MAY
18
2001

KDE on Windows?

I was browsing SourceForge today and stumbled across the KDE on Cygwin project. Apparently, they have ported Qt 2.3.0 for X11, Qt 1.45 and KDE 1.1.2 to use the CygWin tools and CygWin/XFree86, respectively ports of the popular GNU platform and XFree86 to Windows. Although this is a big step towards making KDE applications useable on Windows machines, it might be interesting to get rid of the X server requirements as Simon Haussman has done with Konqueror/Embedded. It seems to me that a free desktop infrastructure of KDE's caliber that runs on both Windows and UNIX, and perhaps even embedded devices runing Qt/Embedded, would increase the number and quality of KDE programs, and open the door to KDE for many more users. What do you think?

Comments

I suppose that Trolltech would not like the X11 version of Qt ported to Windows, since they have a non-free Windows version already.

This could get rid of one of their ways to make $$$.

It would be nice to see KDE running on Windows though. I think Gtk already has a free Windows version, so...


By AC at Thu, 2001/05/17 - 5:00am

Gtk on Windows is hardly functional though.


By ac at Thu, 2001/05/17 - 5:00am

Ethereal and GIMP on Windows use the GTK+ library and they work quite well. I wouldn't call that "hardly functional".


By Toastie at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

Both programs work for me too, to some extent at least. But all GTK widgets just suck very bad on Win32. GTK crashes regularly and the widgets don't even paint themselves correctly most of the time. Edit control is just horrible, and tab control is not much better.


By Kirill at Sat, 2001/05/19 - 5:00am

Gtk on windows works allright, DnD is flacky as well as non english, but Gtk 2.0 is beinng built to be fully XP.


By ac at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

I am not sure that they will mind actually,
seeing that it would still be GPLd and limited,
therefore, to free apps. People working on freeware and OSS projects are probably not the biggest market for them anyhow, and it might just increase visibility of QT in the windows world...


By A Sad Person at Thu, 2001/05/17 - 5:00am

Well, the way I see it, if they wanted a GPL QT on Windows, they would have licensed one already. They must have reasons for not wanting it, because they have not already done it.


By not me at Thu, 2001/05/17 - 5:00am

My guess is that lots of companies buy Qt for in-house development. If Qt/Windows went GPL, Trolltech might lose out on a lot of sales.


By Justin at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

The last.fm player is based on Qt AFAIK and they have a Windows version, don't know how they licence Qt for that particular app, but I can tell you that the player itself is released under a BSD licence so it could well be that Qt (the native Windows version, it is a native Win32 app) is GPL'd for Win32 native open source apps...


By GeoNorth at Sat, 2006/05/13 - 5:00am

This discussion is obsolete. Qt4 is available under the GPL for Linux, Unix, Windows and Mac:

http://www.trolltech.com/products/qt/licenses/licensing/opensource

BTW: There's no such thing as "being GPL'd for" a certain group of apps. Either something is under the GPL or not. If you use it with the software you write you have to abide by its rules, though (release your stuff under a compatible license), and I suggest you read the GPL and the GPL FAQ before you start writing that code.


By cm at Sat, 2006/05/13 - 5:00am

Pls note this is not really a port of Qt to windows, it's a port of Qt to Cygwin which provides Unix-like APIs under Windows.

it is not the same as the native version of Qt for Win32 which I'm sure is way more stable and optimized for that platform.

I think TrollTech can relax.


By Jacek at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

I think it won't be a great idea providing a fully featured KDE system on Windows platforms. The main reason I am against it is that if it will really have a good impact, there are good chances to see many apps ported/using it JUST on Windows. I realize that it will be a GPL'd system, but... who prevents me to use Windows API's together with that product? Example: why isn't FlaskMPEG actually in development for unix platforms? Its source code is GPL'd.


By Massimo Santoro at Sat, 2001/05/19 - 5:00am

II believe it is generally a good idea to make Free Software attractive for daily use for a the largest possible number of people possible. KDE is doing so by making free Unix environments accessible for people whoes computer expriences are largely GUI/Windows based. Porting KDE to Windows is a logical step in that directon,
enabling people to have a gentle transition from the platform they grew up with (and of which they are told, it is the only one in existance) to the better alternative. Also it is a great thing to make Konqueror available on this platform as an alternative browser that
*does* enforce standarts! So I think this is a good thing!

However I believe it is important not to copy Windows on Linux or create an alternative Windows on Windows. There must be no doubt a
completely Free system is the better system!


