QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

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MurphCID
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QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by MurphCID »

Most of the distros I have use GTK, which is controlled by, and locked down by the Gnome project. KDE uses QT, which if I read it correctly is both proprietary and open source depending on time of day and phase of the moon. GTK (and Gnome) seems to be determined to lock things down, and force you to use the "One true way". But the question is which plays better with both "X" Windows and Wayland? Which one is more likely to be future proof in the sense of working well? It seems, to me at least, that QT has more of the Linux philosophy where you can make it yours, whereas GTK/Gnome seems to want to lock you down like Microsoft and Apple. I have noticed in Gnome desktops you cannot theme, or make it yours easily without hacks. Cinnamon seems to still allow itself to be themed but for how much longer will it? How long till the Gnome project mandates their "One true way" and locks things down so that the developers cannot make changes? POP!_OS is an example, it is beautiful, if you like blue. Fedora Gnome is ok, if you like tan/beige ( I have not used Fedora Gnome for a long time).

So should Mint be looking at changing to QT in order to preserve customization? Not knowing how hard it would be to do this, perhaps it is impossible without millions of dollars, and a decade of work.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by AscLinux »

I agree GTK+ is stagnant. It used to be a toolkit for apps, now when I use GTK apps like Thunar without whole Gnome bundle then I even cannot control all menus. When I filed a bug then the reaction was: yeah, look at that, some user wants to use our product in a wrong way. I have a lean system without DE and I see no reason why I should load tons of software merely to support their GTK usage. I managed to get it patched and now when I build GTK this patch removes all odd entries from menus. I offered the patch to them and they only yawned.
Unfortunately, porting to Qt is a huge effort. I'd vote for it, any time.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by Hoser Rob »

A few points come to mind.

Qt is actually open sourced now, that was resolved some time ago.

Wayland is actually quite agnostic about whether GTK or Qt frameworks are being used. The desktops with the best Wayland support are Gnome and KDE, but that';s because they have the best support overall.

And "locking down" things like theming can also be interpreted as making it more reliable. Yes, Gnome is the best supported and most reliable desktop around. That's why it's the most popular one for large multiuser deployments. BTW I don't actually like using Gnome that much myself, KDE is my favorite.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by MurphCID »

Hoser Rob wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 10:39 am
A few points come to mind.

Qt is actually open sourced now, that was resolved some time ago.

Wayland is actually quite agnostic about whether GTK or Qt frameworks are being used. The desktops with the best Wayland support are Gnome and KDE, but that';s because they have the best support overall.

And "locking down" things like theming can also be interpreted as making it more reliable. Yes, Gnome is the best supported and most reliable desktop around. That's why it's the most popular one for large multiuser deployments. BTW I don't actually like using Gnome that much myself, KDE is my favorite.
I was going off of the Wikipedia article, and I was unsure of they had fully opened it up. I will politely disagree about Gnome being the most reliable, I have not had any problems with Cinnamon (that I know of...). I think KDE (and Cinnamon) look better than Gnome, but that is just my personal preference. I am still unclear on the real differences between "X" Windows and Wayland in the real world. IIRC Mint uses "X" windows system does it not? It seems to work fine, at least for me.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by Hoser Rob »

MurphCID wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 12:44 pm
... I will politely disagree about Gnome being the most reliable, ....
Based on what?
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by MurphCID »

Hoser Rob wrote:
Fri Sep 23, 2022 10:51 am
MurphCID wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 12:44 pm
... I will politely disagree about Gnome being the most reliable, ....
Based on what?
My use of Cinnamon has lead me to conclude that Cinnamon is either the most reliable, or in the top two. I think KDE rates up there as well with all the hard work the KDE people have put in. To me, at least, Gnome is gimmicky.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by MiZoG »

Gnome and KDE are undeniably the leading forces in Linux desktop development now as they were 20 years ago when I became acquainted with Linux.
Back then both were "sweet" "cute" and "sympathetic". Now it's such a pity they are just too self-indulgent and overbearing for daily usage.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by MurphCID »

