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Harsh Words From Google On Linux Development

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the constructive-criticism dept.

Google 948

jeevesbond writes "The alpha version of Google Chrome is now available for GNU/Linux. Google Chrome developer and former Firefox lead Ben Goodger has some problems with the platform though. His complaints range from the lack of a standardised UI toolkit, inconsistencies across applications, the lack of a unified and comprehensive HIG, to GTK not being a very compelling toolkit. With Adobe getting twitchy about the glibc fork and previously describing the various audio systems as welcome to the jungle, is it time to concentrate on consolidation and standardisation in GNU/Linux in general, and the desktop in particular?"

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Um.... (0, Flamebait)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151057)

Seriously Google how hard can it be? Just use GTK, its light, useful and even a weekend coder can use it.

Re:Um.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151073)

Linux has GUI toolkits.....loads of them!

Re:Um.... (5, Insightful)

amfantasy (1150435) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151089)

GTK isn't as nice as everyone makes it out to be. Basically what everyone has been doing is talking red hat, and suse and making their product work on that. You can't "standardize" Linux because the 7 or so distro can't agree.

Re:Um.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151197)

Geordi LaForge [wikipedia.org] was horrfied to discover that he was a nigger after he ditched his VISOR for ocular implants.

Re:Um.... (3, Interesting)

Bloater (12932) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151371)

and I don't understand what's wrong with that.

It's like saying "There are so many different operating systems for so many different types of hardware that the computer market is too fragmented - so we won't produce any software"

It's silly. If you want those users then you make the software, if you don't then you don't. simple.

BTW, I'm in the throws of switching to Vista after being an Ubuntu user for many years. They don't like my bugs but Microsoft actually seems to care.

Re:Um.... (2, Interesting)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151419)

Riiiight, an Ubuntu user who's written many articles for the Windows-only .NET platform.

Silly Astroturfer.

Re:Um.... (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151507)

Try openSUSE and the latest KDE before jumping over to Vista.

Re:Um.... (4, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151521)

So let me ask you this, if Chrome treated each Linux distribution as an OS, would you be happy when Chrome was ported to Ubuntu and not Fedora or SUSE?

Personally I think the whole situation is fubar. There should be three distributions, different-enough to be treated as independent OSes: GNOME, KDE, "Other/Build Your Own".

No, nobody gives a shit what the kernel is-- the OS is the UI, and the UI is the OS. (Think about it: if Apple ported OS X to run on the NT Kernel, would it still be OS X or would it magically turn into Windows?)

Re:Um.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151541)

Being an "Ubuntu user" doesn't make you a GNU user, it makes you a Windows user temporarily using something different either because you thought it would make you cool or because you got mad at your beloved Microsoft and threw a hissy fit.

Re:Um.... (2, Funny)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151387)

GTK isn't as nice as everyone makes it out to be. Basically what everyone has been doing is talking red hat, and suse and making their product work on that. You can't "standardize" Linux because the 700 or so distros can't agree.

Fixed that for you.

RTFA, they did (4, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151097)

After extensive discussion, the Chromium developers decided to build the Linux port with GTK+, the toolkit that is used by the popular GNOME desktop environment

They argue, and I would not say that they are wrong, that GTK+ even so does not give the necessary functionality to allow all the Chrome features.

Re:Um.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151139)

problem is GTK is garbage

Re:Um.... (1)

Santana (103744) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151157)

Because GTK+ comes with a HIG included... not.

I guess the guy that used to be the lead developer of Firefox may know better than you and me.

Anyways, by reading the article you'd have known they are using GTK+. That doesn't make the drawbacks disappear though.

Re:Um.... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151307)

GNOME has an HIG. What they meant by wanting an HIG they meant they want one flexible enough that Chrome on Linux could look just like Chrome on Windows, which is not going to happen unless they use Microsoft's HIG...

Re:Um.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151389)

Speaking of Desktop Environments (not just toolkits), yes, and KDE does too. And probably that's the point. Having more than one HIG is just slightly better than having none.

Re:Um.... (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151373)

Because GTK+ comes with a HIG included... not.

GNOME, on the other hand, does have an HIG [gnome.org] .

Re:Um.... (5, Interesting)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151403)

Meh, does Chrome even follow Microsoft HIG? The tabs being almost part of the title bar, and the lack of an actual window title in the title bar, as well as the random Google logo next to the buttons, all seem to be completely contrary to what I expect on Windows. As do the Vista style buttons even on XP, but then Microsoft did that too with Windows Media Player in some version.