By Diedrich Vorberg at Thu, 2001/05/17 - 5:00am

I'd been thinking for a while that this would be a Good Thing, but in particular having KDE on Windows so that KOffice could be there as well, because I think a lot of Windows users would be receptive to an office suite that doesn't cost a lot (MS, Corel) and doesn't suck (Staroffice). This project (if brought more up to date, and marketed to some degree) could be used to ween Windows users from the interface they know, and gain KDE more attention.

Kudos to the project.


By Joe Theriault at Thu, 2001/05/17 - 5:00am

>> I'd been thinking for a while that this would be a Good Thing, but in particular having KDE on Windows so that KOffice could be there

Another aspect that makes *me* happy is the fact that I have been lobbying (sucessfully) to use Qt for commercial software development so that we can have Linux, Mac and Windows based tools. If KDE, or just kdelibs is ported to OSX and Windows, then it suddenly becomes a fantastic tool for commerical development, which has to worry about such things (We have an even Mac and Windows mixed client base, due to our being in the publishing field, but our current products are all backend servers that run on *nix, and we need GUI admin tools).

And of course, then the Linux version would be KDE, rather than just Qt, resulting in more KDE native apps.

--
Evan


By Evan "JabberWok... at Thu, 2001/05/17 - 5:00am

If the project was "brought more up to date, and marketed to some degree" it would cost the same as MS and Corel.....

Nothing is for free....


By Voice of Reason at Wed, 2006/07/12 - 5:00am

Although a nice attempt, I think it is mainly a proof of concept. Which windows-user would mess around with installing this? One who is really interessted would give linux a try, and the others wouldn't mind.


By Fabi at Thu, 2001/05/17 - 5:00am

>> Which windows-user would mess around with installing this?

One who was interested in installing a KDE app. Maybe a suite of KDE applications. Maybe it will turn into a common library like VBRUNx00.dll.

Even if you are a Linux or BSD fan, and you believe that your OS of choice will take over, someday the tables could be reversed, and the poor guy in the corner running Win2008 while the rest of the company is using KDE on a variety of OSes will need *some* way to read KWord 7.0 files (since they are the business standard).

And if you doubt that, I've got a CP/M machine in the closet with Wordstar and Visicalc that was the "business standard" not *too* long ago.

--
Evan


By Evan "JabberWok... at Thu, 2001/05/17 - 5:00am

actually, the standards used by koffice are open, so it's very easy to add support for .kwd in other office applications (ms will do so in 2008, if they're still around).


By Evandro at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

Your comment is the first sane thing that I've seen in this thread. This is nothing more than a proof-of-concept which hasn't been thought through to the end-product. There might be a geek or two that actually implements KDE apps on Windows, but the global population will be in the 2 or 3 digits range -- hardly worth getting up from your chair.

"To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail"


By APW at Sat, 2001/05/19 - 5:00am

btw konq/e is doing quite well. I really like this small browser. Go try the latest snapshot (you don't need anything special for it): http://devel-home.kde.org/~hausmann/snapshots/

faq is here:
http://www.konqueror.org/embedded.html


By Pyretic at Thu, 2001/05/17 - 5:00am

I doubt many Windows users have a desire to use KDE's window manager or the like, but might enjoy a few of the apps, like Kmail, Knode, and some of the games.

As much as I enjoy using Konqueror under Linux, I think there would be little motiviation to use it instead of IE on a Windows machine that has IE built-in.

-Karl


By Karl Garrison at Thu, 2001/05/17 - 5:00am

I tried out installing Linux on my machine, and with the crappy computer I have, I couldn't get it past 640x480 in Linux. All the drivers on this computer are for Windoze only, so I'm stuck with it.
What I want to say is that there seems to be little real motivation for the common Windows user who has been using Windows all his/her life, and now people want them to use Linux. Sure, some of us realize that free=better, as well as stable, fast (though it did lag on my system, hardware garbage again), powerful and other things. I found it a little difficult to get it running myself, I can just imagine the hell an inexperienced user would have installing even the simplest (I was installing Mandrake) distro. Wait until they have to compile and such. Linux is obviously superiour, but is certainly not for the masses yet, it seems.


By DragonXero at Sun, 2001/05/20 - 5:00am

I tend now to favor using applications which can either be multiplatform, like Netscape, or StarOffice, or at least share their files with multiples applications.

