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Firefox Lead Engineer Scolds KDE Project 669

Posted by Zonk
from the he-said-she-said dept.
trent42 writes "Firefox lead developer Ben Goodger has had harsh words on his blog for the KDE project, in light of its public tiff with Apple over the KHTML rendering engine. Goodger says 'Safari's renderer is vastly superior to the KHTML used by Konqueror,' and that the KDE developers should follow Apple's lead and focus more on the needs of users, instead of insisting on software perfection."
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Firefox Lead Engineer Scolds KDE Project

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  • Agile (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mfh (56) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:39AM (#12518975) Homepage Journal
    So basically, KDE should read this [agilemanifesto.org].
    • Re:Agile (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Ozwald (83516) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:57AM (#12519780)
      Other way around, dude. Agile methodologies come from open source ideas, like release often, listening to customer (or other developers).

      Remember what it was like before Agile? Companies and consultants would develop big blocks of software, check it in, QA it, and show the customer who'd get pissy because it didn't work the way they expected. Yes, Agile prevents that. But seeing what is happening, I'd say that KDE does is very Agile, unlike what Apple just did.

      Oz

    • by expro (597113) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:56AM (#12520460)

      I am sure to be modded OT as this whole thread is, but...

      The Agile/XP movement is warped at best. Tests are no substitute for good design and they cannot prove any useful level conformance to a design (except in an extremely trivial application). Tests are useful in many cases, unless they are used to rationalize bad practices based on false notions.

      And the more extremists you have trying to force it to be so, the worse the XP/Agile movement is percieved. Sure, they picked up on parts of a number of good practices that good programmers already followed, but when will they stop twisting them and advocating that experienced programmers abandon principles of adequate forward-looking design and methodology and follow the way which is what they ultimately believe to be The Only Right Extreme Way.

      They resemble the pointy-haired managers who would like to think they can substitute their process for masterful programming and design.

      I was attracted to XP by their advocacy of some of the more-reasonable principles until the fanatics showed why it was really called extreme programming. They need apologists to start really apologizing.

      • Unit tests (written with frameworks like JUnit or TestNG) are intended to require a perspective shift of the developer writing the code. Specifically, the developer must think like a client programmer for whatever module they are testing. As such, these kinds of tests are design aids, not design replacements. In fact, they are advocated not for their ability to verify requirements, but rather, for their ability make design improvement less risky.

        Naturally, accepting this requires a reasonable adjustment

  • Can't wait... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ElGuapoGolf (600734) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:39AM (#12518988) Homepage

    Personally I can't wait for the KDE response which scolds the Firefox developers for having such huge and stupid security holes in their browser.

    Maybe the Firefox team should get rid of the glass walls before they start chucking stones at other people.
    • Re:Can't wait... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:22AM (#12520072) Homepage Journal
      Actually KHTML has the biggest security hole of all. It does not follow current standards so there are time when you HAVE to use another browser. So in effect you have any security holes in KHTML and what other browsers you are forced to use.

      I actually like the KDE browser better than Firefox. I love the built in spell check and it is fast.
      But I can not use it with Google maps or the full version of gmail.
      Has Safari introduced any huge security holes? The latest Firefox hole seemed less that huge to me. Yes it could be exploited by a white listed site but the only white listed site I have is Mozilla.org
      It was also patched very quickly.
    • I personally can't wait for the next KDE/Apple slashdot flamewar.

      Are the editors just doing this for kicks? I have to admit, I've gotten sucked in and made the comments too.
      First, we get repeated Evolution vs Intelligent Design debates until everyone was sick of them. Now, its the Apple/KDE. Maybe after a week we'll get ad naseum:
      Apple rocks/sucks
      Linux vs Windows
      Java vs world
      OOo using java
      Your favorite open source product has new security hole
      Your most hated closed source product has security hole

      wha, I j
  • In a way I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by baryon351 (626717) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:40AM (#12518992)
    the KDE developers should follow Apple's lead and focus more on the needs of users, instead of insisting on software perfection.

    In a way, I agree. It's comforting to sit down, load an app, and have everything work. Knowing it's not quite perfectly written behind the scenes is a small worry sitting in the back of my mind, but it's smaller than when I have a slightly clumsy app that is otherwise technically correct.

    Not that I think Konq is all that far behind in the user side of things.
    • by l3v1 (787564)
      Knowing it's not quite perfectly written behind the scenes is a small worry sitting in the back of my mind

      Ok, so that sounds like IE's early days. I say "early days" because its flaws are nothing less than eyepopping these days. Anyway, I don't care how well Safari works and how good or bad it is or isn't behind the scenes. What I care for is that Konqueror is very well written, very stable and very fast. I use Konqueror (for browsing) about as much as Firefox, maybe more. I really think the Konqueror guy
      • by mmeister (862972) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:26AM (#12519503)
        I don't think there is any real evidence that Safari's WebCore engine is "hacked together" by Apple.