MiZoG wrote:
Sun Sep 25, 2022 1:42 pm
Gnome and KDE are undeniably the leading forces in Linux desktop development now as they were 20 years ago when I became acquainted with Linux.
Back then both were "sweet" "cute" and "sympathetic". Now it's such a pity they are just too self-indulgent and overbearing for daily usage.
I have not seen it put that way before, but I think you are correct.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by Portreve »

MurphCID wrote:
Mon Sep 19, 2022 10:48 am
GTK (and Gnome) seems to be determined to lock things down, and force you to use the "One true way". But the question is which plays better with both "X" Windows and Wayland?
The Gnome Project folk (in particular, their leadership) have a very specific vision for how they feel Gnome should look and behave. In principle, I don't have an issue with that, but one of my two big issues with that is they are going out of their way to restrict user choice and flexibility.

So should Mint be looking at changing to QT in order to preserve customization? Not knowing how hard it would be to do this, perhaps it is impossible without millions of dollars, and a decade of work.
I have raised the point in the past, here on LMF, that perhaps Clem & Co. should at least be looking to have an exit strategy if the Gnome Project's, well, project, should become untennable in the future, given that Cinnamon is in essence based around Gnome's GTK.

Hoser Rob wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 10:39 am
Wayland is actually quite agnostic about whether GTK or Qt frameworks are being used. The desktops with the best Wayland support are Gnome and KDE, but that';s because they have the best support overall.
The first part of this, "Wayland is actually quite agnostic", makes me very happy. The second part is fine, but doesn't particularly excite me.

And "locking down" things like theming can also be interpreted as making it more reliable. Yes, Gnome is the best supported and most reliable desktop around.
---and---
MurphCID wrote:
Fri Sep 23, 2022 11:04 am
My use of Cinnamon has lead me to conclude that Cinnamon is either the most reliable, or in the top two. I think KDE rates up there as well with all the hard work the KDE people have put in. To me, at least, Gnome is gimmicky.
I have to second MurphCID here. My computer uses an Intel graphics chipset. Intel has completely open-sourced its drivers and they are, arguably, the most universally supported. Everything else in this system is very run-of-the-mill and not exotic in any sense. In my experience, the Cinnamon DE is considerably more stable than Gnome 3.x running on Fedora, Ubuntu, or openSUSE. I mean, it's not even close. And this, of course, is the second of my two issues with Gnome 3.x.

As for KDE, there was a really interesting episode of Destination Linux where they interviewed someone who is one of the leads within the KDE project, and they did an interesting comparision of Gnome to KDE as far as development styles were concerned. Now, bear in mind I'm trying to pull this all from memory, but IIRC, he said when he'd first started out trying to do development work for a DE, he started with Gnome Project but found their ethos and priorities kind of stifling. His comments were to the effect that they pretty much were only interested in doing development work that had to do with their roadmap, and or bug fixes for that, and that was it. He wanted to have a freeer range, and felt he fit in better with KDE. One of KDE's biggest weaknesses, however, is that you don't have the centralized control, and so people just kind of go off and do their own thing and sometimes things don't really gel with each other. Also, people tend to work on more "interesting" things and so for example don't necessarily prioritize bug hunting and bug fixing as high. Also also, different parts of KDE have different production schedules and cycles, so it's really hard to have a single snapshot at any given moment in time of KDE, which therefore makes it less desirable to distros serving corporate clients.

Based on comments in different podcast episodes from both Destination Linux and Linux Unplugged, it seems that KDE isn't expected to be quite as perfectly polished and stable as Gnome (this is a mentality that blows my mind, particularly in production environments) and they have gotten used to the quirkiness and glitches and either just take a deep breath, or they work around them, or they've found ways to kind of circumvent those situations.

