With the announcement back in January of Qt going LGPL there was a small piece of information that slipped though the cracks of the wider news reporting, namely the fact that we were planing on opening up our repositories and development model. The first major phase of this work is now complete, and we are proud to present the results:
Launching a public repository is a big milestone for us in Qt Software, as it allows us to work closer with contributors, strengthens the the link to the community, and gives that warm and fuzzy feeling of working with open source. Granted, our releases have been open source, but our development model has not. Although you could always send us patches by mail or through our bug tracker it was a cumbersome process, requiring a faxed copy of a copyright-assignment form from the contributor, as well as a lot of manual labor on our part.
Our goal with the new site is to make this process as simple and welcoming as possible, and that’s why we will no longer ask for copyright assignment. Instead we ask contributors to grant Qt Software a non-exclusive right to re-use and incorporate the code as a part of Qt, handled by a one-time online click-through the first time you submit code for inclusion in Qt.
Maintaining your patches to Qt and working in parallel with our development is also very easy thanks to the features of Git and Gitorious. Just clone the official Qt repository, push you changes to your newly created clone, and submit a merge request for our reviewers. Everything happens on the site. (For more information on how to contribute see the Qt project wiki).
Choosing Gitorious as the basis for our public repository hosting was the result of both chance and strategy. As previously blogged about we switched to Git for our development almost a year ago, and as part of the move we installed Gitorious on one of our servers to manage our many projects and repositories. We soon started hacking on the code to add various features and tweaks, and quickly fell in love with the codebase. Fast forward a couple of months to the LGPL and public repository planning, we started playing with the idea of using Gitorious for hosting the public site too. At that point we realized that the author and maintainer of Gitorious, Johan Sørensen, was actually living in Oslo, so we invited him to our offices for a chat. One thing lead to another, and we ended up funding Johan and one of his colleagues to work on Gitorious for the past four months. The new Gitorious site is the result of that work. All of our changes have been pushed upstream, and we will continue to invest in further development of the site.
So what are the features of the new site? Johan has already enumerated these in full on his blog, but a few highlights are in order:
- Team support (easier to manage committers and project ownership)
- Asynchronous task processing (no more lag when pushing)
- Visual tweaks (including breadcrumbs and pretty URLs)
We are also looking at improving the whole review process, for example by adding line-based commenting to merge requests, bug-tracker integration, and automated testing of contributions, but these are ideas still in research. Stay tuned for updates on this.
So, what are you waiting for? Create an account on Gitorious, start cloning, and join the exciting development of Qt! 🙂