Sven posted his thoughs on the difficulties supporting Krita on Windows. I’d like to dig in a bit deeper here. The first question is, is it worth it?
Well, the highly experimental Calligra installer has been downloaded about 15.000 times. That’s a lot of downloads! Judging from the ratio of referrals from krita.org and calligra.org, Krita is probably the reason for two-thirds of those downloads.
So, apparently there is a demand for Krita on Windows that makes people download it even though we’re extremely explict about its extremely experimental status!
We also know that there are bugs specific to Windows, like the slow move tool, a bug with duplicated layers being broken and so on. We know that the top toolbar looks ugly and that there are other issues where being non-native really is apparent.
Another thing I know is that developing on Windows really is no fun. As the Tomahawk Windows dude says:
We do need developers on Windows too, but no-one in a sane state of mind wants to develop there.. 😉
So what Krita needs is to find a volunteer who completely and utterly disagrees with that quote… Someone who loves Windows, cares about the look and feel of an application on Windows, and who simply loves developing on Windows. If you’re that person, contact me!
The other option would, of course, be to find the money to pay someone to work on Windows.
But we’re not talking 1000 euro/month here — we’re out of the student summer job territory! At a conservative estimate, we’d need between five and seven times as much: 5000-7000 euros of regular income to hire a full-time developer. So we’re out of donations territory, out of Summer of Code territory. It’s a big job, which needs to be done well.
If there are 15.000 downloads of an experimental version of Krita in about three months — maybe there is a market. Maybe we could package Krita, put it in an app store like Intel’s app-up, on Amazon, sell it directly, go with a pay-what-you-like model like Ardour. Whatever — and use the proceeds pay a full-time developer to work on the Windows version of Krita. It’ll, indirectly and directly, also benefit Krita on its main platform.
I’m seriously investigating all the options here, including finding some kick-start funding.
(Note: Krita is GPL, but that doesn’t stop us from charging money for a binary, even though we can’t stop anyone from copying the binary around or reselling it — and I don’t even want to do that. Free software is Free software. Being GPL, proprietary extras and improvements are also out of the question. And that’s the way I like it.)
Oh, and as a side-node: next to the highly experimental Calligra 2.4 installer that includes Krita next to the other apps, there’s also an extremely experimental Krita-only installer that packages Krita fresh from git master. Just to help me figure out how to do it. Get yours while it’s fresh at KO GmbH’s download page.