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KDE Businesses GUI Apple

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 @08:39AM (#12518975) Homepage Journal
    So basically, KDE should read this [agilemanifesto.org].
  • Can't wait... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ElGuapoGolf (600734) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:39AM (#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.
  • In a way I agree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by baryon351 (626717) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:40AM (#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.
  • Blah... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by afd8856 (700296) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:40AM (#12519000) Homepage
    Just what we need. Internal fights between developers for 2 open source projects...
  • Uh.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Thyamine (531612) <<thyamine> <at> <ofdragons.com>> on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:43AM (#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?
  • by ranson (824789) * on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:44AM (#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.
  • Oh holy shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ErichTheWebGuy (745925) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:44AM (#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!
  • Re:Uh.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Feneric (765069) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:46AM (#12519065) Homepage

    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.

  • Heh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:46AM (#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:Blah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skye16 (685048) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:46AM (#12519071)
    Why is this necessarily a fight? Why don't the Konquerer developers just say "you're ugly" and proceed to ignore the other guy? He can have his opinion, they can have theirs, and it's completely useless to argue about it. As a general rule, people don't like being told what to do, especially after they've made an informed decision.
  • Boy are you dumb (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:46AM (#12519075)
    Completely different case. Did you miss where Safari passed a tough web page test? The whole point is that the Safari rendering engine is superior. Can't you read?
  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:46AM (#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.
  • Re:Uh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HomerJayS (721692) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:48AM (#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)
  • by mccalli (323026) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:48AM (#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

  • Pissing contests (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79&gmail,com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:48AM (#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!
  • Re:Uh.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Skye16 (685048) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:49AM (#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.
  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:50AM (#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.
  • Odd.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:51AM (#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:Blah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:51AM (#12519132)
    And this is different from the normal how exactly?

    Quite frankly, I'd rather have them arguing - when OSS developers disagree it often highlights issues that people should really be thinking about.

    You might like the Solid Wall Of Unity approach but give me chaos any day.
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:52AM (#12519136)
    Mainly because M$ focused on 'the needs of users.'

    Microsoft did not focus on the needs of the user, they focused on the needs of maintaining their monopoly. If that briefly aligned with the needs of the user, it was purely coincidental.

  • No shit Einstein! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 10Ghz (453478) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:52AM (#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 @08:54AM (#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?

  • by Visceral Monkey (583103) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:54AM (#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).
  • by l3v1 (787564) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:55AM (#12519171)
    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 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.

  • He has a point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShatteredDream (636520) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:56AM (#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.
  • by UglyMike (639031) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:58AM (#12519202)

    From the article: "...it was within their rights to do what they did, and no one should begrudge them for it..."

    Now, while I agree with the first part, I certainly don't with the second! Just because it is legal does not make it right!

    While Apple should indeed not 'bend over' and provide beatifull diff patches that seamlessly upgrade KHTML, SOME effort could have been made as thanks for the effort saved in not having to start from scratch. We certainly CAN and DO begrudge them this 'take all you can, give nothing back'- attitude.

    Are they within their rights? Sure!
    Are they doing the decent thing? Nope ... so we carry a grudge
  • by McDutchie (151611) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:58AM (#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.

  • by Johnny Mozzarella (655181) on Friday May 13, 2005 @08:59AM (#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.
  • Re:Blah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:00AM (#12519234) Homepage Journal
    Even worse is that Ben doesn't even appear to know what he's criticising. He takes a quote out of context and puts the same spin on it that /. did a few weeks ago, treating it as a criticism of Apple when the thrust of the original piece was protesting that people were assuming that just because Apple had added something to WebKit, it follows that it'd be in the next release of KHTML, and were getting pissed at the KHMTL people when that didn't happen.

    I'm not 100% surprised, given the degree to which the original post was misrepresented, but given some replies to his blog entry pointed this out and Ben's single response to them has been dismissive, it'd be nice to see a sign of good faith.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:02AM (#12519249)
    Hey, what's this?

    This guy is obviously a fraud, everybody on Slashdot knows that everyone that supports open source has the same opinions on anything surrounds software.

