Re: Website proposal for usability

On Thu, 26 Aug 2010, Devin Samarin wrote:

> I moved the URL from
> to

This looks good to me. But given that the website is getting a lot
of attention, I'd like to suggest one area where the content needs
to be changed: the material relating to GTK on OS X.

The new draft site basically does what the old one does, namely
hands off to for everything to do
with OS X. But that site has some serious problems. It has an
old-fashioned, clunky look. Worse, the author(s) spell the name of
the target operating system incorrectly: Apple's OS X is
consistently referred to as "OSX". Much worse still, it gives an
overall impression of pessimism and disarray. To quote:

"The native Quartz display is handled by libgdk-quartz and
libgtk-quartz... Unfortunately, these libraries are not yet
feature-complete. What's more, while most other Gnome
functionality can be made to work on OSX, few if any of the
developers have any interest [sic] cross-platform compatibility.
Developers considering GTK+ as a cross-platform environment for
new work are advised to evaluate other toolkits carefully before
committing to GTK if they consider OSX an important market."

A nice advertisement -- not!

It may be that the Quartz port of GTK is stalled. (It looks that
way, though I'm not an expert on the topic.) But if that's so, I
can think of a good reason why it might be: Apple ships a decent
X11 implementation with current OS X, and installs it by default,
so that GTK apps work well on the Mac without GtkQuartz. Sure, it
would be nice to have totally native GTK apps on the Mac, but
that's a luxury and I can imagine why working on it might not
motivate many people all that strongly.

IMO, the site for GTK on OS X should "accentuate the positive"
(i.e. GTK-X11 works well) while also talking about the Quartz port
objectively and (if this makes sense) encouraging developers who
are fans of both GTK and OS X to contribute.

One more thing: the site should offer a downloadable binary
runtime package for X11-based GTK on the Mac. Many GTK app
developers, I suspect, develop on Linux but wish to offer Windows
and Mac versions. We don't necessarily have time, opportunity or
interest to build the whole GTK stack for the target OS.
(Cross-compilation is of course not trivial.) We can download a
Windows GTK runtime to distribute, and that's great. It would be a
big step forward if we could also download a Mac runtime.

I don't know how many people share these views, but if I'm not
totally out on a limb I would be willing to draft a page along the
lines I'm talking about (recruiting help from those who are more
knowledgeable). I'd also be willing to try making a runtime
package if I can get some time on OS X -- though I suspect others
are better qualified than I for that job. The R guys have
some packages at and maybe one
of them would be willing to do an "official" build.

Allin Cottrell

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