The responses to my latest blog have been hugely disappointing. I thought about ignoring them but since they might be representative to more than just one individual I decided to address them in a whole new blog entry. In no particular order:

Q: Results show that Cairo is bad and slow, is that true?
A: Of course not. That was never what I wanted to show or ever implied. It's so disappointing to see people being so negative and then putting me in the middle of it all. Let me explain using a simple analogy: when two great soccer teams are playing, lets say Brazil and Italy and Brazil wins 3:0, it doesn't mean that Italy is horrible. It means that Brazil was really good at that particular day, a lot better than Italy. Surely before the next game Italy will be better prepared. Graphics is difficult. Trust me I do it every day. One graphics framework being better at something doesn't imply anything negative about the other. All it says is that the framework that was better at something, is really good at that something. Qt is really good at rendering polygons. _Really_ good.

Q: Those tests don't mean anything for most use cases which is rendering images and rectangles!
A: Right... Of course frameworks that focus on those are not vector graphics frameworks. Writing a vector graphics framework that is not good at rendering polygons is a little silly. One might as well stick to pure raster graphics with images/rectangles and it's going to be a lot easier. I'd love to see KDE move towards dynamic, resolution independent interfaces. For the things we're planning, polygon rendering is representative of exactly what we're doing.

Q: Cairo will catchup and it will be better! It's actively developed.
A: That's great. Of course, it's not like the whole graphics team at Trolltech is being fired because Qt is so good there's nothing to be done anymore. We work on graphics every single day so you have to expect Qt to be getting rapidly better.

Q: You will not repeat the benchmarks when Cairo or something else is faster!
A: Right, because that would imply that I have to update and compile every other framework our there every single day and repeat the tests every single day. There's no way I could physically do that (or even be willing to waste my time like that every day). It's up to the framework developers. If you work on a framework, test it after you make some changes and let me know when something changes. If anything will come even close to Qt I'd love to see it. I'd love to stop having to compare Qt to Qt when I do tests. It'd be great if someone would make my life a little bit more challenging.

Q: Tests have to be unfair!
A: What are you basing this on? You either trust me as an Open Source developer or you don't. And if you don't then don't waste mine and yours time by reading my blog. The code for Cairo benchmark is at http://ktown.kde.org/~zrusin/examples/cairorender.tar.bz2 if you think it's unfair, feel free to send me fixes (and don't be silly by trying to render polygons to a cached surface and then repeatedly composing the surface, like I said the tests measure polygon rendering, not image blitting).

Q: Ha! Qt is not Open Source, Cairo is the standard!
A: Not even mentioning that both of those are wrong, how does that relate at all? I am first and foremost an Open Source developer. Yes, I do prefer to write desktop code in C++ than C which was the basis for me joining KDE in the first place, but that's all. If I'll decide to quit Trolltech at some point and will get an offer from company supporting GNOME, I'll start contributing to GNOME the next day. It's all Free Software, that's what's really important to me. Qt is Free Software, that's why I work on it. I'm an Open Source developer, I just happen to work on KDE. I moved half way across the globe, to a country where I knew I'm going to be hungry all the time, just to be able to work on Free Software full time so please skip my blog if you want to bring something as ignorant as that here.

Q: Give me the code?
A: Why? I gave you the dataset and I told you what to test. If you question my results, go write an application rendering polygons and see for yourself. It's an absolutely trivial operation. If you can't do that then what's the point of you fetching my code? The bottom line is that if you don't believe me already, you won't either way and the whole discussion is moot. The people who cared knew where the code was and if you'll look at the date you'll notice the code was there from before I posted the blog (the link to the code is two paragraphs above).

Q: The test is not representative of anything!
A: Of course it is. What would be the point of me writing a test not representative to anything? Like I said in the second paragraph the test is completely representative to the things we want to do in Plasma. If your application renders SVG's, Flash, fonts as paths, complex shapes or actual vector shapes, the test is fully representative of the results you'll see. But again, it doesn't imply anything negative - so it's not that Cairo will be very slow in those cases, it's that Qt will simply rock them.

Q: But what if something else would be faster than Qt? Would you post results then?
A: Well, I don't exhibit self-destructive behaviour so no, of course not. I'd fix my code to make sure it's faster and then I'd post them. This is how this works. If there's anything, and I do mean anything that Qt is slower at than any other vector graphics framework, be it Microsoft's WPF, Java2D or Cairo we'll fix Qt and make sure it's either faster or at least at the same level. Like I said, I'd love to be able to test Qt against something else, rather than Qt itself. If you can provide me a benchmark that shows Qt slower at anything in comparison to any other vector graphics framework, I'll make sure that it's not the case for long.

Blog Topics: