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Playing Nicely

Posted 01-26-2011 at 02:56 PM by beetleman64

The announcement that versions of Ubuntu from 11.10 will be shipping with Qt has caused a little furore in the Linux world, as they are attempting to bridge what looks like a fairly wide chasm. Obviously, those in the know will be aware that Qt and GTK+ (the toolkit currently included with Ubuntu) are used by KDE and GNOME respectively, and both have very different design philosophies.

But while this looks impossible, I have to admire Canonical and the Ubuntu community for their efforts. The division between KDE and GNOME/Qt and GTK has gone on for quite long enough, and while the choice is important, as the two leading faces in Linux development, they really do need to see eye-to-eye on more than they currently do. Say what you like about Canonical, but it was long overdue for an influential Linux business to step in.

Unfortunately, it looks like Canonical will have to do much of the legwork themselves, and have hired Ryan Lortie to make KDE/Qt applications use dconf, which will allow them to integrate far better with GNOME, and, by extension, Ubuntu, applications. This proactive approach is one which I would love to see more of in the Linux community for the sake of interoperability.

But Ubuntu are now running the serious risk of overloading, as they now have to support, in various ways, GNOME, KDE and their own Unity interface. It helps that both Unity and GNOME use GTK (and indeed, Unity is being placed as an alternative to GNOME shell), or else serious problems would risk arising, and even then, branching out on their own with Unity is a risk for Canonical. I'm not saying that they will have trouble, but I've yet to be convinced that they won't.

And as a final note, I don't believe for a moment the stories of Ubuntu users deserting en mass, like it or not, Ubuntu really is here to stay. They have money, influence and a core of very devoted users. And for me, everything they have done has worked so far, and far be it from me to say it won't in the future.
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  1. Old Comment
    ... there is nothing technologically complicated about running Qt and GTK side by side. Slackware has been doing it for a while. The complication happens when programs use KDE or Gnome libraries.
    Posted 01-26-2011 at 10:43 PM by lumak lumak is offline


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