No more gtk? (was - Re: Gtk3 for Xfce 4.12?)

Olivier Fourdan fourdan at
Thu May 3 09:30:59 CEST 2012

Hi Auke

On Thu, May 3, 2012 at 8:39 AM, Auke Kok <sofar at> wrote:

> There are some predictions one could make for Xfce's future, based on
> decisions we take now:
> 1) stay on gtk2. Xfce4 doesn't go anywhere, all interesting apps move to
> gtk3 or Qt, or the web. We lose developers, and users, to gnome3+.

Agreed, gtk2 is a dead end, eventually.

> 2) go to gtk3. We're now even less of a distinctive desktop since we build
> on gtk3. The fight for reduction of footprint in gtk and gnome libraries is
> lost. Xfce4 becomes a "shell" on gnome3. Only disgruntled kernel developers
> use it (pun intended ;)). But seriously, the edge on other alternatives
> that don't build on gtk3 is lost

That would be the most sensible move imho

> 3) ... break with Gtk. Choose a non-gtk toolkit and core library set that
> isn't pushed by a group of folks that we disagree with in regard. Oh, btw,
> there is such a toolkit out there. It's mature, does all sorts of nice
> database storage, animations, painting on wayland, X, directfb, etc. Even
> has a video playback framework, is focused on embedded/small systems with
> low memory, and runs fast, very fast.
> We'd probably lose a few folks attached to glib/gtk in the process, but,
> there's a large team of people supporting this toolkit that are lacking
> application writers, and this is where the Xfce community has a large group
> of. All seems such a nice combination of two groups with largely the same
> development goals and interests.

Unfortunately, reality may be quite different. We hardly qualify as a large
community of application writers, we're just a small group of developers,
with very little time (speaking of myself, that's as low as nil).

I think most folks can figure out which toolkit/framework I'm referring to.

I am afraid of giving a wild guess here (although I do have some idea), I
think you should just name it to avoid any confusion :-)

> Note: I have no particular preference, but, I really think everyone that
> has a long-term goal of supporting Xfce should consider all the
> alternatives, especially if there's a third one that is actually viable
> (think about how much work it will be to port every app to gtk3).

Still, moving to gtk3 would be a natural move, and less of a gap comparing
to moving to an entirely different toolkit. But if we can reach a consensus
there, why not (although I like gtk myself)

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