In this extent I would use Konqueror on Windows, for two reasons: 1) I like it bettre 2) I could use it on more than one platform.

It is not irrational that MS understand this, Word files are already usable on Windows, and Apple machines, and maybe more.
It is very possible that eventually they will reconize Linux as a real fact of life, and port IE, MSOffice to Linux. For MS this is the lest of two evils, and they may have to give up their grandiose plans to dominate the all industry, and just make money like every one else.

I am betting on a Linux version of MSOffice.
Because not doing it would be stupid!
IBM learned the hard way that resisting to UNIX was a major mistake.
Andre G-


By -Andre at Mon, 2001/05/21 - 5:00am

I tend now to favor using applications which can either be multiplatform, like Netscape, or StarOffice, or at least share their files with multiples applications.

In this extent I would use Konqueror on Windows, for two reasons: 1) I like it bettre 2) I could use it on more than one platform.

It is not irrational that MS understand this, Word files are already usable on Windows, and Apple machines, and maybe more.
It is very possible that eventually they will reconize Linux as a real fact of life, and port IE, MSOffice to Linux. For MS this is the lest of two evils, and they may have to give up their grandiose plans to dominate the all industry, and just make money like every one else.

I am betting on a Linux version of MSOffice.
Because not doing it would be stupid!
IBM learned the hard way that resisting to UNIX was a major mistake.
Andre G-


By -Andre at Mon, 2001/05/21 - 5:00am

Hi Karl,

I would have to disagree withyou on GUI users staying with IE.

Have you tried to reinstall 5.5 or SP6A again after the NT4.0 system crashes? It´s a bag of ****

The problem with SP6A High Encyrption is there isn´t one! You have to rename a dll before reinsatlling a Service Pack, thats nuts!

This is the kind of functionalitiy and control that KDE will bring back to Admins. It will also ease the transition to Linux as this will be a fact soon.


By Michael Goedeker at Sat, 2001/06/02 - 5:00am

> I think there would be little motiviation to use it instead of IE on a Windows machine that has IE built-in

Not if you've installed Win98 using the 98lite utility (which makes MSIE & a number of other "embedded" components uninstallable). Sometimes you need to set up a Windows system for friends or family; sometimes Linux is not a good choice at the time, but you'd like to start moving them towards OSS.


By James E. LaBarre at Thu, 2001/06/28 - 5:00am

I would love to see KDE on the win 2k platform because it would give every one and me the ability to run our faverite win 2k games while still have the best GUI.


By !Q! at Thu, 2002/01/10 - 6:00am

I agree! I love KDE's interface, especially the multilpe desktop feature. Such a great idea, I don't know why Micro$oft hasn't implemented this yet. I have to open up 20+ windows when I'm working (I have 23 open right now) and I would be nice to seperate them onto seperate desktops according to their function. Does anyone know of something like this out there for Windows right now?


By mark at Fri, 2002/06/21 - 5:00am

maybe Lindows will make us happy, that's if mS doesn't kill it first!


By chris at Sat, 2002/06/29 - 5:00am

i have an nVidia card... it can setup multiple desktops under Windows


By nonUSER at Tue, 2003/12/23 - 6:00am

When somebody found it available for windoze please let me know. B.t.w. did somebody checked those crystalyze XP Skinz they are in KDE look, very kewl ;)


By D@V€ at Mon, 2002/10/14 - 5:00am

This post was so long ago and still very little has happenned :-(

KDE adds a lot to QT and having it availble for application development under windows would be great. Otherwise WXwidgets and GTK are going to lead the way with progressively more support and simpler developer licensing. GTK apps never give the right feel under windows - which gives users an impression of dubious quality. Perhaps people think "is everything this bad under linux - why would you go there?"

If I develop using the best platform choice for linux (KDE) where can my code go right now? Only to linux users. But if KDE is the development platform of choice even under windows we potentially bring many more apps to linux. This has got to be a good thing.

Do not hold back for political reasons! KDE is the platform (not win32 or linux) Get it being used by the largest number of people


By Andrew at Tue, 2006/03/28 - 6:00am

Nobody reads these old forums.
If you are interested in useing kdelibs on win32 see the wiki:
http://wiki.kde.org/tiki-index.php?page=KDElibs+for+win32


By Nobody at Tue, 2006/03/28 - 6:00am

This is a good idea but it has to be done systematically, by creating some X-independent layer including system independent IPC and window manager layer. KDE for Windows will always be a toy, but I would like to see a framebuffer-based KDE.


