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Desktop Environment for Proprietary Applications?

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the desktop-deathmatch dept.

Programming 146

nushoin writes "Gnome and KDE are the two major desktop environments used on Linux today. However, Gnome is growing more and more affiliated with Microsoft's proprietary technologies (Mono, OOXML). Targeting the Gnome desktop environment could prove dangerous in the long run, assuming that one would like its applications to run on distributions other than SuSE. On the other hand, TrollTech is being bought by Nokia, whose commitment to the desktop world remains to be proven. Assuming that one would like to develop a desktop application (either free or closed source), which desktop environment would you target, and what widget tool kit would you use?"

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146 comments

FUD (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282020)

Jesus, GNOME != Suse.. GNOME != Miguel.

Re:FUD (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282058)

Are you saying Jesus was a gnome?

Re:FUD (4, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282140)

Jesus, GNOME != Suse.. GNOME != Miguel.

Agreed, this is a ridiculous claim.

Yes, Novell is working on Mono and partnering with Microsoft, while at the same time investing in GNOME. But that doesn't 'taint' GNOME in any way. The core GNOME technologies - GLib, GTK, and so forth - are not written in C# and have nothing to do with Mono. The licensing of those core GNOME technologies is the LGPL, in fact, precisely to ensure that there is no risk in developing for that platform. No one 'owns' it, and no one can 'taint' it. You will be able to run GTK and GNOME anywhere you compile it to run, be it SUSE, other Linux distros, Solaris, or whatever; again, as LGPL, you can do whatever you want with it, if you abide by that license. In particular, you can run any app you want on such a platform, which is the question here. The claim that "Targeting the Gnome desktop environment could prove dangerous in the long run" simply shows a lack of understanding of what GNOME is and how FOSS licensing works.

Regarding Qt, Qt is dual licensed as GPL and proprietary. If you want to run FOSS apps on KDE, you have no problem (at least if your FOSS license agrees with what Nokia will accept, and that includes most of those existing today). But if you want to run proprietary applications on a desktop, Qt is a poor choice. For starters it costs money. Furthermore, Nokia can charge whatever they want for proprietary licenses, and this might change at any point; there are no guarantees. However, if you are willing to take that risk, then Qt/KDE is a nice platform (although the portability, one of its main advantages, seems lost in this particular context, since it appears a single desktop is going to be chosen).

So, if you want to develop a FOSS application, both GNOME and KDE are fine (just make sure with KDE that you agree to the licensing). If, on the other hand, you want to develop a proprietary application for a particular desktop, I would say GNOME is the way to go.

Re:FUD (0, Troll)

ElMiguel (117685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282638)

But if you want to run proprietary applications on a desktop, Qt is a poor choice. For starters it costs money. Furthermore, Nokia can charge whatever they want for proprietary licenses, and this might change at any point; there are no guarantees.

This is quite trollish. Qt is no different in those respects from the other innumerable commercial libraries that are routinely used in proprietary software development. Singling out Qt as a "risk" suggests an axe to grind, and recommending GNOME for proprietary applications confirms it.

Re:FUD (2, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282710)

But if you want to run proprietary applications on a desktop, Qt is a poor choice. For starters it costs money. Furthermore, Nokia can charge whatever they want for proprietary licenses, and this might change at any point; there are no guarantees.

This is quite trollish. Qt is no different in those respects from the other innumerable commercial libraries that are routinely used in proprietary software development. Singling out Qt as a "risk" suggests an axe to grind, and recommending GNOME for proprietary applications confirms it.

Yes, you are right, Qt is no different from other toolkits that cost money for proprietary apps: I would make the same argument against Microsoft tools. If you get hooked on Visual Studio/.Net/etc., then you run the risk of Microsoft raising prices in the future. Exactly the same as proprietary apps on Qt, that is the risk of developing for a platform owned by a corporation.

This risk does not exist if you develop for a platform that is LGPL, you can write apps for it (FOSS or proprietary) without such concerns.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282932)

Which sucks for you, because Qt is GPL unless you WANT a commercial license.

Re:FUD (2, Interesting)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284006)

However, today Microsoft tools cost almost nothing. You can get Visual Studio Express for free and professional version for something like $150. I don't think that this price is going to change in foreseeable future. And you don't need to upgrade it often - I still use VisualStudio 2003 for my C++ development, and a lot of people still use ten years old VS6!

On the other hand, QT costs a lot (I'm not going to pay that much money for a desktop toolkit) and its price IS going up with each release.

GTK produces revolting UIs on Windows and Mac, so it's not good either.

The only other somewhat good cross-platform UI toolkit I know is wxWidgets. It doesn't look like shit on Mac, at least.

Re:FUD (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284196)

Yes, today Microsoft sells its dev tools fairly cheaply. But the danger is that this might change; it is a risk when committing yourself to using their platform (accept it, if you want, but just be aware of it - that is my point).

GTK is improving on Windows and Mac (Mac in particular recently), but yes, it is inferior in its cross-platform capabilities in comparison to Qt. It's great for GNOME, though, and the original question was about a single desktop, not cross-platform development.

Re:FUD (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284628)

Why would Microsoft shoot themselves in the foot? Unlike Trolltech, Microsoft doesn't need VisualStudio development to support itself. And developers are the greatest asset of Microsoft, and Microsoft really understands business. And in the worst case, developers will have 'good enough' tools for about 5-7 years if Microsoft starts charging $100000 per seat for MSVS tomorrow.

So in practice, choosing Microsoft is almost risk-free. It's not the same with QT, nobody knows what is going to happen with them a year from now.

As for single desktop... It doesn't make sense to write _only_ for Linux.

Let professional GUI toolkit developers decide? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284766)

"GTK produces revolting UIs on Windows and Mac, so it's not good either."

