Episode 5

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


  • MeeGo is Here!
  • Nokia Developer Summit and TI+Qt @ ESC Conference
  • Qt Quick (QML/QtDeclarative) now requries Qt 4.7
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: Good morning, this is Mark Hatch. I run the Qt business here at ICS and with me here today is Justin Noel one of our lead engineers and we're here to talk about this week in Qt again. So Justin, what's on the agenda today?

Justin: Well, as usual there's a lot of stuff going on in the Qt world. We're going to talk about Meego - they have official opened their development source code and are actively soliciting contributions; also you can download images for various devices. We'll talk about Nokia doing some success story press releases in the set-top box world, and we'll be talking about the upcoming conferences that Nokia and TI are throwing in the next couple of months. Finally we'll move on to the status in the Qt Declarative world in regards to the Qt 4.6 and 4.7 releases.

M: That sounds great. So let's start with Meego: what is Meego and why is it so important to people?

J: So once upon a time, there were two different Linux-based, X-based development environments for devices like phone, such as the N900, or netbooks and tablets that Intel was working on. Nokia, with the N900, their platform was called Maemo and it ran X and it ran a toolkit based on GTK. Likewise, Intel had an operating system they called Moblin. Same idea, it ran X and ran a toolkit also based on GTK. Both of these projects were looking to move to Qt as their user interface toolkit and they decided to merge their bases into one product called Meego. So there is no more Maemo and there is no more Moblin, they are now pulled together and called Meego.

M: Okay, so what was announced today?

J: So today was basically the announcement that their source code repositories are open to the public - anybody can download and potentially contribute to the development process. Basically the quick email was a list of links to images that you could get for various devices. There were images for the Nokia N900, for Intel netbooks, and also an image for the upcoming Intel Moorestown platform which is an actual phone platform based on Atom.

M: So do you have one of those yet?

J: I don't, and if anyone from Intel is listening you can email podcast@ics.com if you'd like to send me one.

M: Well that would be cool, wouldn't it? So that's pretty exciting then that we've seen a merger of Linux space systems around Qt and we have all our strength behind one arrow here going forward.

J: Yes, it's going to be interesting to find out what happens with the Maemo, their new platform coming out was Harmhatton and was going to be mostly Qt-based and now that's being moved over into Meego. It's going to be interesting to find out what parts from Intel's Moblin, are going to be used in Meego versus what components of Nokia's Maemo will be used in Meego.

M: Well that's sounds interesting. So speaking of embedded systems, there are announcements on Nokia's website relative to some set-top box work?

J: Yes, Nokia sent out a couple of press releases mostly bragging about their set-top box work and the fact that companies such as Roku, which has been around for a while did their Netflix stand-alone player using Linux in Qt. And a company called Sunnywell has rewritten their hotel infotainment system all entirely in Qt, so if you decide to order for-pay movies or do automatic checkout in hotels that buy Sunnywell's hardware you will actually be using Qt via your television and remote control.

M: But this isn't the first time we've seen Qt on set top boxes besides Roku and some of these other things. I know we've done about a half dozen or so projects where we've done Qt on set top boxes - a lot of acceleration, which I guess is one of the challenges for those things.

J: Yes, a lot of customers that come to us find that originally they wanted to do something like Flash and found out that on their hardware they really couldn't accelerate Flash. Given Qt's C++ nature and its extensibility when it comes to graphics systems in Qscreen plugins it turns out to be a fairly easy process for someone with expertise to write an accelerated Qscreen or a graphics display plugin for almost any type of device whether it's a simple blitter or you have something like the SGX with is an openGL ES chip.

M: Yes, that really does run the gamut there - some of them are easy and some of them are much harder. I guess we're all waiting for Lighthouse where that will make it much easier. That should come out sometime later this year, hopefully.

J: I think that will end up getting in 4.7 eventually.

M: So there are also some conferences coming up?

