In a thread on borland.public.delphi.non-technical asking for a Kylix survey, Michael Swindell made several posts revealing many interesting and unknown facts about the Kylix project. Here is a summary of the key points he mentions (emphasis is mine!):
- "Much analysis and debate was had over GTK vs QT as the underlying drawing and widget lib because unlike Windows, Linux had/has a fractured UI community and there certainly wasn't a GDI or native controls on Linux, unless you used Wine which we decided to use for porting parts of our IDE, but not for development or end user apps. There are good reasons for going either way, in the end we chose QT because we liked where KDE was going and felt it was closer to the Win32/GDI direction and therefore cleaner to wire up to VCL."
- "From certain standpoints, Kylix did ok - from many external perspectives it would have been considered a blockbuster success, from other perspectives it never came close to living up to its promise or potential. When it launched I think it was selling more in license $ (not in support/services) than any other Linux application, tool, or distro that year. That was the year Borland's stock briefly hit 20+ for while on the Linux boom. I like to think that Kylix generated moderate millions in sales, but a half billion dollars in Borland shareholder value -- albeit briefly."
- "It needed to sell several times as much in order for it's existance to meet the business criteria we were working within... And then to get increased investment it needed to be growing. The other pressure was Delphi, for the most part we had one team so if we were spending a year doing a Kylix release, that was a year that we did very little on Delphi, which was our core business in the RAD group... For Kylix to have continued it needed to perform a lot better than it was, it just wasn't coming close to where it needed to be and we could not afford to starve Delphi."
- "The hybrid Wine ported IDE was also problematic for us. The R&D team did a great job, but it was a technical minefield - it's not exactly your everyday ordinary app, things are going in and out of different processes left and right, debugging, designing, ported stuff, pure native stuff, it was extremely complex and Wine was also not as mature then so we were doing a lot of contributions and working closely with the Wine guys. If we were to start today it's likely it would be built on Eclipse, MonoDevelop, or KDevelop or something else... but probably not on a Delphi Windows IDE port."
- "For the new company we will be bringing all of the Kylix intellectual property with us, so we will certainly take more looks at it as an opportunity. When we first developed Kylix we intended at some point to create a cross-compiling and cross-debugging Kylix plug-in into Delphi - similar to Simon Kissel's CrossKylix (great stuff!). That might be an option someday, but we won't be making any decisions on Kylix until after we're spun off - today the product remains frozen and our focus is on the Windows platform."
- "Regardless of what we do from a product or development perspective we've made some past commitments to the community in around Kylix technologies and open source that never came to fruition and I hope that we're able to make some of the promises finally bear fruit."
- "For Kylix to work in the future, it really would need a different cost structure, and also some strategic adjustments - ie where Kylix shines, is not exactly where the Linux market has grown and done best. Anyhow, as our own company we'll certainly creatively evaluate and reevaluate the opportunities for Kylix development. Many of us in DTG worked on it and were very proud of the product and technology."
What should I add? Not much. Some of this is really interesting info, and it you read the entire thread you'll also find an analysis of the money the product should make in comparison with the R&D costs to be successfull. The only element I want to underline is that when Borland announced the Kylix Community Project I volunteered to be part of it. Nothing came out of it, but I'm still here, still using Kylix, and certainly interested in helping DevCo with its Kylix plans. Just give me a ring!