Re:Um.... (3, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151431)

Gnome certainly has a HIG - http://library.gnome.org/devel/hig-book/stable [gnome.org] , and Gnome is built using GTK+. In fact, both the Gnome HIG and the GTK+ toolkit are subprojects of the Gnome project.

I guess the guy that used to be the lead developer of Firefox may know better than you and me.

Perhaps the problem is that the lead developer of Firefox ignored that HIG in making Firefox. From Wikipedia: "Mozilla Firefox's user interface, for example, goes against the GNOME project's HIG, which is one of the main arguments for including Epiphany instead of Firefox in the GNOME distribution." No doubt there were reasons for the choice taken in Firefox development, but the consequences include a lot of bloat and reinvented square wheels.

Re:Um.... (4, Insightful)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151263)

Yeah, that and the lack of a "unified and comprehensive HIG" seems a little dishonest for a company that created a windows browser that looks NOTHING like any other piece of windows software, follows its own interface methods, and generally throws off the look and feel of the browsing experince. While i'm aware that a HIG should cover more than just the look and feel, it feels like google bends the rules when it comes to interface guidelines.

Re:Um.... (2, Insightful)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151303)

IMO QT is much better but who cares, its not like if they used the "wrong one" nobody would have been able to use it, qt comes with a gtk theme and qt-gtk-engine (or some such app), im typing this from firefox (gtk) on kde4 (qt). webkit already works well with both, so its just the "chrome" of chrome that needs to be tied to a specific one anyway.

Re:Um.... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151385)

Meh, everything is a trade-off. Qt is way easier than Gtk and has a huge API for doing all sorts of cross-platform stuff. Plus it's truly cross-platform whereas Gtk is pretty crappy on anything other that systems running X Windows.

The trade-off is that Qt is C++ and Gtk is C. This actually matters a lot when you need to interface to other C-only applications and libraries or whatever. C++-to-C is easy but using it the other way around is problematic and annoying. Then you have the issue of how clean the code is in each language (depends on your point of view as to which is better).

There also used to be the issue of Qt forcing the GPL down your throat but that is no longer an issue because both Gtk and Qt use LGPL.

Personally I have been using Qt for everything recently. Since the switch to LGPL it's the obvious choice even though I'm a C purist at heart. I hate the fact that it's so big though. Since it's LGPL you can't statically link only the stuff you use so your application installs tend to be larger than they really should be...

Trade-offs... Everything... So annoying, makes it hard to develop truly high quality software.

Re:Um.... (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151511)

Who cares? We have the app sphere and we have the desktop environment. Of course one program, one toolkit. But honestly, no one cares beyond. that is an invention of the GTK toolkit nazis. Use Oxygen Icons on Gnome and it looks as convenient as KDE.

there is something else. Desktop environments have to concentrate on the Unix philosophie, do one thing and do it right and make sure components can talk to each other. Currently we find the approach e.g. with LXDE. And with LXDE I can then launch all the applications I want and I don't care what toolkit is used. Or does the Windows user care that VLC uses QT etc? The Desktop enviroment is just for the desktop, no one needs integration clutter.

Re:Um.... (1)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151559)

Meh, everything is a trade-off. Qt is way easier than Gtk and has a huge API for doing all sorts of cross-platform stuff. Plus it's truly cross-platform whereas Gtk is pretty crappy on anything other that systems running X Windows.

The trade-off is that Qt is C++ and Gtk is C.

Well, considering that Chrome is based on freaking fork of KHTML (Webkit), both of which are written in --- you guessed it --- C++, interfacing to C++ is hardly an issue. Chrome is most likely written in C++ --- or at least, this is indicated by Wikipedia. A more likely reason was that when Google started on their (closed-sourced?) browser, Qt was still only available for money or GPL, and they preferred the cheaper GTK option.

Right (5, Insightful)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151065)

'...is it time to concentrate on consolidation and standardisation in GNU/Linux in general, and the desktop in particular?'

Good luck.

Choice (5, Insightful)

edivad (1186799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151079)

Choice, many times becomes really fast synonym of fragmentation and lack of standard. And this is just a bright example. The situation described is 100% conforming to reality, as far as UI kits and sound infrastructure.