By Hi at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

There is an X-independant layer. Its called Qt.

Spooq


By Spooq at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

But it's not X-independent unless you pay for the commercial version.


By Rakko at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

The original poster was talking about a Unix framebuffer version. In that case, Qt/Embedded would do just fine. The license is the same as Qt/X11.


By Justin at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

Actually Qt/X11 is licensed under two licenses, QPL and GPL, whereas Qt/Embedded is licensed only under GPL.


By nitpicker at Sun, 2001/05/20 - 5:00am

I think KDE should avoid windows, otherwise we'll just end up with a Mozilla-like "port to all platform"-hell... Spare us!


By Björn Svensson at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

Well, let them port.

But there should be no windows compatibility overhead in kde itself in future. Not go back to stone age.

Martin


By mg at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

Seriously. KDE should never focus on Windows, however it isn't quite so much of a problem if it is handled by someone else without a fork (similar to the Konq/Embedded project).

Still, who would use this? When people talk about OS strengths, it's usually: Windows has applications, Unix is stable. Unix applications on Windows then seems silly. Really, the true problem with Windows is not its GUI. It's the crap underneath. KDE running on Windows will be no more stable since it's running on top of the same crap.

And most users would not be interested in running a completely different desktop on Windows (anyone remember Litestep?). If you're going to do that, you might as well run Linux anyway.

I think a project like this would only help in very niche situations. I can remember times when I've been stuck at a Windows box and I wished I had Konqueror. Or perhaps Licq. But really, they weren't *that* necessary. Light is nice, but if I'm only using this computer for an hour then I'll deal with the bloat.

Maybe this is one of those "I'm bored, let's do something" projects.

-Justin


By Justin at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

Hi you wonderful people!

Sorry if I seem a bit manic, but I've just had my first Linux experience, even if oddly enough, I'm back at XP at the moment posting through Opera.

What I wanted to say regarding KDE on Windows, the only people you'll reach with that (in regards to the Windows masses), are the experimental types. However, those have dual boot anyway. The average MS user is much too scared to use anything Linux, the problem here is psychological. Mental block.

People who do not consider themselves tekkies (Hello!;-) are scared shitless of Linux because they *think* that if they make any mistake, it will create a black hole and swallow the solar system. It really doesn't matter even how smoothly KDE would run on Windows, your average tekkiot would not install it simply because of the fear it would "do something" which was irreversible.

So unless there was a specific need by some prof, I doubt most dozers would even try it because it's all a bit irrational really, myself included. For several years I moved *very slowly* towards the fence, intimidated as hell, to get a whiff of Linux air and wanted to wait until 'I bought the next computer' so I 'can mess up the old one' with Linux. Like I said, irrational.

Even dual boot was a threatning concept to me, the sheer thought brought on fantasies about penguins eating their way crisscross through partitions while grinning evily.

Then, I found out about the Live CD thingy and I must say the concept is just brilliant. Pop in a CD, play with Linux, take out the CD, restart and you're "back to normal". Only that for me, normal suddenly didn't feel quite normal anymore. I'm so impressed. Sure, KDE still "ported Linux to me", but under Linux. While I'm willing to learn, there is just no way I would have been interested in any Unix based system without practical GUI. I think command prompts are scary. This might change with time and who knows where the road will lead, but I'm pretty confident that this Windows box here was the last one I bought. I actually start feeling tricked that most PC's are sold with Windows preslapped, if I had had (had had?) a choice when I bought my PC's with the preinstalled Linux being considerably cheaper, of course I would have opted for Linux. Who dosen't like to save a couple of bucks?

So anyway, sorry for the long post, but it was the 'supersave' 'totally reversible' LiveCD which did it for me (first SLAX then Knoppix).


By Your_average_MS_user at Tue, 2004/04/27 - 5:00am

If you look at the sources of Qt, *very* little of it is dependent on Xlib. Once you port QWidget, QPixmap, QFont, and QFontMetrics, virtually everything else is derived from that. 99% of the work will be in those 4 classes. Xlib is used in very little of Qt itself (for obvious reasons since Qt sells a native Windows lib). You can tell TrollTech was very careful to minimize the platform dependent code, because they want to sell the Windows version. Porting the GPL version to Win32 should not be a massive effort, since it's the same sources used in the professional version, just with the Win32 code missing.

There are other classes that would require some work like the sound and network I/O classes, but KDE doesn't use these AFAIK.

