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Vista gets Cute (Qt)

Qt (pronounced Cute) is perhaps best known as the application development framework behind the open source KDE  Linux desktop.

It's now ready to build applications for the competing GNOME  Linux desktop and is ready for Windows Vista as well.

Qt 4.2 is the latest version of the C++ application development framework from Norway-based Trolltech. Cross platform development has long been the promise of Qt, though achieving cross-linux desktop compatibility has not been an easy chore.

Qt 4.2 provides greater integration with GNOME than previous versions of Qt. The closer integration is the result of The Portland Project effort, which aims to provide better interoperability between the GNOME and KDE desktops.

"Qt-based programs have for some time been able to integrate with GNOME and GTK. It is, for instance, possible to hook Qt programs into the GTK event look already," Eivind Throndsen, developer tools product manager at Trolltech told internetnews.com. "In 4.2 we also added the Portland project desktop integration."

He said the group believes the work is both good for the community and its business that desktop Linux applications work and interoperate well regardless of the underlying tools or desktop in use.

The most visible change that users will notice in Qt 4.2 over previous versions is the new Graphics View module. Throndsen explained that Graphics View developers the ability to use real coordinates, paint using anti-aliasing, to include plain and formatted text items, to use OpenGL for rendering, and the built-in support for printing.

In addition, Graphics View features a more user friendly API  than its predecessor QCanvas technology.

Trolltech is also targeting Windows users with the Qt 4.2 release, but it's not the first time. The 4.0 release of Qt included integration with Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET.

Qt 4.2 is not officially certified by Microsoft. Throndsen explained that Trolltech tests Qt on Vista to ensure native look and feel for Qt-based applications.

"We will be exploring the possibility for Windows logo certification at a later stage," Throndsen said. "Microsoft is very important to us. We are members of the Microsoft Visual Studio Partner program, and regularly exhibit at conferences such as TechEd."

Just because Trolltech is now targeting both GNOME and Microsoft Vista doesn't mean there is any less emphasis for KDE.

"Trolltech is committed to support for its vast existing community of KDE developers," Throndsen added. "Matthias Ettrich, the founder of KDE, has worked at Trolltech since 1998. He is VP of engineering for development tools."

In addition, several regular KDE contributors work for Trolltech, and the company has also recently hired a community manager to strengthen its relationship to KDE and other parts of the Qt user community.

Trolltech isn't done extending Qt to other platforms, Throndsen added.

"Next up is Qt Jambi, which is a prototype technology that extends Qt to Java, so Java developers can use the full Qt API instead of SWING or AWT."