I recently been using the Garnome build system to get a taste of the cutting edge version of Gnome. I may not have ever compiled a Linux kernel from scratch (yet) but I can no say I have compiled almost all of the Gnome Desktop. One application in particular which grabbed my attention was figment. Figment is an Outliner program, for making TODO lists and simple note taking, similar in purpose to OmniOutliner. What made it so interesting to me was that it was designed to run on handheld devices using Gnome Palmtop Enviroment (GPE) but that I was happily using it on a proper desktop computer. Most users appreciate the potential of using small fast applications that are dedicated to doing one thing well. Software designed for handheld devices is forced to be particularly disciplined about usage of resources, in both writing fast efficient code but also writing simple and efficient user interfaces.
The developer of figment warned me that it was not being actively developed at the moment and suggested I try a related project called Gnome Outliner. When I looked at Gnome Outliner it only served to reinforce the idea that if designed carefully the same applications could be used on all kinds of computers from a handheld or kiosks to huge cinema displays. (In the best case it could be as little as making minor changes to the toolbar and menu settings and using a scalabe theme.) It is easier to see how applications can come a handheld to a desktop but with Gnome Games having been extensively rewritten to use Scalable Vector Graphics there is potential for the same codebase to eventuall also be used on handheld devices.
Gnome is unlikely to put form before function and try to and make the necessary sacrifices to to slim down anytime soon but I can still see potential to bridge the divide. I hope developers will consider backporting software from GPE to Gnome and maybe even some Gnome/GTK software will make the effort to provide slimmed down versions that will also work on smaller devices. Gnome is my desktop of choice but have developed an interest in XFCE which also uses GTK and is like a sibling of Gnome. I hold out hope that more minimalistic and streamlined Desktops like XFCE will also incorporate and share in the development of lightweight software for handheld devices.
Any Comments on "Think Big. Think Small."?
GTK only and QT only software.
While I was learning about Garnome I also learnt about Konstruct a simliar system for KDE although I only used it briefly to try out Desktop Publishing Software called Scribus and a few other projects. Scribus is notable as one of the few applications which uses only the toolkit QT and does not include and KDE specific components. I have always liked cross platform software and I feel more secure about the future of a project when that doesn't have a limited userbase and doesn't try to lock users in to specific technologies.
While I often hear user comments about wanting applications that are GTK only and that do not require Gnome libraries, I rarely hear people asking for QT only applications. I would guess this is because of a variety of factors. KDE seems to have more users, and quite a few of them want to use GTK based applications and are very vocal about it. In the past compiling Gnome has been troublesome, with what seemed like an almost unending chain of interconnecting chain of dependancies and requirements. Another factor, although in my opinion a very minor one is probably the licensing of the Windows version of QT which until recently did not particularly encourage Open Source developers to make their software more cross platform and work on Windows.
Any comments on GTK only and QT only software?