When I’m working on, or re-working, the KDE4 ports for (Open)Solaris, that leaves me without a desktop on the machine doing the re-compilation. While we as a team have a nice crunchy amd64 box and a good SPARC builder as well (since monday!) some things end up happening locally anyway. When I say “without a desktop” I mean “without a KDE4 desktop”, since there’s always CDE or twm or GNOME. It’s like dwarf bread, that way.

At the end of the evening yesterday I had KDEbase-workspace compiled and was launching into the next four KDE SVN modules. For a lark I decided to run Plasma inside my GNOME session. On CDE this gets me a managed window but I was astounded that Plasma behaved flawlessly within a GNOME session. It also made my session 27% prettier (based on exit polls) in one go. So you can have a folderview in GNOME just fine; I think if I hack away the toolbox and introduce a kind of flat wallpaper it could fit right in.

But my technological surprise didn’t end there: clicking on “Leave” on the Plasma window (in amongst things like “Lock widgets”) actually got me the GNOME logout window, which is what’s expected by the end user, but not by me. I expected just Plasma to exit. So score one for shared technology and being a good integrated citizen. For x86 OpenSolaris, then, it’s “Plasma everywhere”. The specfiles are available through instructions on TechBase; I haven’t figured out how to best publish binary packages yes (issues not least of which is that I need to make sure there’s no GPLv3-only mixing with GPLv2-only).

With my Plasma victory secure, I wanted to look more closely at what the kerfuffle was all about with Qt Creator; I’ve become very attached to NetBeans in some areas of development (non-KDE) because it’s a much better tool than konsole + vi in some contexts. Use the right tool for the job. I wanted to avoid comment on the process surrounding the release of that product. What I wanted to do was try out Qt creator and get a feel for what it is technically, compared to my konsole + (kate vi) workflow.

At this point I hit the problem that forces me to comment on the process, because I’ve got Qt everywhere (on Solaris and on FreeBSD) but the binary-only release makes it impossible for me to try it at all. I wouldn’t expect my stock Xandros Eee PC to make much of an IDE, either, so exit good intentions. I think it was Derek K. who commented “call me back when there is source” or, for that matter, when there is a means to get the source even in a non-public manner. I’ll be pragmatic that way, since I’ve written enough code in my time that I wanted to release, but needed some comment on the product first to find out if it was worth investing the time to clean up the code so that it wouldn’t be an embarrassment (think profanity count and ASCII-art sheep). For now, though, I’ll focus my C++ IDE energies on KDevelop (does it even work with KDE 4.1?) so I can later compare it with Sun Studio 12 IDE.