        The patches submitted back to KHTML may be harder to integrated more because the changes made to Safari are greater and in a different direction than KHTML.

        I think there is a bit of arrogance on the KHTML side to not even consider the aspect of WebCore.

        The holier than thou attitude seems very pervasive in the Open Source Community. It's not unlike the Not Invented Here syndrome that many corporations suffer from.

        Apple is offering up their changes but seem to have said "We've made major improvements that can't easily be patched in to the existing base. We offer the opportunity to use this new code as a basis for the future."

      • What the Firefox guy is forgetting is that he wouldn't be where he is had he followed his own advice. Has everyone forgotten the beating Mozilla took when they scrapped the Netscape code and decided to rewrite the layout [mozilla.org] engine from scratch? While they strived for making their browser superior, IE blew past them in the marketplace, building on the existing (Spyglass?) foundation which was "good enough". Now finally the wisdom of that choice has come to fruition.

        The original Mozilla browser, first relea

        • Now finally the wisdom of that choice has come to fruition.

          The "wisdom" of that choice has forced them to rebuild market share from scratch -- from 0% -- because the 60-some percent of people who were using Netscape when they started had completely bled away by the time they were done.

          Don't get me wrong, I loooove what Firefox has become. But I would hardly point to the early management decisions of the Mozilla Project as a shining example of the Right Way to do software.

      • by AusG4 (651867) on Friday May 13, 2005 @02:16PM (#12522153) Homepage Journal

        Ok, so that sounds like IE's early days. I say "early days" because its flaws are nothing less than eyepopping these days. Anyway, I don't care how well Safari works and how good or bad it is or isn't behind the scenes. What I care for is that Konqueror is very well written, very stable and very fast. I use Konqueror (for browsing) about as much as Firefox, maybe more. I really think the Konqueror guys deserve every bit of appreciation for their long great work. I wouldn't like KHTML being dropped in favour of an engine hacked together by Apple devs.

        I think you're missing the bigger point here....

        Yes, KHTML is "well written, very stable and very fast". But so is WebCore, which is obviously derived from the same KHTML tree that you care for so deeply... but WebCore is vastly more capable. Sure, the KHTML guys deserve recoginition for their work, but to characterize Apple's fork as "hacked together" is a gross misunderstanding. The WebCore engine is clearly the superior technology and Apple's developers are clearly responsible for the progression that WebCore has made over KHTML.

        The reality here is that this whole mess is nothing more than KHTML's developers wanting to have their cake and eat it to. They welcomed Apple to the table with the hopes of some full time developers helping out with KHTML, but then poo-poo'd Apple's efforts when they realised that Apple was foolishly committed to solving problems for their customers, rather then just writing pretty code.

        This is one of those problems that happens time and time agian with open source projects - the developers become so consumed by making a technically superior product that they forget to deal with the fact that it's functionally underwhelming. There are a choice few exceptions to this rule... great sucess stories no doubt (Linux and Apache come to mind)... but they are certainly the exception, not the rule. Case in point... the Gimp. If I hear one more zealot even try to compare it to Photoshop.... No doubt, the code to the Gimp is probably cleaner,better written, and less prone to memory leaks.... but it doesn't change the fact that Photoshop is light years more advanced (4 letters: CMYK) and a lot more elegent to use.

        Of course, what really bothers me is when these inadequecies are overlooked by zealots who disregard ease-of-use and functional elegence because they appreciate the idealogy of the developers. What kind of brain-dead reasoning is that? If "poorly" designed code -works better- for the end user, than it's not so poor afterall. This is the key point the KHTML people have missed.

        At the end of the day... If the Konq guys absorbed Apple's changes, rather than crying about them, you certaintly wouldn't be complaining that suddenly Konq was a whole lot better than it was -before- Apple got involved, now would you?

    • Re:In a way I agree (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jason Hood (721277)
      Also keep in mind that KHTML and Konqueror are two separate projects. Konqueror is probably the most usable browser of all time from a functionality standpoint. User interface wise, it could be better. but its no worse than FF or IE. Once gecko is properly ported as a kpart, konqueror will be extremely powerful. being able to switch between renders on the fly, saving sessions will be awesome. It may actually kill KHTML, although KDE devs firmly deny that =)

      This argument made more sense 3 years ago. Then K
    • by spencerogden (49254) <spencer@spencerogden.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:50AM (#12519715) Homepage
      It think so far the KDE frame of mind has paid huge dividends. 3-4 years ago it was entirely unclear who was building a better desktop, Gnome or KDE. KDE it seems went on a spree of doing hardcore behind the scenes work, with a focus on getting APIs and implementations correct. It felt like KDE was stagnating for a while. With 3.2 and now 3.4 KDE users are reaping the rewards of that effort. New applications are developed quickly, the interface is consistent, and system wide usabilty changes work for everyone.