Why not use wxWidgets and let professional GUI toolkit developers decide? See the comment below [slashdot.org] .

Re:Let professional GUI toolkit developers decide? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284902)

GTK actually works quite fine on Windows and Mac. Certainly, it can be compiled by newer MS compilers without much problems - I did it myself about 3 years ago with MSVS2003. But GTK just doesn't look as a native application.

wxWidgets is great if you don't need to create custom controls or a very complex GUI. I know, I tried both. And sometimes you need to deal with issues of underlying platform.

QT is much better, but it's commercial.

$700 for the low-end version. $5100 for the full. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284896)

"You can get Visual Studio Express for free and [the] professional version for something like $150."

Visual Studio 2008 Professional Retail-Box Win32 [provantage.com] : $699.84. (They didn't want to be honest and say $700.)

That is a low-end version of Visual Studio 2008 Team Software Developers with MSDN Premium [provantage.com] for "Only" $5096.99. Otherwise known as $5100.

Source: Microsoft's buy page [microsoft.com] .

Re:FUD (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287260)

The price and freedom of the operating environment matters a lot. If I'm playing around with something on the LGPL QT toolkit or GNOME on Linux, I can install it on a dozen machines, swap around hard drives, run from CD, and remotely access as many of the machines concurrently as I would like.

I don't care how good Microsoft's Visual Studio is, you have to pay me quite a bit of money to run it. License management in a multi-server, multi machine Windows development environment is a nightmare.

QT FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282736)

It's more than that. It's outdated. I believe QT went completely GPL awhile back.

Re:QT FUD (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283688)

But a GPL library is not very useful in a proprietary application, so you'll have to get the library under a proprietary licence, which costs money.

Re:QT FUD (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284514)

"But a GPL library is not very useful in a proprietary application, so you'll have to get the library under a proprietary licence, which costs money."

So, in order for you to be able to sell licenses of your program, some library asks for license money in order for you to use it, while it is open/free if you will deliver your program open/free. I call it fair play.

Re:FUD (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282724)

The fact of the matter is, a lot of these MS technologies will probably find their way into Gnome. Not sure how the average Gnome user feels about that however.

Re:FUD (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282772)

The fact of the matter is, a lot of these MS technologies will probably find their way into Gnome
On what do you base this?

Re:FUD (0, Troll)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282896)

lets see, microsoft wants to kill Linux on the desktop (like a psychopath), Miguel De Izaca got very cozy with microsoft (sellout? yeah) and novell did too (another sellout), gnome is looking pretty fishy to me (smells like a fish too)...

unsure of Nokia's motive is for now so my enthusiasm for KDE is on hold with KDE-3.5.8 & QT-3.3.8 until who knows when...

who can you trust?

Re:FUD (1)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283172)

What does it matter if any of these technologies originated at Microsoft. No one owns C# or Mono- C# is a specification and mono is OPEN SOURCE. Most of the technologies in linux were born of proprietary works (like all of unix-land). What does it matter if gnome supports these open specifications? It just improves interoperability!!

So you will be able to open and edit OOXML as well as ODF... why is this a bad thing? Linux is REAL. So is microsoft windows. If you want to see this corporate funding, adoption, and interest continue then don't turn your backs on supporting more technologies.

Everyone argues that Microsoft doesn't give consumers a choice by using their own standards. How is it any different if you force people into ODF/java/python without giving them the option to use Mono/C#/MS-OOXML?

The only way to replace windows is to SUPPORT EVERYTHING IT DOES and then do more, not offer awkward alternatives and claim moral superiority.

Re:FUD (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283510)

Come back in 10 years and let's see how "open" Mono/C#/OOXML really are/were.

Most of us are betting that the landscape will be littered with corpses, and the MS Lawyers will be wiping their swords.

Beyond that, where have you been with OOXML? It's not complete! Since when does a *standard* read crap like "Do this the way Word95 does"? If you want a real standard, and if that real standard must accept Word95 has what has been de-Facto, then you need to adequately describe exactly what it is Word95 does. Then instead of "the way Word95 does" insert the real description. (And even with that shorthand, it's over 6000 pages?)

Re:FUD about FUD? (1)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287250)

That's just paranoid. When something is standardized, it's standardized. I don't see too many lawsuits over OpenOffice (Sun) supporting Word 97/2000/XP formats.

Apple certainly didn't have too much trouble implementing OOXML for TextEdit, either. Neither has Novell or Corel. Almost every innovation in the tech industry starts out at one company or another- even Unix is from Bell Labs.

The only reason Microsoft has had law suits against the open source world at all is because of how many desktop unix technologies were blatantly gouged from Xenix- and that's over. It didn't work out and now they seem to be working towards interoperability, which is simply business. Do you think companies like Novell and Sun do not have legal departments? Do you honestly think they're unknowingly walking into the dark and evil plans of some moderate sized tech company in Seattle?

There is a world outside of the desktop computing world. Microsoft is a medium sized fish and it is staying relevant by pushing standards that they believe they can outpace their competitors with. There's a major game in innovation. Was Sun the only Java provider? No, but they were certainly the most notable.

Reality: Microsoft is a fairly large and well grounded technology firm in Seattle. Their major product is a VMS-based operating system which uses a hybrid microkernel with an integrated windowing system. They are currently on top of the desktop computing market because their technologies proved to be easy to use (and ran on SUPER CHEAP hardware), flexible, and offered decent support and compatibility for enterprises and home users. Linux has been picking up recently as a viable alternative for home computing and business. It's now on its second year of being competitive with commercial offerings (thanks to Ubuntu). New corporate interest has brought expertise and organization to the once unruly mass of hobby developers, giving linux unprecedented interoperability with mainstream technologies.