    Mod that blog down!

    Ok, seriously, it's humorous how often you see crap like "The community says this" or the "The community thinks that". "The community is just ungrateful", etc. Can Microsoft lackeys shut up already with this crap?
  • Re:Blah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hostyle (773991) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:04AM (#12519272)
    How would you like it if you had a real nice and clean well documented codebase and you gave it to someone for free, the only stipulation - if you make some changes please give them back to us also. The guys you give your code to do make changes and do give them back. Problem is the code they give back is all over the place and badly (if even) commented. Then other people (your users) start complaining "this other guys software is better than yours, but hes using your code. Give us those features NOW." ?
  • Re:Blah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JohnFluxx (413620) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:05AM (#12519276)
    Hmm, we work hard with Apple to give them the best possible access to our code. Apple does the minimum it can in giving the code back to us. Slashdotters praise Apple for the work on html, and so we just ask for people not to praise apple so much since they aren't exactly working with us - they don't use any of the resources we set up to try to encourage them to work with us.

    And now _we_ are the pain to work with and aren't encouraging participation??

  • Re:Can't wait... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:06AM (#12519287)
    How is parent a troll?
    The only troll here is the Firefox developer.

    Slashdot: where the truth gets buried under the moderation system
  • Re:Uh.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:09AM (#12519312)
    fix it first, clean the code second

    Sounds like Microsoft. Sounds like the kind of approach that can lead to the bloated code that Netscape was famous for.

    I'm glad that we have multiple competing FOSS projects. The best test of who's right is to do both, and see who ends up with the best result. As opposed to primitive chest thumping "do it my way" monotheistic nonsense, as epitomized by Ben Goodger's little hissy fit.
  • Re:Can't wait... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:14AM (#12519358)
    LOL, trust me, if KHTML had the user base of Firefox we would be seeing security holes. Probably worse holes even.

    It's just like how Mozilla/Firefox had gone on for years and years without much in the way of huge security hole announments. Only recently have be begun to see the problems. To assume they weren't there before is naive. It's just that not enough people used it or cared back then for it to matter.
  • by Taladar (717494) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:17AM (#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 putaro (235078) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:21AM (#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.
  • Re:Blah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ceeam (39911) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:26AM (#12519497)
    It's actually a known phenomenon that "real nice and clean and well-documented codebase" can in fact be _evil_! Because everyone except really lousy coders are afraid to touch it. "It's so beautiful it's practically dead" one could say.
  • by mmeister (862972) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:26AM (#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."

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

    by Skye16 (685048) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:28AM (#12519518)
    I don't trust you, because you make the assumption that the software engineering practices are the exact same. You can never completely remove all security holes. But you can reduce them. I'm not saying Mozilla does a bad job at all, but to automatically say that KDE is just as bad, but doesn't have the userbase to expose it, isn't logical. It may be right, but there are other factors to consider; factors which you don't seem to pay any attention to.
  • Re:Blah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mmeister (862972) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:32AM (#12519549)
    There is no such thing as real nice clean, well documented codebase, at least not forever.

    These attributes naturally go away as you add functionality to any code. That is a fact of software development.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:34AM (#12519564)
    Apple's stuff contains OSX api calls, and patches to their version/fork of QT. etc etc. It is a wildly divergent code base by now, and apple engineers have (ofcourse) not spent the time required to keep it A) clean and B) multi-platform
  • by rdc_uk (792215) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:36AM (#12519586)
    Only a true idiot would bear a grudge against someone/a company for COMPLYING with the terms of the licence they agreed to.

    Apple forked the KHTML engine under the GPL, this requires them to publish their source. Which they do. It does NOT require them to "submit" code patches on ANY OTHER FORK (including the main trunk) at any time, at all. So, mostly or totally, they don't.

    At some point, some OSS and Mac zealot saw that Apple had chosen to fork an OSS project to kick off their COMMERCIAL project, and had conflated this in their tiny mind into "Ko0lzors; Apple will be writing many updates for KHTML!!!!".

    That zealot was a fool. You are the bigger fool for having believed the first fool.

