Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Keyhole

Today's blog might sound a little muffled, that's because it's coming straight from the heart. Which is in direct opposition to all of the "What's Open Source community missing" blogs/articles, which are coming straight from a vastly less prominent body part. To not dwell to much on human anatomy, I'm going to move on to the main topic today which is peace, love and Qt 4.3. The first two are overrated and got their fair share of treatment in all kinds of literary works, therefore the only reasonable conclusion is that my perky-self focuses on Qt today.

A number of people surely have already pointed out in their blogs that Qt 4.3.0 has been released. The first thing you'll notice about this release is the version number. Rightfully so because 4.3.0 is the highest Qt version we've ever released. 4.2.0 was already taken and we felt very strongly about reusing a ".0". Although "13.13.0" was available we really came together as a team/body/unit/crew (pick one) to release 4.3.0.

Now, I'm not going to be doing marketing for 4.3.0 (mainly because others are being paid better to do that) or listing the "like totally awesome new features", what I wanted to do is present the perspective of people who actually spent days and nights working to make this piece of software the best they could. Whether from the loins of those geeks came something exceptional is a judgement call that I leave to you. This is your keyhole into our world.

The main focus of this release was for us the general increase in quality of Qt. In the darkness of our meeting rooms we were moving tons of paper, while from time to time lonely tears danced on our cheeks (due the fact that the light smoke coming from our pens and pencils was irritating our eyes). Immersed in this mysterious darkness, we sat and watched. The cracking of the projector, seemed to be the only noise that dared to challenge the insanable silence. We knew that we wanted to make people smile a little more with this new release. Very early in the release process we also agreed that shipping drugs with Qt was not an option. We turned for help to the happiness champions - Care Bears and Popples. We watched and analyzed. In the very end we decided that while we agree that Gi-Joe's are like totally cooler (the engineering department is unfortunately male dominated) we know what we have to do. We came to the conclusion that people seem to be a lot happier if things work the way they planned and there's no unpleasant surprises. That's what we focused on. Fixing bugs, making sure that things work the way they are expected to, all in all improving the quality of Qt. If you have ever spent extended periods of time just staring at the code and rerunning tests in order to fix bugs, you know it's a mundane process that takes a lot of concentration. This is what we've been doing for the last few months. Fixing bugs and running around screaming (a lot of screaming, not a whole lot of running) if someone broke one of the tests. Have you ever seen engineers play ping-pong after fixing bugs for weeks? Oh, it's quite a sight. A lot of raw energy (very raw, one could say that energy hardly touched by any kind of skill). Flying balls, paddles and often engineers were a common sight late in the evening (low flying engineers bring bad luck - especially if the flight schedule predicts a landing at "you").

No one is more critical of us than we are but we work together to improve all the things we don't like. While I was thinking about this today I couldn't stop thinking about Pythagoreans who despite achieving many great things, were often described as a group who cherished authority beyond anything else. That approach is completely different from any discussion we have here. Every argument is judged solely based on its soundness no matter who's making it. I think that what I'm trying to say in this, severely not hysterical, paragraph is that one thing you can be sure off is that every decision we have reached and every change we have made in Qt was not due to any kind of hidden agenda, religious beliefs or beauty of people pushing for it. It was done because 20+ engineers decided that the arguments for it are stronger than against it. I realize that due to the fact that we have those discussions at the office and in person, a lot of the transparency of them remains hidden behinds clouds for people outside Trolltech. We're working to improve the flow of the information from the heart of Qt's home to the outside and while we do that please remain assured that behind the clouds there's a world adhering to the strictest physical and logical rules and not an ocean of strings with muppets drowning underneath.

Having said that, we're very happy with Qt 4.3.0 so hopefully you'll enjoy it too.

If you want pure Qt release goodness with pictures of the chosen few who get to stare at Qt code until their eyes bleed make sure you read Girish's blog.

4 comments:

Scorp1us said...

First comment!

Well, I've got it downloaded...

The demo looks cool, and I agree that you all needed to focus on quality. After all it is the details that matter most. Things about being able to use style sheets on printers, etc.

My next question is what is on the horizon for 4.4?

PS. Congrats on the release!

Franz said...

I can't believe it's really you in the middle of that picture :D

shadone said...

Nice work! you've done a great release. We are using qt-4.3.0beta for a while, many bugs fixed (including reported by ourselves), nice new features, so we like it a lot.

the_burning_bush said...

With that kind of speaking from the heart, who needs technical information?

Love is a hidden agenda. No one can speak its language unless God has taught it to them. And it isn't real unless the person pushing for it has been made beautiful by heaven.