If linux is ever to take the lead, it first needs to be a proper replacement for its competition. Most users want compatibility and ease of transition moreso than whining and doomsaying. If they ever reach a point where (the now failing) Microsoft tries to use IP to hold back their ever-growing competition- if their competition is larger, they'll just get a check written for them and business will continue. They might get slight royalties at best.

Ooooo SINISTER.

Re:FUD (2, Informative)

nushoin (1231370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283648)

First I'd like to clarify, my intention was not to create a flame-war.

My concern with Gnome is not the license (that is, copyrights) but rather patents. I know that Mono is GPL, but that does not protect me from Microsoft's litigations in the future over grounds of patent infringements. Currently only a few distributions (SuSE, Xandros etc.) are 'protected' from such litigations. I know that Gnome is not Mono etc, but they do seem to adopt several 'problematic' technologies.

About Qt, I happen to trust Nokia to continue supporting that platform. This is of course a personal opinion, I'm not affiliated with Nokia in any way. The company does have a history of supporting open source initiatives.

My concern is real, at least for me, and I guess that others are worried as well. The comments below suggested using Java, which is an option for me. I'll also look into wxPython as I develop in Python. However a C/C++ widget toolkit is also necessary.

About myself, I'm using Linux, both Ubuntu and Fedora. I happen to like the Gnome desktop. Currently I develop applications for in-house use in the course of my studies toward a master degree. These applications will probably be released under some open-source license in the future.

Re:FUD (3, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284160)

I'm glad to hear that your intention was honest and not just trying to start a flame-war.

The concern with patents is a valid one, because of the sad situation with the (US) patent system. This is an issue with all desktops, and we all need to be aware of it. I do agree with you that Mono is more vulnerable to this issue than other random technologies, simply because we know of Microsoft patents relevant to it. So I can understand if someone is wary of Mono (but I, myself, am not too concerned about this). Yet, as you say, GNOME isn't Mono and certainly does not depend on it, so this is a non-issue. Especially if all you use is GTK - that certainly has no connection whatsoever to Mono. Hence, given that GTK is LGPL, which is a big benefit if your app is proprietary - it doesn't cost money - this seems the best idea for you.

(Btw, not sure what you mean by 'other problematic technologies' aside from Mono. Like what? OOXML? That is also not related to GTK in any way... it might appear in Gnumeric and OpenOffice, neither of which is directly GTK-related.)

I wouldn't be enthusiastic about wxWidgets - it's a nice concept, but doesn't seem to have enough momentum behind it. In particular there are few applications using it compared to the other platforms, GTK and Qt, and for good reason.

Re:FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22284950)

You probably shouldn't develop any software at all if you're that concerned with patents. I assure you there is someone out there that could sue you no matter what you're making if they felt so inclined. That's just the crappy state of the patent system.

Re:FUD (1)

Capt. Beyond (179592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283684)

So, if you want to run closed source, proprietary and probably costly applications on your free Linux operating system, all the while relinquishing your rights to see and change the code as a user, use Gtk.

But, on the other hand, if you want to run free, open source applications, and retain your rights to see and change the code, use Qt.

Gotcha!

Re:FUD (1)

aminorex (141494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22285744)

You miss the point. The danger is that Microsoft controls the patents which control the software technology upon which Gnome depends. Only Suse has a license for these patents.

Re:FUD (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284924)

I use Fedora, and it's well-known to be a Gnome-centric distro. Sure, you can use KDE if you want, or anything else for that matter. Personally, I'm experimenting with fluxbox because it's so light weight. However, most of the admin tools Fedora provides you with are built around Gnome and work best when you're using Gnome. Writing for Gnome means you're targeting Fedora just as much a SuSe. I guess it was either too much bother for whoever wrote this to check their facts or they were more interested in spreading FUD than in accurate reporting.

Re:FUD (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22285004)

I actually had no idea that Fedora was GNOME oriented.. I thought Ubuntu had that distinction.. point is, the last thing I think when people say GNOME is "Suse", "Novel" or "Miguel".

Why not just use Ubuntu? (2, Insightful)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282048)

That's what nushoin uses, after all. Yeah, it's flamebait. The whole freaking summary is flamebait as well. Just because someone that writes code likes some stuff that MSFT makes doesn't mean that we should abandon ship. If proprietary code is found in the codebase, it should be easy to remove. So far it hasn't shown up, which is pretty amazing since it's all opensource.

Re:Why not just use Ubuntu? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282468)

OpenBSD is for real men. Stick to Ubuntu if you're a kid or a queer. :)

Re:Why not just use Ubuntu? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282918)

you have it backwards, since microsoft's product is closed source how do you know the code in any open source project you are looking at did not come from an 800 pound gorilla that resides in redmond...

Re:Why not just use Ubuntu? (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283722)

You have it backwards too.

How would you get the source of a closed source program? It is more likely that GPL code is embedded in closed source programs, after all, who will find it?

Re:Why not just use Ubuntu? (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283880)

if microsoft wanted to poison the open source pool before validating their claims of IP infringement how are you to know if it is indeed microsoft's code without having microsoft's code to compare it with? (planting evidence)...

Re:Why not just use Ubuntu? (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284162)

If Microsoft put their own code in GPL software, have they not given permission for it? They are the ones who are authorized to do so, after all.

But I also read that Microsoft doesn't toch GPL software because it is afraid of possible liability.

Re:Why not just use Ubuntu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22284490)

Microsoft released the source code, this doesn't make it open source but if Microsoft or a 3rd party that wasn't ever going to code on mono wanted to they could check to see pretty easily. Also there's a handy tool called reflector that allows you to view the code of any compiled binary.

