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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Just to be a devil's advocate, you'll find the a good many of them are no longer in active use by developers (outside purely for backwards compatibility). In reference to WPF, its debatable whether one could/should consider it a toolkit/widget kit given the different scope of its original intention.

That being said, what is needed in the *NIX world is a standardised HIG for both KDE and GNOME can subscribe to - and if they means that the GNOME HIG becomes the 'HIG to rule them all' then I say go ahead and make it so. The value proposition of whether a KDE or a GNOME application is good isn't on the basis of how weird and different the application is. The value position is derived from how well the application is designed, how easy the tool it is when it comes to allowing the programmer to achieve a given task and ultimately how good the programmer is at turning his vision into a reality.

We've already seen this fixation in the Windows world of people focusing on how their application looks rather than how their applications work. How many have seen an application they used to love using only to find it has turned to crud because some developer thought it was neat to focus all their energy on buggering up the interface with skinning and gunk rather than improving the usability of the application and the speed of the underlying code.

I've gone off on a tangent already but I'm sure most here can see the situation which the software would has arrived in. When there are protests against standardisation - you know it has nothing to do with choice and everything to do with a noisy wheel annoyed that their butchering an application will no longer be considered as a valid reason for pushing an upgrade onto its users - be it open or closed source.

Edited 2009-02-16 21:20 UTC

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