    If the KHTML team had wanted anyone who used their source to build something else from it to contribute back into THEIR project any improvements they made, they WOULD HAVE written themselves such a license. And then Apple would very likely never have picked up KHTML.

    You can draw the assertion from their choice of license that this was NOT what they wanted or expected.

    In fact if you read the actual KHTML developer blogs, youd find that they don't really CARE that Apple does their own thing and kust posts the output. They DO CARE that people give them grief for being "lazy" for not having done "simple merges" on code that calls a whole bunch of OSX api functions; that aren't available for them to call in the first place.

    In summary; you are an ignoramus.
  • by Brian Blessed (258910) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:37AM (#12519592)
    It seems to me that there is a large contingent (possibly US-based?) on this site that thinks that the behaviour of people and organizations should be based on what is legal, satisfying merely the bare-minimum requirements.

    I think that Apple should clearly not only comply with the law of the GPL, but also the spirit. According to the reports, they are sending huge patches that combine many fixes without any documentation. There is no way that the KHTML people will be able to use these, so the work will ultimately have to be duplicated. The questions on here should be asking: why are Apple behaving in such an anti-social way given that they stand to benefit from helping the KHTML developers?

    - Brian.
  • by mmeister (862972) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:41AM (#12519637)

    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.

    This is always the case with software -- no matter how cleanly you design it, it will degrade over time. To deny this aspect of software development reality is silly

    Apple has to maintain WebCore -- so I'm betting "hacking in bug fixes" may be overstated.

  • Re:He has a point (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cowscows (103644) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:41AM (#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.
  • by Infernal Device (865066) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:44AM (#12519661)
    This case highlights a huge difference between the corporate world and the open-source world.

    If you write software for the sake of writing software, as is generally the case with Open-Source, then it's perfectly alright for the emphasis to be on software quality. You're not really on a deadline - no one expects you to cough up code quickly and if it breaks, well, it will get fixed, but anyone bitching about it - they got what they paid for.

    If you write for consumers, as in the corporate world, then the emphasis has to be on speed and getting the code out there. Otherwise you lose potential customers and mindshare, all of which is vitally important to a company. If it's broken, you fix the stuff that people are bitching about the most because if you don't it could really screw you in the short or long run through bad reputation and lost sales.

    This dichotomy to be addressed by both sides when corps start working with Open Source projects. When one side can't be rushed and the other side is all about rushing, you need an arbitration procedure.
  • by kupci (642531) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:48AM (#12519696)
    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 released as Navigator 1.0, was developed rapidly by a small team that was passionate about creating the next killer app -- and they succeeded wildly. Now that the web has evolved, Netscape has assembed the finest team available to redesign and redevelop the next generation layout engine upon which it will build future products. Gecko enables a pioneering new class of dynamic content that is more interactive and offers greater presentation control to Web developers, using open and recommended Internet standards instead of proprietary APIs.
  • by spencerogden (49254) <spencer@spencerogden.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:50AM (#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.
  • Re:Odd.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cowscows (103644) on Friday May 13, 2005 @09:52AM (#12519728) Journal
    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 influential as Apple liked. Then Apple used it as a base to follow Goodger's approach, because that's what Apple does. Good for them, and good for the KHTML team for making something so appealing to Apple. If you read some of the rational that Apple gave for choosing KHTML over the mozilla codebase for their browser, it basically boiled down to having a smaller, easier to understand, and easier to modify project.

    If I'm right, or at least close to it, in determining the motivation of the KHTML team, it sounds to me like Apple's decision is a solid affirmation that they've been successful. So let Apple do their own thing, let KHTML do their thing, and Goodger should go back to doing his own thing, instead of judging the motivation of a bunch of successful OSS programmers.
  • by cbreaker (561297) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:00AM (#12519822) Journal
    " I don't think there is any real evidence that Safari's WebCore engine is "hacked together" by Apple."

    Says you? Just look at all the blogs and postings about it. This isn't a recent thing, it's been going on since the beginning.

    "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."

    No - they're purposfully difficult to integrate back into KHTML. The apple patches don't include changelogs, they have too many references to closed-source apple API's and modified QT API's.. they'd fix bugs without consideration on other things it would break (some of which would be things apple didn't use so they simply didn't care.)