Re:Choice (5, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151231)

Choice, many times becomes really fast synonym of fragmentation and lack of standard. And this is just a bright example. The situation described is 100% conforming to reality, as far as UI kits and sound infrastructure.

Sounds like the strength is also its weakness.

The criticism made is a fair one, and it is only when there are vocal and influential enough developers do people actually stop to pay attention. I am sure there will be many Linux developers who will go on the defensive, but until you are the number one choice for the desktop it is worth listening to what the critics say. Even when you are number on the desktop you should still listen to the critics if you want to stay there. Just look at Windows as an example.

Re:Choice (2, Insightful)

Santana (103744) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151325)

PC vendors are missing a gold opportunity here. They could adopt a GNU/Linux distribution and make it attractive to the masses, just like Apple did with Nextstep. That would really challenge Microsoft and Apple, but require a dedicated software development department, something that many of them don't know how to do or don't want to take the risk at.

Even though it's disappointing, It's not unexpected. They only know how to brand a PC and sell it.

Re:Choice (3, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151411)

PC vendors are missing a gold opportunity here. They could adopt a GNU/Linux distribution and make it attractive to the masses,

And that benefits them... how?

Yes, you're correct, they *could* do that. (If you're just looking for confirmation.) But why would they? What's the business case for it?

Re:Choice (1)

Santana (103744) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151519)

You've hit the problem: they don't see a benefit. But because they're short-sighted or risk aversed.

PC vendors would love to have Mac OS X on their PCs, and take Microsoft's foot off their neck. Apple won't allow that anytime soon.

What else can they do to differentiate their products and be able to compete by quality and not just price?

Re:Choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151449)

cause they dont already do this?
http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/linux_3x?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs

Re:Choice (1)

dhavleak (912889) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151459)

It's not that they're missing an opportunity -- it's just that this opportunity doesn't necessarily mean anything for them.

They're just in the business of selling computers. They'll put whatever OS they can, subject to the OS cost / customer support costs / customer demand equation falls in their favor. See netbooks as an example of that. PC vendors couldn't care less about FOSS/closed source/Windows/Linux etc. -- they just want to ship PCs and whatever works wherever will be what they go with.

Are there any downsides to choice in this case? (3, Insightful)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151335)

Here is the great thing about having dozens of GUI toolkits, multiple libc, and several audio APIs. You only have to choose 1! Every time somebody complains about the "mess" of GUI toolkits, it just comes off as senseless whining. Where are the downsides? There are only 2 major ones, and if you don't have experience in either, just pick one.

The only downside I can think of is that end-users need several GUI toolkits installed, for their multiple programs that use different toolkits, but a) Linux still has a better features/size ratio than any other major OS, and b) Windows and Mac have the same problem (SDL, GTK+, etc, and the dlls have to be included with the binary downloads because Windows/Mac don't have an easy to use package manager).

Re:Are there any downsides to choice in this case? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151525)

Correction, there are THREE major GUI toolkits for Linux. Qt, GTK and Wxwidgets.

Re:Choice (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151401)

What if it was standardised and GTK was all there was and it didn't do the job? They'd be pretty fucked. They have multiple tools to choose from and pick the best one for the job.

If they want to standardise then pick the best distro for their market and build it for that. Being that it's open source other can mod it to work on their distro if required.

Yes (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151081)

Well it was a few years ago. Hope ubuntu has enough weight it can set standards.

Re:Yes (3, Insightful)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151277)

I think Ubuntu implicitly has set the standard. Ubuntu comes standard with GNOME, GNOME uses GTK, GTK is therefore the de facto standard.

The more relevant complaint seems to be that GTK isn't good enough. I agree that Ubuntu and GNOME could do a lot to improve it.

Kubuntu (1)

Santana (103744) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151443)

Let's not forget about Kubuntu. I have just tried it and looks impressive. I already have around 100 Ubuntu PCs deployed at work. I'm seriously thinking of Kubuntu as a replacement.

Re:Kubuntu (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151473)

Kubuntu is the forgotten stepchild. I'd recommend avoiding it, just because half the damned time it doesn't work.

Re:Yes (4, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151551)

Except GTK is so poor that you have Gnome devs calling for a major restructuring, and Mark Shuttleworth of Cannonical/Ubuntu fame calling for Gnome to be built on top of KDE. Ubuntu hitched their wagon to Gnome very early on, and ships broken KDE packages to this day, but I have to wonder if Shuttleworth regrets that decision today.

