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GNOME GUI Software Linux

Shuttleworth Sees Possibility For a QT-based GNOME 296

An anonymous reader writes " has an extensive interview with Ubuntu-founder Mark Shuttleworth, in which he seems to be pushing for a switch to QT in the GNOME-project: 'I think it would be perfectly possible to deliver the values of GNOME on top of QT.' He goes on to talk about Apple as an 'innovation leader' and problems with Hardy Heron."
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Shuttleworth Sees Possibility For a QT-based GNOME

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  • by Daimanta ( 1140543 ) on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:46AM (#24180411) Journal

    Shuttleworth sees possibility in cats and dogs living together.

    • by MonsterTrimble ( 1205334 ) <monstertrimble AT hotmail DOT com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:05AM (#24180649)

      QT and Gnome living together

      Mass Hysteria!

    • RFTA (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:07AM (#24180679)
      Seriously. This is going to be one of the biggest misquoted articles of the year because some Slashdot nobody editor decided to take Shuttleworth's words out of question's context.

      He quite clearly says that it is possible to deliver GNOME's qualities on Qt. He didn't say that he wants to do it. He didn't say he was going to do it. He even pointed out a problem in doing it (GPL vs LGPL).

      Of course, it would also be possible to deliver GNOME's qualities on Enlightenment or Tcl/Tk if you could find enough hackers to do it. There's nothing unique about GNOME's qualities that only GNOME could do it. They simply picked a different path, and it happens to be one that works incredibly well for Ubuntu. So well that they can share schedules with GNOME, that they can build a base for ISVs on GNOME, and on and on.

      So please, PLEASE read the fine article before jumping to conclusions from the terrible Slashdot header.
      • by Tim C ( 15259 )

        This is going to be one of the biggest misquoted articles of the year because some Slashdot nobody editor decided to take Shuttleworth's words out of question's context.

        To be fair to Taco, the bit in quotes is written by the submitter, at least in theory. Assuming he didn't edit it, that misquoting is down to "an anonymous reader".

        • Re:RFTA (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Toby_Tyke ( 797359 ) on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:21AM (#24180855) Journal
          Assuming he didn't edit it

          Isn't that supposed to be, y'know, his job?
          • Re:RFTA (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Evanisincontrol ( 830057 ) on Monday July 14, 2008 @11:15AM (#24181665)

            Assuming he didn't edit it Isn't that supposed to be, y'know, his job?

            Yes and no. His job as an editor of a user-submitted news site is to make sure that stories come out presentable and factually accurate. It is not necessarily the editor's job to edit submissions in a way that changes the information they convey.

            In fact, I'm rather glad that he left it alone. Not because I agree with the submission -- I think it was taken out of context as well. However, I'm glad to know that Taco doesn't just spin every submission he gets in a way that makes the news comes out the way he wants it to. It would be so easy to just re-word a couple things here and there, and suddenly the story is in his favorite shade of blue.

            Again, Slashdot is a user-submitted news site. Not satisfied with the quality of the news? Submit a better story yourself.

            • by NaCh0 ( 6124 )

              That is the great thing about having a popular site. Often times the same story is submitted by multiple readers. The "editors" don't need to spin the article. They just pick the version that most closely represents the overlord bias. There is no better example than the slashdot Politics section.

              • Re:Spin (Score:5, Interesting)

                by jandrese ( 485 ) <> on Monday July 14, 2008 @05:06PM (#24187367) Homepage Journal
                In a politics section you'll have people decrying your outright and blatent bias no matter what you do or how little bias you actually have. That's the way politics sections work, you decry their obvious bias in an effort to bias them.

                As for which articles the Slashdot editors choose, it seems to be the ones designed to generate the most comment traffic. They may not be completely factual, but if they say something outrageous (Gnome is going to Qt!) then they're in. This is the same principle that most 24 hour news sites operate on, if it will draw viewers, put it on the air.
            • Well said, my Commander.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Mark Trade ( 172948 )

        RTFA yourself. Because he also says that he would like to see standardization in infrastructure and he sees exciting the FSF over this issue as a challenge. This reads to me very similiar to "yes, I'd like to do that and I have already spent some time thinking it over but it will be difficult."

