Compatibility problems with latest GTK+ applications

Martin Gräßlin mgraesslin at
Fri May 9 10:04:28 BST 2014

On Friday 09 May 2014 09:54:53 John Layt wrote:
> On 8 May 2014 13:56, Sebastian Kügler <sebas at> wrote:
> > On Thursday, May 08, 2014 14:39:49 Matthias Klumpp wrote:
> >> However, to support the cross-desktop efforts, the GNOME people should
> >> maybe make a few compromises (e.g. make GTK+ behave differently on
> >> other DEs), especially since GTK+ is not just for GNOME but also used
> >> by other projects.
> > 
> > This is actually at the root of all these problems. The GTK developers
> > have at some point decided to couple the toolkit with the GNOME desktop,
> > so GTK is -- in their view -- the toolkit for GNOME. It seems, the
> > developers lost interest in keeping their cross-platform and
> > cross-desktop promise. This is visible in other areas as well, such as
> > theming: Theming APIs have been unstable and changed will-nilly for some
> > time now, and the revolt of theme creators has calmed down by now (I
> > suppose they all just walked away). I suppose this CSD episode will just
> > speed up this exodus.
> > 
> > We might be looking at a completely different GTK here than we did a few
> > years ago, and that's pretty bad news for interoperability on the
> > freedesktop.
> Exactly, they seem to have forgotten what the G actually stands for
> :-)  Which makes me wonder how apps like Gimp who use Gtk but are not
> part of Gnome and want to be cross-desktop and cross-platform are
> going to be affected?  And how are the other Gtk desktops like XFCE
> affected?

XFCE is affected in that way that GTK developers opened bug reports against 
XFCE that their window manager is broken (stating it's the only one not 
supporting that, well KWin neither).

> Pardon my ignorance, but does Gtk impose CSD on all apps, or just
> those apps that opt-in to using it?  I'm assuming it's opt-in, in
> which case perhaps the app authors don't realise the implication for
> other desktops/platforms?  If they do realise what it means then
> that's their decision to only support Gnome and I don't see why we
> should even bother to try work around it: if it looks ugly elsewhere
> and that costs them users, that's their problem not ours.

I'm not sure whether it's opt-in. Using the gtk3-demo and the gallery one can 
find many examples which enforce client-side-decorations. E.g. the standard 
message box dialog example.

> Either way, it seems to me that the Gtk app and desktop authors may be
> the people in the best position to influence Gtk to work on these
> issues, the Gtk maintainers may not care about what KDE thinks, but
> you'd hope that they would listen to their own users.  Perhaps if/when
> the direct approach fails, we need to raise bugs reports against the
> apps themselves to get their authors interested?
> John.
> P.S. If Gtk keep this up, we could see another surge in apps switching
> to Qt, and that presents a great opportunity for KDE as a community
> interested in being cross-platform/desktop
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