Honestly, I've yet to find a desktop environment which was as stable as Cinnamon. I know it's not just me because, at least as far as desktop environments go, the DL and LU hosts have all said Cinnamon (and especially when coupled with Linux Mint) is a setup they know they can throw in front of anyone, regardless of skill and knowledge level, and it will just work without having to mess with it.

MurphCID wrote:
Sun Sep 25, 2022 3:05 pm
MiZoG wrote:
Sun Sep 25, 2022 1:42 pm
Gnome and KDE are undeniably the leading forces in Linux desktop development now as they were 20 years ago when I became acquainted with Linux.
Back then both were "sweet" "cute" and "sympathetic". Now it's such a pity they are just too self-indulgent and overbearing for daily usage.
I have not seen it put that way before, but I think you are correct.
I can't speak to KDE, but it's my impression with the Gnome Project that they may have bought into their own marketing.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by MurphCID »

Gnome wants to prevent you from theming your desktop, DO IT OUR WAY OR ELSE! Gnome changes things too often, Cinnamon is stable and I can customize it. If I do not want the Gnome dictated color, I can change it. I can add my Cinnamox Heather theme, Under Gnome, you cannot change anything. You have to add an extension, which may or may not break your desktop. And then with the next version of Gnome, they break the extension, so you have to once more use what they deign to give you. If I want that I will use Apple or Microsquish. But at least they allow you to choose a color. KDE, like Cinnamon actually allows you to customize things. Gnome demands utter fealty, Cinnamon and KDE demand nothing.

So Gnome is going to force everyone to use GTK 4 and later 5 where you can no longer change anything other than what they want you to have. I want freedom, not forced compliance.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by spamegg »

So should Mint be looking at changing to QT
Definitely not gonna happen. They would have to port the entire codebase and almost 2 decades of work to Qt. Also the Mint devs would have to learn Qt seriously. They worked in GTK for so long, they are really experienced with it. Not to mention, Mint devs contribute to other GTK projects like MATE, and also make a ton of apps that use GTK. The other two desktops (Xfce and MATE) also use GTK. This post from 2017 explains it better: https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3418

I don't think we have to worry. Gnome devs have been doing this kind of thing for a long time, in fact that's how Cinnamon and MATE were born (as a reaction to Gnome 3). Consider the recent Mutter/Muffin rebase that Mint devs did. They are very well able to adapt to upstream changes from Gnome/GTK world. Sure it takes some time and effort, and there will be bugs and some painful transitions, but they make it work.

I trust the Mint devs, they know what they are doing, and they generally make very good decisions taking the Mint user community into consideration.
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Post by Hoser Rob »

Portreve wrote:
Sun Sep 25, 2022 6:28 pm
Hoser Rob wrote:
Tue Sep 20, 2022 10:39 am
Wayland is actually quite agnostic about whether GTK or Qt frameworks are being used. The desktops with the best Wayland support are Gnome and KDE, but that';s because they have the best support overall.
The first part of this, "Wayland is actually quite agnostic", makes me very happy. The second part is fine, but doesn't particularly excite me....
Whether it 'excites' you or not does not make it any less true. But it has nothing to do with Qt vs GTK anyway, and that argument is just long winded ill informed blather.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by MurphCID »

spamegg wrote:
Mon Sep 26, 2022 5:25 pm
So should Mint be looking at changing to QT
Definitely not gonna happen. They would have to port the entire codebase and almost 2 decades of work to Qt. Also the Mint devs would have to learn Qt seriously. They worked in GTK for so long, they are really experienced with it. Not to mention, Mint devs contribute to other GTK projects like MATE, and also make a ton of apps that use GTK. The other two desktops (Xfce and MATE) also use GTK. This post from 2017 explains it better: https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3418

I don't think we have to worry. Gnome devs have been doing this kind of thing for a long time, in fact that's how Cinnamon and MATE were born (as a reaction to Gnome 3). Consider the recent Mutter/Muffin rebase that Mint devs did. They are very well able to adapt to upstream changes from Gnome/GTK world. Sure it takes some time and effort, and there will be bugs and some painful transitions, but they make it work.