      I think one of the strengths of Open Source is that developers are not under economic presure to deliver it yesterday. They have usually taken the approach of getting it right. I think this means products are sometimes longer to market, but its a trade off. Its one that can be made in open source, but isn't always availible to a commercial developer, they often need code now, correct or not.
    • "the KDE developers should follow Apple's lead and focus more on the needs of users, instead of insisting on software perfection."

      Opera.. [Yes damnit I'm mentioning Opera to be made an example of in an Apple-KHTML-Firefox related article so mod me offtopic if you must] manages a smooth, sexy well refined, suite with distinct lack of clumsiness, a fast and obviously efficient backend, with excellent standards compliance and features. You can almost taste the oodles of care put in to perfecting the product f
  • Take Notes (Score:4, Funny)

    by PaisteUser (810863) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:40AM (#12518996)
    Now only if Microsoft would insist on software perfection....
  • Why not (Score:5, Funny)

    by mattmentecky (799199) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:40AM (#12519002)
    ...and focus more on the needs of users, instead of insisting on software

    Why not try something completely the opposite, like Microsoft, and focus on neither?
  • by Manip (656104) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:42AM (#12519024)
    http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/ben/ [mozillazine.org] Who knows why the poster linked to a ZDNet article (Which incidentally can't handle a slashdotting) instead of the original blog.
  • Uh.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thyamine (531612) <thyamineNO@SPAMofdragons.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:43AM (#12519028) Homepage Journal
    So the two are mutually exclusive? We can only have software that is perfectly written or software that addresses the needs of the users?

    Can't we figure out what the users need, and then deliver excellently written software to do that?
    • Re:Uh.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Feneric (765069)

      No, they're not, but they often can't be achieved in the same (usually all too brief) time frame. I tend to side with the Apple / Firefox folks on this argument -- fix it first, clean the code second.

      It's interesting to note that Apple doesn't seem to have gotten into any significant disagreements with any of the other OSS people they're working with (regarding Darwin, etc.) along the lines of what's happening now with the KDE kamp. That leads a little more credence to Apple now, too.

      • Re:Uh.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Skye16 (685048) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:49AM (#12519096)
        I disagree. It's much harder to clean the code after it's already implemented and integrated. Do it right the first time and you don't have to worry about it later. In the mean time, you have a stable, secure product that people can rely on, even if they don't have the latest and greatest features.
        • Re:Uh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:03AM (#12519854)
          Do it right the first time and you don't have to worry about it later.

          Assuming you know the right way the first time you do something. Software isn't static, and nearly all requirements are fluid. By the time it's done right the requirements have changed and what you've done is no longer what's needed.
      • Re:Uh.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by drew (2081) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:08AM (#12519302) Homepage
        Of course, Apple hasn't really gotten into any significant agreement with the KDE people either. People who have been paying attention may have noticed the KDE developers saying that although Apple hasn't cooperated with them as much as the might have liked, they are within their rights to do that.

        For all that has been said about a feud between KDE and Apple, the real feud is between the KDE developers and the users and slashbots who think that any new features in Safari should be in KDE too, and if they aren't it's because the KDE developers are slow, lazy, whatever.

        It's worth noting that (from what I've heard, at least) the other open source projects that apple has used code from haven't gotten back much more in the way of useful contributions than the KDE team has.
    • Re:Uh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HomerJayS (721692) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:48AM (#12519087)
      This is the classic software development dilema.

      It can be developed quickly, cheaply, or correctly (but you may only pick two of the three options)
      • Re:Uh.. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by OglinTatas (710589) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:34AM (#12519565)
        "...quickly, cheaply, or correctly..."

        This is not quite that software dilemma. Lifting something quoted in an earlier post:

        "the KDE developers should follow Apple's lead and focus more on the needs of users, instead of insisting on software perfection."

        This is about writing something that is correct to spec by the design document (i.e. the needs of the user--or maybe it is about getting the design document right?) vs. technically correct (i.e. perfect software--correct to the language spec, elegant, robust, no flaws, easily readable and maintainable, etc.)

        Ideally, one's software would be both of these, and thus fit in the third category "correct".

        I therefore propose that this old adage be modified thus: "On schedule, on budget, on spec, or few flaws--pick two"

        Feel free to change those words to make it flow better. OT: in my limited experience, the scope of the project is always changing, so really none of those apply, therefore one can only really try to achieve #4, as few flaws as possible in what actually does get done.
  • by ranson (824789) * on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:44AM (#12519041) Homepage Journal
    "KDE developers should follow Apple's lead and focus more on the needs of users, instead of insisting on software perfection."

