[webkit-dev] [Fwd: Fwd: Re: Moving forward with WebKit/GTK+]

Pierre-Luc Beaudoin pierre-luc.beaudoin at collabora.co.uk
Mon Nov 3 03:15:32 PST 2008

Forwarded from Vincent Untz, since he's not registered on the ML ;)


Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2008 05:56:46 +0100
From: Vincent Untz <vuntz at gnome.org>
To: Gustavo Noronha Silva <gns at gnome.org>
Cc: webkit-dev at lists.webkit.org
Subject: Re: Moving forward with WebKit/GTK+


(please keep me cc'ed on replies, since I'm not subscribed to

Le mardi 28 octobre 2008, à 17:04 -0200, Gustavo Noronha Silva a écrit :
> * DISCLAIMER: I am not speaking for the GNOME project, nor for its
> release team (though I'm CC'ing Vincent Untz so that he is aware of this
> discussion), nor for the Epiphany developers. I speak only for myself.

I'll try to add some perspective from the GNOME point of view (don't
take this as the "official GNOME position" or whatever, though ;-)).

A lot of hackers in the GNOME community are quite excited about WebKit
and would like to use it -- we already have some GNOME modules using
WebKit only, either in a branch or even in trunk. And there are plans to
use WebKit here and there (eg, in evolution, to get rid of gtkhtml). So,
good stuff.

As some of you might know, WebKit/GTK+ was proposed as a dependency for
GNOME 2.24 (released last September). It did not make it, mainly because
the status of the accessibility support was unclear, but also because
epiphany was not ready and we'd like to avoid depending on both gecko
and webkit. I guess we'll try to see if this is doable for GNOME 2.26
(due in March, but the decision for webkit will be taken in January, if
not before).

As far as I can tell, there are two important issues right now around

 + many patches waiting for review. Gustavo probably gave a good
   overview of this issue, and I can't add much on this.

 + lack of releases. We need regular releases for GNOME, so it's easy
   for people to get something to test (because it gets packaged, eg).
   It's also important because we don't want to depend on something
   which is in svn -- we only depend on actual releases.

The lack of releases partly explains the difficulty we had for
accessibility testing: the a11y team wanted to test webkit/gtk a11y but
many people had troubles to get something to test, since they had to
build many things (keep in mind that many people in the a11y team are
not coders, so this is not a trivial task for them).

The current issues, and the fact that, from the outside, the development
seemed stalled for quite some time, makes me worried about GNOME
depending on WebKit/GTK+. IMHO, what GNOME would need to adopt
WebKit/GTK+ for 2.26 is the following:

 + an happy epiphany team. This means having epiphany with webkit
   working well, with no regression (or at least, no major regression).

 + an happy a11y team. This means that a11y in
   yelp/devhelp/epiphany/etc. has been tested and the support is
   considered good enough. I can't stress this item enough: this is a
   real blocker for GNOME. I'm sure the a11y team will be happy to help
   if it's easy to test and if the issues they report are acknowledged.

 + some active development. We don't like to depend on something that is
   not well-maintained. I'm not saying it's the case, but I wouldn't
   blindly recommend WebKit/GTK+ right now either ;-)

Keep in mind that we'll take a decision in early January, so it'd be
nice to have things working as soon as possible.

I'm only an outsider to the WebKit project, but I wonder if it would
make sense to have less strict rules, or a branch with less strict rules
for WebKit/GTK+ -- since WebKit/GTK+ is a bit young and needs some work,
it might make sense to be more permissive so that development can occur
at a faster pace. I could totally be wrong, though :-)
(maybe having more reviewers, as already suggested, is enough)

Hope this helps,


Les gens heureux ne sont pas pressés.

----- End forwarded message -----

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