Re:Why not just use Ubuntu? (2, Informative)

aminorex (141494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22285794)

The issue is not the copyright on the code. The issue is the Microsoft patents which cover the techniques implemented by the code. Only Suse has a license for those patents. If Gnome depends on patented Microsoft technologies, all other distributions are illegal. Contrast this with QT and KDE. To my knowledge, no one claims any patent rights on any technologies implemented in QT or KDE.

Anyhow, to respond to the original question, I would use wxWidgets or SWT for any new GUIs, due to the native l&f with excellent cross-platform portability. I see no reason to tie myself to Gnome, for example, when I can use wxGTK and wxCL or wxPython, and get satisfactory platform compatibility, while remaining portable to Windows and OSX etc.

QT is fair, but is limited to C++ and ECMAscript (QSA). GTK is better than QT, in my opinion, for portability and language interoperability. But wxWidgets is the ne plus ultra of GUI portability heaven.

I guess we are left with... (1)

freeplatypus (846535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282066)

Motif

No but seriously ... Java SWT i fine for me.

Re:I guess we are left with... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282842)

No but seriously ... Java SWT i fine for me.

But what if your existing code isn't Java? For example, I'm looking for a toolkit in which to write a new UI for a legacy mostly-FORTRAN program (and trying to decide whether to recommend GTK, QT, or something else).

Re:I guess we are left with... (1)

freeplatypus (846535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282934)

Well I would say it depends on the end user. If this is in-house use only, I would go with Motif. No one cares for the UI outlook (themes and stuff, but for functionality and stability). If your aim is broader and more demanding group of users I would go with wxWidgets or QT.

FORTRAN? Kill the dinosaur ;)

Re:I guess we are left with... (1)

vbraga (228124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283420)

Maybe your users don't care, but most care, even if they are internal clients. I'm on the Qt side, since I code it for a living and I can say it's a really good framework to use. Besides the GUI toolkit, it's base library is very, very good. Can't talk for wxWidgets, since I never used it.

Re:I guess we are left with... (1)

freeplatypus (846535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283500)

May I rephrase that... not that I don't care about internal users... but You don't have to satisfy their needs unless we are talking about usability and ease of use. Motif seems odd, but I had to use quite a few of application written in it, and they were stable and usable as hell. And I do agree with You... if you can afford Qt for commercial use... go for it.

Re:I guess we are left with... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22286702)

If your aim is broader and more demanding group of users I would go with wxWidgets or QT.

Why do you not recommend GTK? And how would you choose between wxWidgets and QT?

FORTRAN? Kill the dinosaur ;)

I wish. Unfortunately, this program was begun in the 50's or 60's, and has all that legacy baggage. In fact, the mainframe it was originally written for didn't even have a finished operating system at the time, so they had to finish writing it for the mainframe manufacturer! Over the decades, it's been ported from mainframe to mainframe, to various proprietary UNIXes, to DOS, and finally to Windows.

Also, it's not entirely FORTRAN. In fact, it's mostly "ICETRAN", which is a language that, as far as I know, only exists in-house. We maintain a preprocessor that transforms it into FORTRAN. It also has pieces written in another in-house language called "CDL" (Command Definition Language), which is used to describe the grammar that the program's interpreter uses. CDL gets preprocessed into C. Finally, it's got some standard C (and by "standard" I mean K&R, not ANSI or ISO) that's used to implement things like dynamic memory management for the FORTRAN, and glue the whole thing together. I'm not sure I believe him, but my boss claims that it's got about a million lines of code total.

On the bright side, the UI is more-or-less separate (it talks to the back end via some sort of IPC or IO redirection or something). However, it's a dinosaur too: it's written in some defunct proprietary cross-platform widget toolkit called "WINDEX" that I think was based on MOTIF. We maintain that in-house too now, along with ICETRAN and CDL.

By the way, here's a fun fact: there is no standard way of passing strings between FORTRAN and C. Every compiler does it differently. And yes, I've recently found that out the hard way.

Epic FUD (3, Insightful)

splortnik2003 (698008) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282078)

And not because it's inconsequential that QT was bought by Nokia or that Miguel *hearts* MS. It's just not news, not shocking and at the moment not a problem.

Re:Epic FUD (1)

unityofsaints (1213900) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282120)

Guys, this is an "Ask Slashdot", not a news submission! Can't ppl even RTFT at this stage?

Re:Epic FUD (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282244)

That doesn't make it any less FUDulous. Asking stupidly, overzealous loaded questions is just ASKING for a flamewar to break out, and the fact that it was accepted and posted here should just make everyone here sick.. the editors have devolved to Digg's stupidity.

First of all, Qt is GPL (even v3 now); Nokia can't undo that. Future developments might change things, but people can always fork it and continue as if Trolltech never existed.

Secondly, GNOME is *NOT* adopting Microsoft technologies. Miguel != SuSE != GNOME. OOXML, Mono are not essential technologies, and can be removed quite simply (with very little deficit to usability; the only significant Mono applications in the GNOME stack are a photo manager (GThumb already exists), Tomboy (retardedly complex code for sticky notes; already several replacement projects AND E-D-S can already do everything Tomboy does, AND Conduit can sync E-D-S across machines) and Beagle, and Tracker's not only faster, but it uses less memory and has been accepted as default across most of the prominent GNOME-based desktops). Futhermore, effort is underway to give C# users a better way to integrate into GNOME: Vala is modeled after C# and compiles directly to plain-ol' generic GObject C. On top of that, the most new code going into GNOME is Python, by a rather wide margin.

