GTK 3.12 coming to Utopic?

Sebastien Bacher seb128 at
Wed Sep 3 20:34:00 UTC 2014

Le 03/09/2014 22:14, Jim Nelson a écrit :
> I was speaking of two things.  First, the situation where 3.12 is
> available in Utopic but the 3.10 core apps are distributed.  My
> concern about this situation is (my impression, I admit) that the
> newer widgets were not getting much attention from Ubuntu because
> they're not employed in the older apps.

Well, they are getting attention, we have different issues there

- our current theme is on low maintenance mode, or said differently we
don't have an active maintainer assigned to work on the unity7 themes.
It means we do add fixes and support for new widgets on a best effort
basis, and our team is small and overworked and it's not always easy to
find cycles for those changes

- the theme support for the new widget is somewhat low because those
widgets are not used a lot at the moment so the impact is low (you must
be one of the few developers using those/having issues, our of the GNOME
core applications)

- the apps are not updated because they new design is made to look
gnome-shell-ish and that creates integration issues on other desktops
(e.g lack of menus, csd, etc)

> If we're jumping in too early with the new widgets (i.e. one release
> behind), then are you saying we should wait for the next release to
> start using them?  That's a full year.  GtkHeaderBar was introduced in
> 3.10, i.e. a year ago; are we jumping the gun using it today?

Well, they are still not properly supported on other desktops, but it's
up to you to know what you want the experience to be for your users not
running gnome-shell.

The GtkHeaderBar were added in 3.10, but there was not even support in
that serie for decoration with another look or buttons layout than the
gnome-shell one, which meant there was no way to make those look
consistent/nice on other desktops.
3.12 got some improvements but CSD is still making applications behave
differently and look differently. Since the GTK team cares about GNOME
and those widgets got added for it, the look&feel matches the
gnome-shell one and people using that desktop don't tend to see those
issues as much, which is a shame because they don't notice the impact on
their users running other environments.

> Your other comments (to use "standard" widgets) indicates that we
> shouldn't use these new widgets at all.  Is that realistic?  Is this
> what Ubuntu wants to communicate to their third-party developers?
Well, run a GtkHeaderBar application under Unity and XFCE and nothing
that it gets no border, no way to change the geometry, a weird look, a
different wm control behaviour than other applications. None of those
are blockers and it's up to you to use GtkHeaderBar, your application is
just not going to feel nice for your users there.

> I think this issue is overblown.  How are widgets like GtkStack,
> GtkListBox, GtkFlowBox, GtkPopover GNOME Shell-specific?  These are
> *really* useful widgets that help put a modern shine on applications
> and reduce custom/hack code.  I don't see anything shell-specific in
> any of them.

I don't think those widgets are problematic (out of some themes bugs
being worked on), GtkHeaderBar are.

> But I fail to see how shell integration is an issue with widgets like
> GtkStack or GtkPopover.  If you mean *theme* issues, then yes, we're
> talking about the same thing. 

Themes issues are only bugs which are slow to be addressed due to lack
of resources, there are no other problems with those widgets that I know...

> But that's why I'm asking about whether Ubuntu supports 3.12 or not --
> to ship the 3.12 libraries with provisos that "we're not worried about
> GtkPopover because no one uses it yet", or "you should have alternate
> code paths in your apps for Unity and GtkHeaderBar", these are signals
> to me that 3.12 is not fully supported (from a perspective of theming
> or Ubuntu's patches to the library).  This is the specific issue I'm
> trying to call attention to.

Well, GTK 3.12 is supported, themes bugs are an orthogonal issue (but
being worked as well).
GtkHeaderBar is in a different category and problematic by design (a mix
of csd and native decorations is never going to be perfectly consistent
in experience, and you are going to have a mix before not every app is
going to be GTK3/using those)

> Also notice that I'm not screaming for Ubuntu to ship 3.14 in Utopic
> -- I'm trying to illustrate that, by leaving holes in Ubuntu's version
> of the 3.12 library, it puts double-pressure on developers who are
> trying to make their apps Ubuntu-friendly, in the sense we have to
> work around bugs fixed in 3.14 *and* major bugs present in Unity w/ 3.12.

Well, you have to deal with the fact that more users are going to run
GTK < 3.13 than the other way around, since that's what most stable
distro, Ubuntu LTS, RHEL, Debian stable, etc are going to ship in the
coming years. The fact that we ship a GTK one cycle behind shouldn't
make a big difference in the picture of your userbase...

> The intent of my previous email (and, I hope, this one as well) is to
> ask that Ubuntu please stand behind the versions of GTK+ it ships,
> i.e. their themes/patches for it.  If Ubuntu is going to theme GTK+
> and patch it to make it work the way they want -- and that's fine,
> that is what free software is about -- what I'm asking as an
> Ubuntu-friendly developer is, please maintain that work, and please
> differentiate between shell-integration features you don't want
> to/can't support and widgets which merely give us developers better
> options when designing our applications.

I guess from the discussion that your main issue is the GtkPopup theme
issue? Lars has been working on that for some week and it's going to be
fixed this cycle, it's only a bug.
The use of e.g GtkHeaderBar is more of a problem in my opinion though

Sebastien Bacher

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