Zack Rusin was interviewed on the Linux Link Tech Show recently, and tried to answer all the questions around about his work at KDE, X and Qt. And some questions about living as a veg in Norway😉
The interview itself is provided as a Podcast, and the part with Zack is roughly an hour and 45 minutes long – so take a bit of time when you plan to listen to it.
From my point one of the most interesting parts was about X: he told about the work the Intel guys are doing on their drivers, and that these are improving the drivers in a very high quality way. A small example: when you take a screenshot on a normal screen with a video running you normally get a blue window instead of the video. They fixed it by reworking the way how videos are handled.
The biggest improvement however will be the hotplugging which we will see hopefully in v7.3 of X: it will allow the user to just plug in an external interface and than just get the output of the card like it is on Windows or Apple – without rebooting X, and without doing anything a normal user is not capable of. A bit more about that technique in one of the next posts, because I tried to talk about that with Keith Packard, and if he finds the time he will provide me with some more information.
Until that: it looks like the first cards which will get this support are the Intel ones, after that the other well maintained Open Source drivers will follow.
Another part dealt with the release of KDE – Zack prefers to “release as often as possible”, especially in the case of KDE 4. The idea is that several people need to build applications to see if the new KDE 4 stuff is really working as it should, and if it is providing already what the application builders really need. On the other hand, without any kind of releases no application builder will start. So, the best is to release often and early. It also avoids that you plan to include much too much and never really release because you are never satisfied enough. As a application builder you should keep in mind that your program will never be perfect. I hope that the early development snapshots like Krash will help in this regards.
Talking about KDE 4: Zack was asked what he thinks about the development of the windowmanager for KDE. Since Kwin gets some composition manager improvements the question is if that will be the default for KDE – or if KDE will join Compiz or Beryl. One of the big problems here is that Zack wasn’t sure if the KDE team has the resources to maintain its own composition manager for the next four or five years. On the other hand KDE needs probably a fallback for machines which do not provide OpenGL.
But, there again we have the question if KDE will need OpenGL or not – it looked to me that it is not entirely written in stone yet what Plasma will need and what not.
Zack said that all these questions and problems will be settled down in the next months. One way or the other.
Ah, and btw.: Zack said that he hopes to see the first real KDE 4 release within the next 6 months. Interesting, because I guessed somewhere that there will be no usable release until after the next KDE conference.
A last note about something which wasn’t mentioned at the show, but somewhere else: Zack is now an official reviewer for the WebKit development team. The huge advantage is that there is now the first KDE developer (afaik) with not only full contribution rights but also with real influence to the project since he is in a important position. I hope that all the other KDE guys who are working on WebKit as well will get the same rights soon – that would make it easier to port WebKit to KDE if it becomes necessary or useful.