    Now I think back to 1995, when IE focused on user needs over software perfection and the following of published specifications. And look what a mess of incompatibility we have today of javascript, css, java VMs, etc. Mainly because M$ focused on 'the needs of users.' No thanks, I'll stick to the specs.
    • by mccalli (323026) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:48AM (#12519091) Homepage
      Now I think back to 1995, when IE focused on user needs over software perfection and the following of published specifications. And look what a mess of incompatibility we have today of javascript, css, java VMs, etc. Mainly because M$ focused on 'the needs of users.' No thanks, I'll stick to the specs.

      Utter nonsense. I too can think back to those days, and no browser was following the specs. "Netscape is the next Microsoft" was a common complaint, as Netscape piled proprietary tag after proprietary tag into their browser. And don't even think about their initial CSS stab, the web still suffers from that today.

      Cheers,
      Ian

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And don't even think about their initial CSS stab, the web still suffers from that today.

        Practically everybody has dropped Netscape 4 support by now.

        Their "initial CSS stab" was a rushed job. They had decided that JSSSL, a stylesheet language based on Javascript, was a better choice than CSS. The W3C decided to adopt CSS rather than JSSSL, and so they had to back-pedal and add support for CSS quickly.

        Interestingly enough, one of the big criticisms of JSSSL is that it violated the "Principle of L

      • So fine. IE and Netscape were both guilty. That doesn't make the action correct.

        I agree with the original poster's implication that sticking to the specifications is better than attending to the needs of users. The ISO and ANSI committees exist for a reason: when new features need to be added to an existing specification, the committees consider them and update the specification so that all implementers of the specification can do what's "best for the user" at the same time.

        Granted, I'm living in a

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:50AM (#12519116) Homepage
      What about the fact that this all started because Apple created a build of webcore that passed the Acid2 test? I don't think the accusation was that Apple wasn't adhering to standards, but simply that the code was "messy" by KDE standards.
      • It wasn't even quite that, just that Konqueror users were complaining that it took so long to get those features/fixes too, "when they already had the source-changes from Apple" (for the umpteenth time in a row).
    • by Johnny Mozzarella (655181) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:59AM (#12519222)
      Perhaps you missed the story about Safari passing the Acid2 test?

      Safari's code is capable of performing to publish specifications.
      Microsoft's objective was to create their own specification.

      Entirely different thinking.
    • by StormReaver (59959) on Friday May 13, 2005 @02:15PM (#12522142)
      "Software Perfection" isn't the point the KHTML developers were making. They aren't accusing Apple of violating a license (how the hell did that thread get started????).

      They are saying that, despite all the media to the contrary, Apple's work is of no use to the KHTML developers. This is because Apple has been providing its changes in huge blobs without providing any clues what those changes are for or how they relate the the rest of the KHTML renderer.

      Apple is following the license, which was never in doubt, but is being mean-spirited about it. The KDE devs just want people to stop the nonsensical meme that Apple is somehow helping KHTML development.

      As I understand the situation, it is somewhat like an editor of a large book returning to the author only the errors in the book, but without any type of markup or explanation, in no particular order, and in a foreign language the author doesn't know. While the editor was (strictly speaking) doing his job (which is to find the errors in the book), he wasn't being very helpful.

      The code could be sorted out, given enough time, but it's just as productive to ignore Apple's changes and do it from scratch.

      This has nothing to do with focusing on the needs of the users, and it has nothing to do with software perfection. It is purely an issue of Apple being credited with helping KHTML, when it is doing nothing of the sort.
  • Oh holy shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ErichTheWebGuy (745925) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:44AM (#12519051) Homepage
    Do we really need to start another flamewar between projects? Who benefits? Perhaps the KDE project and Firefox should *both* keep their collective mouths shut!
    • by Trillan (597339)

      Well, he started it!!

      Seriously, the occasional blow-up like this is probably good in the long run. If a little embarassing to watch now.

  • Heh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:46AM (#12519068) Journal
    [T]he KDE developers should follow Apple's lead and focus more on the needs of users, instead of insisting on software perfection.

    I got on the KDE guys for their bit yesterday, so today I'll point out to the Mozilla side that the reason there was a decent browser for Linux in 1999 was that the Konqueror guys satisfied the needs of users while Mozilla went off constructing a whole new software platform...

    • Re:Heh... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by John Harrison (223649)
      Similarly, the reason Apple selected KHTML as its base was that it was so well written. If the KHTML guys hadn't been so anal about doing things "correctly" Apple might never have used the project in the first place.

