[Development] Future of QBS

Christian Gagneraud chgans at gmail.com
Tue Oct 17 09:21:27 CEST 2017

On 17/10/2017 7:52 pm, "Jake Petroules" <Jake.Petroules at qt.io> wrote:

> On Oct 16, 2017, at 3:34 PM, jeandet <alexis.jeandet at member.fsf.org>
> I have the feeling that a Qt build system will always force the users
> to choose between another tool they know but where the Qt support might
> not be the best and a Qt focused tool with a good Qt support but they
> will have to deal with external libs and might suffer corner cases.

Indeed, which is why Qbs aims to solve both of those problems. Excellent Qt
support and excellent non-Qt support. Choose both.

> As Qt user I started with qmake, I enjoyed writing projects with qmake
> then I switched to CMake to make easier usage of non Qt libs and
> config. Finally I switched to Meson and won't go back to CMake. I'm not
> sure I would switch to Qbs unless it gets less Qt focused.

You should watch my World Summit talk when it's available on YouTube. :)

One of the key points I talked about and which is very important is that
Qbs is NOT Qt-focused. Is it meant to be a completely generic build tool
which just happens to ship with out-of-the-box Qt support. I've been
working on Qbs for 5 years and have made close to 1000 changes, and for all
of those 5 years I actually haven't worked on the Qt support very much at

Well, from a qbs user POV, Qt is still a privileged component (not talking
about qbs own build dependency here). And "qbs-setup-qt" is the curlprint.

I don't see why this is needed (in an ideal world). This is actually a
qmake backdoor into qbs. Or call it a high coupling hotspot if you wish.
Can qbs be used to build a qt dependent project without a qt profile? I
don't think so.

Qt should be detected the same way as any other user's project dependency
(probe link and include specifics), instead qmake is used as a proxy.

In that respect cmake (or any other build system) got it right, qbs got it

On Linux, qt should be detected using qbs probe and package-config, period.

I never liked qbs profile, they are awkward to manage in CI.

Once you have a toolchain and a Qt profile everything is cool, but if you
start from a virgin install (eg. generic docker image), things look bad. I
guess this is a distro integration problem. But "distro" is Linux specific.
Mac and windows are far beyond.


> I still miss the point of making a dedicated build system instead of
> contributing to more general build systems like Meson or even CMake.

Qbs is just as general as both of those, and in my opinion, even more so.
Please, try it out - you may be surprised!
Jake Petroules - jake.petroules at qt.io
The Qt Company - Silicon Valley
Qbs build tool evangelist - qbs.io

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