Re:Epic FUD (4, Informative)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283578)

Vala is modeled after C# and compiles directly to plain-ol' generic GObject C. On top of that, the most new code going into GNOME is Python, by a rather wide margin.
+1 for pointing out this neat stuff. Vala [gnome.org] is a pretty brilliant tool, really I have to give the developers a lot of credit. I expect to see more and more GNOME development being done in Vala. Likewise, Python / pygtk is a great setting and a lot of fun, and well worth developing in.

I am pleasantly surprised that most new code is in Python, interesting, how was this measured?

Read Miguel's blog (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22285300)

Secondly, GNOME is *NOT* adopting Microsoft technologies. Miguel != SuSE != GNOME. OOXML, Mono are not essential technologies, and can be removed quite simply
That sounds comforting, but little tidbits like this one from Miguel's blog [tirania.org] are what's keeping people on their toes.

"Mono right now shines as a platform for developing desktop applications, and we want to make sure that the developer experience there is great. Once we have conquered that space, we can organically reach into other spaces, but lets first get the first generation of Mono-based GNOME applications rock solid and shipping." - Miguel de Icaza

The focus on the "developer experience", the conquering, the reaching into other spaces... creeps me out, you?
Do you think Miguel is most concerned with the technology itself or it's penetration? Why?

Suse?,how about.. (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282130)

How about any other distro you can run Gnome on?
Right now for example,I have Gnome on a 64 bit Debian variant,Studio64.
BTW,isn't the word proprietary just a synonym for " verge of extinction"or"in house garbage no-one could be bothered with anyway"?

xfce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282138)

I prefer xfce [xfce.org] myself, it's not as full featured, but I like it that way. Sure KDE looks really pretty and all, but I've had some bad experiences with it; Mandrake 9.1? it ate all my CPU frequently and Slackware (can't remember version) the sound desynced very badly with popups (mind you that was probably my fault). Nothing major, just slight irritations, I moved away from those distributions because of broken compilers actually (corrupt install maybe). I can't remember why I avoid gnome though.

Motif (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282154)

Motif is the standard *nix toolkit. It's stable and not controlled by any particular vendor.

Cocoa / GNUstep (1)

Atomic Fro (150394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282188)

Mac OS X. If you want more free than that, GNUstep/Etoile [etoile-project.org]

Re:Cocoa / GNUstep (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283482)

I agree. The API design is very clean. And it's cross platform in a meaningful way. QT, KDE, GNOME, GTK, GDK, etc are free, but there's only one implementation. There is a published OpenStep specification. It's been implemented in OpenStep, Solaris, Windows NT, Cocoa/OS X, GNUStep, Etoile, and cocotron [google.com] . I think there were also some private implementation used to port commercial OpenStep programs to Windows.

Use Qt4 for GUI toolkit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282204)

Nokia poses absolutely no threat to Qt and it's the best GUI toolkit available for Linux by far. It also works wonderfully on Windows, OS X, *BSD and Solaris.

mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282490)

While GTK has become visually polished and really pretty to look at, it still is poorly designed from a developer point of view and suffers from horrible implementation mistakes that probably would require a complete rethink/rewrite to correct.

I would add a hint for desktop applications developers though: please don't add KDE dependencies if not absolutely required by your software. QT is a clean and powerful toolkit even without using or linking against the KDE widgets and libraries that would add a plethora of dependencies and would considerably grow the size of your program.

Re:mod parent up (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282508)

While GTK has become visually polished and really pretty to look at, it still is poorly designed from a developer point of view and suffers from horrible implementation mistakes that probably would require a complete rethink/rewrite to correct.
Can you give some examples to support that claim?

How many 12 year old kids are posting to slashdot? (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283438)

What the hell is with these types of posts? "Do my research." "Where is your proof?" When GTK an open source library is the proof. WTF? You can download and look at the source code, then you yourself can say if the other poster's comments are true or not. If you knew anything about the subject, I doubt you would make such a vague statement.

Thanks for wasting our time.

As to what the poster was talking about, one of my guesses as to mistakes would be how GTK is entangled with Glib. It's been a while since I've done anything with GTK and Glib, but it seems to me the majority of problems intended to be solved by Glib have been solved by POSIX. I realize GTK predated POSIX, but shouldn't they have written it for POSIX compatiblilty instead of Glib in version 2.0? It just shows to me that GNU has the same "not invented here" mentality as Microsoft...

Re:How many 12 year old kids are posting to slashd (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283536)

I didn't ask anyone to do my research, perhaps I wasn't clear, so I will explain myself. The parent said,

While GTK has become visually polished and really pretty to look at, it still is poorly designed from a developer point of view and suffers from horrible implementation mistakes that probably would require a complete rethink/rewrite to correct.
Having used GTK to develop apps, I do not think this is true at all. In fact I found GTK to be a lot of fun to develop for (the only inconvenience, for me at least, being that the 'native' GObject on C is a little verbose, but thankfully we can now code apps in PyGtk and Vala, just to name two possibilites). So, when the parent made such a claim, I was hoping to see him base it on some concrete arguments. That is what I was asking for.

Regarding

As to what the poster was talking about, one of my guesses as to mistakes would be how GTK is entangled with Glib. It's been a while since I've done anything with GTK and Glib, but it seems to me the majority of problems intended to be solved by Glib have been solved by POSIX. I realize GTK predated POSIX, but shouldn't they have written it for POSIX compatiblilty instead of Glib in version 2.0? It just shows to me that GNU has the same "not invented here" mentality as Microsoft...
Some points:
  • GLib is meant to be cross-platform - it works on Windows, for example. So yes, this is a wrapper around stuff that has in part been done in POSIX. But it has to be.
  • You are incorrect about GTK predating POSIX, unless I have gone senile.
  • There is something to the GLib/GTK entanglement. GNOME has been untangling this for some time, and I'd said it is fairly reasonable at this point, but not perfect. A matter of opinion, of course.

