell, I'm a geek and I dual-booted for a long time, and still use some Windows apps under Wine and VMWare.

    On the other hand, it's a fact that to most computer users the operating system is beyond irrelevant -- it's invisible. "What operating system are you using?". "Umm, I think it's Internet Outlook XP". What matters is the applications. And most users are willing to look at something new, from time to time, if it's not too difficult, and if it doesn't prevent them from falling back on what they know when they need to get some work done.

    I think it's extremely clear that if your goal is to break the Microsoft monopoly, the first thing you have to do is provide, bit by bit, a comfortable set of cross-platform tools that run well on Windows. Even now many who might like to migrate away from Windows can't do it because they're locked in by Office, Outlook/Exchange, and IE. Let them slowly migrate to open source replacements and then one day they will suddenly realize that everything they do on Windows can be done the same way on Linux, or a Mac, or whatever, and then Windows will suddenly find itself having to compete on its own merits, not on the strength of its application set.

    Trying to "lock" people into Linux by providing an application set that only runs on that platform is trying to beat Microsoft at their own game. Open source lives by different rules, and if it's to be successful it has to play by those rules, not co-opt Microsoft's.

    I, for one, welcome the porting frenzy to come, and look forward to introducing my Windows-using friends to some of the great open source apps I love.

  • On one hand, this could turn people away from using linux. On the other hand, this could allow people to develop a taste for free software. But, then again, I know people who are against gimp, linux, and all that (although he does use firefox religiously), so this might help lead them to see what linux is actually capable of (and I maintain that, after a relatively shallow learning curve, the GIMP is, if not the equal of photoshop, definitely a competitor when price is factored in).
  • We've got Gentoo/FreeBSD [gentoo.org] and Gentoo/Open Solaris [gentoo.org] with the whole pick your linux/BSD/Solaris kernel of choice to run Gentoo attitude.
    I can now see Gentoo/Windows on the horizon.
  • We're just bitter that we have to finally give over the goods-- otherwise-- do as normal-- and pay us no mind...
  • Have we forgotten? (Score:3, Informative)

    by HexaByte ( 817350 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @01:56AM (#11615747)
    Have we forgotten what the LAST component was that made open source Unix (GNU/Linux) possible?

    It was the KERNEL!

    Getting people to run GNU apps on "real" Unix came first. Perhaps we can get people to run good apps and a good desktop on Windoze, then bring them over to Linux.

    And even if we don't we open up a whole new area for the superior, Open Source apps!
  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Wednesday February 09, 2005 @02:26AM (#11615870) Homepage
    I think one of the things people are forgetting is what using a Unix was like 20 years ago. There weren't free compilers, free linkers, free editors, free application suites, free windowing systems.... Free software took over Unixes by replacing the components of the operating system piece by piece by piece. So that by the mid-late 90's a Solaris user was running
    -- Free software for most apps they cared about
    -- Free software to extend their OS enough to make it functional
    -- Solaris apps where they weren't getting any additional value
    -- at most 1 or 2 commercial applications for Solaris from vendors that had no particular loyalty to Sun and weren't at all unwilling to bring out Linux versions

    This was why these users were even able to consider a transition to Linux. They could replace their current systems, with additional value (or at much reduced cost). Virtually everything they used was free.

    Similarly on AIX and IRIX the fact that there weren't that many OS specific features that were vital was the reason that IBM and SGI jumped on the LInux bandwagon to offset OS costs while still making hardware sales. If AIX or SGI were still way ahead of Linux by the late 90's they never would have done it.

    On the Windows platform we haven't come close to this. Windows users use: a Microsoft shell (explorer), a Microsoft office suite, other productivity apps written for Windows only, corporate in house software written in VB or .NET or..., games for Windows only, .... they are much more like the Unix users of the mid 80's than those of the mid 90's.

    Apache/Firefox over IIS/Explorer is one of our first major victories in replacing part of the Windows lock-in. KDE offers a wealth of applications which might be able to attack Microsoft/Windows specific apps in hundreds of places at once that will probably result in dozens of victories.

