Episode 10

Monday, June 7, 2010


  • Nokia Releases Qt 4.6.3 / Nokia Qt SDK RC1/ Qt Creator 2.0 RC1
  • Nokia delays Qt 4.7 and Qt Creator 2.1
  • Qt Sony-Ericsson and Samsung Phones
  • N900 goes live with official Qt 4.6.2
  • Qt announces "Open Governance"
Mark Hatch and Justin Noel

Intro: Welcome to ICSNetwork's This Week in Qt, the ten minute podcast that keeps you informed of significant events that may impact your engineering projects. If you have not yet heard about ICS, please visit our website at www.ics.com. As an organization, we believe we have the best independent team of Qt engineers in the world. Whether you're starting a new project or need help removing that insurmountable roadblock that every project has, please contact us at sales@ics.com.

Mark: This is Mark Hatch. I run the Qt business here at ICS, and with me today is Justin Noel, our senior engineer and we're here to talk about This Week in Qt. Justin, what's going on this week?

Justin: Well, this week a lot of news has gone down. In fact, there have been a whole slew of releases from Nokia, including a new generic 4.6.3. There's been some new stuff in the mobile SDKs. We'll talk about Sony Ericsson and Samsung phones being able to run Qt applications natively. We'll talk a little bit about the N900 getting official support for Qt 4.6.2 with its PR 1.2 firmware. And finally, we will talk about Qt and its step towards open governance where the community can actually help steer the direction of Qt.

M: We'll get to that very shortly then, but let's go to everyone's favorite topic first. There's a new release in town, huh?

J: Absolutely. First and foremost, while a minor release, 4.6.3 is out. This is a bug fix release: meaning that only performance and bug issues have been fixed. There are no new APIs. This should be pretty safe to immediately upgrade to.

M: It's a dot three release. They usually get it right by the dot 3.

J: Oh yeah, I'm sure this is very stable and in fact, this is the version that will be distributed on phones for real applications to run.

M: What else is going on? What other new releases do we have?

J: Well we talked a few weeks ago when it came out in the technology preview, the Nokia Qt SDK which is the large package that consists of Qt 4.6 for Maemo and Symbian. It comes with Qt Creator and a system called Qt Emulator, which is an end to end system for writing software for mobile devices. This entered the release candidate 1 stage this week and is expected to go gold sometime in the summer. This SDK includes Qt 4.6, not 4.7, that will come later, and is specifically geared towards mobile devices. It also includes the release candidate 1 of Qt Creator 2.0, which is the version of Creator that supports the compiling and running on mobile devices. It includes support for simulators and is very geared toward mobile development. This Qt Nokia SDK and the Qt Creator 2.0 actually have some dependencies when Nokia is creating Qt 4.7, which is the next major, major release of Qt. This is the one that's going to have Qt Quick in it - That QML-type of declarative language. And originally, Qt Creator 2.0 was meant to have a module inside of it which was the visual designer to Qt Quick, this QML language. It was announced this week that the schedule for Qt Creator and Qt 4.7 is going to slip a little bit. They are going to work very hard at getting Qt Creator 2.0 and this Qt SDK for mobile devices really solid. They're going to wait for Qt Creator 2.1 to come out before they reintroduce the Qt Quick visual editor.

M: Okay, so in case anyone is not quite following this, and there are certainly some changes here. This SDK, that's in release candidate 1, does that include QML or not?

J: No, it does not. QML is a Qt 4.7 thing. It is one of these major subsystems that would only come out in a major release or a feature release of Qt, which is the 4.7.

M: Okay, good.

J: So the release candidate for Qt 4.7 and this Qt Creator 2.1 is expected sometime in the summer, which now skews the expected time of release to August or September. So roughly about the same time that Qt 4.6 came out.

M: So it gives them a little bit of a cushion if it slips to just before DevDays which has been traditional.