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

    Which aspect? And why arrogant? The KDE devs WROTE the damned thing. It's their baby. They're not going to ditch their project for some bastard-child that Apple has created.

    "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."

    Bullshit! Think about: You're a principal developer in designing a strong HTML renderer. You put a lot of time and effort into it. Along comes some big company that grabs your code, renames it, and puts it into their product publically. They submit some patches. Then, they basically stab you in the back.

    This is all perfectly legal and proper in the GPL, and nobody is saying it's not. But it does go against the spirit of Free Software - and against the new Apple Mantra of "OSX is great. Apple is great. They work with OSS and take the best of both worlds. We love OSX. Apple is great."

    "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."

    Apple isn't just "offering up" changes. They are required to do so by law. While they've made improvements, to say "they can't easily be patched" is an understatement. Using WebCore for a basis of new KHTML is a joke because you'd basically have to port it from an OSX only app to a platform independant one. Who, in their right mind, would want to do that?

  • by Foolomon (855512) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:02AM (#12519837) Homepage
    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 pipe dream but this is the ideal situation: where the focus on writing specification-constrained (note the qualifier) software is in its extensibility (read: ability to rapidly adapt to new changes to the specification) and performance.

    (Note: this says nothing about portions of software or entire applications even that are not bound by the terms of an approved specification. For example, a POP3 email client has to follow the POP3 specification when it communicates with the mail server but it can add all sorts of features to the client that have nothing to do with the specification.)

  • Re:Uh.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:03AM (#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.
  • by cowscows (103644) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:12AM (#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.
  • Re:Can't wait... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cloudmaster (10662) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:19AM (#12520037) Homepage Journal
    Because it's impossible for Apple to miss a security problem. What, there were security problems in other apps that Apple bundles, several of which were fixed buy the original authors, not apple? Oh, Ok.

    I guess there aren't any remaining holes in Apache, Samba, or Cups, because the all powerful Apple is bundling them with OS X.
  • Re:??? HUH ??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rpdillon (715137) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:25AM (#12520101) Homepage
    While your article is fascinating, looking backwards to find all your solutions is hardly insightful.

    Martin Fowler has tremendous insight, which is not to say we should swallow Agile Development or XP whole, but rather look to the New Methodology for ways to improve.

    Your article mentions looking to government and large corporations for the answers about the Right way to program. I suppose it refers to someone like Microsoft, who has no real notion of unit testing in their software development process?

    This isn't meant to be a dig against your article or old methods; it is meant to be a dig against those who would hide behind a shield of contempt for the "latest buzzwords" to avoid change.

    I praise any organization that looks for the Right Way to design and write their software, because it takes courage, and in the long run, that software will become an asset intead of a liability. I think the methods espoused in The New Methodology/Agile Programming have a lot to offer us as we refine our methods to create The Right Way, and is time very well spent.
  • Re:Blah... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:28AM (#12520147)
    how has KDE/KHTML been hurt by Apple's actions?

    Look around you
  • by Sentry21 (8183) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:38AM (#12520265) Journal
    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 if the code is ugly? It can be cleaned up later. What good is pretty, well-written code that doesn't do what it's supposed to do properly? What's the point in having a beautifully architectured system that doesn't do the job? It's better than having an ugly one that doesn't do the job, but if you're going to write a web browser, write one that follows standards. Safari has done this with admittedly ugly code in spots. Konqueror has failed to do this, but has done so with nice code.

    In the end, it comes down to the right tool for the job, and if you're a web developer trying to use the full features and expected behaviour of CSS and HTML, Konqueror is not that tool, and Safari is (or will be, once those patches are folded into release). Should the Konqueror developers be chastizing Apple for writing bad code? No, it does the job and their code doesn't, so they have no grounds for complaint other than purely philosophical.
  • Re:Can't wait... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tveidt (726264) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:39AM (#12520279)
    > The only troll here is the Firefox developer.

