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O'Reilly Motif Books On-Line and Free

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the paperless-office-of-the-future dept.

Programming 21

MightyMicro writes "According to the Motifdeveloper community site, the O'Reilly Motif Programming Manual and Reference Guide are now available for free download from Imperial Software's site. As Open Motif is also free for Linux (and xBSD), this looks like a valuable resource."

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21 comments

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Who'd wanna pay for them? (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 12 years ago | (#2950828)

Information wants to be stolen, right? Fist Sport! (Pending the 2 min time-out, naturally!)

Why people don't use Motif (3, Insightful)

Adrian Voinea (216087) | more than 12 years ago | (#2950840)

A lot of people are very hesitant to install a whole set of libraries to run only one application -- almost no matter how good the app is -- when there are 'good enough' alternatives for the standard libs they already have.

Do you feel that NEdit has suffered from not using more popular libraries, and does it matter to you?

One thing that Motif was getting right... (3, Informative)

Adrian Voinea (216087) | more than 12 years ago | (#2950963)

One more thing...
Last time I used Motif (about 2 years ago, on Irix) was that it had a working and fairly powerful drag and drop. Granted, they changed the API right in the middle of things, which sucked, but I could (and did) write an application where any user could drag "film rolls" (an object in our system) onto the desktop, and then drag them from the desktop into other programs that knew something about "film rolls" and that program could process the film roll. Programs that didn't know anything about film roll object just got the file name where the film roll was stored, but applications that knew about film rolls got all sorts of other characteristics of the film roll in the drop message without opening the file.

I haven't figured out how to do similar dragging and dropping on the desktop or between applications with KDE or Gnome. I'm pretty sure it's there, but it doesn't seem as integrated as it did on Irix.

Re:Why people don't use Motif (2, Interesting)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 12 years ago | (#2951896)

A lot of people are very hesitant to install a whole set of libraries to run only one application -- almost no matter how good the app is -- when there are 'good enough' alternatives for the standard libs they already have.

The main reason that Mosaic was the first mega successful Web browser was that it was the first to use a GUI toolkit that did not look like crap. It was not actually the first Motif browser but it was the first with Motif look and feel. The other browsers looked like science projects.

Ten years later it is quite possible that Motif's time has come and gone. The Motif look is somewhat dated and the OSF licensing model is certainly dated. Unless it was released as open source sometime I didn't notice you still have to pay for Motif which pretty much rules it out in the Linux world. I don't think that the chances of survival for the non-open source Unix world are very good these days.

What puzzles me is that these toolkits still need a rack of twenty manuals each of which is six inches thick. Its only a goddam menu system!

Re:Why people don't use Motif (2, Informative)

iainf (158986) | more than 12 years ago | (#2952123)

Unless it was released as open source sometime I didn't notice you still have to pay for Motif which pretty much rules it out in the Linux world.

You must have been asleep! It's available for free, but under conditions, and RMS doesn't like the licence...

http://www.opengroup.org/openmotif/license/
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/motif.html

Re:Why people don't use Motif (1)

al_d (472085) | more than 12 years ago | (#2952770)

The original article is talking about the Motif X Window Toolkit, not the early Web Browser...

Re:Why people don't use Motif (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2954319)

Huh? New here?

A valuable resource for whom? (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 12 years ago | (#2950881)

From my experience, Motif is ANCIENT technology. A Motif-based desktop is essentially the same as a Windows Desktop fixed at 16-color 640x480 resolution, with fonts and buttons pushed up to the highest size possible. Oh yeah, and no proportional sized fonts.

Admittedly, the work of Sawfish, Windowmaker, et al, has seen a dramatic improvement in the look and stability of the Linux desktop. But look at the flamewars between the two major desktop environments...

KDE: Look, we've brought Linux kicking and screaming into the 1990s!

Gnome: We don't like it because you were first. Here's OUR version. And it's under a free license.

KDE: Well, the license doesn't matter as we'd sooner have a working, stable product at the end of the day.

Gnome: Look, we've got a kewl reflection effect going on at the bottom of the screen.

KDE: That's nice. We've been working on a usable 'component' based environment for future application development.

Gnome: But you're still not FREE. BEG FOR FORGIVENESS.

KDE: Qt have just changed their licensing policy. Looks like we ARE free now.

Gnome: LA LA LA! I'm not listening! LA LA LA!

KDE: And now all our parts support Anti-Aliasing natively.

Gnome: LA LA LA! Oh no, we can't get OUR Component scheme to work.

KDE: Borrow ours if you want. We can work together to make things compatible.

Gnome: NO. You're not really free.

KDE: Very well then, we'll just make the most of our superior desktop share.

Gnome: Not Free! Not Free! Oh, Hello Mister Gates. .NET really IS a good idea, isn't it?

KDE: Not that it really bothers us, but haven't you changed your license to a non-"free" derivative now?

Gnome: NOT LISTENING! WE'RE THE BEST!!! We have support from Microsoft now. Free software sux0rs!

Re:A valuable resource for whom? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2951403)

From my experience, Motif is ANCIENT technology. A Motif-based desktop is essentially the same as a Windows Desktop fixed at 16-color 640x480 resolution, with fonts and buttons pushed up to the highest size possible. Oh yeah, and no proportional sized fonts.

None of that is actually true though. Is there an anything in particular you think KDE does better than Motif?

Re:A valuable resource for whom? (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 12 years ago | (#2952472)

Is there anything you think Motif does better than Xaw?

Re:A valuable resource for whom? (3, Informative)

elflord (9269) | more than 12 years ago | (#2955063)

The other comment is obviously false, maybe the other poster is thinking of Solaris workstations that have very primitive graphics hardware.