      In the short term, a hack will get a feature out the door more quickly. In the long term, a pile of hacks doesn't hold up as well as a properly engineered soltution. Notice how some browsers (Netscape, ie) had to be rewritten from scratch a few times.

      It seems to me that each project shou

      • Re:Heh... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ford Prefect (8777)
        It seems to me that each project should feel free to proceed as they see fit. Who knows, maybe in the future Apple will come back to KHTML in order to get that stable base again.

        I hope so. I've found bugs in Safari's rendering which aren't in recent Konqueror releases - one I've seen a lot involves CSS-defined borders on table cells creeping out from where they're supposed to be.

        Here's a rather nasty example [hylobatidae.org] I've plucked from a site I've worked on - excuse the awful HTML!

        On Safari 1.3 on MacOS X 10.3.9,
  • Mutually Exclusive? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Goo.cc (687626) * on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:46AM (#12519072)

    "The KDE developers should follow Apple's lead and focus more on the needs of users, instead of insisting on software perfection."



    Are these two things really mutually exclusive?

    • by cowscows (103644) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:12AM (#12519938) Journal
      They're mutually exclusive if you want to work at the pace that the computer industry tends to move at. Doubly so for a bunch of volunteers working for free.

      I guess that makes the assumption that the needs of the users includes a rapidly expanding feature set and whatnot. And while that is important (particularly if you're going for marketshare), there are still users who'd rather have some good code. Not to mention that eventually the bad code may catch up to you, and cause the needs of the users to change. Windows needed a lot of usability enhancements until the Win95-98 era. Then stability became a big issue. MS ironed a lot of those problems out, and now security and spyware is the big problem. A lot of those issues could have been mitigated by better code at earlier stages. Fortunately for MS, their monopoly has allowed them to advertise their security and spyware solutions as new features, and so a mostly under-informed public still thinks they're paying for innovative work.

      But returning to the original point, even for a big, well funded company like MS or Apple, it's not really possible to write perfect software fast enough to lead the market in features. You can dump more money into it, and hire more engineers, but that just makes it all the more complicated and harder to coordinate, leading to more mistakes.

      The KHTML team can avoid that because they're not trying to keep a business profitable, they're writing this stuff because it's a hobby for them. Personally, I try and keep my hobbies as free of deadlines as is possible. And if anyone wants to criticize how I indulge in my hobbies in any sort of non-constructive way, they can go to hell, I'm not interested.
  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:46AM (#12519076) Homepage
    This is one question I'm really not sure I have the answer to. Is doing it properly better in the long run. The problem with a hacked bug fix is that it stays a hacked bug fix forever. Period.

    Evenutally, that hack becomes a trouble to maintain and I'd bet my bottom dollar that it then takes more time to remove the hack and rework it properly that it would have taken to fix it properly in the first place.

    I suspect the reason Longhorn is taking so damned long is because this problem is just starting to pinch Microsoft. The "Just get the product out" mentality works for a while - but then all that extra complexity comes back and makes your life very hard.

    Simon.
  • Pissing contests (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goldspider (445116) <<ardrake79> <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:48AM (#12519093) Homepage
    Ya know, I can't help but wonder if it's silly little pissing contests like this that, at least in some way, prevents OSS from reaching its full potential.

    Here we have several very adept programmers slapping at one another over how their respective web browsers work. Am I the only one out there that finds this kind of bickering trivial and unproductive?

    Yes, people will have disagreements, and people will have different ways of doing things. Fine. But why not harness those different perspectives and create something better?

    As long as OSS projects are afflicted by this kind of petty squabbling, developers' attention will be diverted from creating quality software. Now knock it off!
    • by Taladar (717494) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:17AM (#12519392)
      I can't help but wonder if it's silly little pissing contests like this that, at least in some way, prevents OSS from reaching its full potential.
      Did the thought ever occur to you that this is the Open Source Process? Discussing the best way to do something and then trying to prove one is right when words don't convince the other side is exacly the reason why quality in Open Source in so high. If you don't allow anyone to critize you your software will never be of optimal quality.
  • by B5_geek (638928) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:49AM (#12519098)
    I have always found Konq to be the best alternative to FireFox on sites that are "IE-only". (including my companies intranet.)

    As a general web-browser I find Konq to be slow and kludgy, but it has never dissappointed me on the stubborn sites.

    Anybody found similar situations?
    • by m50d (797211)
      I've found the opposite. Konqueror is wonderfully fast (though javascript=treacle) and great as a general browser, however it falls over at even marginally broken javascript and can't handle heavily borked pages as well as firefox.
  • Odd.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:51AM (#12519124) Journal
    Well maybe as a software engineer I should. But does anyone that isn't a software engineer care? Probably not. Case closed.
    And guess what KHTML's team is? That's right. Full of software engineers. Which is why they care.