No Link to Actual Content (1)

joshuapurcell (714520) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151087)

Where's the link to this developer's comments? Would be nice to read all of what he has to say rather than just what you want us to read.

Re:No Link to Actual Content (4, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151119)

I will squirt it up for you: here [google.com] . Alternatively, you could have binged it.

Re:No Link to Actual Content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151183)

Wow, Slashdot really is people_ready today!

Re:No Link to Actual Content (2, Informative)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151143)

Taking two seconds to skim the article you can find this link to the actual discussion board thread [google.com] .

Use Qt.... (4, Insightful)

Rainefan (969597) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151101)

Why not just use Qt instead? It's LGPL....why people still using GTK?

Re:Use Qt.... (4, Interesting)

moonbender (547943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151323)

True! And since it now comes with QGtkStyle, which uses GTK+ engines and widgets to render stuff, you can use it and have a nice looking app at the same time.

Re:Use Qt.... (2, Insightful)

patro (104336) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151465)

I can attest Qt is a very fine GUI toolkit with excellent documentation.

Seems like the "not invented here" syndrome rears its ugly head again, otherwise more people would give it a try instead of Gtk.

I don't see anything wrong (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151127)

with a standardized HIG. After all, graphical interfaces are not exactly the new kid on the block. There are common standards (use radio buttons for this, checkboxes for that, put your menu HERE). And while Linux does not necessarily have to conform to OS X or Windows standards, it could certainly have a standard of its own. This would help developers a lot. In my experience, many developers, while good coders, are not good interface designers. Without a comprehensive guide, they just plain get it wrong.

I don't much give a damn about Adobe being skittish, though. Are they paying Linux core developers?

Re:I don't see anything wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151199)

www.freedesktop.org?

Re:I don't see anything wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151201)

Yes, and those 'standards' suck. The Windows desktop is a painful user experience for me, made tolerable only through the grace of non-standard utilities such as VirtuaWin.
Make the low end - GUI toolkits, audio subsystems, graphic subsystems - coherent and leave the user experience to the users.

To "Anonymous Coward" (3, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151299)

Well, then, make a standard that doesn't suck. That is what I was saying.

What they are talking about (HIG) is only a "guideline" for programmers to follow. You know, for programmers who would otherwise get it wrong (using dropdowns when radio buttons would be more appropriate, using editable textboxes just for displaying information, etc.). It is not supposed to be a concrete "thou shalt do it this way or else" document.

Otherwise, you are not leaving the "user experience up to the users" anyway... you are leaving the user experience to programmers who don't know how to do interfaces.

Re:I don't see anything wrong (1)

Rotonen (1401997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151367)

Make the low end - GUI toolkits, audio subsystems, graphic subsystems - coherent and leave the user experience to the users.

Exactly the thing making people not use open source. The so called "out of the box experience" makes or breaks the product in question for most people. Especially if they are expecting something based on past experience. (Which at least in my universe is most likely to come from Microsoftian solutions.)

How is this even a problem? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151135)

How is that even a problem if there web engine works then make it for several ui toolkits or just pick one. All the work is done it would just be a matter of how its shown. Id rather have something that possibly changes the way its displayed in the future than have nothing and sit around bitching.

Yes! (2, Insightful)

sammydee (930754) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151147)

Yes!

(Seriously, linux needs a standard base to work off. The current mess is completely untenable)

Re:Yes! (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151261)

I don't think it's for the lack of trying, it's kind of like unifying the world governments, in some ways good, and some ways bad. Everyone has their own preferences and agendas, getting them to unify on anything isn't going to work. It hasn't worked well in the commercial UNIX world, and it looks like it's not going to work for the FOSS UNIX world.

Re:Yes! (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151351)

The problem is someone has to lose. Like with the sound systems: you can't "Unite" all sound developers by creating a *new* standard. Now you've just added *yet another* sound system to the pile of crap!

What you instead have to do is pick the best standard, and deprecate all the others.

It reminds me of the W3C trying to fix HTML by creating XHTML. Or the whole RSS1/RSS2/ATOM debacle.

Re:Yes! (3, Insightful)

What Is Dot (792062) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151339)

I agree that there are too many choices, but I believe that's part of the point of open source solutions.