KDE is also a lot less X dependent than you'd think (which is why we also have Konq/Embedded ;-) While KWin and KDesktop doesn't make sense on Windows, getting the rest of kdelibs running natively on Windows should also be straightforward with a good Posix compiler.


By Mosfet at Fri, 2001/05/18 - 5:00am

This would be an interesting exercise. If someone were to port the free Qt to Windows, even if they did it badly, if it took hold then TrollTech would probably just release their official version using the same dual license scheme that they have for Unix.

Really, they have nothing to lose, and plenty to gain. Qt would become THE definitive way to write cross-platform apps. The community of developers who write free software would have a no-brainer choice when they want to write apps for both the Linux and Windows communities. This would of course cause an avalanche effect of commercial developers doing the same, all paying for their commercial Qt licenses.

It would also have the pleasant side effect of making KDE the de facto standard desktop for Linux, which would also mean more license revenue for TrollTech from ISV's who will finally start releasing Linux apps now that there's a standard set of desktop API's to write to.

Everyone wins. TrollTech, KDE, Linux, and of course the end user. Are you listening, TrollTech? This could be big.


By Art Cancro at Sat, 2001/05/19 - 5:00am

Like I said in a post earlier, my guess is that a lot of the Qt/Windows license sales are for in-house development. Trolltech would probably lose a LOT by releasing it as GPL.

Honestly, I can't name any Qt/Windows applications. This may be because it isn't so obvious what toolkit is used in the Windows environment as it is in X. Still, this leads me to theorize that:

1) In-house Unix developers use free Qt/X11
2) In-house Windows developers use nonfree Qt/Windows
3) Commercial Unix developers use nonfree Qt/X11
4) Commercial Windows developers use nonfree Qt/Windows

Since the majority of software in this world is in-house, Trolltech's biggest customer base is probably #2.

Let's say 80% of their sales are for in-house work. Would the benefits of a free Qt on all platforms outweigh the obvious drop in license sales? GPL is really not a problem for in-house developers.

-Justin


By Justin at Sat, 2001/05/19 - 5:00am

I'm not talking about TrollTech doing it. I don't work for them, I don't care about their license sales ;-) What I'm talking about is if someone else wanted to take the GPL QT/X11 and port it to Windows, it wouldn't be that hard to do since it's already designed to be run on multiple platforms. Looking at the code it's fairly straightforward.


By Mosfet at Sat, 2001/05/19 - 5:00am

He was replying to the comment above his more than your comment, Mosfet.

"I don't work for them, I don't care about their license sales ;-)"

I care about TrollTech's license sales! TrollTech is a good company, they produce a good product which we all benefit from, and if they went out of business it would be a big loss. TrollTech obviously doesn't want a GPL QT on Windows, or else they would have done it already. I agree with Justin, a GPL QT/Win would be disasterous for TrollTech. Do you want Open Source to be seen as poison to companies that might be considering open-sourcing their products? We don't want to kill off companies that open-source their products, we want to encourage them!

Besides, a GPL QT/Win would have questionable benefits. KDE on Windows? Great, all the stability of Windows with the broad application base of KDE! There are really no GPL apps that Windows needs and QT/X has. The only thing I can think of would be increased interest in QT development by open-source types, but I don't think it would be increased very much since most open-source developers use Linux or BSD anyway.


By not me at Sat, 2001/05/19 - 5:00am

I would like apps I write for KDE to be able to run on Windows (and Mac, and Beos, and everything else ;-). Windows is irrelevant to me because I can't hack it, but that's just me. All I know is I want as many people to be able to use cool KDE software as possible.

I don't feel any need to discourage porting in order to protect TrollTech, either. If someone wants to port, it's totally within their rights. TrollTech would have to live with commercial application licensing, like everyone else that does GPL libraries. Saying "Okay, we'll use the GPL but please don't use all the rights given in the license!" is crap (which BTW they never said).


By Mosfet at Sun, 2001/05/20 - 5:00am

I agree with your statemens Mosfet. It seems like porting QT-Free to Windows could also benefit KDE, since any QT-Free apps created in Windows could easily be ported back to KDE/Linux.
Another major benefit of Qt and KDE on Windows would be the porting of Konqueror to Windows. If Konqi was available on Linux and Windows, Konqi could potentially become a major competitor in the browser wars.

-Tim


By Timothy R. Butler at Tue, 2001/05/22 - 5:00am

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