        Whether we'll be able to have the FSF excited about something, have GNOME excited about something, have Nokia excited about something which makes life better for developers - that's gonna be the interesting challenge for me. I'd like to see both desktops focusing on a common infrastructure.

        • Re:RFTA (Score:5, Informative)

          by mhall119 ( 1035984 ) on Monday July 14, 2008 @11:00AM (#24181429) Homepage Journal

          It read more of a "Gnome does not have to be GTK only", more than "Lets move Gnome over to QT". He also specifically mentioned things like HAL and D-Bus as examples of "common infrastructure", so he's not just talking about the UI toolkit.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Because he also says that he would like to see standardization in infrastructure

          There's this association called "FreeDesktop.Org", I wonder if you've ever heard about them? They've been working for years and years now trying to bring all Linux desktop environments to the same table, instead of reimplementing 100 proprietary components and somehow trying to mash them together. We've already seen enormous successes come out of the project, D-Bus being one of the biggest of them.

          He'd also be a moron not t
      • He even pointed out a problem in doing it (GPL vs LGPL).

        It is nice to have a choice in licenses. You have one framework / desktop environment in LGPL, and one in GPL. But I don't see why commercial companies don't embrace KDE.
        The company needs to make a decision of framework for their application. Chances are that their application will run just fine under either KDE or Gnome whether it is written in Qt or GTK+. Their "solution" that they're selling can contain an unmodified KDE install or Gnome install...doesn't matter.

  • by paroneayea ( 642895 ) on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:48AM (#24180435) Homepage
    That's a pretty misleading summary. Actual quote: So you would favor GNOME to switch over to QT?

    Shuttleworth: Well, I think it would be perfectly possible to deliver the values of GNOME on top of QT. There are licensing issues, GNOME is very much built on the LGPL, allowing companies to build their own products on a free software system, giving them some freedom and flexibility in their choice of licensing. That's very frankly been a huge drive for the adoption of GNOME by corporate ISVs.

    He says in this article that GNOME was chosen for how easy to use it is. He's saying that the widget set doesn't dictate that, so the same thing could be done with QT, not that GNOME should be rewritten with QT.

    • by zootm ( 850416 ) on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:51AM (#24180471)
      Yeah, I thought that conclusion seemed suspect too. "It's possible" is different from advocating it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > Yeah, I thought that conclusion seemed suspect too. "It's possible" is different from advocating it.

        That must be why the headline reads 'Shuttleworth Sees Possibility' instead of 'Shuttleworth Advocates'

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by zootm ( 850416 )

          Issue isn't with headline, it's with the summary:

          ...he seems to be pushing for a switch to QT in the GNOME-project...

          I realise misleading summaries are far from rare on Slashdot, but still.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by jabjoe ( 1042100 )
        Oh the amount of times I've regretted admitting something is possible to a user........they never hear anything after that about how it's not a good idea etc etc. I'm sure the software is littered with some foolish developer (like me) saying something is possible and not getting to finish the sentence before it's been committed to! ;-)
    • A misleading slashdot summary?

      I'm shocked, shocked I tell you.
    • He says in this article that GNOME was chosen for how easy to use it is. He's saying that the widget set doesn't dictate that

      In my experience, that doesn't necessarily seem to be true.

      The UI Paradigms used in various applications seem to be very much a function of their underlying toolkits.

      Windows apps have traditionally been heavily toolbar-driven, and allow for extensive keyboard navigation. Contextual menus are also used quite often (although less so these days). Many of the UI paradigms left-over from the pre-multitasking days are still around, as many apps (eg. Photoshop) still use nestled windows, and users are encouraged

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:50AM (#24180459)

    I thought it was called KDE 4.0.