    We don't need a killer app yet. What we need is to make the transition even thinkable. People on /.
    1) Don't tend to be experts in specific productivity apps
    2) Don't have a great deal of investment in application specific data
    Average users however do fulfill these two criteria. Lets win the app war, the middle ware war, the OS extensions war and then worry about the kernel.

    • Free software took over Unixes by replacing the components of the operating system piece by piece by piece... This was why these users were even able to consider a transition to Linux. They could replace their current systems, with additional value (or at much reduced cost). Virtually everything they used was free.

      This is how my wife transitioned to Linux. Firefox, OO.o, Evolution, etc. was introduced to her one at a time until one day she realized my Linux desktop didn't look so different from her Win

      • This is how my wife transitioned to Linux. Firefox, OO.o, Evolution, etc. was introduced to her one at a time until one day she realized my Linux desktop didn't look so different from her Win2000 desktop.

        Ah, you inspire me my friend. I have that goal, and she has realized how interested I am in Linux, and the potential to get away from the buying/registering annoyance of Windows. About a year ago, I was trying to start learning Linux on a 300MHz K6-2 with less than supported hardware(ISA 16-bit soundcard-

        • ISA 16-bit soundcard-ugh!

          You think it's hard today? I was trying to install a no-name ISA soundcard with Redhat 4.0 back in the day (1996). That was my first linux box, a P-100 16 megs of RAM. Man that was a sweet system! It took me a year to learn enough to get it working right. Part of the problem was an ISA video capture/TV-tuner card that was keeping the mouse from working properly. When I finally took that card out after 6 months of tinkering and the mouse magically worked I was simultaneousl

          • I am working on setting up a MythTV system on my. My main problem is that I can't get DMA working on the hard drive. It's a PIII system with the Intel i810 chipset, which supports DMA66, but if I try to enable DMA on the Linux install, it hangs in boot. I used Knoppmyth and have been scouring the forums there, but can't find anything to indicate why this system can't do DMA.
        • I was trying to start learning Linux on a 300MHz K6-2 with less than supported hardware(ISA 16-bit soundcard-ugh!)

          Tch, kids these days think they have it rough. I ad to get an ISA *modem* working back with a 2.2 kernel (this is when isapnptools was not in the kernel, mind you) and I had no manuals and no money for manuals or books. Just a Red Hat CD and a lot of determination. If it weren't for my dial-up connection on a nearby win98 to look up docs for me I'd never have succeeded.

          This was where I fell i
  • Qt is a development environment too. So people will be able to code on windows and make applications available on linux.

    Besides, I don't think people run Win for itself. So the less apps are linked to it, the easier it will be to switch (look OO.o, if you are accustomed to it, no pb to switch OS - except the 699$ of course)
  • I wonder if that is what got this ball rolling:
    Trolltech to Extend Dual Licensing to Qt for Windows.

  • The same with mono, and KDE/win32. Ask Netscape how easy it is to compete with Microsoft on their platform, hell they (AOL now) even sell IE so they can have their own browser. Hell ask IBM how easy it is. Can anyone seriously tell me that people pass up cracked versions of Photoshop and Paintshop pro for Gimp? There is already a base of OSS on win32, and its pretty much ignored, not to mention share-ware.

    The way I see it as from a purely business point of view though. On the off chance we can convinc
    • No, people will not drop photoshop and paintshop pro for the gimp, but you have to realise that new people are coming into all this computer malarky every day. All it takes is enough people finding the gimp before they find a cracked copy of photoshop (Believe me, if i'd known about the gimp before i'd learnt how to use photoshop i'd never even consider pirating it) and it will become the dominant app (Though i realise photoshop will be very difficult to dislodge from corporate use) The point is, once peo
  • Would this include the possibility of having multiple screens on Windows? That's one thing I REALLY miss when I have to use a Windows PC.

    Limited to one screen? How primitive!

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