    Secondly, developers should prioritise releasing their products on time, even if they "may have to cut corners".
    Software developers in the open-source world make software because they love to. They want to make their project (note: not product) the best it can be. Releasing products on time is straight from the Marketing Department.

    Goodger has every right to give an opinion, but no right to flame others for caring about their projects, much like Mozilla used to, before they gave up a large part of their community.

    Love for a project, not releasing products in a timely fashion is what makes open-source different, and much appreciated.
    • Re:Odd.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cowscows (103644)
      Exactly. Maybe Goodger, (and other people) is wrong in who he's considering as the KHTML team's "target market". Perhaps their primary concern isn't being most used browser in the world. Maybe the end user experience isn't their greatest litmus test.

      Maybe the code itself, the creation of a tight, well written, efficient bundle of code is the target. They aren't doing it to fill an opening in the market, they're doing it for the love of the game.

      And in the process, they made something that a company as in
  • No shit Einstein! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 10Ghz (453478) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:52AM (#12519142)
    "Not everyone wants to change the world, but Apple does," he said, "and although they may have done the least required of them in accordance with the licences of the original source code, it was within their rights to do what they did, and no one should begrudge them for it."


    Isn't that exactly what the KDE-developers said?? Sheesh!

    I for one think that it's great that there are still people out there with a goal to create perfect code, and not just slap features together. It's interesting that Apple chose KHTML because the code was clean, fast and small. And now this guys suggests that KDE abandons those benefits and moves to Webcore (which has lost most of those benefits due to cutting corners and less than perfect code).

    Is that it? Crummy code that is "good enough" is the way to go?
  • by rsax (603351) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:54AM (#12519152)
    The KDE developers should follow Apple's lead and focus more on the needs of users, instead of insisting on software perfection.

    I can't say I feel comfortable hearing that type of reasoning coming from a Lead Engineer of my favourite web browser. I'm not a Microsoft fan but if an IE developer made a comment like that then geeks would be cutting him or her up for that. I might be wrong since I am not a coder but wouldn't keeping software perfection a priority lead to less bugs in the future?

    • I think what he's getting at is that software perfection is an unattainable goal - software will always be imperfect, as will everything else.

      What he means is that they should stop worrying about philosophical arguments and just write a good browser that does things well. I mean, writing 'perfect' code is nice and all, but apparantly, it doesn't really matter. Compare Konqueror's rendering with Safari's - Safari has recently been coded to pass the Acid2 test. How is Konqueror doing in that respect?

      So what
  • by Visceral Monkey (583103) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:54AM (#12519160)
    Personally, I've always liked KHTML but have been frustrated by the lack of any real progress in it's use in Konqueror. Now, is this Apples fault? No, they just built a better mouse trap. This whole thing smacks of the same hurt feelings over the Debian vs. Ubuntu tift. The king is dead! Long live the king! and all that..

    Also, if anyone has the "capital" to expend on criticizing KDE, it would and should be the people who have made one of the most successful browsers out there to put a dent in IE usage. See, people kind of listen to you when you are successful as opposed to when you sit and whine because your take on things just doesn't seem to be taking off (Debian/Konqueror I'm looking at you).
  • He has a point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShatteredDream (636520) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:56AM (#12519184) Homepage
    A large part of the reason that Apple is still around with not even 5% of the market is that they do care about the user. With a user base that small for their platform, most vendors would be dead but Apple focuses heavily on the user experience. I don't see a lot of that at all coming from most open source projects.

    Here's a little theory of mine: users are more concerned with having a great UI and having apps that work together than raw speed. Open source desktops used to have the speed advantage, but not anymore. Can anyone honestly say that GNOME is faster than Windows XP's desktop these days? Same for KDE and MacOS X.

    For all of this bitching about Apple exploiting OSS, I don't see any recognition that the mere fact that OSX's underpinnings are OSS gives OSS a vote of confidence in the corporate world. For one of the two largest platforms in the world to switch to that foundation is a big endoresement and help lend legitimacy to OSS. The funniest part of this is that KDE's developers are finally discovering the fact that forks do happen. Imagine that, Apple actually forked KHTML for their own needs. Why is it OK for X.Org to fork and go off in one direction, but not OK for Apple to do the same thing? They give the patches back and excuse me if I am at a loss as to how a forked code base is going to maintain a lot of similarity with the original when both are going off in separate directions.
    • Re:He has a point (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cowscows (103644) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:41AM (#12519643) Journal
      You're talking about a double edged sword here, namely that the rapid advances in hardware has allowed software to be written much more sloppily, while still maintaining acceptable performance. It's good in some ways, because it allows things to get done faster and cheaper. You could also make an argument that some of the larger projects couldn't be realistically done at all beforehand. A project with dozens of programmers working on it becomes increasingly difficult to coordinate and perfect. Letting the specs of the hardware smooth over some of the bumps makes life easier.

