Illuminous, meet Gtk+

by Jeremiah Foster

Rumors abound that Apple will update or replace their Windowing Interface (Aqua) with a new system. Whether they do or don't there still is some big news in User Interfaceland. Gtk+ is being ported to the Mac so that it runs natively.


2006-12-15 06:28:20
It would be nice if there was a gtk+ theme (or maybe gnome theme) that put the menu bar of the current application at the top of the screen, as on all macs. Swapping between my desktop (linux) and my laptop (mbp) is a bit frustrating, and I'm getting to like the one menu bar at the top concept.
Vincent Noel
2006-12-15 06:46:28
don't get your hopes too high. This project has been existing for years now, and almost nothing has come of it. Progress reports have not showed up for a long, long time.
2006-12-15 07:59:56
Gtk+, etc is junk. The UI never looks right on the Mac. And it's dog slow. Look at Google Earth. It's incredibly slow and crashes all the time. No thanks - I'll stick with OS X native UI.
2006-12-15 08:18:39
Mike, you're thinking of Qt, which is what Google Earth and lots of other badly-ported "Mac" software uses. You're right, though, I've never seen a Qt app that felt like a native Mac app. They can't even get the basic visual aspects right.
Kevin Ollivier
2006-12-15 09:10:17
wxWidgets does all this already, uses native controls (unlike Qt, which emulates things), and is moving ahead very quickly. wxWidgets 2.8 incorporates the native OS X list control (one of the only controls which wasn't native until now), adds a native wxSearchCtrl that uses Apple's native search box, provides a wxGraphicsContext API that wraps CoreGraphics (and GDI+ on Win, Cairo on GTK/Linux), and on wxPython there are utilities to automatically pad your dialogs and controls with Apple/GNOME/MS HIG-compliant borders/spacing. Correct button order is handled for you when using standard buttons, you can create brushed metal interfaces, etc.

I guess it's interesting that one day GTK+ apps may be able to run on Mac as well without X11, but if you really need to build a cross-platform app, why not use a toolkit that recognizes that many users see emulated interfaces as a sign of unreliability and don't care if their app looks the same on Windows - they want it to look, and work, like any other OS X app.

2006-12-15 11:08:49
When I first read this post I got excited thinking you meant that Illuminous might support GTK+ natively. After reading it again, I noticed that your mention of the Illuminous rumor was not related to the story.

Shame on you for this deceptive reporting.

2006-12-17 10:28:37
We need more native Mac Applications written in Cocoa. No thanks to all the other junk.
2006-12-17 14:12:41
Who gives a shit about gtk.
It was originally started by students with
no clue whatsoever, now its being developed by amateurs and opensores idiots. It's dog slow, ugly as sin, full of bugs and compared to Cocoa feels like it belongs in the 80s.

No thanks!

Scott Stevenson
2006-12-17 14:36:19
There are certrainly some useful applications for this, but Gtk+ and AppKit are not interchangeable.
Chris C
2006-12-17 18:06:08
The "application looks the same across all platforms" mentality is very annoying. This is a very "developer centric" view.

How many people switch platforms and just use the same application. Sure, there are a few, but far more common is that users use multiple applications on ONE platform. I'd rather have all my apps behave and appear the same way. This is the "user centric" view.

Sure, if I had the choice between no app, and one that looks like I'm using Gnome, then I'll take the Gnome-like app. But that's far and away from my preference.

A BETTER solution would be to create an API layer that allows the developer to write one application to that API, which then translates calls and objects into the native widget set. wxWidgets, as mentioned above, does this... somewhat klunkily, but all it needs is more developer mindshare for it to improve.

2006-12-18 09:09:45
Congrats. Your post is so ambiguous that one might think you are telling that Apple will be shipping MacOS X with Gtk+ and that they are paying Imendio for the port.

How long before the urban legend spreads?

Loweded Wookie
2006-12-18 11:55:53
Many of the naysayers are missing the point somewhat.

Gimp --> GTK
AbiWord --> GTK
Gaim --> GTK
gFTP --> GTK
GnuCash --> GTK
Gnumeric --> GTK

All these are used by a lot of people so having them run in MacOS X without X11 is a boon for many who don't like having to run X11 to run these apps.

Whether GTK is any good is somewhat moot, the mere fact it works is what people care about.

As for those saying the UI doesn't look right on MacOS X then I suggest you take to heart this:

GTK and the apps that use them was NEVER designed on MacOS X. Of course the UI is going to be different. GTK was developed BEFORE MacOS X was released.

2006-12-18 13:29:00
Loweded Wookie: AbiWord does not require Gtk on MacOS X. Maybe you should check your sources.
2006-12-19 08:22:30
While it's cool that it works, it's ugly.

It doesn't mesh with the Mac OS X UI. It still looks like a GTK+ application. What's the big news here?


2006-12-20 18:38:12
haha, I love the comments...this is why I left osx years ago.
2007-01-22 13:34:17
Adam: You left OS X because of comments informed people left on the internet?

As for many of the other comments - a X11-less gimp would be a great boon to OS X - people who would like to manipulate images with more power than a simple layered paint and can't justify buying photoshop will find this very useful. A many of the graphics problems can be addressed with a native theming engine (like the Wimp engine in windows)