Will Haiku become “HiCutie?”

smallbee2If you’ve been with the program long enough, you probably remember that Linux was the feedline for a considerable number of programs that were ported over (converted for use in) in BeOS.  The result was a long list of really useful tools, many of which were command line-based, which BeOS users (and now Haiku users) have benefited from.

Another fruitful resource is now being tapped, to port-over a whole series of programs that run, not from a command line shell, but graphically, as desktop apps for Haiku.  These programs, some with names suggesting their origin like the Qupzilla FTP server and Digital Q Clock, all run under Qt (pronounced like “cutie”), a cross-platform application framework that is used widely for developing software with a graphical, point-and-click user interface like what we’re all accustomed to using these days.

Borrowing a little info from Wikipedia, we see a number of operating system platforms where Qt is available, in addition to Haiku, including OpenSolaris, OS/2, webOS, Amazon Kindle, QMir, and even AmigaoOS.

Whole bunches of programs have been coded using Qt.  Quite a few have already found their way to Haiku and can be downloaded at the HaikuWare web site.

These nimageson-native programs are becoming so ubiquitous at HaikuWare that it almost begs the question, is Haiku in danger of becoming  HiCutie?   After a few panicky moments of consideration, it occurs to me that, right now Haiku needs all the apps it can get, and if some of them are built under a compatibility framework, that’s not such a big deal, as long as it’s stable and the programs work well.  There will always be coders who write directly and natively for Haiku too, and there will be more users and coders if they are attracted to an operating system that has increased viability due to the number of available apps.

It should be pointed out that the Qt framework has to be installed onto your Haiku computer before you can use any Qt-based programs, and that prompts another question:  Should Haiku be distributed with the Qt framework files, or provide them as an easily available “install optional package” resource?  Given the increasingly large role Qt appears to be playing, it might make pretty good sense to make the Qt experience as transparent as possible to new users.

Just asking questions.  I’m no expert on this, but I’d love to hear what people have to say about it.  Meanwhile, to the Qt porters, I say, keep up the good work, and keep the goodies coming!

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vadim Bobkovsky (@v_bobok)
    Aug 11, 2013 @ 12:37:22

    I for one welcome our new Qt patootie overlords. Haiku should do it’s users a favor and include an official optional package with the latest Qt framework in HaikuDepot repository.

    Reply

  2. Butt
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 18:32:44

    It’s actually pronounced “cute” in most of the world, not “cutie”

    Reply

  3. waddlesplash
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 16:29:01

    I was on #haiku IRC a few weeks ago and pointed out that if Haiku does not have the support of Digia and an official Qt port, it will never get off the ground in terms of users. As soon as I posted that, there was an explosion of people saying how they didn’t want Qt apps, cross-platform toolkits were evil, how all apps for any OS should be written with that OS in mind and all devs should have to learn and implement UI code themselves.

    I strongly disagree. While you may get some enthusiasts that write Haiku-only apps, the mass majority of OSS devs have little or no time on their hands and should use whatever works best and is easiest. I’ve written Qt apps and played with Qt itself, it has a strong base and allows you to write fast, powerful software in much less time. The downside is that you need to ship 20MB worth of libs — and on a system with package management, this is not really a downside.

    Haiku/BeOS was really a philosophy of how OSes should be and not so much the technical specifications. In the years since BeOS, Qt has come out as pretty much an embodiment of that philosophy, and its very like the Haiku/BeOS API in some ways. May I ask what is wrong with Haiku’s old BeOS-style toolkit being deprecated in favor of Qt?

    Reply

  4. Sean
    Sep 19, 2013 @ 02:24:05

    QT offer Haiku a huge assortment of open and closed source applications. Many closed source applications are written using QT. This would allow for easier support from commercial vendors.

    There is no downside, and the QT and BeOS and Haiku API share some similaritys anyways, they also share a architect Benoit Shillings, who was a BeOS engineer and hen a QT engineer and project lead iirc.

    So, the 2 are not quiet kissing cousins, but similar enough to say that, maybe Haiku needs to steal some API from QT

    QT is a big deal. Haiku should have it

    Reply

  5. ttcoder
    Sep 21, 2013 @ 20:27:57

    With the new “package” virtual file system around the corner (the Haiku crew are releasing nightly builds of that next iteration of Haiku already, though you have to look around to find them) I guess it will soon be eas(ier) to install the Qt package on Haiku, just like others too. No more having to use the Terminal to install stuff! It might impact how tunetracker is packaged though (I’m a bit scared of the new “virtual” config folder), we’ll see.

    Thanks Sean for the info on Benoit, I’m always curious about the Be diaspora and happy to learn where some of them went (baron @ danger, djaybee @ android, dbg’s brief foray at google ..etc).

    Reply

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