I trust the Mint devs, they know what they are doing, and they generally make very good decisions taking the Mint user community into consideration.
And for that I truly appreciate the Mint Devs. They do an amazing job.
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Re:

Post by Portreve »

Hoser Rob wrote:
Tue Sep 27, 2022 9:58 am
Whether it 'excites' you or not does not make it any less true. But it has nothing to do with Qt vs GTK anyway, and that argument is just long winded ill informed blather.
So personal experience running Cinnamon 1.x, 2.x, 3.x, 4.x, and 5.x for that entire time and getting only the most infrequent crashes of it, and running Gnome 3.x for far shorter spans of time (a few weeks at most at any given time, sometimes only a week) and getting multiple crashes or freeze-ups, counts for nothing? Very interesting.

Gnome 3.x has absolutely without a doubt massively improved from 3.0 up through 3.42 (the latest I've played with), but it's still a pig. No: it's a pig trying to solve a UI paradigm problem that simply does not exist.
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Re: Re:

Post by MurphCID »

Portreve wrote:
Tue Sep 27, 2022 11:48 am
Hoser Rob wrote:
Tue Sep 27, 2022 9:58 am
Whether it 'excites' you or not does not make it any less true. But it has nothing to do with Qt vs GTK anyway, and that argument is just long winded ill informed blather.
So personal experience running Cinnamon 1.x, 2.x, 3.x, 4.x, and 5.x for that entire time and getting only the most infrequent crashes of it, and running Gnome 3.x for far shorter spans of time (a few weeks at most at any given time, sometimes only a week) and getting multiple crashes or freeze-ups, counts for nothing? Very interesting.

Gnome 3.x has absolutely without a doubt massively improved from 3.0 up through 3.42 (the latest I've played with), but it's still a pig. No: it's a pig trying to solve a UI paradigm problem that simply does not exist.
Also compared to the cinnamon desktop Gnome is a resource hog, I opened it up on Pop!_OS where it showed 1.5 GB of RAM compared to 892 to 920 mb of Ram under cinnamon. I cannot recall ever having a crash on cinnamon.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by MurphCID »

Also Gnome is getting grants from Microsquish. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJdHAJnKqFs Just commenting on this. Plus Microsoft's embrace, extend, extinguish strategy.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by ivar »

I've also read claims that Cinnamon was supposed to be "less stable" than e.g Gnome... :roll:

I'd say even with the cinnamon memory leak bug, I rate it very highly for stability. With the auto restart workaround, I very seldom noticed the DE restarting
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by MurphCID »

ivar wrote:
Wed Sep 28, 2022 1:34 pm
I've also read claims that Cinnamon was supposed to be "less stable" than e.g Gnome... :roll:

I'd say even with the cinnamon memory leak bug, I rate it very highly for stability. With the auto restart workaround, I very seldom noticed the DE restarting
Hey Ivar, good to see you here. And I completely agree.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by Hoser Rob »

MurphCID wrote:
Wed Sep 28, 2022 10:27 am
Also Gnome is getting grants from Microsquish. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJdHAJnKqFs Just commenting on this. Plus Microsoft's embrace, extend, extinguish strategy.
Paranoud ill informed nonsense. The Linux Kernel Project has been getting money from MS and other big corps for years. All the tinfoil hats are in denial about this.
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Re: QT vs GTK, or the dead hand of Gnome

Post by MurphCID »

Still does not mean that Microsoft is a "friend" to Linux. Gnome by locking things down, I understand more control on the code ala Apple, where fewer things can break. But that only works if you control most, if not all, of the variables. I am writing this on a Cinnamon DE, and it is working great, and has been given my personal theme, so it looks the way I want it to look. Can't do that on Gnome. Also I question the sheer amount of heartbreaking work the devs have to do, to make GTK/Libaidwaita work on Mint. It must be brutal.
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