    You did not read his blog entry, did you?
  • Re:Odd.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:51AM (#12520402)
    Yet it's KHTML *users* demanding Safari features in Konqueror NOW who appear to have been the cause of the KHTML developers' frustration that started this hubbub in the first place. So apparently, KHTML not only has a market, but a vocal one.
  • by expro (597113) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:56AM (#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.

  • Re:Agile (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:57AM (#12520466)
    The "release often" thing is crap. Seriously. Users don't want you to release often. They want you to release when it's done. If there are critical bugs that need fixing they want you to fix them quickly, but they don't want for there to be critical bugs at all. Hence the "release-when-its-done" idea.

    Users don't want a trickle of new features every few weeks. Either they'll get annoyed by the constant upgrading, or they'll just choose to stay where they are and ignore your releases.

    The "release often" mentality is another classic case of programmers writing for other programmers, not for actual human beings.

    And your "the customer gets pissy" thing is no excuse. You can't solve a failure to understand the customer's requirements by employing a user-hostile release model.
  • by codemachine (245871) on Friday May 13, 2005 @10:59AM (#12520483)
    The problem being that KHTML is not platform independant either. It is quite dependant on KDE. What should really happen is that Apple and the KHTML team together write a portable rendering engine that could be used by both projects (ala Gecko). Unfortunately Apple doesn't seem interested in doing that, and the KDE team isn't necessarily that interested in it either. Too bad, because it woud benefit both groups to have a standard rendering engine, just like it has benefited all of the Gecko-based browsers.

    You know that if something renders in Mozilla, it'll probably work in Firefox, Galeon, Netscape, etc. This is great for both web developers and the browser teams, as it reduces the amount of testing needed (it especially helps the little-known Gecko-based projects that would never get tested against themselves). The KDE project could benefit hugely from having a truly shared HTML rendering core with Safari, as large developers such as Google already make their pages avaiable in Safari but not Konqueror. Fragmenting KHTML/WebCore only makes both less useful to test against, though this hurts KDE much more than Apple.
  • by expro (597113) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:03AM (#12520527)

    and let hardware sell itself, yea, sure.

    I do not believe your 4% interpretation exhibits a clue about their focus and efforts on software or the value of the software to those purchasing the hardware.

    And you are trying to claim that they got by on 3 million in total net sales last year?

    Not likely.

  • by Dasher42 (514179) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:03AM (#12520528)
    Apple's Webcore is a major revision of KHTML to support OS-X features and Objective C to work with Apple's standalone browser.

    Firefox is a cross-platform standalone browser.

    KDE is a complete desktop environment and programming framework that builds its components to integrate well with each other; KHTML and underlies the working of a great many programs, and Konqueror is not just a web browser.

    KHTML programmers, pay no attention to this mindless brouhaha. The overall integration and design sense of KDE is a bigger strength than any minor perk of either Safari or Firefox. When you get there, you will have more than the sum of your features.

    - A very satisfied user of KDE
  • by KingBahamut (615285) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:03AM (#12520533)
    Goes back to nessecity. What do you as a person need? I can easily compare Xfce to Kde in my own right, and say yep, its faster and more stable. It DOES WHAT I NEED it to do. You may say otherwise , and again as previously stated by me, that is your right. Xfce doesnt do what you want it to do for you, thats fine. But you cannot discredit a DE based on its minimalist stature. KDE and Gnome applications run fine in Xfce for me, and properly configured, it too can be as complete and featurefull as KDE or Gnome can be. Goes back again to nessecity , what do you need to have to make your desktop viable? Are you afraid to configure things on your own? Do you want KDE to supply you with an out of the box solution, that requires you to configure things minimally , if for no other reason than look and feel? For Joe User this might be viable. But if your a seasoned linux user , and you still are too lazy to set things up properly, using the atrophical statement of "KDE does it all for me, why should I have to?" , then thats your loss. Laziness over Desire, in this case.

  • by cbreaker (561297) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:18AM (#12520691) Journal
    It's platform independant in the way that KDE is platform independant - it will run on a variety of hardware platforms, assuming the Operating system is basically Unix with X. It's not so much KDE dependant as it is Unix/X/QT dependant.

