Re: Gtk-OSX (was: Website proposal for usability)

On Aug 26, 2010, at 8:08 PM, Allin Cottrell wrote:

> 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.

Gtk-OSX is *not* part of Gtk+. 

Sorry you don't like the website. It isn't intended to be flashy or an advertisement. It's intended to show developers who want to port their Gtk+ applications to native Quartz and make a shippable bundle that Mac users will actually try out. 

You might not like the warnings about the quality of Gtk+ Quartz, but when I wrote them a year ago, no one had touched the quartz backend for 8 months. Since then, one developer (Kristian Reitveld) has fixed many of the outstanding bugs, and some of the other Gtk devs have become a lot more receptive to minor patches... but the general attitude remains that it's OK to implement (or rewrite) features in Linux, and if it breaks Win32 and Quartz, oh well. There's a list of features that aren't yet implemented, or aren't implemented completely, at 

Building Gtk-Xll on OSX isn't Gtk-OSX's department. Try and for that. 
My experience with Gnucash is that there are few Mac users who even know what X11 is, and even fewer who want to deal with it.
For the most part they want a draggable app bundle, though they'll put up with an installer bundle if they have to. They certainly don't want to go through the pain of building Fink or Macports only to have the whole thing fail because the packager of x requires a newer version of foo than the packager of x's dependency y, and upgrading foo deletes y. (Yes, that happens. Often.)

(In case you're wondering, I do this because there are a couple of Gtk+ applications that I want to use, and I don't want to have to deal with X11, or put up with the version-hell that plagues Fink and Macports.)

John Ralls

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