J: Yes, in fact announced this week, in June will be Nokia's phone development summit. It's going to be in San Francisco at the end of June. It looks pretty exciting. I'm most excited for the fact that there are leaked screenshots and photos of devices that are going to be running the new Symbian 3, which is Nokia's rethinking of their UI based on capacitive touch screens and making everything hand and touch-based, rather than stylist-based. Also in the pipeline for conferences you'll see Qt is at TI Tech Days, which is in April, I believe. There's actually going to be a little Qt track that you can learn about using Qt for embedded devices, using TI's OMAP platform. And I think Mark you were saying we were doing something there.

M: That's exactly right. So TI runs what they call Tech Days. They usually like to run these events in conjunction with conferences or other local events in the United States. For example, they have on in conjunction with an embedded systems conference out in San Jose at the end of April and there's one that they run in Boston in the fall. So what they usually do is have a day there where people who are very specifically interested in how to optimize their system around TI will come in and learn from various experts. It's a days worth of training. We've been asked to deliver a full-day track on how to develop Qt on a BeagleBoard, which is kind of their lead development, open source board. So what we're going to do is have people come in and they'll have the option to bring their own Beagle or buy a Beagle locally, and we'll take them from bare board nothing there to booting to development to hopefully getting to a point in which they're able to do some sophisticated video application on the Beagle. One of the cool things that we think we're going to be able to do is development self-hosted on the Beagle. The Beagle's obviously running Linux and so one of the things we're trying to do in this period of time is actually showing where we can do development on the Beagle itself. Then people will take away the knowledge and experience on how to do Qt development on this board. That's pretty exciting. I think it's going to be a really great session. I don't know how we're going to be able to get everything into one day; it's going to be lot of work. If you sign up for this, plan on spending a really full day there. I'll be there in a really small booth, feel free to stop by and say hello. So, finally there is some information relative to QML and Symbian?

J: Yes, like I mentioned last week, there was a new QML development mailing list for the Qt Declarative module.

M: That's Qt Quick, right?

J: Yes. Qt Declarative, QML, Qt Quick are all the same product. Basically this was announced pseudo-officially on the mailing list. It was decided that even though the Qt Declarative module was originally a Qt lab that was built and ran against Qt 4.6, that Qt 4.6 is no longer going to be supported for QML development. So going forward, Qt Declarative, or Qt Quick, is only going to be available on Qt 4.7. While that might not sound like a big deal because it's a growing field and it won't really be mature until Qt 4.7 is released, the real problem is going to be Qt on the S60. The S60 guys, whole other group, have decided that they are going to work exclusively on Qt 4.6 until they believe that Qt 4.6 is solid on the S60. Only then will they move on to making Qt 4.7 available for the S60. So for the time being there is going to be no Qt Quick for the Nokia S60 platform.

M: But wait a second, I would have thought that one of the targets for Qt Quick would be something like a phone.

J: Yes, and luckily you have the options of doing things like Meego and Maemo on the N900. But I have to hand it to the S60 developers a little bit, you have to get working with n amount of features before you get working with n plus what comes out in Qt 4.7, which is a lot of functionality.

M: Sometimes it's hard to keep up with the Trolls. When they're on their march and they're pushing things forward, it must be a little bit of a culture shock between the traditional Nokia folks in the Symbian area and the Trolls here.

J: Well I think once the S60 platform catches up in maturity to the likes of the Linux embedded platform, things will move a lot more smoothly but there are going to be a lot of speed bumps from here until next year probably.

M: Okay so guys watch it there if you're planning on using Qt Quick and to run it on Symbian. You might have a little bit of a delay there. I think this has been a good session. Anything we're missing today?

J: No, there's always stuff going on. I'm sure there will always be a few things we missed, but we can talk about those next week.

M: Sure. So again, this is Justin Noel and Mark Hatch signing off. If you have any comments please send them to podcast@ics.com, we'd love to hear from you! Thank you.

J: See you next week.