J: Exactly, I think it's going to be a major party at DevDays to announce this new Qt 4.7 with all these performance enhancements and all of the QML enhancements.

M: It should be a good time in Munich.

J: Oh it will be, I'm sure.

M: So what's going on with the next topic?

J: So far, we have only heard and talked about Qt in relation to Nokia Symbian phones. And Nokia Maemo phones of course, but mostly Symbian in the S60 platform. Now, there are actually other manufacturers that use the Symbian S60 platform, including Sony Ericsson which has a beautiful phone called the Satio. It runs S60. And Samsung has a whole pile of Symbian phones. It was announced on labs.trolltech.com that Sony Ericsson has announced that it will officially support Qt third party applications on their Symbian phones. And they expect Samsung to follow suit shortly.

M: Well that's good news, isn't it?

J: Yes, according to the blog posting, there are actually some tweaks that are needed to support new phones, so we might have to wait until 4.6.4 to actually see the Samsung phones supported, but the Sony Ericsson phones are ready to go in 4.6.3.

M: This continues to build on the success of Qt and its spreading out, isn't it?

J: It's really getting into everything.

M: Right, and last week we heard about Computex. We heard how Qt is actually starting to move into this Linaro platform, which now is also Qt.

J: Linaro, MeeGo, it's all piling up.

M: Yeah, I mean even Novell now, as we heard last week is pushing down that path.

J: Yeah and even then the unsupported platforms that are in git, such as Android and WebOS, the sky is truly the limit.

M: That's good news for anyone who's developing any applications in Qt. Keep doing it. So now, what about the N900?

J: Well speaking of such things, last week my phone beeped at me telling me there was an update, and this was the infamous PR 1.2 firmware that everyone with an N900 was waiting for. It came with new system software. Most important to us at Qt developers was a package of Qt 4.6.2, which is the officially ported version of Qt from Nokia. This is what's going to allow applications written in Qt to be sold on the Ovi store. I do expect though that they are going to wait until the Nokia Qt SDK goes gold before they officially start accepting applications into the Ovi store. So ladies and gentleman, if you're interested in writing applications for the N900, I would suggest grabbing a copy of that release candidate 1 and getting started now.

M: And then you'll be all set when everything settles down here.

J: Exactly. Get a couple apps up for day 1 and see where it goes.

M: That should be cool. So the final topic for this week is something about open governance?

J: Yes, so this is really interesting. Nokia, in its grand plan apparently, wants Qt to be more of a traditional open source project. Even back into the Trolltech days, Qt was open source - you could get an open source license, you could get the source code. But when it came to technical decisions being made inside Trolltech, or now Nokia, it was always something where internally there would be a roadmap, there would be goals that they would want to achieve, and they would make technical decisions to achieve those goals and assign a certain priority to those goals. So, they are now going to be doing all of their technical discussions and their roadmapping on public forums. So anyone who is a community member who is interested as to where Qt is going can observe or even provide input to these processes now. So, if in the future, Nokia decides like they did before with QHttp and QFtp not being up to snuff and they were going to deprecate those and introduce QNetworkAccessManager, you can now be a part of those decisions going forward.

M: Have they announced where those discussions are going to be?

J: They are still hashing out their process, although they do say that this is going to be a mediocracy - meaning that while the world does have the ability to provide input, it will be Nokia that does have the final say.

M: Well that's certainly a big step for Nokia. They spent a lot of money purchasing Qt from Trolltech. Just to take that step is a pretty big step for them.

J: Yeah, and even from Nokia's traditional sense, especially with their hardware, they're always very secretive. They're probably at level, or even slightly higher, than Apple when wanting to keep everything very under wraps until they're ready to make this big announcement. This is definitely something that's very different from that old corporate culture to the true open source project thought process.

M: That's great, and I want to thank you again Justin for providing your insight. And this is Mark Hatch signing off, this has been This Week in Qt.

J: We hope to see everybody here again next week, same time, same channel.