Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Feb 2009 14:07 UTC
Editorial Late last week we ran a story on how the Google Chrome team had decided to use Gtk+ as the graphical toolkit for the Linux version of the Chrome web browser. It was a story that caused some serious debate on a variety of aspects, but in this short editorial, I want to focus on one aspect that came forward: the longing for consistency. Several people in the thread stated they were happy with Google's choice for purely selfish reasons: they use only Gtk+ applications on their GNOME desktops. Several people chimed in to say that Qt integrates nicely in a Gtk+ environment. While that may be true from a graphical point of view, that really isn't my problem with mixing toolkits. The issue goes a lot deeper than that.
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We're Stuck With It
by segedunum on Mon 16th Feb 2009 15:25 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

I've never understood this 'use one toolkit and we will have brilliant consistency' argument, and it is one that seems to be deeply rooted in the psyche of people who advocate GTK+ as the one 'standard' toolkit as if it's somehow a given that merits no explanation. A cursory glance through Gnome's 'control panel' shows applets that use instant apply and a close button and some that use a two button OK/Cancel method. There are GTK+ applications like this littered all over the place that simply don't have a consistent, inherited core infrastructure to them. If you show that to a Windows developer he's just going to laugh at you in disbelief. Consistency. What a laugh.

I've never been able to fathom what on Earth these arguments are based on, other than a hope that the limitations of GTK+ can be painted over and everything else will sort of, 'go away'. It's been going on for years and shows no signs of ending, despite the fact that Windows and Mac developers are not flocking to write applications for the platform and Windows and Mac users see nothing of consequence to make them move over, despite the hype.

The simple fact of the matter is that if you have lots applications written for your platform, which is actually what you want, then you get divergence in look, feel and developer technology that use 'native' look and feel to varying degrees. Even Mac OS has had this problem. The notion that we're somehow going to be able to wave a magic wand and solve it in the open source platform world by mandating a 'by fiat' standard toolkit that can't even help application developers out is a contagious, mental disease that seems to pervade an awful lot of people.

This attitude of some people trying to have some 'pure' one toolkit system will only leave you with fewer and fewer quality applications with the functionality that Windows and Mac users demand, now and in the future. Developers, developers, developers developers, applications, applications, applications, applications. That's what you need if you want a desktop that actually does anything. It's your funeral.

Religious attachment to one toolkit == no applications and no functionality. Take your pick.

"However, that's not a valid argument, and it's totally irrelevant to this discussion. I find this problem just as annoying on Windows as I do on Linux, but at least Linux gives me the ability to stick to one toolkit and have a consistent desktop - whether that be Qt or Gtk+. Windows being a mess in this regard does not negate my problem."

Hmmmmm. Which platform there has all the applications people tend to want to use Thom? :-) How many Windows users do you think really care?

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