Xfce, GTK+ 3.0 and GSettings

Denis Washington denisw at online.de
Thu Nov 18 14:29:56 CET 2010

Am 18.11.2010 13:16, schrieb Nick Schermer:
> On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 12:37 PM, Denis Washington<denisw at online.de>  wrote:
>> Am 18.11.2010 12:26, schrieb Jannis Pohlmann:
>>> I don't have the GTK+ 3.0 release schedule at hand right now but I'm
>>> not thinking about porting Xfce yet. (That's just my opinion however.)
> I agree here. If we port the core (for plugins and stuff isn't not too
> hard) it will be a lot of work. All allocation and size requests
> functions need to be ported (if you want to do it properly), lot of
> rendering stuff changed, so don't underestimate this.
> Better wait 1 release with the gtk3 port, let the gtk folks iron out
> the issues first.

Ok, that sounds sensible.

>>>> * Related to the first question: have you thought about moving from
>>>> xfconf to GSettings? I know that xfconf was just introduced in Xfce
>>>> 4.6, but wouldn't it lower the maintainence burden to use a settings
>>>> system directly built into glib instead of having to develop a
>>>> seperate one? I think this also wouldn't introduce any heavy GNOME
>>>> dependencies, as dconf, the default GSettings backend, only depends
>>>> on glib. Using GSettings might also reduce resource usage when using
>>>> GNOME applications in Xfce because there wouldn't be two daemons
>>>> running (xfconfd and dconfd) but just one. Again, I would love to
>>>> help here!
>>> Yes, using GSettings would make sense. Xfconf is great though, so I
>>> don't see us in a hurry here.
>> A good idea might be to write a Xfconf backend for GSettings (which is
>> backend-agnostic). Then applications could be gradually ported, and Xfconf
>> then replaced with dconf if all components have moved.
> Porting from xfconf to gsettings is not a lot of work, better do it
> all at once, but again here, the issue will be settings migration.
> Even though porting is easy, I'd say we don't do this in 4.10; for
> users it doesn't matter what settings backend is used, but setting
> migration are irritating them (it never goes as planned)), so don't do
> that every 2 major releases; xfconf serves us well, lets benefit from
> it for a while.
> We did a lot of porting (GIO) and rewriting (panel, garcon, 4ui) this
> release, I'd say we focus on polishing the last pieces. There is also
> enough to cleanup after 4.8: drop xfce-utils, merge xfrun4 into
> appfinder, better volume handing in thunar, xfdesktop needs some love,
> mouse settings, you name it.
> This is something more beneficial to the users, instead of jumping in
> another hole, we just got out of GIO. Gtk3 may sound l33t to users,
> but in the end they don't care, because gtk2 and gtk3 are identical
> for what you do with a computer.

You are probably right with that. I just thought it would be good to at 
least gradually work towards the direction of GTK+ 3 (by ensuring 
everything builds with -DGSEAL_ENABLE etc) so that there is not so much 
work to do at once.

I think the port should be considered for Xfce 4.12 because the new 
features introduced into GTK+ 3.0 will not be available to the Xfce 
components otherwise. And wouldn't the migration be a good point to 
clean up and remove deprecated functionality? (I believe such things are 
especially important for Xfce where unfortunately there is not so much 
manpower for maintainance.)

In any case, it would be nice if there were a clear (long-term) plan 
concerning the migration.


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