    • I take it that you don't like GNOME? (For the record, I am a long time KDE user, and I am kicking myself for not sticking with KDE 3 a bit longer).
      • by Woy ( 606550 )

        Kick yourself back to KDE 3.x like i did. Good thing Free software gives us such choices.

  • While I personally think it would be great if we saw the current wasteful duplication of effort come to an end (flame away) I can't see it happening any time soon. There are too many stuborn people in both camps to go for something like this.

    • Wasteful duplication of effort, is also healthy competition.

      Remember the Cold War? The Russians avoided duplication of effort through central planning, the west duplicated effort massively through having competition within economies.

      Yes, different operating system also provide competition, but the competition between desktop environments is more immediate. I am a KDE user, but I try Gnome or XFCE every so often, and would switch is one was better. That is not true of Windows or MacOS which I have not se

    • by Yfrwlf ( 998822 ) on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:07AM (#24180681)
      I'm sure both are very capable libraries. All I want to see is wxWidgets [] being used for all GUI frontends so that they have a native feel whether you're in Gnome, KDE, Elightenment, XFCE, OS X, Windows, etc. That is, as soon as wxWidgets has KDE support.
    • by niiler ( 716140 )

      I'll be all for that when the auto manufacturers stop all their wasteful duplication of effort and give us some fuel efficient cars that can be correctly serviced anywhere. Heck, why stop there? Let's just have one model of printer that does everything that everyone needs.

      The reason that this hasn't happened yet is because each distro, GUI toolkit, etc. has its own purpose and audience both in user space and developer space. Forget the freedom jargon, it just gets into to preferences and needs. Some peop

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vancorps ( 746090 )

        I think you're right but this is quite a problem. I recently made the switch from Windows to Ubuntu on my laptop. I still run Windows inside a VM but that's just for my management tools which are Windows only.

        In these days you don't know which distro is right for you, they all provide much the same functionality and all have little differences. I tried the major distros, KDE, Gnome, and landed on Ubuntu with Gnome because everyone was ranting and raving about it and I thought it was worth a closer look.


  • eh? (Score:4, Informative)

    by jabjoe ( 1042100 ) on Monday July 14, 2008 @09:52AM (#24180493)
    Wouldn't that get rid of the original point of GNOME? []
  • And I admire his asbestos underpants taking on this one. A few years ago after the effort to port mozilla from motif to qt in a single day there were a few other efforts where things were ported from the gimp toolkit to qt. However it was not widely announced in the interest of not making waves - mostly due to the C vs C++ arguments more than the widget set.
  • KDE on GTK? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trevelyan ( 535381 ) on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:27AM (#24180949)
    I don't mean to sound like a troll. It just I am one of those odd people that prefers to use KDE (over GNOME), and likes to write GUI apps using GTK.

    So while I dislike using GNOME, mainly for its lack of configurability and the how it makes me feel, I do really like KDE. Similarly I'm not keen on QT, but I do like GTK.

    So why not have KDE on GTK? As a bonus KDE apps would obey the LANG var, instead of QT out-of-band language selection. (which makes running more then one language, simultaneously, difficult)
  • Qt nitpicking (Score:5, Informative)

    by cronius ( 813431 ) on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:34AM (#24181061)

    For those that don't know: It's Qt, not QT. It's not an acronym, it's pronounced "cute."

    One of the guys from trolltech once told me that when they created the library(-ies) they needed a prefix for all the functions. The letter 'Q' was chosen as it was the most appealing / best looking letter in emacs at the time (which was the head developers favourite editor).

    Thus Qt became the name.

  • Misleading headline aside, this is the sort of thing that makes me mostly ignore Ubuntu:

    And that we don't say if GTK +3 is released it will be API/ABI-stable forever, cause it won't be perfect. So we might need to say: Lets GTK+ 3 iterate for a year or two and then make the API/ABI-commitment and drop the commitment on GTK+ 2.