      Then the bad side is that sloppy coding is not only inferior performance-wise, it also leads to maintenance difficulties, as well as security issues. The most notable example being all of the legacy garbage that windows still carries around.

      It sounds like the KHTML people are trying to buck the trend, and make a large, but solid piece of software. They're saying that it's not impossible, just that it takes a while. The "computer industry" has been moving at this incredible speed for a while, so fast in fact that it wasn't realizing a lot of the mistakes it was making. There are plenty of examples of how this is making life tougher now. The KHTML guys aren't interested in doing that anymore, they want to do something right, so they're doing it.

      Maybe they're thinking of their renderer as more a piece of infrastructure or technology more than an end product for your everyday user. Try to draw a vague parallel to some guy writing code for the space shuttle. There's more at stake when you're sending humans up in a rocket, but the mentality can be the same. We want to get this right, on the first try. It's inherently complicated enough , no need to make things any denser with hastily added features and sloppy coding.
    • Re:He has a point (Score:5, Insightful)

      by As Seen On TV (857673) <asseen@gmail.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:02PM (#12524171)
      As much as I like to hear talk like that, a better explanation is that the market is freakin' huge, and 5% of the installed base is still anywhere between 15 and 40 million units, depending on which estimate you believe.

      Everybody likes to talk about how Apple owns such a small share of the market, but in doing so y'all lose sign of the fact that Apple is the fourth-largest computer manufacturer in the entire world, and the second-largest developer of operating-system software. Considering how narrow our focus is, I'd say those are two pretty remarkable facts, wouldn't you?
  • by McDutchie (151611) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:58AM (#12519210) Homepage

    From TFA:

    Goodger went on to say the open source community could not accuse Apple of breaching any licences.

    I would not be so sure of that. I seem to recall that the GPL defines source code as the "preferred form" of the program for making modifications of it. If Apple "comments" its patches by referring to numbers in a proprietary bug database to which only they have access, Apple could be accused of intentionally obfuscating its source code, which is a violation of the "preferred form" clause in the GPL. In any case, it's ethically wrong because the free-software concept is meaningless if the provided source code is not realistically usable without having access to essential information about what it does.

    It was important, he said, realise that "no software is ever perfect".

    Secondly, developers should prioritise releasing their products on time, even if they "may have to cut corners".

    Gee, that sounds eerily familiar. Where have I heard it before, that "give Joe Sixpack what he wants and damn software quality" attitude? Marketing fluff at the expense of solidity and security? Oh right, of course, that's the attitude that brought us the virus propagation engine that is Microsoft Internet Explorer. Is it any wonder that Firefox is now on its way along the same route?

    "Most developers probably don't alienate people intentionally ... Over time, software has come to demand an impossibly high level of computer literacy," the Firefox creator wrote.

    Ridiculous. The use of software is demanding less computer literacy by the year -- compare today to the MS-DOS days of twenty years back. But that is in fact a big part of the problem. People should learn to accept that using a computer requires some basic form of clue. If people are not willing to acquire such clue, they should watch TV instead so that they won't harm anybody with the viruses, spam and DDoS attacks perpetrated through their zombified computers.

  • From TFA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ooze (307871) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:08AM (#12519305)
    "The gulf between the people making software and the people using it is widening,"

    Now, the reason for that is basically that more and more users with no idea of computers are able to use it and use it. So it's not a sign of a Software designer failure but a sign that Software designers are doing "The Right Thing" TM and successfully so.

    So the following quote

    "Over time, software has come to demand an impossibly high level of computer literacy" is basically wrong. Just compare it to the times when the interface was binary machine code.

    The base intetion of the article I agree with though...the Safari Engine is much mure advanced than KHTML, due to more pragmatism in development.

    As long as you build software on operating systems who still are stuck in the concepts developed 30 years ago, you have to be pragmatic. Basically implementing anything there is a workaround.
  • Safari and KHTML (Score:5, Informative)

    by danalien (545655) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:16AM (#12519375) Homepage
    Safari and KHTML
    Submitted by carewolf on Fri, 05/13/2005 - 10:33. [kdedevelopers.org]
    • Notice how there isn?t a vs in the title?

      Hyatt and Maciej joined us on IRC yesterday, and we had some really good discussions. I might as well also admit that Maciejs comment was true (but out of context). Please notice that that implies we are discussing solutions and a common future. The idea of a common source tree is pretty much abandoned as we have very different goals and requirements, but we are discussing improved cooperation. With Apple just having released Tiger and us preparing for KDE4 we have a unique opportunity for bringing our source trees closer again.