It's partially the responsibility of the application developers to choose the toolkits and platforms that work best for them, not complain about having too many to choose from.

If companies like Google and Adobe got together in a side meeting and came up with a "standard" they found acceptable, it would create a demand for those platforms and make those toolkits/apps the dominant. Too bad this will never happen...

Just write your own widget toolkit :) (1)

Stardate (13547) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151151)

Well, I'm sorta serious... in the original thread, Ben mentions that the Windows APIs are "kinda impoverished" and they wound up doing a lot of work that the higher-level widget toolkits (like GTK+, Qt, MFC or .NET) would do. Maybe they should have just used Xlib/Xt instead and duplicated everything they did for Windows, especially if they want a completely consistent cross-platform look and feel, BUT don't want to be hamstrung by any single UI library's way of doing things.

Re:Just write your own widget toolkit :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151365)

Yup and they'll name it "The Google Toolkit", or GTK for short.

Re:Just write your own widget toolkit :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151475)

Hey, if they manage to make GTK usable, one way or another, I'm down with that!

Re:Just write your own widget toolkit :) (2, Insightful)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151505)

Maybe they should have just used Xlib/Xt instead and duplicated everything they did for Windows

And then you can cue the hardcore bitching from GNOME *and* KDE.

Yes (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151153)

Yes, but I doubt it's going to happen.

Without some sort of standards how would a helpdesk worker even know where the "start button" is on a caller's "Linux Desktop"? Or what it even looks like, or if it's even there?

Remember the helpdesk worker might not be working for the same company as the user. For example: if Mr XYZ goes to a hotel and has problems with "hotel internet", they might be calling the "hotel internet helpdesk". Same for other stuff e.g. bank and financial sites.

BTW Microsoft has created a similar problem for themselves by changing things immensely with Vista (and Office 2007). Lucky for them, they're in a different market position but even they are having problems with market adoption, so go figure.

World of goo anyone? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151205)

This reminds me of something that I read a while ago, when world of goo was released for linux [blogspot.com] , the developers had some trouble as well, but that time the culprit was pulse audio.

There were a few small technical hurdles, but Maks is either a genius, or the port was not much trouble at all! One technical hurdle was with Pulse Audio, which apparently comes standard on major distros like Ubuntu. It introduces quite a bit of audio lag. This would be fine for most applications, but it's not good for games, where the goal is to build an extremely responsive system that feels snappy. We were able to work with it, and get the game feeling right, but it took a bit of effort. I realize I'll get shot for saying this, but in Windows, it just worked right away!
[..]
Also, and I've mentioned this before - Linux is created by too many smart opinionated people! There are a lot of very good ideas, but it can become difficult for developers to support all the different distro formats, bundles, audio/video systems. For linux to REALLY take over, it has to be easy for developers to make stuff, and easy for users to get stuff. It's one of those things where too many options can be suffocating, and ultimately hurt the cause.

Re:World of goo anyone? (1, Offtopic)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151311)

I installed openSUSE 11.1. I played an MP3 file. The CPU was at 30% of utilization, half of it consumed by PulseAudio and half of it by the player (don't recall the player now, though, but I think it used one of those Fluendo codecs to decode the stream). I ditched it, installed MPlayer and it went down to 1.5%. Now what's the point of all that crap?

Re:World of goo anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151489)

Or just shorten it down to "PulseAudio is (was?) crap". It is only now even becoming useable (i.e. major bugs are fixed), it's completely Ubuntu who is to blame for using software that is almost a year from being ready. If you want further proof how completely they messed up: They added a PulseAudio support patch to MPlayer that was rejected by the MPlayer developers and did not even realize that it made the gmplayer Gui hang completly unresponsive when selected. I.e. a patch they can't even tested in the most superficial way (e.g. by just, you know, like, try using the feature).

apple (3, Funny)

rubah (1197475) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151217)

Should've started on the osx version instead!

*impatient*

Re:apple (1)

googlesmith123 (1546733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151267)

Agreed.

Atleast on osx everything is standardized. Let's see....one sdk, one language, only a handful of compatible hardware.

If they really cared they'd be done by now!

Tada (1)

googlesmith123 (1546733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151223)

Maybe that's why there are so few "I can to everything" applications and so many "I can just do this one thing". Especially when it comes to creative work with multi-media.