    KDE is somewhat more portable then OSX, even still.

    The goal of KHTML was never to provide the world with a free rendering engine, it was to provide a rendering engine that will work well for their project. They wrote it so it could run on a variety of hardware. Obviously their work in this regard paid off, because Apple was able to take KHTML and integrate it into a completely non-KDE app without much rewriting (most of their initial work was done to improve rendering functions.)

    Really, Apple could have been a big contributer to the KHTML project. If they worked with the KDE project team and/or offered to help lead the project - not as an Apple centric project but a KHTML project - things would have been better for everyone. But, they're a corporation, and this is what can happen. Now, Apple will have to maintain an entire browser project moving forward, without any outside assistance.

    There's weaknesses in OSS development models and Corporate ones. We're all human. But corporations just tend to be a little bit more cut-throat.

    In the end, OSS does work and I don't think this will actually hurt KDE at all. If Apple never came around it wouldn't have made any difference. The KDE project exists to provide a nice desktop environment to free systems, not to compete in the top 10 browser war.
  • by Paradox (13555) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:33AM (#12520856) Homepage Journal
    Apple is on record for offering to jointly attempt to make the important parts of WebCore cross-platform, similar to the situation with Gecko.

    The KHTML team turned them down. They probably did so because it would shift the focus away from the KHTML they know and love and more towards the more realistic (but messier) WebCore, which they don't seem to want to do.

    The KHTML team doesn't even seem to want many of the changes. Apple makes a product, and they don't care if they break small things to make deadlines. KHTML is a product of the opposite school, preferring to make a very small, clean codebase. The price of this is feature deficit.

    This isn't about Apple being evil, or KHTML being snobs. It's about a project being forked. As time goes on, Apple has less and less to offer to KHTML. WebCore and KHTML are diverging, and people seem to be upset about this. I can't imagine why, this sort of separation was inevitable. Apple's best interests are served by leveraging their own excellent environment, and every time they do, they further exclude the KDE project.
  • by SlowMovingTarget (550823) on Friday May 13, 2005 @11:45AM (#12521028) Homepage

    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 in thinking. If you ask yourself what the design of a software module actually is, the answer you arrive at is "the design is the code." After all, the code is a written specification of what the software should do when it actually executes.

    Most agile methodologies do not ask you to abandon the principles of adequate forward-looking design. Rather, they ask you to abandon the assumption that all forward-looking design is adequate. This faces up to the hard fact that diagrams drawn in a tool rarely resemble the actual implementation in code, even if the implementation stays true to the spirit of these drawings.

    And for the record, Extreme Programming is not the only agile method, nor is it the gold standard for agility.

  • Re:Uh.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @12:26PM (#12521543) Homepage Journal
    "You can, however, have a well-designed, well-coded project"

    Yes, yes, of course. No one has said "here's a good idea: write crappy code!"

    The point is that writing code that is "good enough" should be balanced against giving your users a product which is "good enough" for their needs, and until it is, you should not focus on making the code "perfect" to the exclusion of things like meeting release dates; issuing bug-fixes; etc.

    Balance in all things, and when in doubt, favor the user. That's all that's being said here.
  • by AusG4 (651867) on Friday May 13, 2005 @01:16PM (#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:Agile (Score:5, Insightful)

    by robertjw (728654) on Friday May 13, 2005 @01:29PM (#12522333) Homepage
    Tricky thing, those numbers. Every machine Apple sells comes with OSX, 'for free'. They may not be selling their software, at least from an accounting perspective, but their hardware would be rather worthless if the price didn't include an OS to run on it.

    Direct software sales may only be 4%, but software is a much larger part of their business than just the revenue percentages indicate.
  • by Agram (721220) <ico@nOspam.vt.edu> on Friday May 13, 2005 @01:44PM (#12522502)
    ...is that while Apple is not required to do anything for KHTML developers, other than what they already did, the issue is more associated with the sense of OSS etiquette, or "developer-courtesy" if you like, and this is where Apple is at fault. Allow me to explain:

    Apple got a very clean codebase from the KHTML developers which they managed to deploy rather rapidly and thus we got Safari, which ultimately helped Apple to move away from Apple version of IE (which, as we all know already, is abysmal version of an already less-than-adequate browser). Apple has clearly profitted from this move.