At least one, apparently. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283628)

And it seems to be you.

What the hell is with these types of posts? "Do my research." "Where is your proof?" When GTK an open source library is the proof. WTF? You can download and look at the source code, then you yourself can say if the other poster's comments are true or not. If you knew anything about the subject, I doubt you would make such a vague statement.

In real life, those making claims and expect to be taken seriously bear the burden to validate those claims. The absence of this is what leads to things like "sensationalism" and also outright lies. In the case of false or less-than-wholly-true claims, this is because average consumption of information is taken at face value, and regardless of whether any intelligent few actually ever follow up with their own research to disprove statements of falsehood, the pool has been tainted.

The onus is on you.

Welcome to the adult world.

Re:How many 12 year old kids are posting to slashd (1)

vsync64 (155958) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283682)

Grandparent made the positive claim, therefore grandparent has to provide supporting proof. The rest of us can cheerfully ignore his banter until then. Or, if we are intrigued by the claims, subscribe to the newsletter as it were and ask for more information.

Wow, POSIX provides linked lists and hash tables and memory pools and Windows compatibility and gettext interfaces? Support that assertion.

I realize GTK predated POSIX,

Wrong yet again

It just shows to me that GNU has the same "not invented here" mentality as Microsoft...

UC Berkeley XCF, not GNU. I give up; you're clearly trolling.

Re:How many 12 year old kids are posting to slashd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22285678)

What the hell is with these types of posts? "Do my research." "Where is your proof?" When GTK an open source library is the proof. WTF? You can download and look at the source code, then you yourself can say if the other poster's comments are true or not. If you knew anything about the subject, I doubt you would make such a vague statement.

I think he means, anybody with half a brain will obviously think this is a bogus claim, and so he wants specifics.

As to what the poster was talking about, one of my guesses as to mistakes would be how GTK is entangled with Glib.

So should GTK+ have implemented all of its data structures inline? Or just passed around void* everywhere and ignored data structures? What's the alternative you're proposing?

It's been a while since I've done anything with GTK and Glib, but it seems to me the majority of problems intended to be solved by Glib have been solved by POSIX. I realize GTK predated POSIX, but shouldn't they have written it for POSIX compatiblilty instead of Glib in version 2.0?

You seem confused. POSIX dates to 1988. GTK+ (and GLib) were spun off of the GIMP, which was created in 1997. You're off by a decade. And if you look at what glib [wikipedia.org] and POSIX [wikipedia.org] provide, you'll notice almost no overlap. POSIX has no lexer, no high-level string functions, no type system, no binary trees or doubly-linked lists, no regular expressions. POSIX was a good step, back in the 1980's, but it's foolish to think it's the end-all-be-all of C libraries.

It just shows to me that GNU has the same "not invented here" mentality as Microsoft...

Or that FUD is still a problem for GNU software.

Re:mod parent up (1)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 6 years ago | (#22286174)

Well, I don't really have a dog in this fight, but here's my experience:

GTK tried to do object oriented things in C, and the result is fairly ugly. This isn't a show-stopper, but the flexibility of QT just isn't there. Let's say I'd like a widget that works slightly differently than the default that either toolkit provides -- QT makes changing widgets through inheritance easy and elegant, not so in GTK.

GTK supports many, many programming languages, but only the most popular at any given time have language bindings that are up to date. This would be a plus for GTK, but there are QT bindings available too, so it's really a wash.

Distributing a compiled QT app is dead simple, you include three or four libraries and you're off to the races. GTK apps are a nightmare of libraries and config files that have to be structured just so. GTK is a pain in the ass in this regard, especially PyGTK.

QT runs beautifully on Windows, while GTK has a few bugs to iron out.

QT's thread api is simple to use with the signal/slot mechanism providing an excellent way to pass data between threads and synchronize them. GTK's thread api is. . .not as nice.

Re:mod parent up (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284382)

I would add a hint for desktop applications developers though: please don't add KDE dependencies if not absolutely required by your software. QT is a clean and powerful toolkit even without using or linking against the KDE widgets and libraries that would add a plethora of dependencies and would considerably grow the size of your program.


The same applies to GYK apps, don't add Gnome dependencies if not absolutely required.

It would also be nice if apps could be compiled to use either GTK or QT, make everyone happy, but that's not going to happen. (QT3+ won't compile on this thing)

Re:Use Qt4 for GUI toolkit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22284650)

Sure, as long as you don't want to write proprietary applications.

Otherwise you're going to be forced to take it up the ass any way Nokia/QT wants if/when they change licensing. The price can change at any point and you'll be SOL if you don't want to pay it.

wxWidgets (1)

lexarius (560925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282218)

I'm partial to wxWidgets, or more specifically, wxPython. But that's just me.

Let the toolmakers decide? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282344)

Just use WxWidgets [wikipedia.org] and let the WxWidgets [wxwidgets.org] developers decide how to interface with whatever operating system and desktop you want to use?

Re:Let the toolmakers decide? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283014)

wxWidgets is distributed under an OSI-approved license similar to the LGPL, so I don't see how that's any different from GTK in that regard.

wxWindows produces native GUIs. (2, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284344)

wxWidgets is native to all supported operating systems. GTK was originally designed for Unix-style X Windows. My understanding is that under Windows it still has X Windows quirks and limitations. There is also a difference in grief:

GTK -- Using Microsoft's Compiler: [gtk.org]

It is possible to use these packages with Microsoft's compiler. However, these DLLs use the MSVCRT.DLL runtime library. This means that also applications that use these DLLs should use the MSVCRT.DLL runtime. Specifically, this means that you should not use newer versions of the Microsoft compiler than Visual C++ 6 without knowing exactly what you are doing.

wxWidgets Compiler support: [wxwidgets.org]

wxWidgets supports more compilers than probably any other framework. All popular Windows C++ compilers are supported with the exception of Symantec C++ (this is being worked on), and on Windows you can use the Cygwin or Mingw32 free compilers. Even the 16-bit versions of Visual C++ and Borland C++ can be used. On Windows, makefiles are provided, with project files for VC++ 5 and above.