There's nothing wrong (3, Interesting)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151229)

with having a standard in Linux at all. It doesn't have to be a just about GTK and QT either. They're both widget kits. Great. The standard has to start in the file system. Red Hat, for instance, worries about being backwards compatible with each update, as it should, but that means it broke the FSH to begin with. So migrating from RH to another Linux distro that may follow the FSH is difficult. Also, it makes installing things a pain sometimes. A few times I've had to edit a config file because it points to a web server in /srv/www but in reality my system may use /var/www/ or what have you. Just because open source is about choice, doesn't mean there shouldn't be a standard set.

Re:There's nothing wrong (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151509)

A few times I've had to edit a config file because it points to a web server in /srv/www

That should be handled by the distribution level package system. Where things are is not something apps (on linux) are supposed to assume.

lack of standardised UI toolkit (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151237)

Really?
and I thought Google Chrome was going out of its way to feel as foreign as possible on windows...

Linux needs to stop forking around (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151247)

If Linux wants to have substantial even ubiquitous marketshare it is going to have to mature. This is going to require the majority of backend developers choosing one API/toolkit/etc to add features to, test for bugs and release on a predictable schedule. Yes, Gnome or KDE may whither or die, too bad. If we do not these steps now, Linux will continue receiving ports of projects developed on other platforms and not real development time.

If you build it they will come.

Re:Linux needs to stop forking around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151417)

We need to stop looking at Linux as one thing. Yes, Ubuntu, Slackware, Red Hat, etc share a lot of code, but they are different operating systems. Few would argue that Apple and Microsoft should standardize on one toolkit, but then they say Linux distributions should standardize. I like having the choice between hundreds of operating systems. Don't cut that down to a number I can count on my fingers, please.

Re:Linux needs to stop forking around (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151547)

Its been tried:

UserLinux [lwn.net] , United Linux [wikipedia.org] ....

Yes. (1)

GeekDork (194851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151253)

And drop some legacy systems (X comes to mind) along the way.

Re:Yes. (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151427)

And drop some legacy systems (X comes to mind) along the way.

X is the only GUI* which is pretty much guaranteed to be installed on every Unix and Unix-type system in the modern world. It is to GUIs what ASCII is to text encoding schemes, or what HTML is to markup languages. We're never going to completely get rid of it, and any widely used standard that replaces it is going to have to include it as a subset. You may not like it, but it's relatively simple, its quirks are well understood, and dismissing it as "legacy" isn't going to make it go away.

*Please let's not get into the argument over whether or not X is a "real" GUI because it doesn't include this or that feature of your favorite window manager. It's as silly over the argument over whether MySQL is a "real" DBMS, or Perl / Python / Ruby / scripting language of your choice is a "real" programming language. The answer to all of these is "yes." Now let's move on.

The problem is they are targetting the wrong thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151257)

The real problem is on Windows they are targeting a single operating system, with OSX they are also targeting a single OS, with "Linux" they are targeting a whole range of operating systems, of course there is gonna be a lot of diversity and no "standard". They should be targeting desktop enivironments, not kernels. If Google said we are going to target the GNOME desktop then GTK+ is the obvious choice, same with KDE and QT. Anyway, the chrome core is open source, what does it matter? Choose one toolkit and if people aren't happy they will develop a new UI for their platform.

Linux's greatest strength = greatest weakness (5, Insightful)

CyberK (1191465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151269)

Let's face it, one of the things all Linux evangelists like to emphasise is the opportunity to use whatever you want and even build it yourself if you want to. But it's maddening for developers to create something that will work on every kind of linux desktop in existence. From political choices of free vs. non-free, to preferred distribution, version numbers, favourite window manager and a host of other choices, no two desktops will be the same. Linux isn't an operating system, it's an operating eco-system. Taking Google as an example, today I tried to install Google Earth on my Ubuntu 9.04 laptop to no avail, despite it having installed without a hitch on my Xubuntu 7.04 Pentium III plaything in my room back in my parent's house. The exact same version of the program with dramatic differences depending on where you try it, that quickly becomes a support nightmare.

Now for the dedicated GNOME/KDE/xfce/whatever volunteer this does not pose much of a problem because your target audience has broadly the same machine makeup as you do, but for a commercial developer looking for a good ROI it quickly becomes untenable. Windows and Mac OS provide a devoloper with a guaranteed stable platform development-wise, and as such are much safer bets.