    In return, they have provided patches in order to keep compliant with the LGPL license, but they have done so in much less "courteous" way than what they got from KHTML developers (perhaps buggy, but nonetheless clean code). And this is where the problem starts, especially considering that Apple is a for-profit company. The least they could do is provide such patches in a fashion that all other KHTML developers/contributors adhere to. Why should they be above the etiquette established by the project, especially when they have clearly profitted from this collaboration, while KHTML people have not nearly as much.

    And for those of you, especially Mr. Goodger, who as a lead engineer has very likely had his share of patching experiences, who claim that KHTML developers should go ahead and patch the whole project with the bundled superpatch from Apple, perhaps you should try to do that on your own just to realize how much overhead such patching introduces when it comes to debugging and clean-up.

    This is why most of above-average programmers will rather not use such patches at all and make comparable fixes from scratch.

    So, in short, Apple has not done anything wrong legally, but they surely did prove that they are just another corporation that cares about self-gratification, but then again, is anyone surprised?
  • by baadger (764884) on Friday May 13, 2005 @02:22PM (#12522932)
    "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 for the 'users needs'.

    IMHO 'software perfection' in terms of a smooth and stress free user experience (and I don't mean just the UI - Opera particuarly has never, for me personally, crashed or blown bugs at me with 12 months of use) is waaaaaay more important than 100% compliance to standards or sitting on the cutting edge of the blade.

    Firefox almost makes up for it's clumsy floppering about (which i'd rather not digress into and start a flame) with it's feature set. But, for me, and MLHO, not quite.

    The "needs of the users" in the way meant in the entry, for example a better renderer, don't come into the equation much in terms of 'perfection' here.
    You can enter one discussion and everyone says ~"Use firefox, it's more secure!", then someone pipes up that logically, and quite rightly, it is not (again let's not digress into that debate). Then everyone says ~"But firefox has tabbed browsing and standards compliance and all these neat extensions!". The fact is the geekdom minority pushed, and is still pushing, the majority to use something most people simply don't care much about. IMHO the 'average Joe' primarily wants a program that won't crash, slow down, or exhibit visible or annoying bugs.

    Most of my friends I admitedly pushed into using Firefox still use the default theme and 0 extensions, some even use windows (note the little w :P) but they still like to bitch like hell when it flumps after opening X tabs (although none have defaulted back to IE)

    Obviously you need a balance of the latest whizzy gizmo compatibility and careful implementation, but being a bit of a perfectionist myself I would urge the KDE team to stick their nose up and get on with what it is they are doing. I wouldn't let a minority of people push them about. There is nothing wrong with being a perfectionist, even if you are seemingly 'wasting' time or a bit behind the 'competition'. Good for you KDE.
  • Re:Blah... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jimithing DMB (29796) <dfeNO@SPAMtgwbd.org> on Friday May 13, 2005 @03:10PM (#12523510) Homepage
    how has KDE/KHTML been hurt by Apple's actions?
    Look around you

    Bullshit. The KHTML developers brought this discussion on themselves. Apple rightfully took the code, incorporated it into their products, and not only made the modified version available to users of their products but also publicly for anyone wishing to download it.

    It appears that the KHTML developers expect Apple to do all the integration work for them. There is nothing in the LGPL that requires this and my reading of both the LGPL and the GPL indicates that requiring modified code to be made available is the spirit of the license. Integrating it back to the mainline is a courtesy but the license specifically does NOT require this.

    Sure, it's customary to help integrate it back into the mainline tree but there have been other instances where this hasn't happened. For example, read up on Lucid Emacs (XEmacs) vs. Emacs debacle. You can draw many parallels from that to this. In that case Stallman was working on releasing a new version of Emacs for years and hadn't done it. Meanwhile, Lucid needed certain features and implemented them. When they offered to integrate the work back to mainline Stallman rejected it because he had his own ideas of how it should be written. In addition (and this does not apply in this case) Stallman required copyright assignment to the FSF which was something Jamie Zawinski in particular did not agree with. After much back and forth Lucid gave up and thus the XEmacs fork was born.

