The WebKit project has published a new set of community rules. The aim is to open up the process of how contributors and reviewers are chosen and also to state clearly what the aims of the project are.
The announcement was done a week ago by Apple’s Maciej Stachowiak. He introduced the new reviewers policy which now sets clear rules how someone can become a reviewer and/or a committer – this process was formerly done internally at Apple. Maciej also pointed out that the project goals are now fixed and therefore clear for everyone. This should make it easier for external contributors to verify if the project fits to their personal aims and goals or not.
An interesting part of the announcement is that it was not only posted at the WebKit blog but also at the Konqueror development list. The list posting was directly addressed at the KHTML and KDE developers and stressed out that the new rules are an attempt to bridge the gaps between WebKit and KHTML/KDE. The new goals are supposed to be more in line with the needs of KDE/KHTML and the open reviewer/committer policy makes clear who has the power to invite (or, in the worst case, to ban) new people.
The background is that WebKit is highly contested inside of the KDE community: several developers are contributing to it and support it, others have strong concerns against the WebKit project due to bad experiences in the past. (More background information can be found in the post “Browser Wars – Reloaded”.) Additionally, Trolltech, the company behind Qt – which is in return the toolkit KDE is built upon – will include WebKit as a HTML engine starting with Qt 4.4. The ideal solution would be of course if both camps simply merge and work together, but since all people have their own point of view, financial interests, feelings, pride and everything else this isn’t that easy.
However, the new move of the WebKit project might enable both sides to speak to each other again. This is also one of the aims of Apple’s people in the WebKit project as it looks like:
I don’t know if this addresses all KHTML and KDE contributor concerns about the possibility of a full re-merge with WebKit. But I hope these moves will make a good starting point for additional discussion. I am open to additional discussion about ways to enable closer collaboration.
Until know there hasn’t been any interesting reply by someone from “the other side” on the list. However, there might be discussion and talks in the background. Hopefully there will be satisfactory results. If not I would still welcome a WebKit based (3rd party) browser for KDE to play around with.