I agree that the only way Linux can make itself more attractive to commercial desktop program developers is with a mighty amount of consolidation, but the problem is that I don't think it will happen. The great OS wars that went before the dominance of Windows had winners and losers because they were systems of a closed nature, and so if you held with a losing team they closed down because it wasn't economically viable and you had to move to something more mainstream, thus consolidating the market. With Linux a project will never close down as long as someone like it more than something else.

Re:Linux's greatest strength = greatest weakness (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151493)

Windows and Mac OS provide a devoloper with a guaranteed stable platform development-wise, and as such are much safer bets.

Pretty much every major release of Windows or of OS X is guaranteed to break someone's application. More stable than Linux? Maybe so. Really, truly stable? Not so much.

Application versus platform programming (1)

pegdhcp (1158827) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151275)

At a certain point of this topic, somebody will mention that application programmers blame OS coders whenever they have a problem even a twelve years old can solve.

On another point nearby somebody else, will mention that an OS is nothing without proper applications.

And somebody else in an attempt to consolidate ideas from both sides will mention that if everybody do their jobs properly that there would be no problem.

Unfortunately somebody will pick from there and people will start compare OS X and Linux. We all know the result of this particular argument...

If it is a bad day some poor M$ programmer/user/whatever will try to tell something, probably irrelevant, about M$ craps sold as OS, and everybody will smash poor guy, even before reading his full post. Strangely, they would be right; even if that post was something interesting to read, M$ OSs suckiness factor is above the strongest Black Holes...

If it is really a bad day we also see BSD kernel mentioned...

Well another day in Slahsdot...

Article by Slashdot completely distorts reality (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151279)

Follow the discussion, and you'll find it's not about complaints at all, at all, at all. Google is trying to figure out the best way to do Chrome for Linux, while making it something that Linux users will actually like, and that means more choices. That's all. No, it's not about needing to standardize, so could someone at Slashdot quit with that FUD? GNU/Linux is about choice, and it always will be.

Ah, too bad (0, Flamebait)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151297)

Linux does not exist for Google's pleasure and ease.

They seem to be taking arrogance lessons from Microsoft.

Probably the result of all those ex-microsofties they hire.

Re:Ah, too bad (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151477)

Linux does not exist for Google's pleasure and ease.

It also doesn't exist for my pleasure and ease. That's probably why I don't use it as my desktop OS.

Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151315)

Or they could have made the SLOWEST browser in java :P

Conversely (1)

Kickasso (210195) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151337)

On Widows XP, Chrome makes an extensive use of the standard Windows XP GUI toolkit and its associated HIG. Yeah, right.

It's open source, google. Fork it. (2, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151341)

I'd like to see a Goo/Linux distro. In my experience as a user of several of their products, google really does a good job with user interfaces. I bet if they put some effort into a google desktop environment, it'd be pretty darn good.

It could be related to Android, or not, whatever makes sense.

Why not Qt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151353)

It seems they didn't design it to be portable in the first place and now it's a bit harder than it should have been.

All their other complaints would have been solved by using Qt (including good-but-not-perfect Gnome integration). Again, their mistake. Nobody uses GTK if they don't have to.

Qt (4, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151391)

Chrome should have been built on top of Qt from day 1. You'd have tight integration with Webkit, a great toolkit, and cross-platform from day 1 on Windows, Mac, Linux and Solaris.

Google opted for VERY Windows-centric design which made porting hard, and then the man tasked with porting to Linux choose a poor toolkit and then blamed the Linux platform for two bad decisions in a row made by Google.

I have zero sympathy.

Re:Qt (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151491)

IMO, while Google is a good company and generally does well with open source. I do find their support for Linux to generally be terrible. You either get stuff running in wine if at all and it never seems to perform as well.

They need to get some good Linux developers in their company.

Unified standards (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151397)

I've been using Kubuntu since December 2006, and it's been my opinion this whole time that the reason Linux isn't catching on is the lack of standards. There are simply too many choices. Granted, choice is good sometimes, but Linux just has too much. It gets confusing. For a new user who doesn't know Linux, simply choosing a distro is overwhelming. That doesn't make Linux very open or friendly to the average person. Not to mention the mess with installing programs. If I want a program that isn't in my repositories, I have to go to the site and hope they have a .deb package that's for my distro, which isn't always the case. At which point I either have to learn how to install from source, attempt to convert an RPM (which isn't always provided, either), or give up and find an alternative.