    The Lucid Emacs developers suggested that their code simply be incorporated into the next Emacs and that if Stallman wanted to rewrite it again that's fine but what they had was already working and better than what was in the tree. Stallman rejected it because he preferred to wait until their rewrite was complete at which point Lucid could try to integrate with the rewritten code.

    It should be obvious that this is a *really* stupid decision. The KHTML developers should suck it up and realize that Apple now has a better rendering engine than they do. They should merge in the changes now (including the ones they don't like) and THEN decide to rewrite things if the code is problematic. In the meantime the KHTML users have a better browser. It will take just as long to write code regardless of whether they merge in the Apple changes or not.

    This basically amounts to the KHTML developers having a serious case of Not Invented Here syndrome. After trying and failing to get Apple to do the merging work for them they cried foul and posted publicly about how Apple wasn't helping. I'm truly glad it has mostly backfired because it's up to the KHTML project to decide whether they want the code or not. It's not Apple's responsibility to take orders from the KHTML developers. If KHTML doesn't like it then WebCore can remain a fork of KHTML just like Lucid Emacs is a fork of Emacs.

    And don't give me any of the shit floating around here about how the KHTML developers merely wanted to point out that Apple wasn't doing the merging work. There are claims in this thread that the KHTML developers are fine with that but they just aren't fine with it looking as if Apple is contributing to KHTML. Well, news flash, Apple *is* contributing to KHTML and if the KHTML developers don't like the way they contribute and didn't want a big media fuss about it then they should have been smart enough not to write about it publicly. It is for this very reason that I *don't* keep a journal on the web.

  • by h4rm0ny (722443) on Friday May 13, 2005 @03:26PM (#12523707) Journal

    In other words - carry on the way you were. Is it really such a revolution to say "don't do unnecessary work?"

    Why, thank you! I'd never thought of that. If you're "in a project where you can go ahead successfully without performing an initial design phase," then you're probably working on Hello World.

    Really, the secret is hire good people to do the job, set realistic deadlines but enforce them, block /. at your company firewall.

    The XP "methodology" works for evolving things like GUIs and little else.
  • Re:He has a point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by As Seen On TV (857673) <asseen@gmail.com> on Friday May 13, 2005 @04:02PM (#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 Ogerman (136333) on Friday May 13, 2005 @05:36PM (#12525143)
    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.

    I'd like to point out here that the only reason Open Source development usually takes longer is that, as with KDE, it's largely a volunteer effort. Pay those same high-quality, principles-first developers a full time salary, and I'll bet development is just as fast as any corner-cutting proprietary shop. Open Source needs commercialization but it needs to be done properly.

    What Apple did was simply fork KHTML because they insisted upon absolute control. If they had instead hired / contracted with the original KHTML developers, none of this mess would have happened and everyone would have been better off. To blame the volunteer KHTML developers for not accepting low quality patches to their hard work is asinine. The KHTML developers had put an enormous amount of hard work into making their codebase clean. I know from my own experience working with / managing Open Source projects that low-quality patches from outsiders almost always come back to bite you in the future. I blame Apple for valuing control over quality. Timeframe was not the issue.
  • by FredFnord (635797) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @01:06AM (#12527432)
    I hear this, and my first impulse is really to agree.

    But I do have to sit back and think about what you're really saying. Which is, "Okay, Apple, here is our source code. And here is the way everything should be done."

    I've cooperated with other companies enough to know that, when there is a clash of corporate culture, it is very rarely just one side that is to blame. It is generally either both or neither.

    Sometimes the two companies are just two different in philosophy to cooperate smoothly. That's no one's fault, but when it happens, there are two choices: either deal with the unpleasantness at the interface, or stop. Yelling about it is a waste of everyone's time, and yelling 'We're right! We're right and they're wrong!' is a good way to get premature age lines and dyspepsia. And not a whole lot else.

    Including popularity.

    -fred

If God had a beard, he'd be a UNIX programmer.

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