    A year or two of unstable interfaces is not going to win over developers or users. Thankfully the GTK+ developers actually understand the value of stable interfaces and have managed t

  • GTK (Score:3, Interesting)

    by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Monday July 14, 2008 @10:51AM (#24181323)

    Actually, one of GTK's biggest strength's lies in the fact that it is programmed in plain old C. Because
    of this it is much easier to integrate with other languages that cannot handle C++ name munging. I cannot
    see any significant value of doing such a conversion or fork.

  • by pxc ( 938367 )

    The widget toolkits (QT & GTK+) aren't the only toolkits/libraries involved in creating KDE and Gnome applications. There are libraries used for accessing files across a network (SMB shares, NFS shares, HTTP, FTP, etc.), handling sound (ARTS and eventually Phonon for KDE, GStreamer/PulseAudio on Gnome)*, etc. While completely unifying Gnome and KDE would be stupid, and IMO, counterproductive, seeing a merge between the underlying technologies would be great. It would save third-party developers the time

  • Geez... the gtk+ toolkit, and the other assorted infrastructure libraries, are some of the main strengths of gnome. Even if the gnome project as a whole is kind of wacky, it's got some technically pretty solid underpinnings.

    Remove those, and what's left, besides the comical leadership?

  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Monday July 14, 2008 @12:27PM (#24182645) Homepage Journal

    Shuttleworth says: "And you can't run an old Windows application on a recent Windows version."

    There are some applications, particularly ones that are pushing the limits of what you can do on a PC, that can't run on the most recent versions of Windows, but in general that's not true. I've got programs that I've carried around for decades that still work as far as I've been willing to take Windows.

    Mind you, Vista might be an exception, but Microsoft has... up to Vista... bent over backwards to ludicrous levels to maintain backwards compatibility. The phrase "the exception that proves the rule" is a cliche, but this is a perfect example of an exception that DOES prove the rule... there's an enormous push-back against Vista simply because it's perceived as being incompatible. It's NOT a model to follow.

    • by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <> on Monday July 14, 2008 @02:10PM (#24184261) Journal

      Windows back compatibility? How far back do you want to go?

      Wrong - try MS Bookshelf 92. Most of the "technologies" touted for that time period are now broken. Even when implemented by Microsoft. I wonder if "MS Bob" works (I doubt it). Most other shell extensions of that era no longer work.

      So we know the window of compatibility is less than 16 years.

      Maybe the "era of compatibility" extends back to Windows 95... I don't know (and, really, don't care much). Windows users probably have a much better idea than I do.

      Just sayin'

      • How far back do you want to go?

        I can run MS-DOS software from the '80s on Windows XP SP2. I can run some Windows software from 1992, and I can run just about any well behaved application (which rules out things like shell extensions) from 10-15 years ago.

        So we know the window of compatibility is less than 16 years.

        What's the window of compatibility for binary executables on Linux? Even if they only depend on glibc, and don't pull in any GUI libraries, is it as long as 10 years? When was the last time they broke glibc? If you want to run a 10 year old GUI binary on a recent Linux, would you even know where to find all the back-rev lib*.so files it needs?

        For FreeBSD installing compat3x should take you back to 1998, but I don't know if compat3x (let alone compat22) is still usable on FreeBSD 7.

        I don't even think the "window of compatibility" for Mac OS is as long as 15 years.

        16 years of binary compatibility is pretty damn good, for a desktop OS. Servers, now, you can probably still run VMS 2.0 binaries from 1980, but that's a whole different world.

  • I Second That (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Udigs ( 1072138 )
    You want to solve the linux fragmentation problem? Well, uniting the two dominant desktops is a great place to start. I've been around a long time so I understand that historic reasons for there being two toolkits. Quite simply, "in the beginning," there *was* no clear winner between Qt and Gtk. They were both immature and unproven.

    But, as Bobby sez, things have changed.

    Gnome moving to Qt is one of the best ideas I've heard in YEARS! Qt is commercial, better documented, and was DESIGNED to work ever

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.