GNOME to fish in embedded Linux pond

GNOME to fish in embedded Linux pond

Summary: The team developing the open source desktop environment claims to have made 'very significant improvements' in performance and memory usage, as they target the embedded market with future versions

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GNOME developers are making various changes to the open source desktop environment that should make it more suitable for embedded environments.

Future versions of GNOME will include improved compatibility with styluses and performance enhancements, according to GNOME Foundation director Murray Cumming on Friday. This will include a focus on the GTK+, a toolkit used by GNOME to create graphical user interfaces.

"Enhancements to GTK+ are being made by OpenedHand [an open source services company] to allow better use of a stylus instead of a mouse. At the moment, some of our code assumes that the pointer moves gradually across the screen, but a stylus can jump from point to point. Therefore, effects such as button-highlighting needed some extra thought," said Cumming.

"There has also been increased focus on performance and memory usage, with some very significant improvements that will show up in the GNOME desktop soon," Cumming added.

Dave Neary, another director of the GNOME Foundation, said that although GNOME is primarily used as a free software desktop for PCs, its software stack is being used by a number of companies in the embedded market.

"The big advantage of the GNOME software stack is the ease in which developers can create software with it. The stack has become very polished, and we've seen adoption from third parties like Nokia, VMWare, Adobe and others," said Neary.

As well as providing a user-friendly development environment, the GNOME software stack is available under an open source licence that is more business-friendly than the licence for rival open source desktop environment KDE, Neary claimed.

"The entire GNOME developer platform is licensed under the LGPL, which allows third party developers to build commercial closed applications with it. This is not the case with Qt [the graphical framework on which KDE is based], which is GPL. I do not doubt that paying licences for Qt is something that people considered when making their choice," said Neary.

GNOME's increasing focus on the embedded market is also demonstrated by the addition of two embedded software companies to its advisory board. Both OpenedHand and Imendio, which develops for various platforms including embedded devices, joined the GNOME Foundation's advisory board last week.

Topics: Apps, Software Development

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7 comments
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  • Yawn. I wouldn't have expected such anti-Qt FUD from someone so high in GNOME hierarchy. It really gets old.

    Someone with practical experience knows that the productivity gain of Qt is much more important than the license fee you have to pay (if you insist on creating proprietary software that is). It's free for development of software under a GPL-compatible license. Commercial or not.
    anonymous
  • No FUD

    As far as I can see, it is factually correct. You do need a paying license to develop software that is not GPL compatible for Qt. The cost is trivial for a larger outfit of course, but it is not cheap for a small shop (1-5 developers or so).

    The perceived advantages to Qt over GTK is rather overstated. We have looked into both and the difference in "productivity" is just about negliglible. One toolkit has advantages in one area, the other in another. There is no clear-cut winner, development wise, but depends on your particular needs and priorities.
    anonymous
  • > As far as I can see, it is factually correct. You do
    > need a paying license to develop software that is
    > not GPL compatible for Qt.

    That's exactly what I said, no need to argue that point. FUD does not need to be a lie. It can be a gross exaggeration of facts to scare people. In this case it's the well-known "license issue" troll as can be found a hundred times in web forums. I would just have expected better from a representative of the GNOME foundation.

    Well, if they have that few merit that they have to bring up the fact that people can develop proprietary software for free with their stuff every time...



    > The cost is trivial for a larger outfit of course, but it
    > is not cheap for a small shop (1-5 developers or so).

    Any sw shop whose business plan does not allow for an investment of about 3000$ per developer in good tools is in serious trouble. They probably spend more than that on office furniture.
    anonymous
  • Yawn, KDE is making all the progress on flash effects and gizmos, while GNOME has been guilty of looking too hard at HIG (something KDE needs to cover) at the expensive of speed tweaks

    The thing that sucks is that there are two projects covereing the same ground, both on restrictive licenses regardless of the Qt issue.

    They should both combine efforts as true open source as true free software under a BSD license. Whatever is said, GPL scares too many people and doesn't play well with others. Its time to kick the cuckoo's egg out of the nest.

    Until this happens you'll never catch Windows or Mac OS X for usability, without usability, you'll never have the desktop.
    anonymous
  • > The cost is trivial for a larger outfit of course, but it is
    > not cheap for a small shop (1-5 developers or so).

    You've never been in a small development shop then. They spend thousand on development tools, and you might as well ask for free furniture, heating, lighting and premises for all your employees.

    > The perceived advantages to Qt over GTK is rather
    > overstated. We have looked into both and the
    > difference in "productivity" is just about negliglible.

    You haven't looked hard enough. Sad to say, but only a die-hard GTK fan makes that kind of comment. GTK isn't even a complete development framework either, so I don't know how you can make that comparison.

    > One toolkit has advantages in one area, the other
    > in another. There is no clear-cut winner,
    > development wise, but depends on your
    > particular needs and priorities.

    Nope, Qt blows it out of the water. Any developer can see that. End.
    anonymous
  • Well it seems to be far from reality. If you count the number of application crash events just due to the interface library used and classify them based on the library used, GTK+ will have a greater share.

    First fix the library, then try to step into other ponds!!
    anonymous
  • They aim for different things. Sure they are both 'Desktop Environments' but that is about all they have in common. Gnu Network Object Model Environment (GNOME) tries to be a 'mostly' clean and simple to use with nothing flashy. Whereas KDE has some of the most bleeding edge flashy gizmos around.

    As for the QT/GTK argument, I am going to have to say what someone already said. They have different plusses. Being a developer who uses both for cross-DE, I spend a lot of time in QT, and GTK. I have to say I like GTK slightly better, especially now with 2.8+Cairo. QT is simple, and easy to learn, as well as much more featured. So it comes down to which do 'YOU' like more.
    anonymous