At the risk of being flamed : State of software

thomas.cooksey at thomas.cooksey at
Fri Aug 24 19:02:29 CEST 2007

Hi all,

Personally, I intend to use Qtopia for my homebrew phone (because of lots of reasons, but mostly  because of the OpenGL ES acceleration). I'm certain OpenMoko will never switch to Qtopia as so much effort has been put in already. I suspect, however that Qtopia may one day find itself running on the GTA02 as a separate project, as already mentioned. Considering how easy it was for the Gumstix guys to get Qtopia working (It took about 5 minutes, just a recompile) I think a Qtopia based OS on the GTA02 will quickly overtake a GTK+ based OS in speed, reliability and functionality. That is my own, personal opinion, but this is a subject I have researched very heavily over the last 12-months. A fair bit of my research is published on the elinux website, if anyone's interested in reading more:

Technical Stuff
Qtopia is in a far more stable state and runs _quickly_, it has to, Trolltech sell it as commercial product! What's more importent is that it can take advantage of the OpenGL ES hardware acceleration, which will be avaliable on the GTA02 (see on how to do this). Getting OpenGL ES acceleration working under GTK+ _will_ be a huge task, requiring massive chunks of Cairo to be rewritten. Remember, the only OpenGL acceleration Cairo has is Glitz, which I believe is unmaintained and only accelerates image composition tasks anyway. Plus, it's OpenGL, not OpenGL ES and will require work to port it. From what I've read, the OpenGL ES stuff currently in Qtopia provides window transition effects similar to Beryl on desktop systems. I guess this can probably be extended easily to get a "cube" desktop on the GTA02. Plus, it all done in hardware so will be _fast_.

As mentioned, Qtopia is avaliable under the GPL. Strictly speaking it is "more" open than GTK+ which is distributed under the LGPL (Lesser GPL).

I.e. Open source developers put in time and effort to develop GTK+ code. A big company can come along and say, yes, I like that, I think I'll use it. So they do and write closed-source software using the freely avaliable GTK+ code. They sell it and make lots of money out of other people's work, without contributing a thing back to the community, not even source code. This is all perfectly legal under the LGPL and has been done in the past by companies like VMWare, real networks (real player), adobe and many others.

On the other hand, Qtopia is avaliable under the GPL (The full on GPL, not a "GPL-like" license, the GPL itself). As far as I understand it, there is nothing stopping anyone forking Qtopia (if deemed necessary) so long as they always publish their changes for everyone to see (As specified under the GPL). Anyone using Qtopia is obliged to publish the source code of their application, not just the changes they have made to Qtopia itself. So, IMO, all this talk of using GTK+ as it's developed by the "community" is a little redundant. Why not just take Qtopia, as long as you publish any changes, the community can develop it as much as they want.

Finally, I feel I should remind people what's happening with Hildon. Nokia spend a lot of money hiring developers to develop Hildon, the GTK+ based framework on the N770 and N800. Now, Intel has come along and decided to take all the work Nokia has done and make it run on their own devices. How would FIC look if say HTC came along and took OpenMoko and put it onto their own phones?



PS: Just read a few other posts... As mentioned on elinux, unlike desktop systems, it is _not_ possible to run both Qtopia and GTK+ applications simultaniously. It's one or the other (although it might be possible to get a hack working using DirectFB).

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