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The future of Razor and LXDE-Qt

Jerome Leclanche Jul 20, 2013 4:54 PM
Posted in group: Razor-qt
Akademy is now over.
It has been an incredible experience and I cannot express how friendly and fun the KDE community is. Everyone has been extremely welcoming and a lot of people absolutely love what the lightweight DEs are doing.
While I was there, we were offered a spot under the KDE umbrella as a KDE member (which is different from becoming a KDE project, it does not add any dependencies on any kde library or project). Further details on that are in a separate email posted recently to the mailing list, I encourage everyone to have a look at it.
I truly hope more people will join me at Akademy 2014; I'm really looking forward to it and will be staying for the entire week. Several photo albums are available on the Akademy wiki, here to convince everyone to come!

I had the chance to talk a lot about Razor there. It has been clear the project has been in need of restructuring for a while now. We've had long periods with no commits at all. The 0.6.0 release has fallen behind and development overall has slowed down greatly. Some people are calling Razor "complete" but, while I agree it can be sufficient for a lot of use cases, it still is in need of a lot of polishing and improvements.
One of the root causes is the lack of actual manpower. We lost several of our core committers due to personal reasons. Everyone here is a volunteer and that comes with the uncertainty on whether we'll still have developers around the next day.
On the other hand, the LXDE team has made tremendous progress in their Qt port. This is excellent news for LXDE, for the Qt community and especially for us because the LXDE project has always shared our philosophy. We both strive for small footprint, limited dependencies and modularity.

So what happens now?
Our two teams have met up and discussed the issues and we have decided that the best course of action for both projects is to focus on a single desktop environment, instead of two.
There have been talks of "merging" ever since LXDE-Qt was announced. Having taken the decision to collaborate, we've all had the pleasure of working together already.
Our plan is to cherry-pick the best parts of Razor and LXDE and include or port those to LXDE-Qt. Other components will be ported straight from GTK code or rewritten from scratch. In the end, we want to offer the best possible experience while reusing as much code as possible. It will not be an easy process and as always, we welcome anyone who wishes to help, be it with development, translations, or general feedback.

In the LXDE codebase, PCMan is overseeing the development of LXDE-Qt which will see a 0.1 release with several razor components already available. The GTK2 port will still be maintained by Andrej and will remain available for as long as possible. The plan is to keep the two branches in sync; as long as GTK2 is still widely in use, the GTK branch will be fully supported and receive further improvements and bugfixes.

Whether LXDE itself will become a KDE member is yet to be determined. Their infrastructure is very attractive and we all wish to make use of it, but in the middle of all these events we have decided to keep the decision for later and involve as much of the community as possible in it.

As for Razor-qt, we will release a final 0.6.0 package for those who are happy with the desktop as it is. We are starting the release process now and it will include several additional improvements from the Razor/LXDE fusion. After the release, there are no further plans to maintain the Razor-qt tree on its own. We will all be working on the LXDE-Qt repositories and we are looking forward to everyone joining forces and working on LXDE-Qt.

I am joined by everyone in hoping this move will bring our two communities closer, as we are all very excited to work together on a single high quality, lightweight Qt desktop environment.

J. Leclanche