[Development] Windows 7 support will be dropped in Qt 6

Edward Welbourne edward.welbourne at qt.io
Tue Jun 16 14:01:37 CEST 2020

Edward Welbourne wrote:
>> So my bad, I said our product would only work on an ancient O/S or
>> two, when it could indeed to made to work on a whole bunch of more
>> modern systems *on which it would be irrelevant* - and thus not worth
>> the significant effort of porting to, because anyone developing apps
>> for those newer systems would look at our feature set and decide to
>> use something that actually makes good use of the shiny new features
>> of the O/S they're targeting.

Kevin Kofler (16 June 2020 12:08)
> What "shiny new features"? All that a real-world application such as
> KWrite really needs from the operating system has been there at least
> since the 1990s, possibly since the 1970s.

and I guess it's been in Qt for several releases now, so why would
someone with those needs care about upgrading to Qt 6 ?

>> In particular, where an old O/S doesn't support some feature present in
>> a newer O/S, a cross-platform toolkit that tries to provide the same
>> features everywhere is left with an uncomfortable choice between
>> kludging together for the old system some kind of emulation of what the
>> new provides, or having a limited feature-set on the old system.  At
>> some point - instead of claiming to be cross-platform but failing to
>> have the full feature-set on a nominally supported platform, while also
>> supporting a mess of kludges to implement, for that platform, features
>> every newer the O/S provides for us - it becomes more sensible (and more
>> honest) to own up to not really supporting that platform any more.

> Often, you will find that modern versions of GNU/Linux distributions
> actually implement the desired feature using a cross-platform Free Software
> library that you can just use to provide the feature on older operating
> systems including proprietary ones (such as Windows 7). At least as long as
> the application developer is not allergic to the LGPL for some reason.
> Of course, it depends on the individual feature, but I would need to know
> what features you are talking about to go into technical details.

I won't pretend to have a full over-view of Qt's feature-set, but I
believe we now make use of modern graphics APIs that produce better
results than the old graphics APIs they replace.  For example.

>> While evaluation of the pros and cons does involve garnering information
>> about how users shall be affected, the means of doing that is not - nor
>> should it be - having the highly self-selecting group of folk who notice
>> the evaluation task "vote" on whether it's worth it or not.  A broader
>> overview of users is required, without the *huge* bias against change
>> that this would entail.

> You are making an implied assumption there that the people opposed to
> breaking changes would be just a vocal minority. There is no evidence to
> support that claim.

No, I am not assuming that: I'm assuming that the folk who watch Jira
and will notice a task proposing to take out Win 7 support are,
statistically, more likely to be opposed to removal of that support than
the typical user, due to a process called "selection bias".  I believe
that's a fairly solid assumption: and it's a strong reason to *not*
interpret the minority who have commented on that issue (whether "vocal"
about it or quietly) as representative of the general user-base of Qt.
I also note that this minority should, of course, be listened to - just
not allowed to dictate policy, as you seem to be demanding.

>> Better for those working on the issue to consult sales and product
>> managers, who routinely talk to a somewhat broad cross-section of users.
>> Not a perfect sample, but statistically less biased than those watching
>> Jira closely enough to notice this task.

> That sample, on the other hand, is inherently and obviously biased against
> the community using the LGPL version of Qt, because that community will
> obviously never talk to your sales and product managers.

As I did note, it's not a perfect sample; but it seems likely that it's
less severely biased, about the question of Win 7 support, than the set
of folk who happened to notice the bug you were trying to hijack as a
popularity contest - which it never set out to be.  There *is* a bias in
the paying customers - they are better provided for by the 5.15 LTS
situation - and I hope those evaluating this decision did also try to
find other constituencies to hear from about it; but they should not
give disproportionate attention (though they should listen) to those who
were watching Jira closely for changes affecting Win 7.

> But I get more and more the impression that getting rid of that
> community is actually in the Qt Company's plans.

Oddly enough, continued support for the Free Software ecosystem around
Qt is one of the things most of us who work here care about deeply, so
we tend to find it fairly thoroughly offensive when someone suggests
we're trying to get rid of it - which, as a matter of legal
practicality, we couldn't do *in any case* even if a hostile take-over
left us owned by corporate overlords hell-bent on doing so, thanks to
our legal arrangements with the KDE Free Qt Foundation.

Our management, in any case, knows full well that the Free Software side
of the Qt ecosystem is vital to the continued viability of this company
and any business model it can realistically hope to make a living off.
If you have heard otherwise, I might remind you of the old saying that a
lie will get around the world before the truth can get its boots on.


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