Firefox lead engineer scolds KDE project

Firefox lead engineer scolds KDE project

Summary: Debate between Apple and the open source KDE project over a rendering engine replacement intensified yesterday as Firefox lead engineer Ben Goodger backed the vendor.Commenting in his blog on the stoush -- which revolves around an Apple proposal to dump the KHTML engine it famously integrated into its Safari Web browser several years ago -- Goodger was harsh on the KDE project.

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Debate between Apple and the open source KDE project over a rendering engine replacement intensified yesterday as Firefox lead engineer Ben Goodger backed the vendor.

Commenting in his blog on the stoush -- which revolves around an Apple proposal to dump the KHTML engine it famously integrated into its Safari Web browser several years ago -- Goodger was harsh on the KDE project.

"Safari's renderer is vastly superior to the KHTML used by Konqueror," said Goodger. Konqueror is the KDE project's open source Web browser. The Safari renderer is known as WebCore.

Goodger went on to say the open source community could not accuse Apple of breaching any licences.

"Not everyone wants to change the world, but Apple does," he said, "and although they may have done the least required of them in accordance with the licences of the original source code, it was within their rights to do what they did, and no one should begrudge them for it."

Key to the open source community's concerns has been Apple's actions in fixing bugs in such a way that they could not be integrated back into the open source code base. The Firefox guru scolded the KDE developers for forgetting the user base they purported to serve.

"Should I have to wait months or years for every patch that makes Safari more compatible to be done perfectly?", he asked the KDE community. "No. Well maybe as a software engineer I should. But does anyone that isn't a software engineer care? Probably not. Case closed."

Goodger gave the open source community a list of ways in which they could follow Apple in attempting to create software that could change the world.

It was important, he said, realise that "no software is ever perfect".

Secondly, developers should prioritise releasing their products on time, even if they "may have to cut corners".

The engineer concluded his list by reiterating his view that "there needs to be a strong focus on meeting the needs of the target audience" -- a view that Firefox creator Blake Ross appears to agree with.

Although not specifically commenting on the Apple/KDE debate, Ross has also recently written on his blog about problems connecting with users.

"The gulf between the people making software and the people using it is widening," he said. "The [Silicon] Valley is hurtling forward on Internet time and leaving a huge mass of frustrated people in its wake."

"Most developers probably don't alienate people intentionally ... Over time, software has come to demand an impossibly high level of computer literacy," the Firefox creator wrote.

Topics: Apple, Browser, Social Enterprise

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7 comments
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  • Why wouldn't I be suprised if there's a new iPod on mister Goodger's doorstep...
    anonymous
  • Comments from the KHTML developers are probably more relevant than comments from Firefox developers:

    http://www.kdedevelopers.org/node/view/1046

    Safari and KHTML

    Notice how there isn
    anonymous
  • Odd, how the Firefox people can scold KDE for forgetting the users -- especially when they killed mozilla after a year of negligence.

    I will laugh at the firefox supporters when, in a year, because that's how long 'Enterprise Support' is for the Firefox kids, they all will discard Firefox and instead work on something else. The rendering engine, perhaps. "But that's no good for us," you all will wail. "Someone will implement something with it," they will reply.
    anonymous
  • WTF is a "stoush"? Google 'define' doesn't know, neither does dictionary.com. Is this a real word?
    anonymous
  • The end user is most important? That's why sometimes when I click in a firefox text entry field, it pauses for a long time before allowing me to type?? On both Windows XP and Linux...

    That's why using Mozilla for one year in my Cyber Cafe, it was the #1 application crashing constantly and freezing an entire user session with it, each time..

    Konqueror had rendering issues but at least it only disappeared instead of freezing the whole user session when a plugin failed.
    anonymous
  • Apple wants to change the world? WTF... Apple is like every other company that builds products to drive profits and pay dividends to stockholders. Anyone including Ben who believes that Apple is about changing the world is drinking the kool aid straight from Steve and Apple's Marketing department. My advice to anyone before commenting on Apple's motives is to work for the company first then figure out for yourself the motivation and priorities of the company. Don't get me wrong, Apple is a great company to work for but the only people who swallow the marketing messages are people who have never worked for this company. Apple is no more altruistic than any other commerical entity including Microsoft. Yes, I have worked for both companies and have enjoyed my experiences and the people at both. Most of us (software engineers) have worked for various employers in Silicon Valley including Apple, Microsoft, Palm, Tivo, Cisco, SGI, Sun, etc. They are all companies that have the same goals and marketing messages that have nothing to do with those goals. Ben will probably learn this with more experience at Google.
    anonymous
  • stoush
    Pronunciation: (stoush), [key] Australian Informal.

    anonymous