However, there's no comparison between Motif and. KDE has a distributed object model, a solid foundation (Qt), and a rich set of widgets, including everything Qt provides (including collection classes, network support, and XML support), and KDEs add-ons. Because it's usable in OO languages, extending and adding widgets is a piece of cake.

Cheers,

Re:A valuable resource for whom? (2, Interesting)

cboscari (220346) | more than 12 years ago | (#2955931)

Here is a link that I thought was interesting, written by the guy who updated the 6b volume on what he thinks the adavantages over QT and GTK are.
http://unix.oreilly.com/news/motif_0400.html

I think his point about legacy code and the fact the Motif is on every UNIX is dead on. You may not like Motif, but odds are your employer might.

Re:A valuable resource for whom? (2)

elflord (9269) | more than 12 years ago | (#2965647)

Here is a link that I thought was interesting, written by the guy who updated the 6b volume on what he thinks the adavantages over QT and GTK are. http://unix.oreilly.com/news/motif_0400.html

That was an interesting article. I'm sure Motif won't die any time soon, because there is a lot of code out there that uses it. But tradition will only keep it alive for so long, and for new projects, it's likely to get dumped. Also, some of the comments about Qt are just dead wrong. Qt is not just used to write "software for programmers", in fact the KDE and QT APIs are designed to make it easy to write user friendly software. Qt is actually used for in-house Windows development, and that's how TT make some of their money. His "no documenation" comment is completely wrong. Every class and every method in Qt is documented, and there are also several tutorials and books. And there have been for years. I can see Motif championing legacy applications, but for new projects, Qt is a much more appealing product.

On internationalization, Qt supports Unicode, and GTK is more recently catching up on this.

Truth must be told. (1, Informative)

sinserve (455889) | more than 12 years ago | (#2953110)

Motif is poor!

I know this might sound like a troll, but you can't
expect a sane developer to ship a GUI on time, with
nothing but list boxes, dialogs, text fields, menues and labels.

Some might say that is all you will ever need, or that
you can assemble any other widgets from those basic
ones as needed, but why bother do that when other
toolkits give me property sheets, combo boxes, tabbed views, rich toolbars (dragable, detachable, with animated bitmaps, and even with support for other control embedding.)
rich text support, and entire grids for spread sheet
and database applications. Document/View architectures (aka. MVC)
and rich OO class hierchies.

Guys, the days of hand coding everything are over.
MFC gives me all I need on Win32, and Qt on Unix;
someone else might appreciate Motif, but thank you
very much, not me.

This offcourse goes against the longs standing
trend of clapping for everything new. As always,
O'Reilly gets my respect (I knew about the books
for two months, and I was one of the first volunteers to convert them to PDF from the troff
sources.)

I forgot to add. (1)

sinserve (455889) | more than 12 years ago | (#2953124)

the original texts are here http://www.oreilly.com/openbook/
along with other goodies.

Does anyone like Motif? (2)

MrBlack (104657) | more than 12 years ago | (#2953187)

Whenever I feel like a good laugh, or reading the work of particularly gifted flamers I fire up /. an do a search for Motif....does ANYONE like it?

Re:Does anyone like Motif? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2956861)

There is a sound editing app that I use. It can be built with GTK or Motif. The GTK version is unstable and prone to crashing. The Motif version is rock solid. Who knows why this is? Anyhow, I installed the Motif libs only for this one application since it is so solid under Motif. I tried Lesstif too. It was not as reliable as Motif for this particular application.

There is a lot to be said for mature technology.

Re:Does anyone like Motif? (1)

cboscari (220346) | more than 12 years ago | (#2957661)

To be fair, this could be that the programmer knew Motif better than the GTK. Motif has been around a while, and many programmers have more experience with it.

Re:Does anyone like Motif? (2)

Arandir (19206) | more than 12 years ago | (#2964813)

I'm an experienced Qt programmer, but I am giving serious thought into switching to Motif. Why? Because Qt is becoming a huge bloated monster. Compare the sizes of qt-1.0, qt-2.0 and qt-3.0. The trend is unmistakable. I'd switch to GTK+, but it's not that far behind Qt in the bloat race. There are other suitable toolkits, but only Motif is any sort of standard.

Legacy Applications (1, Insightful)

morbid (4258) | more than 12 years ago | (#2956109)

There must be hundreds or thousands of legacy applications out there built to use Motif. Having a reference like this will be invaluable for those poor souls who have to maintain those pieces of code. Just because it's old and there are many more modern alternatives available doesn't automatically make it irrelevant.

Motif? (4, Interesting)

DGolden (17848) | more than 12 years ago | (#2958387)

Not that I like motif in particular , but one thing that it gets right and that Qt and Gtk suck at is using the X Window System to its full advantage.

Motif apps, like netscape 4.x, tend to support established X mechanisms for things - like the X resource database (a very good generalised application preferences database, somewhat akin to the windows registry, but less sucky and more human-readable) - they tend to support the editres protocol, they generally integrate better with the X window system Xt infrastructure. Qt and Gtk go off and implement their own half-assed preferences systems and ignore the solid work that exists in X (presumably because Qt and to some extent Gtk are intended to work well on non-X platforms)

It's almost as if the toolkit authors went off and started implementing their toolkits without bothering to study how X had already solved 3/4 of their problems...

If you still have ns 4.x or other motif applications around, fire it up, fire up editres, and have a play around - the end-user dynamic configuation abilities are more still more advanced than either Qt or Gtk, and the only other toolkit that I can think of that is comparably easily end-user configurable at runtime is amiga MUI (and xaw, but that starts out looking quite crappy.)
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