Every Windows OS has one GUI and one installer/executable format that every Windows program uses. Same with Mac. But Linux gives you at least three GUIs and four or more installer formats, and it's up to you to figure out which one suits you best.

I like Linux. But if it's going to become a serious alternative to Windows or Mac, it needs unified standards. Especially in the desktop environment and package manager. But I just don't see that happening.

and this is different from other platforms... how? (5, Insightful)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151405)

My Mac currently has several apps in three different toolkits open; several apps written by Apple itself don't follow standard UI conventions. The Windows situation is even worse: there are several native toolkits there (Win32, MFC, .NET, ...), plus dozens of third party ones. And UI conventions are violated constantly.

The real problem Windows programmers have with Linux is... that it isn't Windows. They start writing some big, ugly, messy Windows application (hello, Firefox), and then they moan and groan when porting it to Linux and usually do a piss-poor job at it too.

it's why Windows took over in the first place (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151415)

At one point, serious computers ran Unix. PCs were just toys, not useful for doing real work with.

But Unix fragmented. You had AIX, HPUX, and around a dozen other different kinds. They all behaved differently, stored things in different places in the filesystem, had different desktop environments.

Windows came along with a single environment and suddenly *that* was the attractive place to develop software.

Fast forward a few decades, and to a 0th order approximation, all apps are written for Windows, and Unix derivatives are dead on the desktop. Ok, there are a handful of slashdotters using Linux in their basements, but from a desktop perspective it essentially doesn't exist. And the software people need to run for real productivity purposes - Autocad, Photoshop, things like that - are all for Windows.

The only way Linux can hope to succeed is to present a unified environment to developers *and* users. Period. Yes, that means the over-complex KDE will have to die. Yes, that means binary compatibility must stop being broken from OS update to OS update. Yes, that means supporting DRM so that users can play their streaming videos from Netflix.

It's simply the arrogance of Linux developers that have crippled Linux adoption.

I'm sure I'll get modded as a troll, but the fact remains that Windows *owns* the desktop, and normal users are happy with it.

Please (1)

TheMightyFuzzball (1500683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151451)

Just use Qt, it is LGPL and works beautifully.

The wonderful thing about standards (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151471)

Is that there's so many to choose from.

RTFA (4, Informative)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151479)

What is really going on is that they have wrapped a new layout engine ("views") and other tools around the "impoverished" (their words) Windows toolkits. Then, they started depending on their wrapper for features they added to Chrome. Now, when porting to Linux, they are suddenly discovering that, geez, both Gtk+ and Qt already does what "views" is doing, they just do it differently and in a way that doesn't connect well with the rest of Chrome. That's what they are complaining about.

Ben Goodger, here's a hint: pick Gtk+ or Qt as your toolkit, Linux users really don't care that much. And both of them are much better toolkits than what Windows offers. I'm sorry that the completeness of Linux GUI toolkits inconveniences you, but, well, too bad.

Or, if you like, don't port to Linux; we don't really care all that much, since there are several great browsers on Linux already that pretty much do what Chrome does.

RE: GTK (1)

somecanuckchick (708401) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151485)

Should have used Qt instead of GTK for Google Chrome. Just sayin'... :) somecanuckchick

Hum... (1)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151487)

If Google with all it's resources want's to help standardize the FOSS tools then they should invest in making whatever tools they have issues with to make them the best. It seems painfully obvious to me because if any given tool in the FOSS arena works best most distos will use that one.

That will make the big tools of importance to Google, and others, 'standardized' in effect. There still would be obscure distros or people who might use forked and or alternative versions of major parts of the OS but that would be fine too.

first phost (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28151497)

Google OS? (1)

DutchMasterKiller (1003736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151501)

First they create a browser that works with their applications. What's next? An operating system where they can run their browser on?

Chromium != Chrome (2, Informative)

Epsillon (608775) | more than 5 years ago | (#28151545)

They're two very different things. One is the open source PART of the chrome browser, the other is a browser binary, built in part on the Chromium source, that reports usage information back to Google, one subset of this being non-optional. Please don't get these two confused, no matter how much clueless reporting there is on the relationship between the two. The latter is, in my opinion, a privacy leakage too far.
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