      Since Apple is being a nice guy for the time being, I will let them announce how things will improve once we have a solution, but please, no more ?vs.? stories for the time being, we are working on solving it.

    Safari and KHTML again
    Submitted by carewolf on Sat, 04/30/2005 - 13:22. [kdedevelopers.org]
    • I just wish to weigh in on debacle to clear up some mistakes. First of all I would like to say I agree with Zack. The annoying part is not that Apple don?t cooperate as much as they could. They are actually helpfull in answering questions and _tries_ at least to separate OS X specific features in the code (allthough they fail miserably at it). No, our problem are users who think Apple does more and underestimate the effort it takes for us to implement patches from WebCore. We are doing this for free and for fun, all we really want is appreciation for our effort.

    Emphasis added by me...
    • Re:Safari and KHTML (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JulianOolian (683769)

      We are doing this for free and for fun, all we really want is appreciation for our effort.

      So are they doing it for fun, or because they want appreciation for their effort?

  • by putaro (235078) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:21AM (#12519446) Journal
    Ben Goodger has hit on one of the major ways that "free" software can fail and that is that the people working on the project are doing so out of the goodness of their hearts and for their own reasons. Some developers, like Goodger probably, are writing free software for the kick of having as many people use it as possible. This will make them somewhat use oriented. Others, and the KHTML guys appear to be this, are writing code for the sheer joy of writing code. And it's not fun to write stuff that cuts corners just so you can get it out the door. Of course, you may not be meeting the users' needs. But then, there's no requirement to meet users' needs. It's free - if you don't like it, fix it yourself or don't use it. In this case, Apple chose to fix it themselves. The fact that they diverged from KHTML simply shows that they have different priorities and isn't any different than FreeBSD and NetBSD spliiting.
  • by rben (542324) on Friday May 13, 2005 @12:06PM (#12520564) Homepage

    But a big part of that is supplying what the users need. I think all three sides of this discussion could learn a thing or two by listening to the others.

    You don't get involved in an open source project to write crappy code. You get involved in order to fix a problem that bugs you, show off your coding skills, or do a little good for the community. One of the benefits of coding for open source is that you really can take the time to get it right.

    Businesses often fail to pursue excellence in coding because they believe that by taking shortcuts they save money. That's almost always wrong. One of the reasons that Netscape got beat by IE was (and I know I'll get beaten for saying this) that IE was written in a modular way that allowed it to be used more flexibly than Netscape. The IE code was better planned and executed. The developers who joined the Mozilla project took the original Netscape code and hammered on it for a long time to produce the successful browser that we now have. Even so, it was bloated and in need of a lot of trimming. So the Firefox project fixed those problems and now Netscape is based on the Firefox core rather than the original Mozilla core. (Sharing is a good thing.)

    Apparently Apple believes that by taking short cuts they save money because the FOSS community will come in behind their engineers and clean up the code for them the way they did for Netscape. Why shouldn't Apple take advantage of the same mechanism?

    What happens too often in corporations and is apparently happening in this part of Apple, is that they have forgotten that they are dealing with people. The FOSS crowd seems to have more than it's fair share of idealists, and they dont' like being taken advantage of. Hopefully Apple has figured this out by now and is working on a plan to mend fences. Otherwise it might be very hard for them to get help from the community in the future. It would be a shame for OS/X to fail because of foolish management mistakes on the Safari side.

    Open Source can learn a lot from what Appled did, though, even if we don't like how it turned out. Appled focused on fixing things that were causing problems for their customers. They also focused on becoming standards compliant. A lot of FOSS projects come up short in that area. What gets attention is whatever is cool to code or bugging a particular developer. Not enough of the FOSS projects have any real central focus.

    Listen, learn, and move on. The best thing that could come out of this whole mess is a good discussion on how FOSS and regular software companies can work together to mutual benefit. Perhaps we need some kind of template agreement that makes responsibilities clear so that the companies involved don't make bad assumptions like the ones Apple seems to have made.

  • [...] instead of insisting on software perfection.
    Firefox is doomed if its "lead developer" thinks, users can be satisfied without software perfection.

    Thanks to this perfection, KDE builds and runs, while Mozilla/Firefox can fall over when you pick wrong compiler flags -- especially on "exotic" platforms like FreeBSD/amd64.

    The amount of compiler warnings in Mozilla code is astounding. Quite clearly it was written by result-oriented professional engineers, rather than the process-enjoying hobbyists.

  • by craXORjack (726120) on Friday May 13, 2005 @01:44PM (#12521795)
    'the KDE developers should follow Apple's lead and focus more on the needs of users, instead of insisting on software perfection.

    But if we hadn't waited on software perfection, we wouldn't all be playing Duke Nukem Forever on top of the GNU Hurd.

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