Just about all known Unix C++ compilers are supported, for the Motif and GTK platforms. If you have a compiler that isn't supported, with help from the wxWidgets team we should be able to fix the problem quickly.

Re:wxWidgets (3, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282540)

Yeah, but I heard some of the wxWidgets developers own iPods and XBoxes, so they're clearly untrustworthy also. It seems to me that the submitter has no choice but to develop his own toolkit and not allow anyone else to use it.

xfce (1)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282294)

I have been using xfce for a few months now and really like it. its a little different layout from your typical default gnome/kde/windows desktop but the learning curve is still no harder than memorizing the changed icons. its also very light and fast compared to gnome or kde. and at least on arch and ubuntu its complete right out of the gate unlike most of the *box window manager setups where you need to get your own panel and file manager, which can be daunting for people who are new to that particular desktop environment.

Re:xfce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282898)

xfce uses GTK+, so if you develop for it Miguel can still zap you with Evil Microsoft Rays through the API.

Incidentally, most of the lightweight window managers are targeted at people who don't use file managers. Adding a complicated desktop on top of them defeats their whole purpose; you'd be better off just running KDE or GNOME.

Not unreasonable concerns... (1)

Quietlife2k (612005) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282370)

If you take into consideration the "implementation" of moonlight and the developers "we are covered by Microsoft agreements and you are safe to get this code from us but no one else" attitude (I could quote a certain lead developers words if need be). Then these are not unreasonable concerns.

For example.

There is currently no free fully functioning implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight.

You can get a *working* implementation through Novell, however there are certain parts that remain Microsoft's.

You can get a *free* implementation, this however, is not fully compatible.

Hopefully this "We're alright we signed with Microsoft" is the beginning of the end for these projects are more and more developers realise that any code contributed can only safely be re-released by entity who "signed with Microsoft".

Projects to be wary of include but are not limited to :-

Moonlight (any non free implementation)
Mono (any non free extensions and now possibly including System.Windows)

Under question :-

Monodevelop (seems to now be a Novell project how did that happen??)

With this commercial drift developers are now more than ever entitled to be concerned over what patents / intellectual property that are using.
   

Re:Not unreasonable concerns... (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282792)

There is currently no free fully functioning implementation of Microsoft's Silverlight
Of course there isn't. Even if you consider Moonlight as being free, its an implementation of Silverlight 2.0 (no one will ever bother porting Silverlight 1, its useless), and even Microsoft's silverlight 2.0 isn't finished yet.

Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282534)

If there's no particular reason to be close to the hardware or the OS, I would write a desktop app in Java. You get compatibility amongst a number of operating systems families for free.

GNUStep / Étoilé by far the most common (2, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282538)

You get free portability to the Apple Macintosh built in.

 

GNewSense (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282560)

Now get RMS's cock out of your mouth.

The answer is simple, very simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22282618)

Assuming that one would like to develop a desktop application (either free or closed source), which desktop environment would you target, and what widget tool kit would you use?

The answer is so obviously simple. Do not "target" or "develop" for a particular "desktop environment". Simply write an X windows application, using whatever X toolkit you want to use, but don't target it at a "desktop environment". This will assure it works with all "desktop environments" and also will work for those of us who do not use any of the "desktop environments" because we don't care for the bloat that comes along with them.

If you target a "desktop environment" all you are doing is reducing the potential pool of people who can use your program.

Re:The answer is simple, very simple (1)

sick_soul (794596) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283186)

That was a good answer. Specifically, I would follow the examples of firefox,
thunderbird (free), acrobat reader for unix (proprietary), and go GTK+.

Re:The answer is simple, very simple (4, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283310)

Or you could follow the examples of Opera and Skype and go Qt.

Same rules apply, though. Don't be afraid to pull in libraries, but no matter how closely you tie it to a particular desktop environment, unless you do something incredibly stupid, it will work on others -- it will just be that much more bloated on them.

Re:The answer is simple, very simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22285298)

Opera only uses QT for specific tasks on Linux/Unix systems and NOT as a general widget toolkit (Opera uses an in-house toolkit called "Quick" for all desktop versions). Opera never used QT on Mac or Windows and stopped using it as the main widget toolkit on Desktop Linux in Opera 7.

I'm not sure if Skype uses QT on other platforms than Linux, but it would surprise me.

Just use GTK or Qt, dumbass! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283846)

No desktop environment that runs now on Linux (or any Unixlike OS other than OSX) requires you to use each and every crappy library that comes with that environment. Both popular toolkits are successfully used by open and proprietary applications alike, and even Qt commercial license has a pretty reasonable price for functionality that Qt provides. Also I can't imagine either KDE or GNOME adopting anything tied to Microsoft as a mandatory part of their environment regardless of what Miguel or Nokia people may want -- this would instantly cause a fork, just like XFree86/Xorg.

In any case this trollish article has nothing to do with the purpose of "Ask Slashdot" category and everything with the fact that no one bothers rejecting crap when it is submitted as "Ask Slashdot".

Only one sensible choice (1)

heffrey (229704) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283868)

Assuming that one would like to develop a desktop application (either free or closed source), which desktop environment would you target?
Windows

why are those my only choices? (1)

acroyear (5882) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284140)

Java Swing (over JWS for remote distribution), pure gnome-less GTK, or some really good Ajax programming which can keep your app from being permanently desktop-confined for that day when someone goes "do you have a web version?" which we're asked *constantly* at my company for our flagship desktop product.

