Moving Towards KDE: Apple Opens WebKit for External Developers

Dec 11, 2007

Apple developer Maciej Stachowiak has announced a new policy for developers of the HTML rendering library Webkit. It will close the gap between Apple developers and external programmers.

The policy will give KDE community members and external developers access to the Webkit CVS. Webkit is a free HTML rendering engine which is maintained by Apple, and is based on the KDE project’s KHTML rendering engine. Apart from in Apple’s Safari browser and on the iPhone, the Webkit, which is available under the LGPL and in part under the BSD license, is used in various projects. Trolltech’s decision to integrate Webkit with QT prompted the KDE community to add new KHTML features to Webkit with a view of possibly porting Webkit.

The port is controversial because the KDE community needs some influence on the development of Webkit to achieve its aims. The KDE team has some doubts about the use of Webkit instead of KHTML, as Webkit depends on Apple’s commercial interests. Apple’ new policies removes these doubts and demonstrates Apple’s willingness to allow external developers to participate in the engine in future.

KDE developer Aaron Seigo welcomes the new policy in his blog, saying that this is a step in the right direction and that the KDE team encourage Apple and anyone with a business interest in Webkit to choose a strategy of trust.

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