Gtk3 for Xfce 4.12?

Simon Steinbeiß simon.steinbeiss at
Wed May 2 23:14:10 CEST 2012

On Wed, 2 May 2012 13:17:41 +0200
Stephan Arts <stephan at> wrote:

> I can confirm this, it is not highly complicated but it does serve
> some thought. Default behaviour of some widgets has changed, so for
> some things you need to set some more properties and for other things
> you don't have to.
> All rendering goes through cairo now. This means that custom-widgets
> need their drawing-routines updated. - For the libxfce4ui port, this
> means the XfceHeading needs a fix, I just removed the drawing-code
> there because I did not feel like coding that yet. ;-)
> Basically, once libxfce4ui and exo are ported to gtk3, we can start on the apps.
> But lets wait for Simon and Peter to comment on the issues they have with gtk3.
> -
> Stephan

Well, since you mentioned me directly, I guess I should comment. From my (theming) point there are no big blockers in terms of porting Xfce to Gtk3, in fact I strongly agree with Nick that it'll probably get more complicated (especially if 4.12 is dedicated to developing new features that potentially add code-complexion).

I started working with Gtk2 when it was already relatively mature, but still, with each of the 6 month cycles of Ubuntu enough things changed in the engine I used (murrine) that I had to rewrite parts of the theme – sometimes just to take advantage of the newly added features, sometimes to avoid breakage. So this is not an entirely new situation.

It's true that there were some changes that seem major since Gtk3.0, some widgets have changed etc. But I think Gtk3 has become far more stable than this now and I think that either building on 3.4 or even towards 3.6 (which would probably already be out when Xfce4.12 is ready) would be a good idea. (Yeah, obviously it's not for sure that things won't change/break between 3.4 and 3.6, but what can you do.)

From what I heard talking to Andrea Cimitan there are plans to drop the Unico Engine (the gtk3 engine Cimitan authored and Ubuntu currently uses, it has become fairly widespread across distros already) in favor of a plain Gtk3 theme with Gtk3.6. This could happen as early as Ubuntu 12.10.
Ok, we know that Ubuntu are sometimes early adopters, but in my opinion this path could be great for Xfce as well. As soon as everything is ported, drop the weight of different engines and solely ship plain Gtk-themes (sorry Peter).

Finally – and assuming you want to continue this (lengthy) discussion – it'd be great to hear a few words of advice of Christian (Dywan), he's worked extensively between Gtk2 and Gtk3 (check out Midori) and I think he knows quite a bit about the transition.

 - Simon

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