GTK+ user interface libraries, version 2.4

The GTK+ team is pleased to announce the release of version 2.4 of the
GTK+ widget toolkit and associated libraries (GLib, Pango, and
ATK). GTK+-2.4 continues to enhance the state of the art of free
software user interface toolkits while maintaining binary and
interface compatibility with GTK+-2.2 and GTK+-2.0

What is GTK+

GTK+ is a multi-platform toolkit for creating graphical user
interfaces. Offering a complete set of widgets, GTK+ is suitable for
projects ranging from small one-off projects to complete application

GTK+ is based on three libraries developed by the GTK+ team:

 - GLib is the low-level core library that forms the basis of GTK+ and
   GNOME. It provides data structure handling for C, portability
   wrappers, and interfaces for such runtime functionality as an event
   loop, threads, dynamic loading, and an object system.
 - Pango is a library for layout and rendering of text, with an 
   emphasis on internationalization. It forms the core of
   text and font handling for GTK+

 - The ATK library provides a set of interfaces for accessibility.
   By supporting the ATK interfaces, an application or toolkit can
   be used with such tools as screen readers, magnifiers,
   and alternative input devices.

GTK+ has been designed from the ground up to support a range of
languages, not only C/C++. Using GTK+ from languages such as Perl and
Python (especially in combination with the Glade GUI builder) provides
an effective method of rapid application development.

GTK+ is free software and part of the GNU Project. However, the
licensing terms for GTK+, the GNU LGPL, allow it to be used by all
developers, including those developing proprietary software, without
any license fees or royalties. GTK+ is the only 100% free-of-cost open
source industrial-strength GUI toolkit available today.

Since its origins as the toolkit for the GNU Image Manipulation
Program (GIMP), GTK+ has been used in a wide range of software.
Notably, GTK+ is the foundation of the GNOME desktop; GTK+-2.4
will be incorporated into the soon-to-be-released version 2.6
of the GNOME desktop.

What's new in GTK+-2.4

More extensive information about new features in GLib-2.4, Pango-1.4,
and GTK+-2.4 can be found in the individual release
announcements; to list just a few of the major highlights:

New file selector widget
 The new GtkFileChooser widgets provide a radically simplified
 and improved way for users to select files. Application writers
 now are provided with such capabilities such as customizable
 filters and previews. The filesystem access is encapsulated
 as a dynamically loaded module; as an example of what this 
 allows, libgnomeui now provides a gnome-vfs backend for 
 GtkFileChooser so that it has the same view of remote
 filesystems as applications such Nautilus.

New drop-down selection widget

 The GtkComboBox widget replaces the old GtkOptionMenu and 
 GtkCombo widgets with a single unified appearance 
 and programming interface for both editable and non-editable
 dropdowns. Other enhancements provided include customizability
 of the main display widget and grid layouts for the drop-down 

Action-based toolbar and menu API

 GtkUIManager allows the application to specify a set of
 "actions", then create menus and toolbars using those actions
 from an XML-like interface description. This separation makes it
 easier to coordinate having the same item both in a menu and in
 a toolbar and simplifies the implementation of toolbar editing.

Unicode-4.0 support

 Glib and Pango now fully support characters outside the
 basic-multilingual-plane of Unicode; character properties
 have been updated to match Unicode-4.0.

Bidirectional editing and interface flipping improvements

 GTK+ now automatically determines the base direction for
 label and text-entry widgets based on their contents, rather
 than requiring it to be specified by the application; this
 gives a much better user experience when editing mixed
 right-to-left and left-to-right text. Support for user-interface 
 mirroring in right-to-left locales has now been extended to 
 cover virtually all widgets.

Where to get more information about GTK+-2.4

Information about GTK+ including links to documentation can be
found at

More information about Pango can be found at

More information about ATK can be found at

- GLib-2.4.0 release announcement
- Pango-1.4.0 release announcement
- Complete GTK+-2.4.0 release announcement

An installation guide for GTK+-2.4 is found at:

16 March 2004

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