As for either of the two choices mentioned, why worry about the future of them? The libraries are not going to disappear or suddenly "not work" just because someone decides in the future to change their direction.

And Gnome is on a TON of distros, including Fedora, (non-K) Ubuntu, and a lot of the light-weight live distros I've seen.

If you really need the desktop integration features, I would first ask myself why? Why can't I just write a really good application that stands on its own without the need for such tight integration with the containing environment.

Methinks the community doth protest too much... (4, Interesting)

soren42 (700305) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284192)

Honestly, I'm a little surprised. The very first reply opens with GNOME != SUSE... but, let's look at this seriously - GNOME may not be SUSE, but it certainly is Novell. You're talking about a company that employs many key GNOME developers. To futher quote the replies to this post, GNOME != Miguel deIcaza - true - but a LOT closer to the mark is GNOME == Nat Friedman. More importantly, look at the list of GNOME project thought-leaders under Nat's leadership at Novell... people like Larry Ewing (F-Spot), Michael Meeks, Dave Camp, Joe Shaw, Robert Love, and (yes) Miguel de Icaza.

Even more concerning is influence that Novell simultaneously exerts over the KDE project. In this case, Novell certainly doesn't have the impact on KDE that TrollTech does - however, they do have the legacy SUSE team, who were (are?) huge KDE advocates, users, and comprise many of the developers.

So, does Novell present a nexus of influence and control on the core of Linux's desktop systems? Can they exert undue influence on these projects and, therefore, bend them to the good of their corporation - as opposed to the projects being driven primarily by unaffilated community developers? (Or at least a community of developers with varied and diverse affilations, effecting the same net result...)

And, then, the question that naturally flows from this discussion is "Is this a good thing?". While I don't think anyone one entity should have paramount influence over two competing projects, in this case there may be some significant advantages. Having a unified driver behind both GNOME and KDE could allow a desktop to take advantage of the best from each. We've seen Novell already attempt to do this in their own distro - SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 has many useful KDE features ported to GNOME and integrated into their standard desktop configuration.

I guess at the end of the day, it comes down to two questions: 1) Do you think really can influence both projects (or even either one)? and 2) Do you trust Novell to drive the desktop in a direction beneficial to all?

...if Trolltech were bought out (1)

crivens (112213) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284412)

I thought there was an agreement that if Trolltech were bought out, Qt would be released under a BSD license?

Tk (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284496)

If what I want to do is supported by the widget set of Tk (and it's just been significantly enhanced with Tcl/Tk 8.5) that's what I'll use. It's BSD-style licensed, runs natively on X11, Win32, and Cocoa/Carbon, and was designed from the start around rapid prototyping and embedding.

Re:Tk (4, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284888)

Hmm...so are you advocating writing GUI apps completely in Tcl, or writing the app in some other language, but doing the GUI parts in Tk? From what I've heard, Tcl itself is a reasonably nice language. But personally I don't want to learn a whole new language just so I can use a particular GUI toolkit, and if I'm going to write my app in a scripting language I'd prefer to use Perl or Python, due to their excellent, comprehensive libraries.

I've done a Perl/Tk GUI app, and my experience was decidedly a mixed bag. On the one hand, I found it very pleasant and efficient to code to the Perl/Tk interface. On the other hand, I ran into some major issues with code quality and the fact that nobody is actively maintaining the code base. If you look through the Perl/Tk source code, you see page after page of C that handles pointers as if it was still 1978. This led to one major snafu that made me decide never to touch Perl/Tk again: there was a null-pointer bug [cpan.org] that interacted badly with a GTK release that came out ca. 2005, causing Perl/Tk applications to crash randomly. I submitted a patch, but it took ages for it to be applied, and during that time all Perl/Tk apps were crashing frequently on, e.g., all the recent releases of Ubuntu.

Re:Tk (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22285404)

Hmm...so are you advocating writing GUI apps completely in Tcl, or writing the app in some other language, but doing the GUI parts in Tk?

Depends on the problem you're trying to solve. Both approaches work, so does writing the GUI in Perl/Tk or Scheme/Tk, or even using a captive Tcl interpreter for the GUI under your scripting language of choice. If Perl/Tk is not being maintained, that's a problem, of course. I'm not sure what you mean by "handles pointers as if this was 1978", unless you're talking about pre-unsigned code that used (char *) as an integral type to get unsigned integers. Only half-smiley: I'm old enough to remember that kind of hack.

I would personally stick with Tcl, because I'm big on reflective languages and languages with simple syntax like Forth, Lisp, Smalltalk, and Tcl. If you're not, well, it's a fun way to code.

As for "learning a new language"... pretty much any GUI library has more to learn than the amount of Tcl you need for writing the Gui in Tk. The Tk part of the process is much more work than the Tcl part, especially if you start off in Tcl/Tk 8.5 and Ttk.

Re:Tk (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22285690)

I'm not sure what you mean by "handles pointers as if this was 1978", unless you're talking about pre-unsigned code that used (char *) as an integral type to get unsigned integers.
I mean being very sloppy with pointers, and not using any systematic approach to memory management. Back then, the attitude used to be that if your program crashed, it was no big deal, because you could just restart it. That changed a lot with the advent of the internet, when people started to realize that those coding practices created huge security problems.

(untitled) (1)

zzo38 (1092117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284822)

I would probably use a athena widgets or a similar one, and not targeting any particular desktop to make it work with any desktop or even working without desktop at all, I don't even know why you need a desktop anyways!
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