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Many new Qt releases

Published on Monday March 03, 2008 by Thiago Macieira in Qt KDE | Comments

The former Release Manager here at Trolltech told me that the former former Release Manager had a saying:

The release is not out until you blog about it

So I'm doing a 3-in-1 blog!

Qt 4.3

A week and a half ago, we released Qt 4.3.4, containing some bug fixes to issues reported to us since 4.3.3 was released. It seems old news now (even though it's only my last blog entry), but Qt 4.3.4 is also the first Qt 4 release under the GPL version 3. The snapshots were already under that license, but now system integrators and Linux distributions can upgrade their packages to an officially released version.

Qt 4.4

Then, one week ago, we released the long-awaited first beta for Qt 4.4, containing a lot of new features, like WebKit, Phonon & backends, network access, Qt Concurrent, Widgets on the Canvas, improved printing support, Patternist, Aliens, a new help system and a lot more that Trolltech developers have been blogging about. This release is so big that we could have split it in two or three and we'd still have enough to go around -- note how there are 17 links to blogs about different features in the previous sentence alone! (We're still writing the change log file for the release) It's also very daring: who could have imagined a full web engine built in the toolkit a year ago? And just like Qt 4.3.4, the 4.4.0 beta 1 Open Source edition is licensed under the GPL versions 2 and 3.

The beta 1 also marks the first new platform for Qt in many years: Qt/Embedded for Windows CE. It's now the fifth platform that Qt supports, after X11, Windows, Mac and Embedded Linux (QWS). It's the result of a year and a half of work done mostly by the Trolltech Berlin office, trying to adapt our existing Windows code to a deceptively similar platform. If you have tried to develop for WinCE, you'll have noticed that the APIs that are available in the Microsoft products are full of subtle differences and not-so-subtle omissions. Well, Qt brings you a unified, cross-platform API, across the board.

Qt 4.5... (not quite)

Talking about new platforms and deceptively similar platforms brings me to the Mac. Apple has not been afraid of changing their platform under you. The 10.5 (Leopard) release of MacOS X is full of those changes, including some that may break existing Qt applications. Qt 4.3.3 introduced initial support for Leopard and that was improved with 4.3.4, with a fix for OpenGL because Apple changed the typedef of a type.

And today we announced the first alpha of the Qt/Mac Cocoa port (hmm... can I call it the sixth platform?). It comes to emphasise our commitment to the desktop PCs, to our customers and providing them with an upgrade path to newer systems. (For those of you not following the Mac news, Apple decided to halt development of the 64-bit version of the base libraries that Qt depends on, called Carbon; so we had to rewrite a good portion of our code using the Cocoa libraries) As any other alpha, this release is expected to be full of bugs and missing functionality. Trenton has posted a list of what's known to work and what isn't in his blog. As soon as possible, we'll make snapshots of the Mac Cocoa tree public so users can follow what's going on. More news on snapshots at a later date.

Conclusion

So, that's it: in the space of a week and a half, we have released three Qt versions, in three different minor series: 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5. And that's not it: we're scheduling a 4.3.5 and possibly a 4.3.6 release some time in the future, for those clients who cannot or will not upgrade to 4.4.0 when it's out. And since no more betas for 4.4 are planned, the next release will be the first Release Candidate sometime in the next 3-5 weeks. (In fact, I wrote a rough initial timeline for a year and a half worth of releases. And no, I cannot share that document, since it's pure speculation at this point)

I'd like to thank everyone involved in making those releases possible: the development team (the Windows CE and Mac Cocoa teams in particular), the support engineers, the Product Management team and all of our users and clients. Yeah, without the input and feedback from you, we wouldn't have come up with the releases.

I couldn't finish this blog without mentioning Nokia: while the planning of the integration is proceeding in several fronts, we continue to work. And quite hard. I hope three releases in a week in a half shows how committed we are to what we do. And we will continue to do what we do best: provide you with the best toolkit you can find. For all platforms: "Code once, deploy everywhere" (I think I have to pitch this slogan to Marketing...)

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